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.

Back to School Athleisure


Many students will go “ back to school” virtually this fall, joining the scores of people who continue to work from home. Whether you need a WFH wardrobe refresh or some back-to-school (virtually) clothes that are functional and fashionable, athleisure is the way to go.  

At a time when so many are staying close to home, hybrid clothing referred to as athleisure has never been more relevant and perfect for our daily lives. Read on to find our favorite athleisure items!


The North Face Women's Motivation High Rise Pocket Crop PantsLeggings

Leggings are comfortable, versatile, and ideal for transitional weather. Try pairing leggings with a cute top or a simple tunic for a fancier look.



Athletic shorts, with elastic waists and breathable fabrics, now come in a variety of cute prints and colors, for kids and adults alike. For instance, Free Fly’s Men’s Breeze shorts have a drawstring waistband and a bamboo blend material. Patagonia’s Women’s Baggies feature a drawcord and Supplex nylon. You can pair these shorts with a t-shirt, an athletic top, or something nicer.


On-Running Men's Cloud ShoesRunning Shoes

They are comfortable and safe for walking, running, or even hiking. They can also be paired with just about anything, from athletic shorts to casual dresses. Kids can pair running shoes with jeans or leggings and a simple top for school.


Ilse Jacobsen Tulip 139 Perforated Slip-On Sneaker

Slip-on sneakers are casual, comfortable, and ideal for the relaxed dress codes that come with remote working or learning. The Ilse Jacobsen Tulip, for instance, can be worn with leggings, shorts, or a skirt.


Chaco Big Kids' Z/1 EcoTread SandalsSandals

Sandals are easy on the feet, and the best ones are also designed with safety in mind. They’re also fashionable enough to pair with nicer outfits. Birkenstocks, for instance, feature an anatomically shaped footbed. Chacos have adjustable straps that custom-fit to your foot and a rubber outsole designed to grip surfaces. And Teva’s outsole design gives greater traction while its midsole provides cushioning for every step.


When you need to refresh your child’s wardrobe or your own, consider investing in the comfort, versatility, and reliability of athleisure. 


Find your favorite back-to-school apparel and gear at Alabama Outdoors. We want 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

10 Outdoor Festival Essentials

Crowd at Sloss Music & Arts Festival

Summer is here, which means music festival season is right around the corner! From July 14th to 15th, Birmingham will once again trek out to enjoy the Sloss Music and Arts Festival at Sloss Furnaces. We’ve put together a list of ten essentials to help you stay cool and look cool through two days of music in the great outdoors.

Que collapsible water bottleEmpty Reusable Water Bottle:

While outside food and drink are prohibited, we encourage all festival goers to bring an empty reusable water bottle. Staying hydrated is key to an enjoyable festival experience. For the ultimate in festival-friendly hydration, try the lightweight and ultra-portable Que Collapsible Water Bottle.

Day Pack:

The festival has strict rules on bag size. However, most bags under 12 x 6 x 12 will be allowed in. Find a lightweight day pack or fanny pack with comfortable straps to carry your festival essentials.

Point and Shoot Camera:

Be sure to pack your point-and-shoot cameras, disposable cameras or phones. No GoPros, recording devices or cameras with detachable lenses will be allowed in.

Alabama Outdoors Eno Hammocks at Sloss FestSunscreen:

There is nothing worse than getting a nasty sunburn on the first day of a festival. Be sure to wear at least 30 SPF sunscreen and reapply. We love Sun Bum’s sheer and weightless Face Lotion Sunscreen and SPF 30 Lip Balm (we’re bananas for the banana flavor!). 

Blanket or Towel to Sit On: 

Take a load off and enjoy the music from the grass. Bringing a light towel, blanket or beach mat to get off your feet and relax during your festival experience. We love ENO’s Islander LED Blanket — it’s trimmed with LED lights, so you’ll never lose sight of your spot again! For the ultimate in festival relaxation, come hang out with us in The Outdoors Eno Hammock World

Sunglasses:Sloss Furnaces, seen through Smith Sunglasses

Protect your eyes! Sunny days spent entirely outside can be super hard on your eyes. Invest in a protective and stylish pair of sunnies to top off your festival outfit. If you’re looking for a sweet pair of aviators, these Serpico sunnies come with polarized lenses that also repel water, grease and dirt.

Hat or Bandana:

Stay cool and comfortable with a hat or bandana. This essential will keep moisture and sun off your face. Or you could try Teva leather sandalsthe versatile UV Buff, which can be worn in twelve ways. Not only is it super stylish, it’s super good at blocking UV rays and odors.

Portable Phone Charger:

We all know how important a fully charged phone is at a festival. Pick up a fully charged portable battery to charge your phone on the go. At the very least, bring a phone charger to recharge your phone at a charging station.

Comfy Shoes: Alabama Outdoors store at Sloss Fest

Comfortable footwear is a definite essential for an enjoyable festival experience. When it comes to comfy and supportive summer footwear, you can’t do better than Teva. They’re durable and washable, too — two must-have qualities for outdoor festival footwear!

Good Company:

Of course, the best way to enjoy any festival is with people you love. Good people means good vibes and a great time. Want a chance to win a pair of VIP tickets and a stay at the Westin? You’ve got until July 11th to enter our online giveaway.

Have a safe weekend and enjoy these amazing artists! And should you forget something, don’t worry! We’ll be there along with Teva, Smith, The North Face, and Eno to help you out!


Text by Amy Haupt