Transitional Outerwear: Ready For Anything

September 21, 2021

In my home state of California, it is possible to drive between a beach, the desert and snowy mountains all in a single day — transitioning between dramatically different weather forecasts. And while it isn’t possible for most people to regularly make that journey, it is possible to find apparel that would transition between all those unique temperatures. All you would need? A 3-in-1 transitional outerwear piece.

3-in-1 transitional outerwear styles bring together ultimate functionality with adaptability and ease. Most come with a lightweight layer, such as a soft shell, for mild wind, and a water-friendly outer layer to brave the elements. You can wear these separately, or zip them together to create an entirely new, multi-layered piece.

You can find them in a wide range of water- and wind-resistance, as well as warmth. Some come with insulated layers, while others are fully water-repellent and can stand up to any downpour.

When choosing the perfect outerwear layering piece, it’s helpful to understand technical features. This can guide you to making a selection that best suits your outdoor needs. Learn a bit more about some outerwear features below:

  • DWR Finish: A Durable Water Repellent finish on the face fabric of a piece of outerwear that helps water bead up and roll off the surface without saturating it.
  • Insulation: Insulation is the key to keeping warm in cold conditions. Down insulation is lighter, more compressible and longer-lasting, while synthetic insulation is heavier, but less expensive and insulates better when wet.
  • Water Resistance: The ability of a garment to prevent water leakage. Measured by the amount of water in millimeters (mm) which can rest on the fabric before it seeps through, with a higher number meaning more water resistance.
  • Seam Sealing/Taping: Seams in outerwear can be sealed to prevent leakage. “Critically taped” means it has been sealed at the neck, shoulders and chest, while “fully taped” garments have every seam sealed.

Though you may not be planning a road trip from Malibu, CA to Big Bear and then Joshua Tree National Park, you can plan for a wide range of weather conditions with versatile 3-in-1 outerwear styles. That way, if you happen to find yourself on snowy mountain in the morning and a windy desert in the evening, you’ll be prepared.