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 Cozy Essentials for the Holiday Season

Cozy interior with sweater, coffee, book, and string lights.

Hygge: you might’ve heard the term, but you might not know what it means — or how important it is to live the hygge life during the cold winter months. Hygge, a Danish word that’s actually pronounced “hoo-guh,” is a concept that encompasses all the coziest things in life. Think a wood-panelled living room with a leather couch and a roaring fireplace. Think curling up in your fuzziest fleece blanket with your favorite book as rain falls outside. That’s hygge: a lifestyle that promotes a feeling of comfort, ease, and joy. These twelve cozy essentials will bring all the hygge to your holiday season.

United By Blue Out of Doors CandleUnited By Blue Out of Doors Candle 

Any Danish person will tell you that there’s one thing more important to hygge than any other: candles. In fact, candles are such a big deal in Denmark that Danes each burn, on average, thirteen pounds worth of candle wax every year. This candle, sourced from all-natural materials and made in four comforting fragrances, is a great way to start.


SOREL Women's Nakiska Slide Slipper.SOREL Women’s Nakiska Slide Slipper

With its rubber sole for added durability, the Nakiska gives you the best of a house shoe with the endurance of Sorel casual wear.


Yeti Rambler Mug - 14oz.Yeti Rambler Mug 

What’s more cozy than curling up with a cup of hot cocoa — with plenty of room for marshmallows, of course! With its 18/8 stainless steel interior that keeps your drinks hot or cold, this mug is as strong and reliable as you are.



Woolrich Rough Rider Wool Blanket.Woolrich Rough Rider Wool Blanket

Straight from Woolrich, PA, this soft, iconic plaid blanket is all you need to stay warm during your hygge-filled day.


Buff Darla Hat.Buff Darla Hat

Staying comfy doesn’t necessarily mean staying inside! Sometimes there’s nothing better than taking a long, ambling walk on the freshly fallen snow. So when you do go outside, nothing will keep you warm and in style like this hat.



GSI Commuter JavapressGSI Commuter Javapress.

You don’t have to leave your hygge supplies at home. A nice coffee creates a cozy mood anywhere, so why not try a travel mug that presses your drink and keeps it hot no matter how far from home you roam?


Kuju Coffee One-Cup Coffee Pouch.


Kuju Coffee One-Cup Coffee Pouch

… And speaking of coffee: if you’re on the go, you can stay in the hygge mindset with this portable drip coffee you can enjoy anywhere.



UGG Men's Ascot Slipper.UGG Men’s Ascot Slipper

You’ll never want to take these slippers off. And with their loafer appearance and practicality in any occasion, you won’t have to!


Free Fly Men's Bamboo Flex 1/4 Zip Pullover.


Free Fly Men’s Bamboo Flex 1/4 Zip Pullover

With its athletic fit and Bamboo Flex fabric, this pullover is warmer and more versatile than ever.




Alternative Apparel Women's Long Weekend Burnout French Terry Pants.Alternative Apparel Women’s Long Weekend Burnout French Terry Pants

Sweatpants are so essential to the concept of hygge that there’s even a word for it: Hyggebukser. Alternative Apparel’s created a chic upgrade to the hyggebukser, which usually means that worn-out pair of pants you adore but wouldn’t wear in public. Not only will you be proud to wear these around town, the soft French Terry cotton blend will also make you feel as comfortable as you would curled up on the couch. 

Kelty Bestie Blanket.


Kelty Bestie Blanket

Perfect for warming up with a good book, this blanket is sure to keep you and your besties warm.



KEEN Men's Anchorage III Waterproof Boots.KEEN Men’s Anchorage III Waterproof Boots

Stay warm, dry, and comfortable when you’re outside with these boots. Their all-season, all-occasion versatility will keep you cozy no matter the temperature.




Friends relax on porch of cozy cabin.


Text by Nick Adrian


How to Create a Cozy Space

Couple wearing Christmas socks warming feet fireside.

Annie Bayer Goldberg of AG Interiors.

