Winter is Coming

As the dark nights draw in, mornings become chilly and you start having to wake up early just to scrape the frost off your windscreen, you know winter is on its way. This year, don’t let winter catch you out. We have put together the perfect guide to help you layer up for winter, ensuring you stay warm and active this coming season!


In the most general sense, a baselayer is what is worn next to or close to the skin. It could be a t-shirt, long-sleeved top, or leggings, or a more technical piece. To work effectively, baselayers should fit snugly on your body. We offer many technical base-layers; Icebreaker, Odlo and Rab to name a few. The more you move the more heat a base-layer can trap, so the warmer you will be. Each brand comes in different warmth ratings depending on how cold it is where you are going. All are wicking, breathable and regulate your temperature to one degree or another.

Rab Base Layers at Up and Under

•     Definitions

Wicking - Draws the sweat away from the skin and out to the next layers, which makes the wearer feel warmer and more comfortable and reduces the chances of chilling and hypothermia if you stop.
Breathable - lets air and moisture vapour through to the outside.

So what can we offer?

•    Icebreaker - Merino Wool infusion

Merino sheep are regarded as having some of the finest and softest wool around. Outside of New Zealand they have cross-bred with other breeds, so non-NZ Merino isn't neccessarily pure but must still be less than a certain thickness. Icebreaker use only New Zealand Merino wool in their base layers; these base layers are breathable, and naturally odour-resistant and fire-retardant. They possess a very high warmth-to-weight ratio and are great for cold climate expeditions where changing clothes regularly is unlikely to happen. Merino doesn't wick particularly well as it can hold 30% of its own weight in moisture without you feeling it. This makes it a bit slow to dry out, but that can provide cooling in really warm conditions (it's why desert nomads like wool). Our favourite use for Icebreaker baselayers is skiing and cold weather expeditions.

•    Odlo - Original, Evolution, Revolution,

Original: Classic warmth and comfort base layer, a more cottony feel. More static warmth for if you are not doing constant  vigorous exercise.
Evolution: Skin tight, enabling more freedom of movement, with active warmth for when moving around. The more you move the more these will keep you warm.
Revolution: This innovative collection combines the very best of the two above. The finest natural materials such as wool and silk are interwoven with functional fibers into a highly modern product. The casual cut and unique combination of materials make Revolution an absolute feel-good product with the highest wearing comfort.

•    Rab

A classic smart, comfortable, wicking base layer which is soft to touch, lightweight and breathable. It can be worn on its own or as part of a layering piece and has integrated Polygiene stay fresh odour control treatment.

**We also offer many long and short-sleeved Tee’s and Vest’s that can work as a base layer.


The mid layer is needed in cold weather to provide additional insulation. It should be more loose-fitting than the inner base layer, as this leaves insulating air between the layers. However, too great a gap between any adjacent layers of clothing may reduce the moisture transfer by capillary action from one piece of clothing to another. On the other hand, very loose-fitting layers can allow more removal of moisture and heat via air circulation.

Emma wears a Rab Powerstrech Fleece top at Up and UnderEmma wears a Rab Power Stretch Top
Emma wears a Delta LT Zip at Up and UnderEmma in an Arc'teryx Delta LT

So what can we offer?

•    Wool

Good insulation even when wet, wool can absorb a considerable amount of moisture before feeling wet and transfers moisture well.

•    Fleece

Ones made from PETE or other synthetics have many of the features of wool, but absorb very little moisture and dry quickly. Like wool, fleece provides good insulation even when wet, but is a lighter material.

Rab Powerstretch Zip for WomenRab Power Stretch Pro for Women
Arc'teryx Delta LT Zip at Up and UnderArcteryx Delta LT Zip for Men

•    Down

Excellent warmth-to-weight ratio, and can be packed down to take very little room. On the downside, it is expensive, makes a thick garment, dries slowly, loses its insulating properties when wet or compressed, and can stop lofting properly after being washed several times.
Crux Turbo Top for MenCrux Turbo Top for Men
Arc'teryx Cerium LT Hoody at Up and UnderArc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody for women

•    Synthetic fibres

Thinsulate, primaloft and Thermolite are good examples of synthetic fibre being used to replicate down. It is less expensive, provides better insulation when wet, dries quickly, and absorbs very little moisture. It does not, however, have as good a warmth-to-weight ratio.
Patagonia Nano Air Light Men at Up and UnderPatagonia Nano Air Light Men's
Patagonia Nano Air Light Women at Up and UnderPatagonia Nano Air Light Women's

•    Cotton

A cheap alternative, but a reasonable choice only for minimal activity where little insulation and moisture transfer is needed. Most people involved in outdoor activities would agree that cotton is a very poor material to wear in the outdoors because it dries very slowly and does not insulate well.


Ideally, the shell layer lets moisture through to the outside, while not letting wind and water pass through from the outside to the inside. While this is enabled to some degree by modern materials, even the best and most expensive materials involve a slight trade-off between breathability and water/ wind resistance. If heavy sweating is expected, one should avoid wearing any shell layer garments unless their protective properties are essential. For example, when one is jogging, no traditional shell layer is likely to be able to transfer enough moisture to keep the wearer feeling dry.

Emma putting on a waterproof shellEmma dons a waterproof Hardshell
Emma with SoftshellEmma with a Softshell

Our offerings

•    Raincoats

Complete protection from the water and wind, but let through no moisture - and let’s face it, living in the UK you get plenty of wind, water and rain! Waterproofs can be breathable: essentially a thin, porous membrane that blocks liquid water, but lets through water vapor (evaporated sweat). The more expensive materials are typically more breathable. The best-known brands are Goretex and eVent. The invention of ‘Pit-Zips’ (zips located beneath the armpits) help circulate hot air out of the jacket, which increases breathability. Waterproofs can vary from the very, very basic to a jacket suitable for extreme alpine conditions. Each have individual specifications like pit-zips, tapered seams, helmet compatible hoods or adjustable Velcro wrist straps, depending on what the user wants and needs.

•    Water Resistant Softshell

The term softshell is increasingly used to describe garments that combine partial or full water resistance with partial or full wind breaking ability. Most materials block water only partially, however, as technology in the outdoor industry moves forward more fully waterproof soft shells are emerging such as Polartec Neoshell or DryQ Elite. They are usually more breathable, comfortable, thinner, and cheaper than completely waterproof materials.

Millet LD Kamet Shield HoodyMillet LD Kamet Shield Hoodie
Arc'teryx Procline Hoody at Up and UnderArc'teryx Procline Hoody

•    Down

Though can be used like a soft shell, some extremely warm down jackets have a built in “water- resistance” meaning they can be worn as an outer shell.

STEP 4: Accessories

Don’t forget about your gloves, hats, buffs, scarves and socks that will help keep those extremities warm and stop heat escaping this winter!

Hats and Buffs

We hope you're now ready to layer-up against winter!

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