There’s something about being close to nature. Feeling the elements, touching our roots, finding our way back to something that we actually are very familiar with. We all have it in us, but many have forgotten the true connection with the world around us. We place ourselves in buildings so smart, that we dont have to do much anymore. We take the elevator, not the stairs. We push a button to open the garage door or order food online if we dont bother to make it ourselves.
I’ve been there myself. I worked behind a computer screen and all I could think of was getting everything automated, run as smoothly as possible and get more and more modern stuff. But after years of living like that, I felt more and more lazy, more unhealthy and something was really missing in my life. The satisfaction, the craftsmanship, the feeling of the body being tired. Activity. The elements. Fresh air.
When you start being more outside, you quickly start to remember some of the bad stuff you might experienced as a child. It’s cold, it’s wet, you dont have the energy – it’s all very negative and many people give up at that point. When I started, I made the same mistakes that I did in my “old” life. Everything had to be modern and smart. I found the biggest jacket that looked like it could take me to the north pole and back without freezing. But you know what? It was heavy, it wasn’t warm at all. It just made me a huge and sweaty due to the lack of ventilation and the fact that it was just a huge layer that I couldn’t adjust. Most of us start that way, and then we get frustrated because we might have spent a lot of money on the wrong things and we are still stuck in a negative experience.
The reason why I’m writing all this, is that you probably are stuck in something that’s stopping you from getting more outside OR you might just wanna read more. Anyways, I’ll give you some of my experiences and why I always tend to rely on these tips.
There are so many synthetic and smart solutions that promise a lot. But my best tip is: If you are going out in nature, wear nature. Wool is not the itchy thing you got stuck over your head as a child. Wool is some of the best you can have on your body for several reasons, and it’s smooth and soft. First of all, wool has a natural ability to regulate the warmth depending if it’s cold or warm. I wear wool in the summer as well. But one of the most important features about wool is the transportation of moist. We all sweat, and though one of the tricks that I will come back to is adjusting your layers constantly, it’s important to have something on your body that doesn’t make you cold. If you get too warm and your sweat stays close to your body, you are in the risk of getting cooled down. Wool can absorb up to 30% of the moist before it feels wet. And even if it does, it’s still protecting you. It’s also eliminating odours. Being outside for a long time, many days – you still have to live with yourself and your smell. And as a bonus: Wool is fireproof.
So, with other words. Always wear wool. Always have it with you. It’s just the right thing to do. It’s natural, it’s the most environmental friendly fiber we have and it actually will give you a more genuine feel when going out. It all will help to a positive feeling and experience. You’ll keep yourself warm and comfy.
USE LAYERS AND ADJUST FREQUENTLY
You’ve probably heard this before and you might have tried it once or twice. But have you really felt what it does and the effects if you don’t? When I participated in a 300km polar expedition on a dogsled, I learned it the hard way and I finally understood the incredible effect of doing it right. I’ll give you an example: When standing on the sled, you felt the wind and cold – standing still quickly got you cold. So we put on our reinforcement layer, the warmest we had. But if we started helping the dogs, pushing the sled, we quickly felt the heat and we had to take it off quickly so we didn’t overheat. If we didn’t take it seriously or just didn’t bother to take it off, the punishment came quickly when we stood still. You don’t feel how much you sweat until it’s too late. And if you suddenly rest, or in our case stand still, the moisture will start to rapid cool you down, and then it can be too late.
So, think ahead and shift frequently.
- Wool base layer. I use a RAV round necked top and RAV pants
- Wool mid layer. I absolutely love my RAV jersey as it’s so versatile and can be zipped up to protect your neck and throat.
- Shell outer layer. You need something to protect you against the elements. Wind and rain. I use the Lundhags Rocketeer jacket
LAYERED CLOTHING EXPLAINED
A base layer is the layer closest to your skin, meaning it collects the most sweat and moist. The purpose of this layer is to keep you dry by pulling moisture away from your skin and spreading it throughout the fabric. Never use cotton, it will just suck it all up and keep you wet!
The purpose of the mid-layer is to capture warmth through trapped air. Typically a mid-layer is a fleece or a thick wool layer and as you can imagine by now, I certainly recommend wool.
Only for extreme situations. I don’t feel the need to use this as much when I’m using two wool layers beneath and a shell outside. But mainly what it does is to capture the warmth from your other two layers and let it stay where it needs to stay.
A technical outer shell is your father’s rain jacket on steroids. Built of materials that offer both breatheability and water-resistance, a technical outer shell understands that your outdoor lifestyle will cycle between sweating like a pig and hunkering down from the storm. The primary function of a shell is to protect you from the elements when conditions take a turn for the worst.
This all might confuse you when reading the names of the layers and all, but it’s really simple and logic. You want your warm inner layer (base layer), you wanna wear something over that, otherwise you’ll be hiking in your underwear and that would look funny. So wear a jersey and some pants. And speaking of pants. The same layer-technique goes for legs. Inner layer, your pants (I use Lundhags Makke Pant among others) and if it starts to really get cold or starts raining, use a shell layer.
This is my layers, what I always wear. I have different colours and variations, but that’s the basic principle. And I promise you, this will get your experience from negative to positive if used correctly and if you remember to adjust when you are feeling cold and warm.
You often get a bond to the products you use out in nature. That’s because you don’t bring a lot and your experiences out there are stored in your jacket, your boots, your jersey. You often remember what you had on. Sometimes you have to sets with you and are shifting back and forth. So choose your gear wisely. You’ll spend a lot of hours with it and it really means something. Don’t go for the cheapest version in the supermarket. I would rather have ONE great jersey than 10 in bad quality.
I’ve been using Ulvang for many years. And there are many reasons for that, but here’s a few. Firstly, you feel the love of nature when wearing their products. You can feel that it’s been developed by people who actually spend their time outdoors. That’s called experience, and you see and feel that in the details and quality. Their choice of wool and design is just brilliant. It’s versatile, you can feel that it’s just awesome when you wear it. My absolute favorite is the RAV Genser (RAV Jersey) and I keep renewing them. The thickness is just to my liking, warm and protective yet extremely soft. The neck goes all the way up and even can protect your chin. It’s arms can be stretched out to cover your wrists where you can loose a lot of cold if not protected. And it just looks awesome and there are many different versions to choose from.
For outer layers and shells I use Lundhags. It’s very important for me to keep it Scandinavian if possible. We live here, we know what the weather demands of us. Don’t get me wrong, there are many great brands out there, but there’s just something about Scandinavian design and the brands history. It’s worn by generations and many to come. We have to support and cherish that. Lundhags was founded in 1932 by the shoemaker Jonas Lundhag and is still mostly known for their handmade boots. Real craftsmanship and real dedication. You feel that when you wear it. They produce clothing to be used with the layer principle, so if you haven’t got it yet, jump back up and read it again.
SO, WHAT NOW?
Well it’s really up to you. We all have our taste and preferences. But I’ll say this: Be open and listen to people with experience. I do that, we all do that. You can always learn. Clothing is like religion among hikers and other outdoor people. You will find different opinions depending on who you ask. But I think you get the point when I say that natural fabrics and a very adjustable wardrobe in your backpack as the layering system sounds quite good, right?
If you found this post useful, I hope you will share it with your network and feel free to follow me on Instagram where I make most of my updates. Here you can follow my adventures. You can also follow my Facebook Page where I’ll try to give as many tips and advice as possible There are so many false advice if you go to certain stores. Remember they wanna sell or are instructed to have focus on products they wanna get rid of. So use your common sense. Talk to people you know are using their time outdoors. They are the ones who know. They are the ones to listen to.