Annie Bayer Goldberg of AG Interiors. Photo credit:

Picture it: a crackling fire, lights twinkling on the tree, soft strains of jazz music floating through the air while you snuggle into your favorite fuzzy blanket. Whether it’s your cabin in the woods or your apartment in the city, we’ve got the best advice on making your place cozy this holiday season. We spoke with Annie Bayer Goldberg of AG Designs to get her take on how to create a cozy space that feels like a sweet winter get-away.


Step One: Know Thyself

The first step in decorating your space is knowing your own personal aesthetic. Think about your favorite colors, textures and your personal style as well as what you need in a space: storage? Seating? A dance floor? Annie asks her clients for inspiration photos before helping them design their space because it gives her a better understanding of their style. You can do this on your own by creating a vision board of what your ideal space would look like. Once you know what you like, it’s much easier to build a physical space with those elements in it.

Tray with coffee, book, clementines, and twinkle lights by fire.Step Two: Know Thy Space

Now that you know what you need and like in a room, the next step is understanding your space. Annie emphasizes the importance of understanding the proportions of each room. You may not have access to a furniture layout software like Annie does, but it’s still crucial to keep your space balanced. Otherwise, you’re likely to get more of an overwhelming — rather than cozy — cabin. Keeping things symmetrical across the room allows you to utilize every bit of space that you have — and if you’re in a small room, that space is precious.  Annie also notes that it’s important to understand the room in relationship to the rest of the house. This will help you get a feel for the kind of flow you want throughout the house.

Step Three: Time for Textiles and TexturesCozy couch with throw pillows, tea on trunk nearby.

So what elements should you include in your soon-to-be cozy cabin? Annie says it’s all about textiles and textures. Window treatments, rugs, pillows, throw blankets and decorative lighting are essential. Mix velvet headboards with plush blankets in bedrooms. For a layered feel in the living room, grab several throw pillows for the couch that pull colors from your rug. And even just a touch of leather — whether it’s a chair or a fun pillow — will warm an entire room. Natural lighting makes a big impact on how a room feels, but sometimes it’s hard to come by. Opt for a stunning fixture or a simple reading lamp to illuminate your space from all angles. Just a few small adjustments of lighting can completely change the mood of a room.Ginger cat cuddles in cozy blanket.



We hope that these tips are helpful as you create a space perfect for your personality, needs and lifestyle. However you choose to make your cozy cabin a reality, we know it’ll be beautiful if it’s a space unique to you.


Text by Kaitlin Cochran

How to Host the (Almost) Perfect Holiday Gathering

Paget Pizitz of Melt and Fancy's on 5th

Paget Pizitz of Melt and Fancy’s on 5th

The holiday season is upon us and presents aren’t the only thing on the brain right now. Getting together with friends and family is a huge part of this upcoming season, but being the ultimate holiday host can be overwhelming. We spoke with Paget Pizitz, Harriet Despinakis and Megan Miller of Melt and Fancy’s on 5th to get their expert advice on being holiday hosts.

Shake Things Up With a Signature Cocktail.

Revamp a stuffy sit-down dinner with a signature cocktail (or mocktail)! It’s a great way to start your own tradition as well. Megan, the manager of Fancy’s on 5th, suggests the French 75. Nothing is more festive than a champagne-based drink. She uses organic Cava, Sipsmith Gin, fresh squeezed lemon and sugar to make the perfect bubbly drink. For those who don’t imbibe — or are underage — Megan suggests her take on the Basil Gimlet. Her perfected recipe starts by muddling fresh basil, lemon wedges, a pinch of sugar and topping it off with some soda water. Refreshing and festive, it’s the Corkcicle canteen and two stemless tumblers.perfect addition to your holiday soiree. To keep your cocktails perfectly chilled, serve using a Corkcicle canteen, stemless tumbler or champagne flute.

The Key to a Great Party? You’ll Be Surprised.

Lots of laughter and great food are key ingredients in a successful party. But to really make your gathering one that people will be talking about for weeks, Paget suggests adding an element of surprise to your party — the more non-traditional and out of the box, the better. It can be as simple as a photo booth with fun hats or as crazy as having a cardboard cut-out of a celebrity. It creates a giddy atmosphere that your guests will absolutely love. “Leak details to your most social friend and the rest will happen naturally,” said Paget. Also, invest in great ambient lighting. Great lighting can make or break a party. Whether you use candles, string lights or colored lanterns, guests will love the attention to detail and follow the mood that the lighting provides.

