How to Layer Clothing (and Why You Should)

Woman zips rain jacket on Norweigan mountaintop.

If you’re working, exploring or playing outside, your clothing is arguably your most important equipment. If you layer your clothing correctly, it can keep you warm (or cool) and dry. Layering divides up your clothing so that you can add or remove as much as the weather calls for without your clothes getting too bulky or leaving you too exposed. Here’s our guide on how to layer!

Illustration explaining clothing laters.


Base Layer


This is your first layer of clothing, the items you wear directly against your skin. The base layer for cold weather conditions is typically tight against the skin. That way, it reflects more heat back to the body. Base layers for warm weather should be looser so that air can flow between the garment and your body, helping you cool down. Think thermal/long underwear, t-shirts, socks and gloves. What you’re looking for is something that will add a little warmth but also wick moisture away and dry quickly. You Couple hikes in rain gear.may feel fine when you’re doing some sort of exercise, but once you start cooling down, any moisture held against your skin is going to make you that much colder. Look for items made from polyester or Merino wool. We love Icebreaker’s iconic line of Merino wool base layers, including shirts, technical tops, and leggings.

Mid Layer


This next layer is generally responsible for insulation. It traps air warmed by your body when it escapes from the base layer. More than one mid layer can be worn at a time, depending on how cold you are. The mid layer should also be moisture-wicking and quick-drying. You don’t want moisture to get trapped between the base and mid layers. That’ll just weigh you down and feel uncomfortable. Ideally, you want a garment that isn’t too heavy or bulky, too, since you’ll have to carry it if you don’t wear it. Look for items made from polyester fleece or stuffed with either a down or synthetic fill.


Outer Layer (Shell)Hiker sits, writing, on mountaintop.

This layer goes on top of everything else and is responsible for keeping wind, rain and snow off of you. Because they are made to repel moisture and block winds, shell layers are typically not very breathable. That means that they’ll reduce the effectiveness of any wicking properties of other clothes you have on. Shells are divided into three different styles: hard, soft and insulated. One material that is particularly favored in this area is GORE-TEX. It tends to be one of the more breathable materials that still stops moisture and wind from reaching the body. Arc’teryx offers some GORE-TEX shells.


Using a combination of these three layers of clothing will allow you to prepare for both expected and unexpected weather without leaving you wishing you’d brought along that one thing you left behind.


Text by Bo King


Wanting to get out and explore? Find what you need for your next winter adventure here.

12 Outdoor Adventure Essentials

Couple looks out over autumn mountaintop vista.

The crisp breeze, the crunch of dried leaves, firecrackers of fall foliage and sweeping summit views: all season long, we marvel at the autumn landscape’s wonders. And it’s no wonder that this is our favorite time of year to gather with friends and family and head outdoors for an autumnal adventure. These outdoors adventure essentials will keep you warm, safe, and dry no matter where the landscape takes you.

Camping family roasts marshmallows.NEMO Men’s Disco 30° Down Sleeping Bag – Regular

This sleeping bag lets you personalize your comfort. Plus, it’s water-resistant, keeping your feet dry and ensuring a great night’s sleep wherever you are.

SOREL Women’s Out ‘N About Plus Leather Duck Boots

Pesky afternoon showers are unpredictable, so be prepared with these waterproof boots. They’re as functional as they’re fashionable.

Osprey Exos 48 Backpack

This backpack offers mesh Airspeed™ Suspension for airflow and an ExoForm™ hipbelt and shoulder harness, ensuring all-day comfort while hiking.

Cotopaxi Unisex Teca Windbreaker Half-Zip Pullover Couple hikes through autumn woods.

This pullover is easy to pack and weather-resistant: perfect for any terrain!

Hydro Flask Unbound Series Soft Cooler Pack – 22L

This cooler pack keeps your goods cold for up to 48 hours and offers enough room to store 24 12oz cans, as well as side and dry storage pockets for additional drinks.

KEEN Women’s Terradora Waterproof Mid Boots

Designed especially for women, these boots provide all-day comfort whether you’re on a hike or hiking through the mall for Christmas shopping.

