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“The 3 layer system is dead”.
“I'll take my layers more seriously now, in terms of understanding what each and every one of them does.”
“I have a much better 
understanding of how baselayers  work in reality”
“Understanding the importance of windproofs based on the fact 90% of people on the hill don’t use one”

Monday 20th November 10.30am-5pm
The course is aimed at people with outdoor qualifications, but open to those who have plenty of experience.
Please bring your own lunch

Feedback from Previous Sessions

  1. A  Shift in Awareness: Many shared the sentiment of "I now realize I didn't know what I didn't know," indicating a profound shift in their understanding.

  2. Unveiling the Mysteries of Wicking: Participants found the intricacies of wicking, including the concept of 'directional' wicking, to be entirely new and enlightening.

  3. Informed Purchasing Decisions: Several expressed their eagerness to apply the newfound knowledge before making future purchases, underlining the immediate practical value of the session.

  4. Water's Conductivity Surprise: The revelation that water is 24 times more conductive than air left attendees intrigued and astonished.

  5. Workshop Exploration: During the workshop segment, an interesting discussion arose around the question of why a base layer feels cold against the skin when saturated with sweat at 37.5°C, revealing the complexity of this common experience.

  6. Clarity Amplified: For a repeat attendee of our 'Myths, Marketing, and Misunderstandings' talk, the content came across as exceptionally clear, with the added supporting information contributing to a  more indepth and holistic understanding.

  7. Debunking Breathability Misconceptions: The group exhibited mixed understanding of breathability and  'mvtr.' Notably, it was highlighted that a significant portion of individuals tend to misconstrue 'breathable' as synonymous with air porosity, leading to confusion about over heating. 

Thank you to all participants for sharing their valuable feedback and perspectives.



"In the lead-up to the development of this course, we engaged in extensive research and achieved consensus over a span of five years. Our collaborative book, titled 'Keeping Warm and Staying Dry,' from a multi-authored cross-Atlantic collaboration, was successfully published on Amazon last year.

In my role as the Outdoor Gear Coach, we provided training to the BMC technical committee, encompassing engineers, with a comprehensive focus on textiles and garment knowledge.

At present, we are in the process of creating training programs that specifically emphasize the art of Performance Layering.

I have also recently conducted a one-day training session in Cumbria for BAIML." Mike Parsons


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.

“You have given me a better knowledge of what I have”.

A better understanding of what’s available and working our way around the marketing stuff”.


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.

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