3 layer principle
The three layer principle is a simple and functioning system, where the combination of the various layers ensures the maximal comfort.
As an example, a breathable jacket provides very little effect, if the layers used underneath are not breathable. There is no point in spending hundreds of euros on a good jacket, if you omit to buy well functioning inner and middle layers.
The goal with the three layer principle is to create a system, that keeps you warm and dry, even under the most demanding weather conditions.
The three essential layers is:
- A set of tight fitting, sweat transporting underwear.
- Middle layers, determined by your activity level and requirements for isolation.
- Waterproof outer layer to protect you against wind, rain, snow, waves and so on.
First layer - underwear
The most important function of your underwear is to allow the movement of excess heat away from your body, ensuring that you do not get wet and cold.
Merino-wool is the most popular material used, it has a natural ability to regulate temperature, making sure that your skin doesn't get cold.
The wool warms/releases energy regardless if it is soaked or dry.
The ability to regulate heat makes merino-wool the obvious choice for year round use.
When using merino-wool, a good advice is to wash it as little as possible, this extends the lifetime of the fabric a lot. Instead hang the clothes out in fresh air, especially if the temperaturs are below zero.
Modern underwear has synthetic fibres added on the outside, to create a better abrasion resistance - but on the inside you only have merino-wool for maximum comfort.
Second layer - Isolation
The function of the middle layer is to ensure that you keep warm. The middle layers can be changed depending on your activity level and requirements for isolation - so it fits your demands.
Fleece is the most commonly used material, hence the structure of the fabric binds a lot of air between the fibres - and it is the air that creates the heat. Fleece has that ability to soak up and transport excess sweat/damp and on top of this it dries very fast.
Fleece is mostly manufactured of Polyester, often from reused plastic packaging.
The difference between a good fleece and a bad fleece is first and foremost how much air it binds in the material, and hereby how warm it is.
On top of this a good quality fleece has much higher abrasion resistance than those of lesser quality.
American Polartec is the leading fleece manufactor on the market. Polartecs fleece materials is well known for its high quality, ensuring maximum heat and breathability.
Third layer - The waterproof
The outer layers function is to protect you against the elements - rain, snow, wind. It is very important to understand that a breathable fabric is only capable of “breathing” steam - not sweat in fluid form. If you experience condensation on the inner site of the outer layer, it can feel like the outer layer is not waterproof - but the problem can often be solved with the right inner and middle layers.
Cotton is not suitable to use in any of the layers because it, opposite fleece, binds the moisture.
Correct use of the inner and middle layers is crucial to obtain the full function of the outer layer.