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Spotlight - equipment views and reviews from the AK team

Finding the mid layer

By Dan Thompson
01, Nov, 2016

These useful pieces of clothing are far too versatile and adaptable just to be stuck in the middle.

Midlayer1

Continuing our journey through the layering system we next arrive at Mid Layers... the dynamic one! Layered between the base and the shell, it's almost as important as that layer of butter icing in the middle of a Victoria sponge, but far more verstile when it comes to the outdoor environment. Start with it on during the cool mornings as you get going, take it off as you start to warm up, then back on when it starts to cool down again in the evenings. There to hand if the wind should pick up, or you need some extra warmth under a shell if the rain starts to come.  

So the main purpose of a mid layer is to capture warmth and insulate the body, but you'll no doubt find yourself using one during fast moving activities in the cold, so this layer also needs to allow moisture to wick and move away from the body and dry quickly. Like base layers, mid layers can be natural or synthetic and we have both on offer. The classic mid layer in any system is a fleece, but fleece has come a long way since the original Malden Mills Polartec fleece in 1979. Now there's a number of styles, weights and finishes that can offer you insulation when you need it. These pieces are perfect for all year round use and for countless activities. Warm, comfortable, easy to care for and affordable: the bottom line is fleece just works and you'll no doubt find it on the outside as much, if not more than just stuck in the middle.  

So what can we offer you?

Akita has a smooth outer face and super soft back with just a touch more wind resistance than your regular fleece, and comes in a full zip jacket style for flexible temperature management. 

Yakutian is a mid-weight stretch fleece with a lovely soft back and a smooth knitted face that gives that little bit of extra protection from the wind, whilst also making it easier to layer under other clothing. It also has thumbloops and a neat zipped upper arm pocket. Simple and uncluttered - the kind of layer you’ll find yourself reaching for time and time again. 

Mamalute is kind of a wolf in sheep’s clothing; the outer is a lovely heather knit which looks like it could be wool but is in fact polyester, and the inner is a more regular looking fleece. The combination is a reassuringly warm and weighty hooded jacket that, let’s face it, you’re probably going to want to keep for best but that also works admirably on the hill.

The Fondo merino full-zip jersey is luxuriously soft and comfortable and uses 100% Australian superfine Merino. With its classic styling, the Fondo is our choice of jersey for standing heroically underneath the Matterhorn, staring longingly into a wood burning stove as sleet hits the window or spraying down your bike after a muddy ride.

In very cold conditions it may be necessary to use an even warmer mid layer and this is where new advances in insulation and fabric technology come in, this is where you get the blurred edge of mid and outer. When you're working hard in colder conditions it might not feel too bad, but once you've stopped things can cool down quick. The Heiko makes a great extra insulation piece to make sure you don't ge the chill. The quilted Primaloft Silver insulation keeps a low profile, making it easy to layer under a shell when needs must and packable for when you're back on the move.

If it's particularly cold and you are keeping active then you need that extra warmth to retain its breathability... Our new Katabatic jacket uses Primaloft Gold Active breathable insulation and a nylon fabric with 16cfm breathability. The Katabatic works as part of a layering system with a shell over the top or can be used as a stand alone piece over a baselayer. More info on the Katabatic coming soon! 

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