When it comes to cold weather clothing, we’ve always been firm believers in the layering system; opting for a separate base layer, mid layer and outer jacket offers far more flexibility than your all-in-one padded coat and, of course, means that you can use the garments individually at different times of the year. There are plenty of options when it comes to mid layers, but these are the three you’ll find on the Woodlore Team the most:
1. Swanndri Ranger Bushshirt
The Swanndri Ranger Shirt belongs to a very special group of garments which Ray Mears and the Woodlore Team rarely leave home without. Despite retaining the same, simple design as the 1913 original, the Ranger Shirt is as relevant to today’s outdoorsmen as it was a century ago. Made from 100% New Zealand wool, it provides excellent warmth as well as protection from wind and rain. And, while perfect as a mid layer, its rugged build means that you will use it just as much as your top layer when the winter chill begins to relent. Look no further than the front cover of the Ray Mears Outdoor Survival Handbook to see that Ray has been putting Swanndri shirts to the test for over 20 years.
2. Swazi/Ray Mears Back 40 Shirt
For those who appreciate the classic style of the Swanndri Ranger Shirt but are averse to woollen garments, the Swazi Back 40 Shirt makes an excellent alternative and is a fantastic garment in its own right. Made from ultra-soft polar fleece, the Back 40 offers luxurious insulation on those frosty days, yet is extremely lightweight and quick-drying. Following extensive testing by Ray Mears, a polar fleece hood was added to the original design for extra comfort and protection, and the exclusive Swazi/Ray Mears model was born. Custom made in our favourite Tussock Green colour, the Back 40 Shirt is another garment which holds up just as well as both a mid or outer layer.
3. Woolpower 400g Full Zip Jacket
The Woolpower 400g Full Zip Jacket differs from both the Swanndri and Swazi garments in that it can be comfortably worn as either a base or mid layer, thanks to its super soft terry-knit inner. Made predominantly from ultra-warm merino wool, it features an additional blend of polyamide and elastane for better fit and durability. It is another garment that Ray has been wearing for years, and as such has been tried and tested in some of the most extreme conditions. It has long been a staple of our winter wardrobe here at Woodlore, especially during overseas expeditions to the frozen north. With a slim fit for easy layering, this excellent winter garment is completed with a full-length zip, tall collar and comfortable cuffs with thumb-holes.
For the full range of shirts, fleeces and thermal tops stocked by Woodlore, please visit our Mid Layer Clothing page.
The woolpower 400g top is my favorite for walking. Combined with either a teeshirt or the 200g woolpower and my bergans smock it gives me a great range of adjustability to manage my layers when hiking or resting. Being wool it moves moisture away very well and dosent smell of body odours, even after a week of work and at times constant wear on the Journeyman course I attended last year. Good kit.