Choosing a Base Layer

A quality base layer, sometimes referred to as a foundation or primary layer forms the basis of your clothing layering system.baselayer They sit next to the skin and "wick" sweat away, helping to regulate body temperature and providing a dry "second skin". Whether you're cycling in hot summer conditions or hiking in icy winter mountain environments they're an essential part of your gear.

When choosing a baselayer it is important to think about the activity you will be doing, the weather and intensity level as these will influence your comfort, performance and safety.baselayer Base layers are made from a range of fabrics, some synthetic, and others natural like merino wool and silk. There are also a variety of weights of these fabrics from ultralightweight and midweight through to expedition and heavyweight.

Synthetic base layers have the advantage of being able to wick moisture away from the body quickly, which allows them to feel comfortable and dry even after heavy perspiration.baselayer However, they are not as effective as wool at insulating heat and can be more likely to start smelling bad after a while.

Wool base layers are much more effective at insulating and have the added benefit of being natural anti-bacterial and odour resistant.baselayer However, they tend to be slower to wick away moisture than synthetics and can feel clammy after a lot of sweating.

A hybrid blend of both synthetic and natural fibres can also be a good option as it gives the best of both worlds; the quick drying, hardwearing qualities of a synthetic with the natural odour control and thermal properties of a natural fibre.baselayer Some of the Icebreaker baselayer range uses this combination, with ZoneKnit utilising body mapped technology to keep your temperature regular and breathable during high-intensity activities.

The fabric of your base layer is really important, as you want it to be next-to-skin to help wick moisture. Generally speaking, the lighter the fabric the quicker it will wick and dry, but warmth isn't usually a priority for a baselayer (that's what your mid and outer layers are for).

Other factors to consider include how soft you want the fabric to be against your skin, how lightweight you prefer your baselayer to be and if you like it to have stretch. It's also worth remembering that your baselayer is only going to be as effective as the layer underneath it so make sure you choose wisely!


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