Mid Layer Clothing

If you want to be comfortable when engaging in outside activities, such as hiking, dog walking, or watching sports, you should layer your clothing. A conventional layering system consists of an inner layer for insulation, an outer layer for weather protection, and a base layer for moisture management. Regardless of the activity, these intelligent clothes will let you control your body temperature without the need for a heavy coat. Get the most out of your mid-layer by mastering the art of layering.

What Is Mid-Layer Clothing?

The second layer of clothing also referred to as the insulating layer, is known as the mid-layer. It can apply to a range of clothing items that insulate the wearer, including fleece, softshell, and lightweight insulating jackets that, depending on your needs, give varied degrees of insulation.

Now, it might be tempting to merely put on a big coat or even just one enormous down jacket that makes you look and feel like a marshmallow as you are ready to leave the warmth and coziness of the indoors. Yet, that only leaves you with two options for temperature: hot or freezing, coat on or coat off. You may keep yourself at a comfortable temperature all day long by wearing a less restrictive outer layer and layering it on top of numerous thinner mid-layers. The amount of mid-layers you are wearing determines how warm you are feeling.

We would pack a variety of layers, for instance, if we were going on a day of winter mountain hiking. A base layer made of merino wool would be included, along with a number of fleeces or soft shells (the number depends entirely on personal desire), a waterproof jacket, and perhaps even a down jacket.

Uses Of Mid Layer


By retaining body heat within the fabric rather than allowing it to escape into the cooler outside air, a mid-layer serves the primary function of reducing convective heat loss. The density and thermal efficiency of a material determines how well-insulated a mid-layer will be. The density and thermal efficiency of the material plays a role in how warm the garment is. The amount of air that a material can trap has a significant impact on its thermal efficiency.

Due to the fact that air is one of the best insulators, materials that contain/generate small air pockets, such as, for instance, goose down, are noted for having excellent insulating characteristics. Please be aware that choosing a mid-layer should be done in accordance with the anticipated weather; warmer is not always preferable. For instance, a down jacket will be excessively warm when trekking in temperatures of 10 C or above, whereas a fleece jacket by itself won’t be enough insulation in a -10 C environment.


In order to prevent rapid conductive heat loss, moisture that comes from the body (perspiration) or the outside (precipitation) must be wicked to the exterior of the garment where it can evaporate or move to the next layer. Due to the fact that water has a heat conductivity 25 times greater than that of air, this occurs when your clothing is wet. To lessen the loss of heat through conduction, the mid-layer should have high moisture-wicking capabilities.

The finest moisture control is offered by fleece jackets, which can be worn over t-shirts. Long-sleeved base layers work best when worn over thicker mid-layers, such as down coats, to allow the base layer to handle the bulk of moisture management. The general rule of thumb is that the mid-moisture-wicking layer’s capabilities are better the closer it is to the skin, both in terms of supplying and keeping adequate warmth.

What To Wear In Various Circumstances?

We would likely begin by donning a base layer and two fleece jackets, depending on the temperature (and how daring we felt!). Hikers have a proverb that goes, “Be brave and start cold.” This means that it will be worth it to start off a little chilly because after you get into your stride, especially if you start going uphill, you’ll be taking off those warm layers.

Without its dependable outer, what good is a mid-layer? Depending on how bad the weather is, we might have a softshell or waterproof top if it is raining or snowing. Pay attention to what your body is telling you throughout a prolonged rise. It’s worth taking off a layer if you begin to warm up and perspire while wearing multiple layers, even on the coldest of days. The last thing you want in a cold environment is to be drenched in perspiration.

What Traits Should You Look For In Mid Layers?

A Good Balance Of Warmth To Weight

The garment’s warmth-to-weight ratio reveals how much warmth it offers in relation to its weight. You can hike more quickly and easily if you wear a mid-layer that has an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio and lessens your overall weight. The ability of the material to trap body-warmed air has a significant impact on the warmth-to-weight ratio; the better the warmth-to-weight ratio, the more warm air it can entrap per unit of weight.

Quick Drying

In order to avoid getting drenched in sweat during high-intensity sports, mid-layers should be quick-drying. This will boost heat conductivity and eventually cause rapid cooling to occur during periods of rest or low-intensity activity. But, there is one exception to this rule: clothing made of merino wool retains its insulating qualities even when wet and, generally speaking, dries more slowly than fabrics made of other materials. Please read Why you should wear Merino wool apparel for more information on the fiber. The thickness of the fabric and the water-absorbency of the fibers used to make the garment have a significant impact on how quickly it dries. Polyester fleece, for instance, dries extremely quickly because it only absorbs up to 0.4% of its own weight in moisture.

Although they often have a water-resistant outer shell, thicker mid-layers, such as down jackets or jackets with synthetic insulation, dry out longer while also providing greater rain protection. The fact that they use additional material insulation, an outer shell, and an inner liner all of which absorb water that must be released rather than the water-absorbency of the fibers is the primary factor in their lengthier drying times. The majority of materials are in fact extremely water resistant; synthetic insulation is typically constructed of polyester, which has a very low water absorption rate, similar to polyester fleece. Moreover, the down that has been treated with a hydrophobic chemical doesn’t absorb a lot of water.


While going on multi-day hikes, the ability to save a large amount of space in a backpack using mid-layers made of highly compressible materials is helpful.

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