The onion principle for children: properly dressed for the next outdoor adventure

Boy on mountain with blue jacket

The onion principle is the best way to adapt to different weather conditions with different layers of clothing. This ensures a comfortable body climate when active boys and girls romp around outdoors, play in the schoolyard and during sweaty outdoor adventures. We provide important tips on how to implement the onion principle correctly for children.

How does the onion principle work?

With the so-called onion principle, your child can combine different layers of clothing so that he is always ideally dressed and neither freezes nor sweats too much when he is active in sports.

During outdoor adventures with children, such as hiking, ski touring and cycling, it is important that your junior stays as well tempered as possible during the sport. At the same time, your little explorer should of course be protected from wind, cold and rain so that he doesn't get cold. Therefore, you should rely on good and well thought-out children's clothing, because then your child is comfortably dressed and does not catch a cold so easily.

Depending on the weather and activity level, the demands on children's clothing change naturally. Therefore, it is ideal if your little outdoor hero can flexibly adapt to changing conditions by adding or removing layers of clothing.

Building the perfect onion look for mini athletes: here's how!

Basically, the double-layer look consists of three layers that vary in thickness depending on the season, weather conditions and temperature. However, this does not mean that your child always has to wear all three layers or only three items of clothing within the framework of the layering principle. In winter, for example, your little piste stormer can also combine several midlayers without any problems.


Baselayer or base layer is the lowest layer of clothing worn by your child directly on the body. This category includes T-shirts, undershirts, underpants and socks. socks for children, but also jerseys for young bikers or longsleeves and underwear for small winter sports fans. Essential for this layer of clothing is that it ensures good breathability . To keep active kids dry, warm and comfortable during sports, sweat should be wicked away to the outside. Many manufacturers therefore offer clothing made of synthetic and natural functional fibers that have these functional properties (for example, merino wool).

Child with t-shirt climbing
Toddler on meadow in green fleece jacket


Midlayer should provide enough warmth and insulation, especially in the winter and cold season. Among them are fleece jackets, ski sweaters or long-sleeved jerseys for kids. They all serve as a heat-retaining layer and your junior can even combine them when it gets colder. The important thing with the midlayer is that it is breathable and wicks moisture and sweat well to the outside.

Good to know: Many midlayers are water- and wind-repellent, so your sweetheart can wear his midlayer as a top layer of clothing in milder temperatures and good weather.


The outermost layer of clothing is called the top layer . It should protect your child from wind, rain and possibly cold. As the top layer of protection, it differs depending on the season and weather conditions and usually consists of jackets and pants. A distinction is made here between softshell, hardshell and insulated jackets:

Softshell jackets protect your child from wind during exciting outdoor explorations and can also be worn in cool conditions. They also protect your offspring in light rain, as they are water-repellent. In addition, they are breathable, so that your son or daughter can wear the softshell jacket well even on strenuous climbs, for example on a ski tour.

Child with red jacket on beach

Insulation jackets provide an extra portion of warmth and also protect your junior from unpleasant wind. However, if it rains more heavily, you should rather go for a hardshell jacket for kids.

By the way: In our Sport Bittl blog post "Insulation jackets in comparison" we have dealt in detail with the different fillings of insulation jackets.

You can read the blog post here.

Hardshell/rain jackets are considered the all-rounders among jackets. They have sealed seams and membranes (for example, Gore Tex), are waterproof and thus protect small outdoor fans in rain and snowfall. Hardshell jackets also impress with their windproof performance.

Boy in blue jacket from behind looks at landscape

Advantages onion principle: This is important!

  • Differentfunctional focus of the layers: baselayer should be particularly breathable, midlayer should insulate well and toplayer should mainly protect against weather conditions such as wind and moisture
  • Quality rather than quantity: better fewer items with top functionality than many with mediocre functionality
  • Every layer counts: Even one layer that is made of non-breathable fabric such as cotton significantly affects performance
  • Individually adaptable: There is not THE perfect combination, depending on the season, weather and sporting activity, different combinations are useful


Through the onion principle, your little adventurer is optimally dressed in any weather. In our Sport Bittl store you will find a large selection of outdoor and sports clothing for children from top brands, which your offspring can wear as an ideal layer of clothing within the framework of the onion principle. We wish you happy shopping!

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