Layering Up for Outdoor Activities with Rab Clothing
Trying to find outdoor clothing for a hike can be confusing initially, as there are so many different brands and clothing items to choose from. The important thing to bear in mind is that for anything more than a casual stroll, you will need protective and supportive clothing. Long hikes will expose you to all kinds of weather conditions and given how unpredictable the climate in the UK can be, you'll need to be prepared for hot, cold, wet and windy weather. Using the layering principle is one way in which to achieve this; essentially, this just means that you wear several different layers of specialist clothing, which can be added to, or taken away from, depending on the weather.
You can customise your layers of clothing according to your own personal insulation needs; not all people will require the same amount, as their bodies vary in terms of size, general temperature and fitness level. The important thing is to find a balance between keeping yourself dry and warm, whilst still allowing air to circulate freely around your body.
The Base Layer:
The base layer is the one that is closest to your skin and it's primary function is to keep the body free from moisture, whilst at the same time helping to keep an even body temperature. The base layer will usually be made of a lightweight fabric, which is soft, breathable and allows for moisture wicking. Cotton, wool and silk are all good choices. Depending on the weather, the style of the base layer could be a short sleeved vest, which keeps the torso warm and dry, or a long sleeved top, which provides fuller coverage.
The Insulation Layer:
The insulation layer is then placed on top of the base. As the name suggests, the purpose of this layer is to hold in heat, without making the person sweat. For hiking in very cold conditions, for instance along a snowy mountain, you might want to wear more than one insulation layer. In practical terms, clothing items such as fleece jackets, walking shirts, shorts and walking trousers from brands such as Rab clothing are what constitute an insulation layer. Headgear may also be included within this category; make sure that it protects your face and head from the heat of the sun in hot climates and prevents heat loss in colder climates.
The Weatherproof Layer:
Lastly, there's the outer layer, which is normally weatherproof; this is especially important if you're going on a long trek, or will be hiking in extreme conditions. The outer layer will provide the most protection from the weather; it should be wind and waterproof. However, remember that it also needs to be breathable; waterproof clothing is great for keeping you dry, but may make you uncomfortably warm and sweaty too, if you're on a vigorous hike. If this is the case, then water resistant, rather than waterproof outerwear, such as that from Rab clothing, may be the best choice, as this will provide some level of protection from the rain, but will still be breathable.
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