Whether you are gearing up for a winter hike or relaxing in the city in the cold weather, choosing the right mid layer is essential in keeping warm.

Whether you are gearing up for a winter hike, or a getaway in a city with cold weather, it’s always important to layer effectively so you keep warm.

We’ve talked about how base layers are crucial to a good layering system, but choosing the right mid layers are also just as important! If you are planning to do some winter sports where you will perspire, a moisture-wicking base layer would be practically useless if your mid layer is not breathable.

What Does Breathability Mean?

In a nutshell, breathability refers to the ability of a fabric to absorb moisture and release it through the material itself, allowing it to breathe.

Breathability is important for many reasons.

First, it is to prevent you from overheating. Fabrics that are designed to provide warmth should be breathable so that you do not become stuffy or produce too much sweat. The user feels hot and sticky.

Second, it allows air to travel through the fabric to keep it fresh. This not only refers to you staying fresh but the materials, especially when it comes to lingering odour.

Third, it prevents blisters! A little known fact, breathable boots indeed prevent the formation of blisters as moisture can cause the feet to do this. With more air travelling to the feet, this won’t be a problem you’ll have to deal with.

In short, your mid layers should have to at least have heat-trapping properties! This layer is all about insulation and is crucial in helping you retain the heat that is radiated by your body. The better the layer is at trapping heat, the warmer you will be.

However, one common weakness of middle layers is that they are usually designed to only trap air, but not provide rain protection. If your holiday destination is going to be rainy and wet, you would definitely need a protective outer layer in order to keep the water out. Psst.. Check the weather before you start packing! :)

There are 3 common materials for mid layers: down, synthetic down and fleece. So how do you know which one you should choose? Let’s find out!

Today we are going to introduce to you down jackets! These are in high demand as they are one of the most effective jackets for mid layers! :)

Down Jackets

Down Jackets

Down jackets always seem to be a mystery to people. How can a jacket be so light and yet keep warm? Down jackets are actually made of down feathers (who knew? :D) - which come from geese and ducks. These feathers create millions of small air pockets, that will help to retain your own body heat. The more air pockets there are, the warmer you will be.

So how do you tell the difference between a good down jacket and a bad one? This is where “fill power” comes into play. I’m sure you’ve encountered that word many times when you’re looking for a down jacket! Technically speaking, fill power is a measure of the amount of space one ounce of down will occupy in cubic inches. The higher the fill power, the more space that one ounce of down will occupy.

However, the warmth of the jacket is not purely based on fill power. For example, if you use 12 ounces of 550 fill down, compared to 8 ounces of 850 down - it may be of similar warmth. The only difference? The 550 fill down jacket will be heavier!

Ultimately, higher fill power simply gives better warmth-to-weight ratios. If you want the lightest and warmest jacket, look for a down jacket with the highest fill power. However, these jackets tend to be the most expensive - so it all depends on your priorities! :)

While down jackets tend to be the warmest, it is important to remember that it isn’t for everyone. One major downside about down jackets is that it doesn’t do well in wet weather, and it won’t perform well if you’re planning to do strenuous activities in them. Once it gets wet, your down jacket will lose its insulation properties and get you cold.

Synthetic Down Jackets

Synthetic down jackets have become much more popular in recent years - and for a good reason. Synthetic down jackets are designed to provide the same warmth & lightweightness of a down jacket - and still retain these properties even if it gets wet! One more major upside? It’s much more affordable than a natural down jacket :)

These jackets are made with ultra fine polyester fibres that help to trap warmth in its air pockets, keeping you warm and toasty. It is also designed to be much more resistant to moisture, and when it does get wet - it also dries much faster!

However, it has a higher weight-to-warmth ratio compared to down - meaning that it needs to be heavier and thicker to achieve the same level of warmth as a down jacket.

… and there you have it! The lowdown on all the different mid layers out there and how to choose them :)

Remember, wearing multiple thin layers can actually keep you much warmer than a single thick layer. This is because layering can actually trap the warm air in between, which helps act as an insulator!

The number of layers you wear will also depend heavily on the type of activity you’re doing. For strenuous activities like skiing or hiking, you may want to consider fleece jackets as your choice! Fleece jackets will allow your sweat to dry much quicker, which will prevent you from getting damp and cold :) For chilly days in the city, or if you’re just going camping - a down jacket will be perfect to keep you nice and warm.

I hope this article has been helpful in helping you find the perfect mid layer for your winter adventure!

If you’re getting ready for your winter holiday, and check out Decathlon’s collection of winter wear in Singapore From affordable winter jackets to long johns, you can Click & Collect your orders in just 2 hours, or even enjoy free same day delivery on orders above $60!

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We would love to hear about your winter hiking adventures!
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Till then, happy hiking! :)