If You’re Hosting, Go Big Or Go Home.

Four girls throw glitter at nighttime terrace party.It may feel cheesy to have a themed party, but play into it. It makes it fun for you to plan and for the people showing up. Fill a small room with 500 balloons, put streamers and glitter everywhere — don’t be afraid to go for the dramatic impact! Paget’s favorite part of a party is cleaning up afterwards because “the longer it takes, the more certain you are your guests had a fabulous time.” Presentation is key and doesn’t always have to break the bank. You can pick up simple decorations at your local party store that are sure to wow your guests.


At the end of the day, the most important thing is building a community with the people you care most about. You’re able to bring different social groups together, all while filling a room with laughter, dancing and unbridled joy. We hope that your next gathering is one to remember!


Text by Kaitlin Cochran

Holiday Gathering Essentials

Friends clink glasses in a gazebo.

Rain, sleet, snow, wind: nothing can keep you and your loved ones from going outside, not even dropping temperatures or unruly weather. These 12 outdoor holiday gathering essentials will keep you clinking glasses in comfort and style.


Dylan Women's Sherpa Long Reversible Vest.

Dylan Women’s Sherpa Long Reversible Vest

The perfect, adaptable addition to your fall and winter wardrobe, this chic reversible vest pairs with just about any winter outfit.




Corkcicle Stemless Flute DeluxeCorkcicle Stemless Flute Deluxe in Glampagne.

Great for any banquet, brunch or bachelorette party, the Stemless Flute keeps every sip of your champagne cold and your Irish coffee hot.




UGG Women's Classic Short II Boots.UGG Women’s Classic Short II Boots

These boots have been updated with Treadlite by UGG™ soles, providing them with cushioning and traction on both wet and dry surfaces.




Arc’teryx Women’s Nuri InsulatedArc'teryx Women's Nuri Insulated Coat.

Not only is this coat water repellent, but its grey goose down insulation ensures warmth on the coldest days.



Arc'teryx Men's Proton Hoodie.

Arc’teryx Men’s Proton LT Hoody Jacket

With thermal protection that lets air pass freely in and out, this jacket delivers comfort in any temperature.




MPOWERD Luci Solar String LightsMPOWERD Luci Solar String Lights.

These solar-powered lights will bring the sparkle to any holiday party.




Barbour Women's Wray Gilet Vest.

Barbour Women’s Wray Gilet Vest

This Barbour vest’s adjustable waist guarantees a great fit. Plus, its patch pockets make perfect hand-warmers in a pinch.




SOREL Men's Cheyanne II Full Grain Duck Boots.SOREL Men’s Cheyanne II Full Grain Duck Boots

These fully insulated, waterproof boots protect your feet in style in any weather condition.




Barbour Men's Endsleigh Tattersal Long-Sleeve Shirt.

Barbour Men’s Endsleigh Tattersal Long-Sleeve Shirt

Thanks to Barbour’s wearability and high quality, this shirt will feel like it was tailored just for you.




Gentlemen’s Hardware Rocking Whisky GlassesGentlemen's Hardware Rocking Whisky Glasses.

A perfect gift for any occasion, these cleverly designed glasses can rock back and forth without spilling.




Barbour Men's Ashby Wax Jacket.Barbour Men’s Ashby Wax Jacket

Featuring a cord collar with a throat strap and angled hand-warmer pockets, this jacket is equal parts stylish and practical.




Canada Goose Men’s Garson Down VestCanada Goose Men's Garson Down Vest.

The suede tricot-lined guard and storm flap covering the front zipper makes this lightweight vest ideal for weather between 40℉ and 25℉.




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

Building the Best Spread for Your Tailgating Party

Truck loaded with Yeti tailgating accessories.

Tailgating combines the joys of friends, family, football, and, of course, food. No wonder it’s one of our favorite fall outdoor activities. Clay Greene, Operations Manager at Market Table, gave some suggestions on building the perfect spread for your tailgating party.


