The “multi-layer” system

Sportive Plus team blog

 For the practice of intense energy sports in winter, the “multi-layer” system or onion skin principle is THE basic rule to understand and apply.

The "multi-layer" is a superposition of different clothes to be able to adapt to the outside temperature and also to our energy expenditure, that is to say to the heat that our body gives off. You have to know how to stay dry and warm and thus ensure maximum comfort for the practice of outdoor sports in cold weather!


Underwear made of synthetic materials, merino wool or a combination of the two materials is designed to wick away moisture and keep us dry. Worn close to the body, this layer can be more or less thick. The thickness of the base layer can vary, either according to the activity performed or according to the temperature. A word of advice: do not use absorbent fabric, such as cotton for example. The body's moisture would then be trapped in the fabric and cause you to lose a lot of heat. In this category, merino wool, a MUST recognized by outdoor enthusiasts, is one of the most efficient in addition to being silky. It has this particularity to keep us warm, even when wet for long-lasting comfort! Plus, it's naturally odor resistant.


To keep you a bit warmer, the mid layer is important to add to your warmth layer, so it allows for extra insulation. Polars are often a very good choice! They trap hot air without necessarily being very thick. You can also choose any other breathable fabric, these are often breathable fabrics in strategic areas. This layer is optional, it is the one that is added as needed or removed to avoid getting too hot and sweating too much.

3) THE EXTERNAL LAYER “ of the softshell or hard shell type”

This is the layer that protects you from the weather; rain, snow and wind. Depending on the temperature, you will have to choose between a windbreaker or a waterproof breathable type "soft shell" or not. In very very cold weather, you can also opt for a small, slightly insulated "padded jacket" (small padded coats between seasons that keep you warm). Ideally, the outer layer should not be too baggy to avoid any heat loss. It must allow great freedom of movement and also allow the play of air that allows us to keep our heat. Do not forget! Choose your waterproof and breathable outer layer carefully, or at least breathable, in order to let the moisture pass through, which will pass from layer to layer. Finally, some of these layers have openings in the back or under the armpits to wick away moisture and regulate your temperature.

LITTLE TIP! The little down jacket is always a good idea to bring in your backpack to keep yourself warm during a pose in front of a magnificent view or for the time to eat your snack. This avoids shivering when stopping.

In summary, the golden rule of the principle of onion skins is to manage the level of heat that your body can produce. It is therefore necessary to remove layers if you sweat too much and add more if you are cold.
For the great pleasure of practicing our favorite winter activities!!!

Text by Tamy from Laval and Caroline from Quebec