GETTING THE RIGHT PERFORMANCE CLOTHING NEXT TO SKIN IS EVERY BIT AS IMPORTANT AS THE TECHNICAL RAINWEAR SHELLS AND INSULATION LAYERS. HERE AT STONEY CREEK OUR PHILOSOPHY IS BUILT AROUND PURPOSE-BUILT GEAR, DESIGNED AND OPTIMISED TO PERFORM DURING A SPECIFIC HUNTING APPLICATION, SO THAT YOU WILL MAXIMISE YOUR EXPERIENCE DURING THAT ADVENTURE. IT IS ONE OF THE LAYERS THAT IS OFTEN NEGLECTED, AND MANY HUNTERS MAKE POOR DECISIONS WITH NON-TECHNICAL NEXT TO SKIN LAYERS. HERE TO HELP SIMPLIFY HELP SIMPLIFY THE TECHNICAL, DIVE INTO THE TECHNICAL PROPERTIES OF THE FABRIC, AND HOW TO LAYER CORRECTLY IS TECHNICAL PRODUCT DESIGNER AT STONEY CREEK, KERRY CRAWFORD. KERRY EXPLORES SOME OF THE MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND WILL HELP TO PROVIDE YOU WITH THE RIGHT KNOWLEDGE TO ENSURE YOUR NEXT BASE LAYER PURCHASE IS THE RIGHT ONE, THAT WILL LAST FOR YEARS, AND HAVE YOUR NEXT EXPERIENCE OUT HUNTING FULLY MAXIMISED.

What role does a Base Layer play in a complete technical layering system for hunters?

(KC) The Base layer is an important part of your layer system, it is the layer that will control your comfort level as its closest to your skin, and it’s the sensations that our skin feels that determines whether we’re feeling hot, cold or clammy. The performance of the Base layer can be the difference between being comfortable and uncomfortable. Get the Base Layer wrong and you limit the performance of the layers above it.

What Base Layers should I buy? Cooling or thermal? And during what seasons should I wear them?

(KC) The primary role of any base layer is to control the micro-climate next to your skin by moving moisture away from your body. The secondary role relates to either trapping or removing the metabolic heat your body generates. During Summer you want this heat to be able to escape and your body to be cooled through evaporation. Winter base layers should trap the heat, holding it next to the skin acting as your first thermal layer.

Are Stoney Creek Base Layers made from synthetic or natural materials?

(KC) If you are choosing an activity where you are going to sweat a lot, like hunting, we recommend wearing one of our purpose-built Base Layers which are made from various synthetic and natural/synthetic blend materials. Performance Polyester absorbs only around 0.4% of its own weight in water and thus dries very fast, while also efficiently wicking moisture away from the skin to spread it on the outside of the fabric where it can be pulled away by evaporation keeping you cool and dry. Cotton fibres are hydrophilic and will soak up moisture and store it in the cellular walls of the fibre holding the damp wet fabric against your skin, therefore in our summer Base-Dry+ products, these are synthetic fabrics. Merino Wool is a natural fibre that does a better job than cotton of removing moisture from your skin. This is possible because only the inner part of the Merino fibre absorbs water while the outer part which lies against your skin stays dry. Therefore, Merino wool base layers efficiently eliminate the conductive heat loss. However, the dry times, and low durability of Super Fine Merino are potential issues. Merino is thermal and naturally odour fighting, but Polyester is lighter, stronger and dries faster than Merino wool. So the fusion of Merino and Polyester creates the ultimate cold weather base layer, and that is what we use in our Thermal-Dry+ base layers.

My rain jacket seems to be leaking as my cotton shirt is always soaked after wearing my jacket. Why is that?

(KC) The capillary action of cotton will pull moisture from the body and hold it in the fabric making your cotton shirt waterlogged. Thermal conductivity of water is much higher than the thermal conductivity of air. If your apparel gets soaked with sweat, your body heat is rapidly transmitted to it through conduction and you lose warmth rapidly. Waterproof breathable rainwear relies on the pressure differential created by warmth inside driving moisture vapour outside towards the cold environment. Because the cotton shirt has robbed your internal micro-climate of this ability, the moisture is able to build up and you will feel wet and cold even if water is not penetrating your outer rainwear layers.

How many base layers should I take with me on my hunting trips?

(KC) The sensation of comfort is felt at a skin level, if your skin is wet and cold, you will feel wet and cold no matter what layers you have on top. A dry base layer is the fastest way to return heat into your system, conversely your body will be very slow to heat if you have wet layers next to your skin. Carrying a spare base layer to switch out at appropriate times can be a game changer. Consider at the end of the day how you are going to dry any moisture out of your wet base layers for the following day.

AS YOU CAN SEE, THERE ARE A LOT OF CONSIDERATIONS TO MAKE WHEN CHOOSING THE MOST APPROPRIATE BASE LAYER GARMENT FOR YOUR NEXT HUNTING APPLICATION. RATHER THAN NEGLECTING YOUR NEXT-TO-SKIN LAYER OR CHOOSING FABRICS WHICH MAY NOT PERFORM TO THE CONDITIONS, WE RECOMMEND SPENDING SOME TIME TO UNDERSTAND THE HUNTING APPLICATION FIRST AND THEN FINDING THE CORRECT BALANCE OF PERFORMANCE ATTRIBUTES THAT WILL MAXIMISE YOUR EXPERIENCE THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE DURATION OF YOUR TRIP. WHETHER THAT IS A SUB ALPINE DAY TRIP, OR A TEN DAY EXPEDITION INTO BIG ALPINE BACK COUNTRY WITH LONG HOURS STATIC BEHIND THE GLASS. HAVING A GOOD UNDERSTANDING OF YOUR GEAR, HOW IT PERFORMS, HOW TO LAYER ACCORDINGLY, AND HOW TO MAINTAIN YOUR GARMENTS TO GET THE BEST OUT OF THEM IS CRUCIAL. TREAT YOUR TECHNICAL APPAREL WITH AS MUCH CARE AND MAINTENANCE AS YOU DO YOUR RIFLE OR OPTICS, AND IT WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU WHEN OUT IN THE MOUNTAINS OR THE FORESTS.

Kerry Crawford. New Product Developer, Stoney Creek.