Clay Greene's headshot.

Clay Greene, Director of Operations, Market Table

Cheese: A Must-Have!

What’s the most important ingredient for a successful tailgate party? Clay’s answer may surprise you: “Any kind of cheese!”

“As long as there is some sort of cheese involved,” Clay says, “guests will be happy!”

We couldn’t agree more. A cheese board and hot dips topped with cheese disappear quickly at tailgates. Clay likes to offer a few different dips for her grazing guests. “My Buffalo Chicken Dip (recipe below), a bean dip like Texas Caviar and a Hot Bacon & Swiss Dip are always crowd pleasers.”


Bring on the Meats


Clay’s second-most important component of a successful tailgate is meat: “Smoked chicken and buffalo wings are key.” She recommends finger foods because no one wants to fool with a knife and fork while tailgating. Are there vegetarians on your invite list? This delicious vegan alternative to made from cauliflower will give them wings.


The All-Important Drink

Last but not least, you’ll want to have plenty of beer. “Locally brewed craft beer from the likes of Good People, Avondale and Cahaba Brewing will pair perfectly with your tailgating menu,” Clay writes. For kids and booze-free tailgaters, try one of these non-alcoholic party drink recipes.


Clay’s Buffalo Chicken Dip:

– 4 oz reduced fat cream cheese (room temperature)

– 1 cup fat-free sour cream

– ½ cup hot sauce or buffalo sauce (Clay likes Moore’s Original Buffalo Wing Sauce)

– ½ cup Lite Ranch Dressing

– 1 tsp white wine vinegar

– 2 cups cooked shredded chicken

– A couple handfuls of shredded, reduced fat cheddar cheese

  1. Mix all of the ingredients except for the cheddar cheese together in a mixing bowl until they are well combined and the cream cheese is no longer lumpy.

  2. Transfer the mixture to a small baking dish. Top with the cheddar cheese.

  3. Bake on 350 for 20-30 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly.

  4. Serve with tortilla chips and celery.

  5. Enjoy!


Text by Nick Adrian

‘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


Water-Resistant or Waterproof: What’s the Difference?

Woman wears rain jacket on wet hike

You’re on the hunt for a new rain jacket, but you keep seeing the words “waterproof” or “DWR” or “water-resistant.” There are so many terms to learn, and you’re just trying to stay dry. Luckily, the confusing language is easy to break down. Once you know the lingo, you’ll know immediately if a product is water-resistant or waterproof.


Droplets on Water-Resistant FabricWhat makes clothing water-resistant or waterproof?

Simply put, DWR, or “durable water repellent,” is a chemical that repels water. When applied to the surface of a fabric, DWR allows the fabric to repel water better. This repellent may seem like the cure-all, but there’s a lot more when it comes to keeping you dry.



Little boy wears rain jacket in stormHow do you rate whether fabric is water-resistant or waterproof?

HH ratings, or Hydrostatic Head ratings, are the level to which a fabric is resistant to water. A garment’s HH rating shows what kind of conditions it’s meant for. The scale can range from 1,500mm to 40,000mm+. Ranges within the scale provide the weather conditions meant for each range. The larger the number, the drier you’ll stay.


Man wearing waterproof jacket reaches into springWhat is water-resistant?

Water-resistant jackets are designed for those days when you expect a light shower or two. These jackets are scaled at 1,500mm-5,000mm. Water-resistant jackets are treated with DWR for a light contact of rain. Also, they don’t have taped or sealed seams. This means that you might get a little wet if that small shower turns into a heavy rain. However, they’re perfect for light rain and cool temps!


Happy couple wearing waterproof jackets in rainWhat is waterproof?

Waterproof jackets are the way to go if you’re expecting a heavy rain and want to stay dry. With a rating of 5,000mm+, these jackets typically come treated with DWR along with a built-in membrane lining. This membrane lining helps to ensure you stay dry. The seams of a waterproof jacket often come fully sealed or taped as well.
Who knew that there was so much in the making of rain jackets? Finding just the right jacket can get confusing, but now you’re ready to conquer the next rainy day.


By Jonathan Mendoza