LAYER 1: Base Layer: Moisture Management
Crucial to the function of ECWCS is a high quality synthetic base layer de- signed to quickly wick moisture away from the skin, to prevent chafing and allow the other layers to work more effectively. In 2016 7L launched its first synthetic technical base layers in our Abrasion and Movement Systems, which can be found in the look book sections of the site. As the world started to move away from synthetics (or at least reduce them) we’ve moved towards more natural products, like our 100% cotton T-Shirts. Thats not to say we won’t do technical base layers again, but for now, fusing high performance materials with fashion is our USP.
One of the biggest advantages of cotton is that it is highly breathable. This means whenever you sweat, moisture will go through the T-Shirt and evaporate quickly. Your body’s way of cooling down is through sweating and having that moisture evaporate into the air. When you make it easier for your body to do this, this means you’ll get better cooling. The luxury and quality cotton 7L use, means quicker drying time so less embarrassing situ- ations with wet chests, under the arms and backs.
LAYER 2: The Mid-Layer: First Insulation
Layer 2 is normally worn between the base layer and the protective shell (layer 6). The perfect mid layer transports the moisture further away from Layer 1 while keeping the body heat so you wont get cold. It should provide light insulation in mild cold and an additional layer of protection in frigid conditions. It’s normally designed and manufactured from a fleece type fabric made by Polartec®. It should be designed with thermal efficiency in mind with lightweight breathable materials that are also quick drying. A synthetic jacket here is ideal, as insulated jackets are able to retain heat even when wet. Our lifestyle range offers mid layer shirts that you can wear over your base layer t-shirt. They all have technical capabilities whether that be wicking or water repellency. Some of our mid layer overshirts such as the stretch shirt also have coolmax technology which help keep you cool in warm conditions.
LAYER 3: The Thermal Layer: Insulating
Sometimes called the insulation layer, we call ours the thermal layer. This layer provides you with warmth which you can add over your base layers and under your field layer. Usually, your thermal layer is either a jumper, fleece or an insulated jacket. Fleeces are available in different thicknesses and are quick-drying and breathable, offering warmth by retaining heat and removing moisture. Down insulated jackets are packable with an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio, whereas synthetic insulated jackets are able to retain heat even when wet. For active outdoor pursuits, it’s best to avoid cotton mid-layers, as they will retain moisture which can lead to you getting cold. The most important consideration is to choose the right level of warmth to suit your activity and weather conditions. In milder conditions, you may not need anything on top of your mid layer, but when the weather closes in, an outer shell will be necessary.
LAYER 4: Field Layer: Wind and Light Rain Protection
Our Layer 4 is primarily a wind layer built for stormy light wet conditions. Its primary purpose is not to provide temperature protection, but cover from the wind and rain when the weather turns foul. In the military a nylon is normally used such as a 3L Waterproof but as 7L (Fashion with function) we manufacture from various fabrics and materials including cot- ton, nylon, polyester etc. with fabric makeups featuring water-resistant finishes to keep the wearer dry. It is lightweight and packs easily.
LAYER 5: Wind Layer: Wind Protection
Layer 5 jackets, parka’s or smocks offer heavy-duty wind protection while remaining comfortably lightweight. They’re also less heavy and bulky than similar garments before them. Built to be worn in a wide range of temperatures our Layer 5’s are great with base layers when the weather is above freezing and worn with most (or all) previous layers in extreme cold.
LAYER 6: Rain Layer: Extreme Wet Weather Protection
Our Layer 6 waterproof outer shell’s are designed for non-freezing temper- atures. Their dual-layer, seam-taped (sealed) fabric offers elite weath- er protection. Our new lightweight and durable 3L Waterproof Outer (WPO) is manufactured from 100% Japanese recycled polyester and a recycled hy- drophilic monolithic membrane. The outer fabric specification includes a non-fluorinated durable water repellant finish (environmentally friendly) with a hydrostatic head of 20,000mm waterproofness and a Moisture Vapour Transmission rate of 20,000g per metre squared every 24 hours.
We say a garment is not fully waterproof unless it is seam taped on the in- side. Seam taping enhances the waterproof protection as conventional needle stitching leaves tiny holes through which water can seep when worn in wet conditions. Our WPO comes fully bonded and seam taped with YKK Aquaguard® water resistant matt film reverse coil zips.
LAYER 7: Cold Layer: Extreme Cold Weather Protection
The Layer 7 parka’s are for the most extreme, Arctic-like conditions. Rat- ed to -40°F, these garments help to keep the wearer warm and safe when tem- peratures are well below zero. Layer 7 is worn with other layers to offer maximum insulation and protection from dangerously low temperatures. To prevent overheating, these garments should not be worn during strenuous ac- tivity but the down and membrane do allow for the transfer of body heat.