Our guide to layering- how to stay warm and dry in cold temperatures
When it comes to staying toasty in cold temperatures, we know what we are talking about! Brynje has equipped many demanding expeditions to the most inhospitable places on the planet. Our pioneering baselayers have kept generations of polar explorers and outdoor enthusiasts dry and warm. No matter where you are in the world, the same principles apply to dressing and keeping warm.
Dress in three layers
- In cold conditions, loss of body heat can pose a serious risk to yourself and others. When your body temperature drops, your energy level and mental focus quickly follow.
- A 3-layer clothing system is the most efficient way to regulate body temperature and to stay dry, safe and comfortable.
Layers can easily be removed or added as you go. Three layers are sufficient, due to the insulating effect of warm air being trapped between the layers. By choosing garments that effectively transports moisture away from your body, your layering system will perform even better. Below are our tips on building the best layering system for your needs.
1. The baselayer should transport moisture away from the body
When your body overheats, it perspires in order to cool you down. The purpose of the layer closest to your skin is to transport (wick) moisture away from your body - and to keep you warm when you are resting. Choose snug-fitting garments in wool or synthetic materials. Avoid cotton as it holds on to moisture and clings to your skin causing your body to cool. Baselayers come in different thicknesses and weights. Choose one based on your activity level and outdoor temperature range.
1.1. Super Thermo Mesh is the ideal baselayer for high intensity, cold weather activities.
During times of high or low physical activity, in wet or cold weather, overheating and cooling are the main causes of energy loss. Through its pioneering open-weave construction, Super Thermo Mesh effectively regulates body temperature. At times of high activity, the mesh ensures air circulation and transports excess moisture and heat away from the body. At times of low-intensity activity or during periods of rest, the mesh cells retain warm air and form an uninterrupted insulating layer next to the skin.
Super Thermo Mesh has been developed with inspiration from the historic Viking armour known as "Brynje" and is widely worn and trusted by the Norwegian Armed Forces, polar explorers, outdoor enthusiasts and professionals with high-performance requirements. Tests have established Brynje’s Super Thermo mesh made in Polycolon to be the most effective insulating and fastest drying baselayer on the market.
Innovative features of Super Thermo Mesh:
- High wicking
- Quick-drying - attracts almost no moisture
- Odour resistant
- Soft material - comfortable to wear
- Itch-free and hypoallergenic - ideal for people who are intolerant to wool
- Long-lasting and recyclable. Environmentally friendly due to extreme durability
- Does not cling to the body due to very few contact points with the skin
- Technical properties are not compromised by frequent washing below 60 degrees celsius
- Does not attract micro-organisms or moths during storage
Super Thermo baselayer options:
Other excellent base layer options:
1.2. Arctic Double is our innovative and award-winning baselayer collection for extremely cold temperatures. The dual-layer construction - with a Super Thermo mesh interior and a soft, low itch merino wool exterior - is our warmest baselayer, with an impressive warmth-to-weight ratio. Arctic Double is suitable for all types of outdoor activities and excels during extended exposure to cold temperatures and high exertion.
The inner layer stays dry due to few contact points against the skin and the mesh absorbs virtually no moisture. Cells in the mesh trap warm air, which is the secret to superb insulating performance. During high physical activity, perspiration vapour is wicked away from the body to the wool exterior, which absorbs and evaporates the moisture further and forms an insulating layer over the mesh cells.
No other baselayer achieves the same effect in a single product. Arctic Double has been awarded the Norwegian Textile Industry’s Innovation prize and frequently ranks high in comparisons with other brands.
1.3. Wool Thermo mesh baselayers are perfect for anyone who prefers the soft feeling of merino wool next to the skin. These comfortable thermals are low-itc and naturally odour resistant due to the antibacterial and antimicrobial properties of the wool. The snug fit and open-weave design ensures excellent moisture management at low activity levels all year round.
- In extreme cold temperatures, Wool Thermo Mesh can be worn in combination with Super Thermo Mesh. Use Super Thermo Mesh next to the skin.
- For high exertion activities, we recommend Super Thermo Mesh baselayers.
1.4. Wool Thermo Light is a fine-mesh version of Wool Thermo. With a more conventional look than our open-weave baselayers, it is perfect for everyday use during spring, summer and autumn. In winter temperatures, Wool Thermo Light Mesh can be worn in combination with our other base layers.
2. The purpose of the midlayer is to insulate and provide warmth
The midlayer should be lightweight, highly insulating, and breathable, with a slightly looser fit than the base layer. Examples of materials to choose from are wool, polypropylene, and polyester.
Choose midlayer products with performance-enhancing features such as full-length front zips, collar zips, hoods, and pulse warmers, that enable you to regulate your body temperature more conveniently.
2.1. Upper body wear
- We recommend the Polar Expedition Jacket, designed at the request of several Greenland expeditions teams who needed quick-drying, lightweight mid-layers with high insulation properties.
- Alternatively, an extra layer of Super Thermo or Wool Thermo underneath a shell layer will keep you dry and warm. Remember to always wear a Super Thermo baselayer next to the skin due to its superior moisture-wicking and thermo regulating properties.
- The Antarctic Jacket is perfect for cold, dry days. It is a very warm jacket constructed according to the same principles as our Arctic collection, but with thicker wool and windproof panels at the front. Use the jacket as a mid-layer in cold conditions, or during activities when weight is not the most important consideration.
We recommend the Arctic hat and suggest you also bring a back-up headcover in case your face needs more warmth and protection from the elements. The Arctic balaclava is a versatile back-up that can double as a neck gaiter.
As a general rule, unless your baselayer has become damp, there is no need to change into a spear set or put on a mid-layer during rest breaks. It may be more convenient to throw a down jacket on top of your shell jacket. We recommend choosing a lightweight, compressible down jacket with high collar and hood.
3. The outer shell layer should allow moisture to escape and shield against the natural elements.
Shell jackets and trousers must be breathable, comfortable to move freely in, and have good ventilation options underneath the arms and along the thighs and calves.
The shell layer needs to be loose enough to fit the base and mid-layers beneath and have taped seams to prevent water from entering. The shell jacket should provide neck and chin coverage and the hood should be adjustable, both around the face and at the back of the head, so that it stays firmly in place in windy conditions. We recommend the Expedition Jacket and Expedition Pants, both are robust, windproof, breathable and water repellant. The trousers protect well against cold because they conduct body heat towards your core. This set has been developed in collaboration with Norwegian explorers and leading outdoor guides. They have been made to meet the high standards required for alpine and polar expeditions.
Remember suitable glasses to protect your eyes from sun, wind, and snow.
Outer layer options:
Polar explorers Sjur Mørdre and Lars Ebbesen used Super Thermo mesh against their skin to the North Pole in 1998. Sjur put on an extra netting shirt for every - 10 degrees. When the thermometer dropped below -40 degrees, he wore four (!) mesh shirts under the shell jacket.