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Personal account

The concept of layered clothing

In spite of the fact that the concept of layered clothing is very simple it is always being argued.

The core goal of layered clothing - is the effectiveness and functionality of layers in completing a specific task in special conditions. In other words, to create a single dynamic system where all layers cooperate with each other. First of all, to find out how this system works, it is necessary to know how exactly these layers work. They all function in the same way and it doesn’t matter whether they are used in military equipment, tourism or sports clothes.


It has different names: the first, base or thermal layer. Its main purpose is to to wick away moisture for quick drying during physical exercises. Functional exertion depends on two main factors: weather conditions and intensity. To simplify that, if you are going to run during the winter season – you don’t need to put on thick thermal clothes with an additional warming effect. You just need to wear light clothes with high moisture removal effect. For instance, Polartec Power Dry. On the other hand, you will be interested in heavier garments with additional warming effect during less intensive exertion and you will not pay much attention to its ability to remove moisture. The perfect example of latter one is Polartec Power Stretch clothes.

For instance, military men will have several kinds of thermal layers, which differ by density. So they can perfectly adapt to an unexpected change of climatic conditions and level of activity.

To choose the right clothes for trekking, for example, will be much easier because you expect certain climatic and weather conditions in your country of destination, know the duration of your trip and the range of activities.

Insulation layer

The second layer is warming and moisture-conducting, which has the main task to hold generated heat effectively, but at the same time, it should not be a barrier for moisture removal from the body. In other words, this layer has to pass all moisture through itself quickly saving heat simultaneously.

Today fleece of different thickness owned by Polartec company is the most classic warming layer with high breathing ability. However, microfiber synthetic and down insulation materials are often used at low temperatures. Their ratio of weight, volume and thermal conductivity is more valuable than fleece. For instance, our range of products includes clothes made of Primaloft. It is microfiber insulation of last generation and the synthetic analog of down.

Nowadays, militaries rather prefer Polartec High Loft fleece, non-rustling, light and warm fabric, which imitates animal fur by its long piles. While the range of sport clothes is much bigger. Here you can find light fleece of Polartec Classic series and high-density fleece from Polartec Thermal Pro series, which are widely used by trekkers and hikers. They also use synthetic microfiber and down insulation.

Outer layer

It is isolating, waterproof and windproof membrane layer with the goal to protect you from rain and wind and in addition to remove moisture which passed through first and second layers. This layer is not insulated what makes it universal for all seasons because the membrane doesn’t care about temperatures. The membrane usually has two significant characteristics: waterproofness in mm of water column which can be handled by a membrane and breathing ability identifying the amount of moisture that membrane can release. We work with membranes produced by Japanese company Gelanots. Their membranes possess a high level of these characteristics.

Militaries have two separate layers with different goals. The first layer is only windproof and second one which includes membrane jackets and trousers is windproof and waterproof simultaneously. The same approach is usually applied by trekkers but light windproof jackets are rarely used here. Nowadays, the combination of light fabrics and membranes of high quality together with the usage of more advanced and effective systems of active ventilation let the trekkers use membrane clothes more often.

Softshell is also used as an outer layer and it differs from classic membrane clothes by its soft and warm internal pile. It provides the same isolation from water and wind but saves heat of your body even better because its internal pile doesn’t allow the contact of cold outer fabric surface with warm air inside the jacket and second warming layer.

The main advantages of Softshell are high elasticity and durability. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that weight and volume of such clothes are much higher than of classic membrane clothes. They also demand implementation of active ventilation. But we nevertheless offer such products , mainly for equipping the military forces.

Additional insulation layer

Additional insulation layer for highly extreme conditions. It’s important to say that in conditions of extremely low temperatures militaries and tourists use external insulation very often. Militaries use parka jackets and trousers while tourists use really warm down jackets. The usage of such type of insulation doesn’t require membrane upper layer because you will not encounter moisture at such low temperatures.

To summarize all above mentioned there are some typical mistakes in layered clothing, which can complicate your life.

Unfortunately, people face them more often than you might think

  • The combination with underwear made of cotton fabrics.
  • Unnecessary and inappropriate usage of garment which doesn’t have the required properties for a particular layer as an addition to certain layer. For example, it would be a mistake to use singlet together with thermal base layer.
  • Mismatch of selected insulation layer with temperature conditions which can lead to overheating or reduction of moisture removal ability.
  • Simultaneous usage of two items with membrane, one above another.
  • Neglecting the usage of additional active ventilation of the upper layer during intensive physical exercise. Incomprehension of the necessity for upper layer additional ventilation after high-intense activity.
  • The usage of inappropriate accessories, which complicate ventilation or break thermoregulation. For instance, the usage of keffiyeh or tube-formed scarf during high physical exertion.
  • Common mistakes in selection of hats and gloves. A discrepancy of those for your activities. Disuse of hats and gloves in conditions of low temperatures and strong wind, which can result in excess heat loss.
  • Wrong choice of socks with no regard of physical activity and climate features.