LAYERING ON NEPAL TREKS
Layering means wearing layers instead of just one or two large pieces of clothing. This allows the hiker to take off one or more layers when hot and put on one or more layers when cold to achieve the desired body temperature. To ensure comfort on the hike, it is important to learn about the principles of layering on Nepal treks.
Clothing layers include:
- Base layer
- Mid layer
- Outer layer
The primary function of the base layer is to wick perspiration and keep the skin dry. For hiking, the ideal base layers would be those made of polyester, nylon, silk or wool. Merino wool and Capilene are popular these days and provides insulation even when wet. You may choose from lightweight to heavy weight or expedition weight base layers depending on the temperature. In hot conditions, a t-shirt that offers wicking will suffice.
The primary function of the mid-layer is to retain heat from your body. Ideally, it should be breathable to avoid sweat retention. Mid layers can be made of polyester or wool. A snug-fitting light-weight fleece would be a good mid layer.
If conditions are chilly, you would need a warmer insulation layer. A thicker or puffier thermal layer usually means warmer assuming they are made of efficient insulating material. The insulation layer can be made from natural, synthetic or down.
Depending on conditions, the outer thermal layer can be worn with or without an outer waterproof layer. When the weather is dry but cold, a waterproof outer layer is not required. If your mid-layer allows wind through, you will require a windproof layer. Fleece stays warm even if it is damp and dries fast. Fleece also breathes well so you would need a windproof layer.
In colder conditions, down would be a good option. The downside of down is that it loses its insulating efficiency when it gets damp; it also takes longer to dry. An alternative to down is synthetic insulated jackets which work better in damp conditions. While synthetic jackets don’t compress as much as down, they retain insulating ability even when they get damp.
OUTER SHELL LAYER
The primary function of the outer shell layer is to provide protection from rain, wind and snow. This is the most important layer to get right. As long as you have the right shell layer and if you have some warm clothing inside, you are more likely to remain protected from the cold. The shell layer can be waterproof/breathable, water-resistant/breathable and waterproof/non-breathable. The first type is the most expensive of the three.
Video coming soon.