To put on the right type and amount of clothes before you leave home, is often one of the key factors to how successful your freeride experience is. And while there’s a deed in learning by doing, there’s no shame in seeking advice along the way. Here’s our guide on how to dress for freeride to keep that perfect balance between cold and warm while not compromising on movement – the basics of the 4-layer system.
Base layer – pulls moisture from the skin to the mid-layer to keep you dry.
Depending on your needs, we recommend both our super baselayer in polyester and wool baselayer made of merino wool. While both fibers will make sure you stay warm even when wet, the polyester fibers dry quicker and holds less moisture than merino wool, but will feel colder in the process. General rule: super for higher intensity and wool for slower pace and really cold days. Cotton is a definite no-go as it will stay cold and wet.
Mid-layer - keeps you warm and can easily be added/removed depending on temperature, weather and activity level.
Both fleece and wool will serve well as a mid-layer and we suggest you select the thickness based on the outside temperature. Start out a little colder than you may feel comfortable – a jacket that’s too warm will make you sweat (and get wet) early on. We recommend knitted fabrics as they trap as much air as possible. Products with good warmth-to-weight-ratio will transport moisture better.
Outer layer –protects you from the weather and ventilate out moisture and heat from your body.
With the purpose of protecting you from the weather, the outer layer should be a wind and water proof shell product with high breathability and functional ventilation options to transport heat and moisture. Both Gore-Tex and dri products will offer these properties and your choice should be based on technical needs, fit and area(s) of use. These outer layers seldom provide any insulation themselves but being water and wind proof, they make sure the mid lay-layer will give enough warmth. Most outer layers are pretty versatile and can be used across different activities.
Insulation layer (outside or inside outer layer) – keeps you warm and protects you from the cold – perfect for the peak or a lunch break.
This layer should consist of a light down jacket, a PrimaLoft jacket or a jacket with Polartec Alpha insulation: they’re all light weight, very compressible and have a good warmth-to-weight ratio. By using this layer, you can use a thinner mid-layer and hopefully get less wet from sweat. Down is the most packable and gives best warmth-to-weight insulation. PrimaLoft insulates good also when wet and nearly match the warmth-to-weight-ratio of down. Polartec Alfa provides warmth when wet and highly breathable making it perform inside an outer layer and during a higher intensity activity level.
Hands, feet and head are exposed areas that always should be taken into account:
Head – We recommend beanies in 100 % merino wool (not an acrylic mixture) as wool keeps you warm even if you get wet and has temperature regulating properties. The thickness should be based on the temperature.
Hands – Gloves and mittens should be chosen according temperature and it’s important that they actually fit. You should be able to do smaller tasks without taking them off. Consider a pair with membrane if you need them to be waterproof and look for good breathability to prevent a wet liner which can easily turn cold.
Feet – We’re always rooting for socks made of a merino wool mix: the merino wool will keep you warm when it is cold yet cool when it is warm, and the polyamide makes it dry up quickly and increases the durability. Let the temperature point out the thickness.