How To Layer For Cycling

What is layering

Layering is the process of deciding how many ‘layers’ to wear when preparing kit for your ride. Depending on the conditions, you may wear;

  • 1 layer (Jersey)
  • 2 layers (Jersey + Base Layer)
  • 3 layers (Jersey + Base Layer + Wind Vest)
cyclist wearing layers

Why do we layer?

We layer specific garments based on the temperature and riding conditions. Will it be very hot? Very cold? How about windy? Are we riding in the early morning? Late at night? All of these scenarios will paint a different picture in regard to what you decide to wear when preparing kit for your ride.

How do we layer and what is layering up?

For beginners, start with checking the weather.

The process of layering is simple. To point out the obvious, you will always wear one layer unless you are literally riding without a top, which we do not recommend! So, for beginners, you layer with one jersey.

After deciding you will wear a jersey, (obviously) do the riding conditions / weather call for additional layers? If it is cooler out, you can start with a base layer. If it is windy out, a wind vest is always smart. If there is light precipitation, either a rain jacket or in some cases the wind vest will suffice if treated with DWR, like our Proto Wind Vest.

When deciding to ‘layer up’, that means you will usually start with a base layer. Sometimes you can skip a base layer and use a wind vest or gilet, however, it is more common to begin with base layers.

Here are some examples of what a cyclist would wear based on the riding conditions;

  • 45-55 Fahrenheit - Core Long Sleeve Jersey, Proto Base Layer, and Proto Wind Vest
  • 55-65 Fahrenheit - Proto Short Sleeve Jersey, Proto Base Layer, and Proto Wind Vest
  • 65-75 Fahrenheit - Proto Short Sleeve Jersey & Proto Base Layer
  • 65-75 Fahrenheit - Core Long Sleeve Jersey
  • 75-95 Fahrenheit - Proto Short Sleeve Jersey

*A wind vest is always nice to carry as it’s nice to have when needed but not too enjoyable to be without when essential. The benefit of most wind vests, like our Proto Wind Vest, is that it packs down nice and tight for storage in the rear jersey or up high in-between your back and the jersey (our favorite place to stash).

cyclist at the end of their ride

The importance of layering

Understanding layering and how to is a key element to enjoying your cycling experience. You wouldn’t jump into the ocean to swim or surf without a wetsuit if the water was freezing. You also wouldn’t wear a wetsuit if the ocean water was warm. The same applies for being out in the snow. It is no different with cycling. Apparel technology, fabrics, and other materials have significantly advanced over the years and the traditional heavy wool fabrics from back in the day are long gone. Knowing what to wear and how-to layer will play a significant role in enjoying your ride.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We would love to hear from you.