Gentlemen’s Hardware Survival Kit

The Gentlemen’s Hardware Survival Kit’s includes a compass, fire starter tool, six-in-one penknife tool, tweezers, 210cm of rope, ten safety pins and wire saw. It’s a must-have travel tool for any outdoors enthusiast.

Two friends set up campsite.Salomon Men’s X Ultra 3 Mid GTX Hiking Shoes

With a mid-height ankle, aggressive grip and GORE-TEX® weather protection, these shoes are a hiker’s best friend.

Klymit Static V Sleeping Pad

The Static V is designed to conform to the shape of your body, providing the ultimate comfort for a great night’s rest.

Lole Women’s Emeline Packable Insulated Jacket

With its compact pouch and lightweight packability, this insulated jacket from Lole will keep you warm no matter how chilly theMom shows son mountaintop view. campsite may seem in the morning.

GoPro Hero 7 Black Bundle with SD Card

The best that GoPro has to offer, the Hero 7 enables you to shoot up to 4k video with Gimbal-like Stabilization.

Hydro Flask Limited Edition Escape Collection Wide Flex Cap – 32oz

These bottles keep drinks cold for up to 24 hours and hot for up to 12 hours. They’re perfect for all-day hydration.


Text by Nick Adrian

How to Plan an Outdoor Adventure in Alabama

Alabama Outdoors outdoors expert Matt Stone.



The air’s getting frosty, the leaves are falling, and everyone’s starting to break out their favorite sweaters. There’s never a more perfect time to start planning your next outdoor adventure than right now. We spoke with our own outdoor expert, Matt Stone, to get the best advice on how to plan an outdoor adventure in Alabama.





Start with your destination

The first step in preparing for your adventure is researching where you want to go. Matt’s top five places in Alabama are The Sipsey Wilderness, Cheaha State Park, Ruffner Mountain, Monte Sano State Park and the Walls of Jericho. If you know where you’re going, you’ll be better able to prepare yourself, your friends or maybe even your date for the trek ahead. He suggests learning the distance of the trails, elevation, amenities, water sources and beyond.

Gear up and get preppedAlabama Outdoors hiking gear on trail.

Knowing where you’re going is important; knowing what to bring while you’re there is crucial. Once you’ve picked a place (and learned all you can about it), then you can start prepping your gear. If it’s just a day trip, Matt suggests bringing only the essentials — think water and maybe a few snacks — to keep unnecessary weight out of your pack. Another good tip is to dress in layers and invest in a pair of wool socks. Matt’s favorite are Merino moisture-wicking wool socks that keep you from getting blisters. Of course, you should always pack a map and a compass, and let someone know of your plans. Give a timeline of when they should start to hear from you again — there’s not always cell phone service in the wilderness.

Hiker marvels at sunset view.

Enjoy the silence

Going on an outdoor adventure gives you the opportunity to escape from everyday life and experience nature without the hectic hubbub of urban life. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to spend time with friends and family with minimal distractions. There’s a lot that you can do when you go on an outdoor adventure but sometimes it’s great to just spend some quiet time in the woods relaxing. Matt’s favorite part of outdoor adventuring is listening as the wind blows through the trees and watching leaves fall to the forest floor.

If you were on the fence about it before, we hope that these tips make you reconsider spending your next free weekend on an outdoor adventure. Now get out there and Be Outdoors!

Text by Kaitlin Cochran. Updated June 16, 2020.

Looking for weekend camping adventure essentials? We can help! Alabama Outdoors wants everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time. Visit one of our stores or take advantage of our shipping or curbside pickup! #BeOutdoors

‘Tis the Season: Road Trip Travel Tips

Packing your car and hitting the road can be an intimidating endeavor for even the most seasoned traveler. That’s why we asked an expert for advice. Brooke Drinkard Whatley of Brownell Travel shared her best road trip travel tips on how to plan, pack and stay organized no matter where the season takes you. 


Brooke Drinkard Whatley of Brownell Travel.

