Mid Layer


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This layer was one of our favorite fleeces in our 2021 Winter Buyer’s Guide. “With its chunky wool knit across the front and hood, this snug fleece-sweater hybrid has the hygge feel of something your grandmother made,” wrote senior gear editor Ariella Gintzler. “But it also has…

This shacket is part of our gear editor’s go-to fall outfit. With ripstop nylon on one side and flannel on the other, you can wear it as a classic puffy or an insulated flannel. Our editor said she found it “particularly handy on those fickle fall days when I…

This was our favorite hybrid in our men’s midlayer test. “We used this layer for hiking, ice climbing, and alpine skiing and were impressed at how well it cuts the wind and keeps the core warm,” wrote our tester. It’s worth snagging during our…

Not only do we use this stuff for 130 days every summer—we're not exactly nice to it in the process

With these key items, regulating your body’s temperature is a cinch

Keeping your body temperature at a happy equilibrium starts with the right layers

The First Light’s stretchy face fabric adds durability and breathability while a DWR treatment repels water, dirt, and oil. Testers like what’s inside: PrimaLoft Silver synthetic insulation provides consistent warmth, even through the start and stop cycle of alpine climbing and backcountry skiing. When the snow begins to fall, pull…

In 2018, we recommended this sweatshirt as a gift for Mother’s Day because it’s “perfect for chilly nights around the campfire.” The Mountain Sweatshirt has three layers of synthetic insulation that make it comfortable and warm. Plus, the top layer has a durable water-repellent finish to keep the jacket…

The queen of wool on what she'd wear if she were forced to never wear wool again

This hoodie was one of our favorite men’s midlayers in our 2020 Winter Buyer’s Guide. The stretchy merino blend in the arms and back allow venting, while the recycled wool insulation provides packable warmth even when wet. It’s “the perfect piece for nights around the fire on a late-winter…

We featured the Rounder in our selection of the best puffy vests. It melds classic western style with modern materials, like a water-resistant, rip-stop outer shell and Primaloft One insulation. “We like the touch of corduroy on the shoulders and the front snap pockets,” our tester wrote.

In our 2020 Winter Buyer’s Guide, we included this hoodie in our roundup of the best wool apparel. “The Solution is a toasty midlayer in low temperatures and a light exterior piece the rest of the year,” we wrote. Plus, the hood fits snuggly under a helmet so you…

Our Gear Guy, Joe Jackson, tested five different fleeces for three weeks, and the Tekno Ridge was the most versatile. The women’s version has all the same high-performance features as the men’s, with a slimmer fit and longer back length. The fabric “easily fended off 15-mile-per-hour headwinds during a…

This hooded midlayer was the warmest option in our roundup of the best women’s active insulation pieces. “I mountain biked in it one frost-crispened, 25-degree morning, and didn’t once feel stifled, even during hard efforts,” wrote our tester. The Ventrix is built with temperature-sensitive fabric which dumps extra heat…

Made from a blend of recycled wool, polyester and nylon, this fleece is soft against the skin and works great as a mid layer on cold-weather hikes.

Swaddle yourself in light-weight, breathable warmth

The North Face’s ThermoBall synthetic insulation came out in 2013 after years of design and quality testing. After we got our hands on it, we realized the insulation will hold warmth even when (a little) wet, is lightweight, and is packable enough to stuff into the jacket’s own pocket.

The panels of Polartec Alpha insulation across the front and sides of this fleece made the Deviator our top choice hoodie for breaking a sweat in the cold this past winter. Gear editor Ariella Gintzler said the panels “provide enough warmth—but not too much—when you’re taking on high-exertion activities…

Made with 700-fill recycled down throughout the entire vest, the Origins keeps your core toasty without restricting your arms. We reviewed six vests in this year’s Winter Buyer’s Guide and this one stood out for its water-resistant hood, which provides face and ear protection. Plus, the vest packs into…

In 2018, we reviewed Basin and Range’s Sherpa PrimaLoft Shirt Jacket and loved its blend of style and function. The classic canvas and metal buttons make this shirt jacket fit in at any mountain town bar. Plus, the PrimaLoft insulation “feels almost like real sheep wool” and keeps you…

For supreme durability and warmth, grab one of these

Pair the Kyanite fleece vest with a base layer, or wear it under a shell when you’re huffing it on switchbacks. The airy Polartec insulation wicks moisture and breathes well, and the four-way stretch keeps you unrestricted.

We love the Azura LT for its versatile, four-season insulation. Built for fast-and-light ascents, this pullover performs just as well for more casual endeavors, like relaxing around the campfire. It’s packed with 40-gram hydrophobic Primaloft insulation, so it will stay toasty if you’re caught in a shower.

There’s a lot going on in this midlayer. The Tech Trainer uses merino wool, mixed with 3 percent Lycra for a crazy amount of stretch. You also get 100 percent nylon panels over the chest and shoulders to give you extra warmth where you need it most. Built to move…

There's an art to staying warm, dry, and happy

Tights and insulators to keep you warm and feeling strong

Any of these four jackets could save your skin

This jacket is knit from recycled polyester "yarn," making it dump heat better than its competitors

There's a lot to talk about when it comes to this fabric

Packing for a fall backpacking trip isn’t complicated

We weigh in on our favorite shoulder-season shirts and jackets

Nothing’s quite as cozy.

In short, it's smartly designed and great looking

We asked a group of pro outdoor athletes how they deal with conditions that can swing from sunny and warm to cold and dreary in an instant

They work so well, we wanted to know what was going on inside

Vests are the Swiss Army knives of layering. They work in summer and winter, in town and on the mountain, for early morning dawn patrols and out for dinner. Here are six of our favorites.

Your favorite piece of fitness apparel just got even better, thanks to a DWR coating

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