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The Difference Between 2L and 3L Outdoor Apparel

18 Jan, 2024 18
2L Jacket pictured


A question we get a lot is explaining the difference between 2L and 3L winter gear.  A common misconception is that 3L is thicker and warmer.   Let's break it down for you so your little adventurers can be prepared for any condition Mother Nature throws their way.


  1. Layer Construction:
  • 2L: These jackets consist of an outer shell and an inner waterproof membrane or coating. The waterproof layer is usually attached to the inside of the outer fabric. Many of these jackets are insulated as well.  At Hootie Hoo, our 2L are actually rated at colder temperatures and require less layering.

  • 3L Shell: As the name suggests, these jackets have an additional layer compared to 2L gear. They consist of an outer shell, a waterproof and breathable membrane, and a protective inner layer. The three layers are bonded together, creating a more durable and weather-resistant barrier.  These jackets and bibs are super high-tech and often referred to as "shells".  


2. Weight and Bulk:

  • 2L: Our 2L gear, even though it has insulation, is super light due to our high tech, recycled PrimaLoft material.  Some have mistakenly assumed it's more fall and cool weather appropriate, but they are rated for and tested in very cold temps.

  • 3L Shells: Due to the added layer, 3L gear might be slightly heavier but since the layers are bonded together, they are less bulky and particularly well suited for those more advanced skiers and riders who want maximum freedom of movement. 


3. Versatility:

  • 2L: This gear is very versatile and suitable for a wide range of winter activities. They are a great choice for every day winter use with less worry about layering.

  • 3L Shells: Designed for more demanding conditions, 3L jackets and bibs excel in extreme cold, heavy snow, and intense outdoor activities. They are often the preferred choice for serious winter sports enthusiasts.  In cold weather you'll need to layer appropriately.


4. Price:

  • 2L: Generally, 2L gear is more budget-friendly. They offer good performance for everyday winter activities without the premium cost associated with 3L apparel.

  • 3L Shells: The additional features and advanced technology in 3L gear often come with a higher price tag. However, for those who prioritize top-tier performance and durability, the investment may be well worth it.


In summary, the choice between a 2L and 3L depends on the specific needs of your child and the conditions they'll be facing. For casual use and less worry about layering, a 2L jacket might be sufficient, while serious winter sports enthusiasts may find the extra protection and high-tech multi-season flexibility of a 3L jacket or bib more suitable.


Hopefully this helps you choose the right kit for your kiddo and as always let us know if you have any questions!


Outplay the Elements - Claire



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