Arc'teryx Layering Guide | Basin Sports Gear Review

Wondering if your shell will fit over your favorite down hoody? Our layering guide will tell you.

The Arc’teryx Layering Guide outlines and explains the various uses and purposes of an outerwear setup. From Baselayers all the way up to technical shells, we’ve got your back and an explanation to boot.

Why Layering?

Layers are the instruments of keeping you dry, warm and using your energy efficiently. Put into the right systems, a good sequence of layers provides you with weather protection, moves moisture away from your skin, conserves or dissipates heat, and does this in the least amount of time.

Use the layering guide to select your system and to understand how it works together. Function and comfort increase from effective layering.

The way that layers sit next to each other optimizes temperature regulation and moisture management inside your clothing, by allowing the fabric technologies to function at maximum performance. Proper layering also permits textiles to move freely over each other, so you don’t experience restriction or chafing. Having an efficient system adds up to more time outdoors, safely and comfortably pursuing and pushing your activities of choice.

Arc’teryx Layering Guide Layering Key

Using the number assigned to your product, refer to the illustration to discover additional layers you can add to your system.

Product compatibility: Determine where your first layer sits and move outward to layer over top; move inward to layer underneath. Products with the same number will not be compatible.

Base layers have the smallest numbers and sit closest to the body. Hardshells have higher numbers; they are your outermost layer.

Sample Systems




Your first layer, worn next-to-skin. In many ways, this layer determines your other layers.

Lighter weights are best for warm conditions and/or high output levels. Heavier weights for cool conditions or lower output.

Wool retains its warmth when wet and has natural anti-odor properties. Synthetics are lightweight, dry quickly and can be more abrasion resistant.






Air permeable layers that provide some warmth and protection, in addition to moisture management.

Down fill mid layers have the greatest warmth-to-weight ratio. They are highly efficient, packable and light. Best suited to cool and dry conditions.

Synthetic fill has the advantage of staying warm when damp, and durability in varied environments. These mid layers are less compact than down, more versatile.

Hardfleece has a fleece interior bonded to a weather resistant outer fabric. These mid layers are highly air permeable, removing moisture but retaining warmth. Good for high output, cold conditions and moderate precipitation.

Fleece is a thermal garment with air permeability, that can be worn as a standalone layer. Fleece offers high comfort, less weather resistance.

Consider your base layer and your typical body temperature when selecting your mid layer. If you are often cold, choose a mid layer with less air permeability. If your base layer is warm, but you want weather protection, a lighter mid layer may work best.







When selecting insulation type, consider weight and weather conditions. Down provides the highest warmth-to-weight value and packs small, but it is best suited to cool and dry conditions. Synthetic materials remain warm when damp, are more abrasion resistant but less compact and heavier than down.

Each type of insulation is available in a range of warmths, from superlight to severe cold.







Shells are the most weather protective layer, most often worn on the outside of all other layers. Evaluate your environment, expected output level and typical conditions when making your selection.

GORE-TEX® shells are fully waterproof, windproof and breathable. Available in a range of fabric technologies, applicable to specific use and environments.

Windshells are lighter weight, wind and weather resistant. Best suited to dry conditions, or minimal precipitation.

Softshell refers to a four-way stretch textile with an inherently durable smooth outer surface. Weather resistant and highly abrasion resistant, our range of softshells deliver varied degrees of warmth and protection.

Composite garments are composed of more than one fabric technology. This is done to achieve optimal performance in targeted areas. For example, GORE-TEX® sleeves and shoulders for waterpoof protection, combined with a softshell torso to improve temperature regulation.





A one jacket system for cold, wet environments. Weatherproof and insulated, these outer layers are streamlined and can be lighter than an equivalent two-piece system.

GORE-TEX® and down insulated jackets combine the premium lightweight warmth of down insulation with a streamlined, fully weatherproof outer shell. This construction also protects the down from moisture.

GORE-TEX® and synthetic insulated jackets have simplified construction, to create lightweight, fully waterproof warmth. Can be worn in the worst conditions and remain warm even if damp.




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