The "multi-layer" system

Blog of the Sportive Plus

For intense energy sports in winter, the "multi-layer" system or onion skin principle is THE basic rule to understand and apply. 

Multi-layering" means layering different garments to adapt to the outside temperature and also to our energy expenditure, i.e. the heat released by our body. It is important to stay dry and warm and thus ensure maximum comfort for outdoor sports in cold weather!


Underwear made of synthetic materials, merino wool or a combination of both is designed to wick moisture and keep us dry. Worn close to the body, this layer can be of varying thickness. The thickness of the base layer can vary, depending on the activity or the temperature. A word of advice: do not use absorbent fabrics, such as cotton, for example. This will trap body moisture in the fabric and cause you to lose a lot of heat. In this category, merino wool, a MUST for outdoor enthusiasts, is one of the best performers, as well as being silky. It has the particularity of keeping us warm, even when wet, for long-lasting comfort! It is also naturally odour resistant.


To keep you a little warmer, the mid-layer is important to add to your warmth layer, so it provides extra insulation. Fleeces are often a very good choice! They trap warm air without necessarily being very thick. You can also choose any other breathable fabric, which is often breathable in strategic areas. This layer is optional, it is the one that you add when needed or remove to avoid getting too hot and sweating too much.

 3) THE OUTSIDE LAYER " softshell or hard shell "

This is the layer that protects you from bad weather; rain, snow and wind. Depending on the temperature, you will have to choose between a windbreaker or a softshell or hard shell. In very cold weather, you can also opt for a small, lightly insulated "down jacket" (the small quilted coats that keep you warm in between seasons). Ideally, the outer layer should not be too loose to avoid heat loss. It should allow for freedom of movement and also allow for the play of air that keeps us warm. Don't forget! Choose your outer layer to be waterproof and breathable, or at least breathable, to allow moisture to pass from layer to layer. Finally, some of these layers have openings in the back or under the armpits to wick away moisture and regulate your temperature.

TIP! It's always good to carry a down jacket in your backpack to keep you warm while you're posing for a magnificent view or eating a snack. This way you don't shiver when you stop. 

In summary, the golden rule of the onion peel principle is to manage the level of heat your body can produce. This means taking off layers if you sweat too much and adding layers if you are cold.
For the great pleasure of practicing our favourite winter activities!

 Text by Tamy from Laval and Caroline from Quebec