NYC: The Art of Layering


Photos by Susan Torres

Last night we had another wonderful Mappy Hour. This one was hosted by Eastern Mountain Sports Soho and sponsored by Sixpoint Brewery of Brooklyn.

Dan of Mountain Hardwear speaks at November Mappy Hour

Our presenter for the night was Dan, a Mountain Hardwear representative with years and years of experience outdoors. At the start of winter (and really cold weather) he came at the perfect time to talk shop about layering and dressing for the cold.

Here are some notes for everyone who wasn’t able to make it.

Dan modeling the various layers needed to keep warm during winter.

Base Layer

What goes next to your skin is an essential part of the layering process because it will help you manage moisture. Wool is the original base layer – warm when wet and light weight. Now there are also synthetic base layers that also wick away moisture. Try out different weights to figure out which one makes the most sense to you.

Mid-weight layer

The mid layer is there to help keep your body warm. At this layer it’s a good idea to have a water resistant piece. Some good choices here include high fiber fleece and down. Vests are also recommended as a mid-layer because they help keep the core warm.

Dan brought a manikin to wear all the layers.

Outer layers

-Waterproof, breathable shells are a great outer layer. You don’t need to get Goretex neccesarily (this is just a brand) as there are many breathable laminates. Most important is the fit. Make sure when you’re choosing your shell you move around in it – raise your hands like you’re climbing, bend like you’re skiing etc. Choose something you’ll be comfortable in all day. And of course, don’t forget to try on your jacket with the hood over a helmet to make sure that fits too.

Passing around layers.

-For even colder conditions there are larger overcoats (or “belayers coat”) that can be used – the example from Dan was a huge orange puffy that stuffs into its own pocket so you can easily pull it out if the temperature drops (or if you’re belaying instead of ice climbing). Anything for this outer layer needs to be water resistant!

Q&A time

Take home points

  • Vests, base layers and hoods really keep you warm.
  • Bring an extra pair of socks
  • Hats are important but don’t forget the neck warmers as well.
  • Mittens are warmer. That’s just science. There are a few great options that combine liner gloves with outer mittens that provide both dexterity and warmth.
  • Drink water. Get a thermos so you can drink warm water.
  • If you use hand warmers -the best place to put them is on top of your hands (veins!)
An attentive audience at November’s Mappy Hour in NYC

After Dan spoke we had a few great community presentations highlighting upcoming events with NYC Audubon, the Adirondack Mountain Club, and King of the Mountain events.


Per usual we worked on our community adventure map and of course had an awesome instagram contest. The prize this time was not to be scoffed at: a brand new Mountain Hardwear puffy!

Here were the contenders….

…. and the winner the OutdoorFest team chose was @misscassiebean hiding in a rack of coats (bottom right). Luckily she was looking for a new coat to bike throughout the winter in so we’re excited to know that the prize will be put to good use.

Finally EMS needed to close so we finished of the Sixpoint’s and packed up our maps… already awaiting our next Mappy Hour on December 9th!

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