The Three Layer System for Hiking Clothing

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What is the three layer system for hiking clothing?

The Three Layer System for Hiking Clothing

Sierra Trading Post Tip: The purpose of specific hiking clothing is to keep you warm and dry as you hike. That's why experts recommend using the three layer system for hiking.

  • The "Base" layer should consist of thermal underwear. T-shirts and such don't work for the base layer, because they retain moisture, which doesn't cool you off after you sweat. Thermal underwear makes a better base layer for hiking clothing because it doesn't stay wet, and it transfers the moisture away from your skin, so you cool down quicker. Fabrics should be lightweight and durable.
  • The "Insulation" layer comes next. It helps retain body heat by creating a dead layer of air around your body. Fabrics should be warm, such as fleece or pile.
  • The final layer is the "Outer Shell," which consists of a lightweight nylon or other shell, usually with a hood. This layer protects from wind, rain, and helps get rid of body moisture.
The three layer system for hiking clothing helps protect you from most outdoor conditions. Usually, hikers protect the upper body with the three layer system, but in extreme conditions, it's best to protect the full body with three layers of hiking clothing created especially for hiking.



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