The Multilayer Principle – A Guide
The multilayer principle or layering principle shows you how to dress while you’re out the great outdoors – whatever the season.
Whether you're a beginner or an experienced hiking enthusiast, good planning is essential to get the best experience. Here’s a guide on what you need and what the purpose of the different layers is. There's a good reason why wool is Norwegian's favorite fabric.
Go for wool
Many Norwegians boast about wool products, and with good reason. With its special properties, wool is suitable for all seasons and activities. The myth that wool is itchy or only suitable to wear in winter is not true, and now you can buy great wool clothes that are suitable for all seasons.
Wool can absorb up to 30% of its own weight in moisture, keeping you warm even when you're wet. When the body produces a lot of heat and sweat, the wool transports this away from the body and regulates the temperature so that you don't get damp or overheat.
Wool is also UV-protective and absorbs UV rays more effectively than most other materials. Depending on the garment’s density and treatment, woolen clothing has an UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) of between 20 and 50.
During the coldest months, layer up to keep warm with a base, middle and outer layer. Layering makes it easier to dress according to your needs and intensity level.
Base layer – Good wool underwear
This is the most important layer and should be tight-fitting. The purpose of the base layer is to wick away moisture and sweat from the body so that you stay warm and dry throughout the day. Go for good woolen underwear in merino that feels both soft and comfortable on your skin. Check out our wool underwear guide to find the right underwear for you.
On hot summer days when the temperature is high, go for summer wool. The wool’s ability to absorb moisture will have a cooling effect on the body. Just remember to bring some warmer clothes should the weather change – you can go a long way with a good wool sweater.
Read more about why wool is gold in summer
The middle layer – Keep warm with a wool sweater
The middle layer should insulate and retain heat during periods of low or no activity. These clothes should be slightly looser in order to create better insulation and mobility. The reason wool retains its heat is because of the function of the fiber. Air is trapped in the fiber and heated by the body, so wool will still keep you warm even when it’s wet. So for longer breaks in the mountains and quiet times when you're fishing or resting, the middle layer is an absolute must!
Outer layer – Protect yourself from the weather
The outer layer must protect you from bad weather and should be wind and waterproof. Your clothes should be able to breathe and ventilate well to remove body temperature so you don't overheat. Go for an outer layer in a larger size so that you have plenty of room for the mid layer if the weather turns colder. With the right clothing, you will be warm and comfortable throughout your hike or activity in the woods and mountains.
Tips for the fungi and berry trip.
How to choose the right product for the right activity.
One easy way to remember this is that low-intensity activities that doesn't make you sweat or produce body heat will require warmer products. For warmth, go for thicker clothing or clothes with bodymapping, which insulate the body with extra warmth in the most exposed areas.
Higher intensity will require less heat from your clothes. Garments suitable for high activity are usually lighter and have a lower gram weight. Ulvang offers garments with mesh for better ventilation and mobility.
Wool is the right accessory
Dressing appropriately for the conditions and temperature will give a better experience. Right clothing will protect from any weather condition so the focus can go on the beauty of the terrain instead. Just be sure to remember the accessories.
Depending on the weather and activity level, you should always have a hat or headband to protect your head and ears from the wind and cold. The head and neck are always exposed to temperature changes, so bring these accessories even on a hot day. A thin wool hat goes a long way and you won't feel wet or clammy even during high activity.
Tips: Some people are more vulnerable than others to the weather, so think about which hat or headband is best for you and your activity.
Woolen socks that fit your shoes make it easier to keep warm even if you get wet. Carry an extra pair if you’re going to sleep outside or walk for a longer distance. Go for woolen socks that fit the activity and if necessary wear two pairs to avoid blisters. Thin woolen socks on warmer days, and thicker ones for winter (preferably two pairs – one thin and one thicker)
Don't forget the hands!
The weather can change quickly and the temperature will vary depending on the season, so it can be difficult to find the right mittens. In winter, apply the multilayer principle for mittens, with thin woolen mittens on the inside and thick wind and waterproof ones over the top. They will keep you warm even on the coldest days. For warmer days thin woolen mittens can be practical, especially in the mountains or by the sea where you are more prone to cold and wind.
Ulvang has a great range of woolen garments for your activity and intensity level. With the right planning, even for beginners, you’ll be well-prepared for bad weather and cold, no matter where you are. Look at the weather forecast and dress for the conditions.
Have a great trip!