Must Have Layers for the Changing Season

Spring is here! More accurately, every few weeks those sporadic spring-like days are here! You know the ones where you need everything from a 650 fill down to a great moisture-wicking tank top. To make sure you’re prepared and warm for the changing seasons we’re sharing some of our favorite layers to add to your collection.

Zoa-Hoody-W-Lt-CeruleanArc’teryx Zoa Hoody – Versatile and lightweight, this fleece pullover is good for everything from rock climbing to ice climbing to winter hiking. It’s super soft and stretchy so your movement never feels restricted. The long front zipper makes it easy to pull on and off even when wearing a helmet. Speaking of protecting your noggin, the “ScubaHood” is thin and trim enough to wear underneath your helmet while keeping your head warm. It has great extra features like thumb holes and a flat front pouch pocket with side zippers. I wouldn’t want to get too sweaty in this piece as it is a fleece, but it makes a great warm and flexible addition to your layering system.

rabRab Rampage Jacket – This lightweight jacket is specifically designed for windy, summer climbing days. I didn’t think that we’d get a chance to test it out this early in the season, but with a March day in high 70s (in New England?!?), we were able to take this piece for a spin. The slim fit, short length, breathable inner layer, and not-too-long sleeves with stretch cuffs and thumb loops make it practical to wear as both a climber and belayer. I only wish that the hood were a bit bigger–it is a bit too snug to wear over a helmet. I’ve even taken this jacket out on runs in rainy weather and found that it kept me dry while still wicking sweat.


Patagonia Capilene Daily Tank – This tank is so light that you hardly notice you’re wearing it! It’s designed as a baselayer and also comes in a fun, bold teal pattern so it can double as a cute climbing top. The fit is loose and flowy with a lot of coverage up top. I found that the excess fabric was a bit cumbersome when used as part of a layering system, so I ended up wearing it by itself more often than as a layer. This would be a perfect top for those hot days when you’re on a long multi-pitch climb looking for comfort and a super lightweight moisture-wicking top.

ems techwickEMS Women’s Silkweight Techwick Pants – These pants have kept my legs warm on cold bouldering days, long winter hikes, and ice climbing trips. They’re very thin and great for layering under snow pants or climbing pants on cold days, but they’re a bit too thin to wear alone as leggings. The gusseted crotch and stretchy fabric give you full range of motion. Honestly, they almost feel like a second skin. They do a great job of wicking away moisture and have lasted for several years and many washes. They’re super affordable too!

stonewearStonewear Designs Breeze Pullover  – This piece has become my new go-to top to throw on while climbing, whether outside on a mild day or in a drafty climbing gym in colder weather. The wide V-neck can easily be pulled over a helmet (and so can the roomy hood!), and the shorter length of the top is perfect so that it doesn’t get caught in your belay device. The lightweight synthetic fabric is surprisingly warm and very breathable–I tend to run sweaty, and this top is the best I’ve found so far that keeps pit stains to a minimum.

smartwoolSmartwool Balaclava – Yes, we’re even including layers for your head! This balaclava has kept me warm on the coldest days, and can fit snugly under my helmet without compromising fit. The merino wool is soft, not too itchy, and very breathable. It’s kept me warm when skiing and running on cold, windy winter days as well. It’s a basic, practical piece, winning no awards for fashion (because honestly, who actually looks good in a balaclava?) but I wouldn’t venture out on cold days without it!

OROutdoor Research Women’s Echo L/S Tee – This has become my essential lightweight long sleeve climbing top. On those perfect sending temp days I tend to get too hot in a thin fleece and too cold in a tank top, but this long sleeve top keeps me just the right temperature. It’s very lightweight, breathable, and does a good job of wicking away moisture. Maybe this is a unique/weird problem to have, but some crew neck shirts feel too tight in the neck, but not this one. I never feel restricted by this neckline. I also love wearing this top on cool-weather runs.

What layers do you swear by??

Climb on!

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