From the Blogs – Outdoor Clothing Layer System


The latest post in our from the blogs series features a very interesting article by Chris Townsend on a subject very close to the heart of outdoor garment manufacturers.

The Layer System

We added the Layer System to the outdoor gear glossary some time ago:

Layer System
The Layering System is based on the concept of wearing a numbers of layers of mutually complementary clothing to achieve the best results rather than one or two thicker, heavier layers. It’s not a new idea, many of the outdoor brands lay claim to inventing the layer system. The three layers system consists of a base layer or thermal underwear that is capable of efficient moisture management and very importantly not cold when wet. Next is an insulation layer, usually fleece. The pile of the fleece allows warm air to be trapped and thereby maintaining body heat. Over the top of all this is the Outer Shell garment usually Waterproof.
There are a number of variations on the Layer System. To name a few, the development of the soft shell under certain conditions made it possible to dispense with the waterproof outer shell because the soft shell offers a degree of waterproof. Synthetic filled, ultra light weight garments could be considers a mid layer. Combination garments of pile and and outer shell are sometimes used to replace either of the three layers.

The Layer System used to be one of the favourite topics of conversation in the industry and recently I have noticed a renewed interest in the topic.

Taken from the 1985 Rohan Catalogue: A Paul Howcroft Doodle…


In the Rohan Working Manual 1982 we highlighted the four clothing layer system in depth and included reference to Chris’s (system 1) read more 

Chris’s  article ….

Searching through old files recently I came upon this piece on clothing layers that I wrote for The Great Outdoors a decade ago. I’ve amended it slightly for posting here. I’ve left the field tests as they were – as examples they still apply though some of the specific items are no longer available. The pictures are from more recent trips.

I’ve been thinking about layers anyway as I’ve been working with Outdoor Gear Coach on its piece on this subject…  Chris Townsend  – Outdoor Clothing: Layering (Sunday, 10 July 2016)

Read more From the Blogs on Rohantime

Rohan Heritage

One Comment

  1. GREAT piece on layering that – and in 1982.
    At OGC we have a few more points but might borrow a couple from you with x ref/acknowledgment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *