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August 05, 2022

The perfect cool or cold weather outfit almost always consists of layers—usually two to three, sometimes more. The base layer is typically a thin, light, and tighter-fitting shirt. The exterior layer is bulkier and insulated, with enough space so as not to feel constricting. But what about the garment(s) in between? Check out this quick guide to choosing the best mid-layer.

A Happy Medium Fit

The fit of your mid-layer is the most essential aspect to consider when choosing garments; it should fit just snug enough to properly provide warmth and protection from the elements without being too constricting. Alternatively, you don’t want something so baggy it makes your outer layer feel tighter. Another factor to remember is that a mid-layer should be warm enough for outdoor activities, like walking and hiking, without leaving you a sweaty mess.

Seasonal Functionality

The best mid-layer garments change based on the season. For instance, the optimal mid-layer for spring should be moisture-resistant and breathable. Conversely, a great autumn mid-layer should be slightly thicker with more insulation. For the winter, consider something that does a little bit of everything, from wicking sweat to providing warmth. Before purchasing a mid-layer, determine which season you’re purchasing for and how effective the garment will be for ensuring comfort.

The Right Materials

The material of your mid-layer is equally important to the other characteristics in this guide. Mid-layer materials abide by the seasonal functionality rule—some fabrics are better suited for warm weather, others for the cold. If you like to partake in fall and winter activities, we recommend fleece; this material is a synthetic fabric that’s affordable, soft, cozy, and surprisingly breathable. For better cold weather protection, consider something made from wool. Wool is the ultimate insulator, but it’s not great at wicking moisture. Lighter synthetic materials are the best option for springtime mid-layers, while linen remains the preferred option for summer.

No matter the season or weather conditions, it’s important to understand proper layering. This guide to choosing the best mid-layer will ensure your outfits are functional, comfortable, and stylish. Find the perfect mid-layer garment here at Escape Outdoors, like our Patagonia lightweight better sweater—the best option for fall and winter activities!

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