Base Layer (wicking layer)

A range of temperatures is likely to be encountered in wild country and the normal solution is to use layers of clothing which can be added or removed in order to cope with the weather and your energy requirements.

Base Layer

The base layer is worn next to the skin, is warm or cool as needed, is comfortable, and has the ability to wick perspiration away leaving the skin dry.  Merino wool, polypropylene, cotton and polyester are some of the materials generally used in this garment.

Pure cotton t-shirts are not generally suitable unless the weather is warm and dry.  When wet from either perspiration or rain running down your neck, they not only take a long time to dry but more importantly retain the water next to your skin, cooling the body as it evaporates.  To make matters worse, cotton is an inefficient insulator even when dry and this can aid the onset of hypothermia.  Cotton clothing is particularly prone to give rise to this refrigerating effect and it is far better to use other fabrics.

Change of Clothing

When you are on expedition you will also need a spare set of clothes (made up of mid and base layers only).  These can also be used around the camp and for nightwear.  It is important to keep these dry for use when in camp, if necessary it is better to put on wet clothing at the start of each day.  Not a very comfortable experience, but better than having no dry clothing at all.

Ensure that spare clothing and your sleeping bag are kept dry in your rucksack by sealing them in dry bags or heavy duty plastic sacks.