Choosing the Right Outer Layers for Your Outdoor Adventure

When you're planning for your next outdoor adventure, knowing the right layers to wear is important.solfshell Once you've chosen the right base layer and added in some insulating mid layers, it's time to look at protective outer layers, also known as shell layers.solfshell There are two different kinds of shell layers, hardshells and softshells, each offering advantages depending on the activity you're planning to do.solfshell

Hardshells are made from durable, rugged materials designed to stand up to repeated use and abuse.solfshell Typically they have a 3-layer build with a waterproof membrane sandwiched between a durable face fabric and an interior liner.solfshell The most popular membranes used in hardshell gear are Gore-Tex, eVent and Polartec NeoShell. The outer fabrics on hardshell jackets and pants are often treated with a water-repellent finish called DWR or Durable Water Repellent, which helps prevent rainwater from sinking through to the membrane inside. This feature is especially important for active weather conditions, like snow, sleet and rain.

Aside from the ability to resist rain, most gear companies have added features that make their hardshell clothing more comfortable.solfshell This includes adding stretch to the exterior face fabric, which increases range of motion and makes it less stiff and more flexible.solfshell Most hardshells have taped seams to reduce the chance of leaking through the inner or outer layers. Compared to softshells, hardshell clothing is generally warmer and more resistant to cold temperatures, but can be less breathable and may have a heavier feel.

Softshells are great for a wide variety of activities where you're likely to work up a sweat.solfshell They are a good choice for rock climbing, backcountry skiing in mild conditions and hiking.solfshell They're also an excellent choice for winter hiking because they can help you retain body heat even when stopped at the summit for a break or to wait for your group to catch up.

Like most outer shell layers, softshells are incredibly versatile and can be worn in a number of ways.solfshell Some people like to layer a light fleece underneath their softshells to add warmth and insulation.solfshell Others prefer to just wear them as is. They're usually a little more breathable than hardshells, making them a better option for high-intensity activities that cause you to quickly perspire.

The flattened shape of the trionychine turtle seems to make it an unlikely candidate for rapid swimming, but these animals are impressive swimmers.solfshell They can dive down to more than 100 feet and then pop up at the surface to breathe, using their streamlined heads and long necks to hold them above the surface like snorkels.solfshell They also have long, snout-like nostrils that can be pushed into the mud or sand to grab air from the surrounding water. The largest trionychine softshells, the Asian giant softshell (Pelochelys bibroni) and the narrow-headed softshell (Chitra indica), reach lengths of more than 1 meter. Both can dive for hours at a time and are found in shallow coastal waters off Asia.


Green is the new colour. Gear up and begin your flow with the new green journey.