Dressing in Layers

As an outdoor person who hikes the peaks in Colorado, dressing in layers is extremely important and applying the same principles to travel is important as well.

When you hike, you will get hot and cold as you go through different terrain, altitude and weather conditions.  Often during a hike you will add or remove clothing layers depending on the situation.  As in hiking, you will find that athletes in other sports such as skiing will also dress in layers to provide alternatives helping them stay warm or coll, dry and comfortable.  Often on an early morning hike or catching the first chair up the ski lift in the morning, people may start out wearing several layers of clothing.  As the day goes on and the sun gains altitude, the air warms up.  People will begin striping off layers to maintain a comfort level.  Should conditions change on a hike at altitude, it may be necessary to put layers back on that were taken off.

Consider travel as a sport and you are the travel-athlete or travelete.  The sport of travel at it's minimum will involve walking and carrying a backpack.  You may be out in adverse weather conditions such as extreme heat, rain or even snow.  Mornings may be cold and afternoons hot.  A day may start out pleasant but have an afternoon cold-front come through.  It's important to be prepared and to be able to adjust as conditions change by adding or removing layers of clothing helping to ensure you are comfortable.

Traveling with a single heavy jacket not only adds weight and takes up space, but it does not allow you to easily adjust to changing conditions.  Having multiple layers of clothing allows you to easily adjust to changing conditions, staying comfortable and warm.

Be sure to read our pages on Under / Base Layers, Under Jackets and Primary / Rain Jackets that will give you ideas on what to bring and how to dress in layers.

On the Summit of Quandary Peak, Colorado - Elevation 14,265 Feet
A little more about dressing in layers and warmth.

I have climbed over half the 14 thousand foot peaks in Colorado; some in summer and some in winter.  Regardless of the season, it's important to dress in layers due to the ever changing conditions you encounter and the amount of heat your body generates on both the ascent and descent.

Although this photo shows a nice sunny day in winter, it was cold, but not extremely cold.  I am wearing a shell jacket with a light down-filled poof jacket underneath and I was plenty warm.

I have been in winter conditions at 14 thousand feet experiencing winds close to 60 mph and temps so cold that if you removed your gloves your hands would freeze in close to a minute.  Even in extreme adverse conditions, wearing a shell jacket over multiple underlying layers has kept me warm and comfortable.