Brooke Drinkard Whatley of Brownell Travel.

Step One: Get Organized

Brooke recommends sitting down with your travel companions and starting a list of things you want to do together. This lets everyone know what to expect from each day. Plus, it ensures that everyone gets a say in what you do on the trip. Build an itinerary around those activities, but be sure to block out time for things like stopping for gas and bathroom breaks. Also, remember that planning is crucial, but over-planning can keep you from enjoying the spontaneity of a road trip. There’s nothing wrong with blocking out time to do nothing but sit and have a picnic.


Step Two: Pack It Up

Packing for a road trip means leaving enough room for yourself, your luggage and all the souvenirs you’ll be bringing back — and your travel companions, of course. While it’s easy to wait until the last minute to throw everything in a bag and go, Brooke suggests “making a packing list — and sticking to it.” Knowing what you need and keeping it simple will lighten your suitcase significantly. And don’t worry about sacrificing your style for that critical extra suitcase space: Brooke has a solution for that, too. Pack basic apparel and use accessories to keep your outfits looking fresh.


Step Three: Be Safe and You Won’t Be Sorry Young couple with bags at holiday cabin.

Finally, what’s the one thing you can’t travel without? You might say your favorite neck pillow, or maybe your perfectly curated road trip playlist. But according to Brooke, it’s travel insurance. Travel can be unpredictable at times. From cancellations to lost luggage, travel insurance can protect you through any unforeseen events. There are even policy options for the more adventurous travelers interested in hazardous sports — think skydiving or bungee jumping.


Even though it takes a lot of effort to get ready for a road trip, the end result is worth it. Being on the road gives you the chance to break out of your daily routine, experience new things, and create lasting memories for yourself and with your loved ones. Now that you have the building blocks for a great road trip, immerse yourself in the adventure!


Text by Kaitlin Cochran


5 Reasons Hiking and Camping in Early Fall Is the Best

Hikers in tents on mountain at night

Soon, the heat of the summer will finally wind down (we promise). That means that we’re quickly approaching our favorite time of the year to hike and camp. Early fall from late September and early October presents us with optimal conditions for a weekend trip in the outdoors. Here are five reasons hiking and camping in early fall really is the actual best.


WeatherAlabama's DeSoto Falls in autumn

Summer hiking and camping is great, but it’s not always comfortable due to the heat — and it’s been a blisteringly hot summer. Early fall introduces cooler air, less humidity and more predictable rain conditions. This means that sleeping in a tent is less stuffy and a good, lightweight sleeping bag is all you need to stay warm.



Pack and supplies at mountaintop campgroundBugs

Another benefit to the cooler weather is fewer pesky bugs. While no camping trip ever will be insect-free, cooler air means fewer mosquitoes bugging you and fewer flies and gnats swarming your site looking for food. Still, be sure to pack a DEET based mosquito deterrent to protect from pesky bites.



HikingWoman wearing loaded pack on mountain hike

Early fall presents the perfect conditions for longer hikes. The cooler air will keep you from getting as drained by the heat as you might in the summer. This means that fall is the perfect time to try that long hike you’ve been wanting to go on. Always remember to take a buddy and plan hikes that make sense for you!



Red house on lake near DeSoto Falls, AL

Changing Landscape

While the cooler weather creates the most comfortable conditions for hiking and camping, it also creates the most beautiful. Trees reach their peak foliage colors in mid to late October. And, we promise, there is nothing quite like a great view of a forest when the leaves have changed. For a full tour of Alabama’s most beautiful foliage, check out the Fall Color Trail.

Get OutsideSocked feet of a couple relaxing in tent

Last but certainly not least, taking time to relax and explore and take a break from deadlines and technology may be exactly the medicine you need. Taking a break from work in the long holiday desert between Labor Day and Thanksgiving by getting outdoors is good for the soul.

Now that we have you convinced, pack your reliable hiking backpack and set out for a weekend of self-care and enjoyment as you enjoy everything early Falls has to offer.


Text by Amy Haupt