Sierra Designs Challenges Traditional Layering System


On the peak of their 50th anniversary, Sierra Designs shows no signs of slowing as they continue to challenge the status quo with revolutionary designs in technical apparel and gear for backpacking. This time the reinvented brand is taking on the concept of the traditional layering system with their pieces designed for three elements – Go, Stop, and Rain.

“For decades we’ve been taught to build our layering system around the hard shell and to use it in all varying conditions and we believe that is fundamentally wrong,” notes Michael Glavin, VP and Brand Manager for Sierra Designs. “There is no waterproof breathable membrane that can keep up with the body’s ability to produce moisture when you’re working hard under exertion.”

That’s right. Demote the hard shell. Sierra Designs believes that building your layering system with progressively thicker layers under a shell doesn’t work as well as the older system discovered decades ago. The simplest layering system to maximize performance is one that creates a microclimate next to the skin to help regulate body temperature. When the body is in motion, it is producing heat and moisture. The best solution is a semi-permeable vapor barrier worn next to a base-layer. That is, some sort of a windshell with a low level of airflow and high moisture vapor transfer to keep your body from over-perspiring, and ultimately staying dryer. When the body comes to a rest after exertion, it begins to cool rapidly, and a windshell will prevent flash-off, or rapid evaporative and convective cooling.

Evidence of this unconventional approach can been seen in the bold Outside-In Hoody set to hit retail Fall 2015. This versatile piece allows wearers to control their body temperature with just one garment. Worn shell-side in, or “outside-in”, this hoody keeps you drier and more comfortable than traditional softshells. The fleece side has all the cues of a classic hooded sweatshirt while cleverly hiding the semi-permeable shell that allows for faster evaporation when you’re on the move. During cooler temperatures, flip the shell out to trap warm air in the fleece and to provide light rain protection with a DWR and Cire finish. Both the shell and liner stretch for full mobility.

The Outside-In Hoody will debut at Sierra Designs’ booth 28017 at the upcoming Winter Outdoor Retailer Trade Show in Salt Lake City. For more information or to see the full collection of apparel, sleeping bags, and tents please contact Mandy Giles at

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About Sierra Designs

Sierra Designs was born in 1965, at the beginning of the golden age of backpacking and climbing. Today, our rebellious crew of industry vets and young innovators is on a mission to fundamentally redefine how we live in the backcountry. We create outdoor solutions from equal parts common sense and uncommon thinking. Our outdoor products are all specifically designed for backpacking, not for hype or excess.