Video: How To Build A Layering System For Mountaineering Trips
A good layering system is an essential part of your mountaineering gear. Gino from Next Adventure covers all the bases discussing base layers, mid layers, outer shells, and more.
A good layering system is extremely important when preparing for any mountaineering expedition. Why would we need four layers instead of having one ultra-thick layer? It simple, as you walk and climb you're generating large amounts of internal heat. As you stop moving, you're going to lose that heat and get cold. Having multiple pieces allows you to put one on and take one off quickly and efficiently to remain at a comfortable temperature.
The first thing you're going to need is your base layers. A good set of wool base layers will not only keep you warm, but they can also help transport perspiration away from your skin. This is essential to keep you dry and comfortable throughout the expedition.
Next up, you want a good pair of softshell pants. A quality pant will feature durable fabric at the bottom so that your crampons don't cause excessive damage as you walk. Make sure they have plenty of stretch so that you can move easily and take some high steps when needed.
On top of the base layer, you’ll want a nice fleece. Choose one with a zipper, either a quarter zip or full zip will work. It needs to be breathable to keep moisture away from your body.
On top of the fleece, you’ll want a down jacket. The thickness and insulation level of this layer will vary depending on the weather conditions. A thicker down jacket will be needed for extreme cold and a thinner one for milder temperatures. Synthetic or down insulation works fine, it all depends on personal preferences. This is a layer that you can take on and off throughout your climb, depending on exertion levels.
Wind, rain, snow, and ice are ever present variables that you will need to contend with. A quality shell will offer protection against the elements. Choose a shell that features a waterproof & breathable membrane, allowing moisture to escape your body and keep you dry at the same time.
Boot Liners & Socks
For your feet, you’ll want to have a liner. A boot liner will help prevent blisters as well as assist in keeping your feet dry. A pair of heavyweight wool socks will go over the boot liner. Keeping your toes warm is probably going to be your biggest challenge. Choose a pair that are warm and have plenty of cushioning.
Gloves & glove liners
Choose a glove liner that allows for good finger movement and dexterity. Ensure that you can easily operate zippers and use your gear efficiently. On top of that, for warmth, bring a pair of Gore-Tex gloves. These are durable and protect your hands from the elements.
Head and face protection
A thick Buff, something that covers your ears and works for your neck, is a must-have. These things are super versatile, and they work great under a climbing helmet. You can, in a pinch, wear a beanie under a helmet, although it's not really recommended and sometimes it gets wonky. The Buff is the recommended way to go.
So, there you have it. A complete layering system for your mountaineering expedition. Don't forget to bring a good pair of boots, crampons, an ice axe, and a helmet. Feel free to call Next Adventure if you have any questions. Or, better yet, come on in and chat with our knowledgeable staff.
Make sure to visit our rental shop, we have everything you need for your next adventure.