PERFORMANCE LAYERING
A CPD COURSE BY MIKE PARSONS, OUTDOOR GEAR COACH FOR OUTDOOR LEADERS.

CONTEXT AND BACKGROUND TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE COURSE.

After five years of research and consensus building, our multi-authored cross-Atlantic collaborative book ‘Keeping Warm and Staying Dry was published last year on Amazon. As Outdoor Gear Coach, we have trained the BMC technical committee, all engineers, on textiles generally plus garments. We are now developing training courses focused on the skill of Performance Layering. I delivered a one-day course in Cumbria for BAIML. So what is performance layering?  It’s a skill based on a clear technical understanding of what each of your 7 layers does or does not do (using our garment layer analysis system). This understanding enables better layer choice/sequence for a day or long trip. The final factor is knowing how your metabolism and food/liquid intake provides heat whilst garments simply prevent heat loss.

HERE IS THE FEEDBACK FROM THE 10 PARTICIPANTS.

After the first session called ‘Myths. marketing and misunderstandings, I asked the question:

What was the most interesting or surprising thing you learned from this session?

I now realise I didn’t know what I didn’t know.
3 people said some aspects of wicking, including ‘directional’, were entirely new for them.
I’ve been waiting for this course before making further purchases.
Water being 24 times more conductive than air was a surprise. ( in the workshop session, there were no correct responses to the question, ‘why does your base layer feel cold against your back with your sweat when it has come out of your body at 37.5C?
I have listened to your ‘Myths, Marketing and Misunderstandings’ talk before, but it came across as very clear this time. With all the supporting information everything came together for me.

Breathability was understood very clearly by this group as mvtr. I advised them that from 5 years of talking to groups of all different levels of experience, 75% think that ‘breathable’ must mean air porous. I explained this means that people overestimate what fabrics will do for them, and overheating occurs.

TO CONCLUDE THE DAY, I ASKED WHAT THE MOST IMPORTANT TAKE-HOME WAS.

“Take my layers more seriously ( in terms of understanding what each and every one of them does.”
“The 3 layer system is dead”.
“The importance of windproofs, 90% of people on the hill don’t use one”.
“You have given me a better knowledge of what I have”.
“Baselayers and how they work in reality”.
“A better understanding of what’s available and working our way around the marketing stuff”.

NEXT CPD COURSE WILL BE
MONDAY 21ST NOV THE DAY FOLLOWING KENDAL MOUNTAIN FESTIVAL.

Mike Parsons has over 40 years of hands on gear making experience in the outdoor equipment trade. From pattern making, cutting, sewing, textile testing, lean manufacture, product design and management and online selling operations,. He has wide ranging mountain sport skills; snow, ice, rock, mountaineering, ski-nordic, skate, tele, alpine, mountain biking,horse riding. Competed in 30+ Mountain Marathons. Mountain activity on all 7 continents including the ascent of 18 virgin summits. Follow link to see recent activity

He was formerly MD of Karrimor International and founder of OMM Ltd, a specialist in lightweight outdoor gear. Mike Parsons is now an independent innovation coach and, since Mary Rose’s retirement in 2013, they have been establishing OutdoorGearCoach.

Mary Rose, a keen mountain walker and recently amateur dry stone waller, has 35 years experience as an academic historian and innovation specialist in Lancaster University Management School (LUMS).  She and Mike Parsons have been collaborating since 2000, beginning with their prize winning book Invisible on Everest: Innovation and the Gear Makers (2003), followed by the replication of the Mallory 1924 Everest Clothing on behalf of Mountain Heritage Trust, 2005.  Mike Parsons was made an Honorary Fellow in the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development in LUMS in 2003 and Innovator in Residence 2010-13. Together they taught highly successful innovation courses and ran the annual Innovation for Extremes Conference for the outdoor industry for 10 years. The full story of their collaboration is recorded here.