The Ultimate Guide To Women's Base Layers (2023)

In this blog we hope to create the ultimate guide to Women's Base Layers. If you are heading outdoors, whatever your adventure whether that's skiing, snowboarding, ski touring, split boarding, hiking, mountain biking, trail running or climbing making sure you have the right first layer* is really important.

Why bother? Most of these activities involve working up a sweat, you are outdoors and exposed to the elements and having the right kit means that you can not only perform to the best of your abilities but also stay out as long as you want to. So ending up in hospital would be pretty bad, but we're also not a fan of returning back to base because we are too hot, cold, sweaty or even worse your kit has rubbed in places you really don't want it too!

We've taken a detailed look at the types of fabric base layers are made of including Merino Wool base layers, Polyester, Spandex, Cotton and Bamboo.

Today, there are literally thousands of base layers on the market, gone are they days of wearing old fashioned ladies thermal underwear to keep you warm! Today's fabrics are lightweight, warm or cool and with a focus on design that takes you from Mountain top to street without even having to change.We have also reviewed this season's most stylish Ski Base Layers too.

* other words for first layer include base layer, thermal, thermal underwear, skins, tights and pretty much any combination of the above!

Here's what we'll cover

  • Choice of fabric (what your women's base layer is made from)
  • Design features
  • How to wear your base layer - the art of layering!
  • Types of Base Layer

Choice of fabric

Depending on your point of view this is arguably the most important part of choosing base layer. The material or fabric that the garment is made from will determine many of its performance features such as whether it is sweat wicking, lightweight, how stretchy it is and whether the fibres are natural or man made. Different fabrics also have different carbon footprints and impact on the environment.

First we'll discuss the different properties of the fabric and then we'll talk about the different kinds of fabric used in making women's thermal base layers.

The Ultimate Guide To Women's Base Layers (1)

Sweat Wicking: Most outdoor activities or sports will cause you to sweat as your body generates heat as you use your muscles to exercise. Sweating is important as it helps you to regulate your body temperature; but if that sweat (which is essentially salty water) sticks around on your clothes then it can make those clothes heavy and wet and could cause you to get cold quickly once you stop exercising.

This is particularly important if you are exposed to colder temperatures (such as when skiing or snowboarding) where your body temperaturecould drop very rapidly. Some fabrics "wick" or pull the sweat away from the body, the fibres are designed with a large surface area which picks up water and allows it to move to the outside of the fabric where it can quickly evaporate. These fabrics are also quick drying meaning that you won't be feeling cold and wet as you stop exercising, cool down or are exposed to the elements.

Examples of sweat wicking base layers include Merino Wool base layers and Polyester base layers.

Cotton base layers are not particularly sweat wicking or quick drying making them a poor option for outdoor sports. Cotton fibres just love to hold on to water!

(Video) ✅ TOP 5 Best Base Layers for Women [ 2022 Buying Guide ]

Stretch: We LOVE a bit of stretch in our fabric, not only does it make it super comfortable but also aids performance letting us stretch, bend or reach as far as our bodies will allow. As long as it isn't too clingy - we're looking for just the right balance of course!

The stretch in the fabric refers to its ability to stretch without breaking the fibres of the fabric, returning to its original length, some fabrics are more elastic than others.

Lycra®, Elastane, Spandex - what's the difference? Essentially they are all the same thing! Elastane for fabric use was invented in the 1950's, the American's liked to call it Spandex, and Lycra® wasthe original brand with a registered trademark.

You generally won't find a garment made entirely out of Elastane, but it is blended with other fabrics such as Polyester or Merino Wool to make base layers with stretch properties. Generally using 5-20% Elastane would give the fabric stretch properties.

Lastly Elastane is a man made polyurethane fibre, if it is added to a natural fibre such as Merino Wool these fibres can't be separated and so whilst the Merino Wool can biodegrade, the Elastane can't.If you are searching for an environmentally friendly base layer you may want to check whether the garment also contains some man made fibres. Some recycled Elastane is now available but with little existing infrastructure for recycling Elastane, there is a long way to go before reaching a truly circular economy here.

Lightweight: The best examples of lightweight base layers are usually made from Polyester or Merino Wool. Brands will also make women's base layers of different weighted fabric, this is measured in "GSM" or grams per metre squared, the higher the number, the thicker or heavier the fabric will be.

Some brands will classify their base layers as "lightweight" "midweight" or "heavyweight" Odlo and Icebreakerboth use similar classification systems to help you pick the right product. We'd suggest if you are being very active, and its warm picking a lightweight base layer and if you are doing a slower paced activity in cold weather picking a heavyweight base layer or warm base layer.

Natural Fibres:

  • Merino Wool -Merino wool is a natural fibre produced by Merino sheep and is great for making clothes because it is finer and softer than regular wool. This also makes it the perfect fabric to wear next to the skin, as a base layer. We've written a whole blog post on Women's Merino Wool base layers, so if you are keen to learn more check it out.
  • Cotton - This is grown from the Cotton plant and made into a textile fibre. Cotton is a natural fibre but can use a lot of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides in the growing process, so if avoiding these is important to you then you might want to look for Organic Cotton products. As discussed above Cotton wouldn't be our first choice of base layer but a great fabric for making into a t-shirt for throwing on after sport.
  • Bamboo - Bamboo fibres are made from extracting the cellulose from the Bamboo plant. Although its a natural fibre, it takes a lot of processing to make the final bamboo fabric and some of these processes can be harmful to both the environment and workers if a closed loop process, or care is not taken; so it is important to consider who is manufacturing your bamboo clothing. For similar reasons to Cotton Bamboo wouldn't be our first choice of base layer.

Eco-Friendly: We have ticked Merino Wool, Bamboo and Polyester as being eco-friendly in our infographic, however each of the above comes with caveats! As described in the last paragraph, whilst Bamboo is a natural fibre and will bio-degrade some of the manufacturing processes to arrive at the finished product can be extremely harmful to the environment, so choose your supplier carefully!

Merino Wool will also bio-degrade naturally however again we'd suggest you check your brand carefully and ensure that they are using Merino Wool frommuelsing free sources (Muelsing is the process of removing strips of wool bearing skin from the Sheep). For example Mons Royale (shown below).

The Ultimate Guide To Women's Base Layers (2)

Mons Royale Merino Wool Base Layer

(Video) Choose Your Base Layers Carefully (The Truth About Base Layer Marketing)

Perhaps surprisingly we have included Polyester as an eco-friendly fabric, you could probably argue both sides here but if you are going to buy a polyester base layer and you want to reduce your impact on the environment we suggest you go for a recycled polyester option. Brands are increasingly using recycled polyester rather than virgin polyester in their supply chains and consumers have the opportunity to demand a faster rate of change here. Recycled polyester fabric can easily be obtained from companies such as Repreve who repurpose recycled plastic bottles into polyester fibres using less water and energy than creating virgin polyester fibres.

The Ultimate Guide To Women's Base Layers (3)

Wrapping up our section on base layer fabrics, there is certainly a lot of choice! We'd suggest a Polyester or Merino Wool base layer for the ultimate performance,and the addition of some Spandex or Elastane will give it a little more stretch. If you have any questions please let us know at and we'll do our best to help!

Design features in Women's Base Layers

There are some great, simple base layer's on the market such as the women's long sleeved base layer from Mons Royale below. However, Mons Royale have really paid attention to the detail in this simple top with some design features we will explain below including flat-lock seams, thumb loops and a dropped tail.

We've also written a blog post on the season's most stylish Women's base layers too.

What are flat-lock seams?

Sections of fabric are usually joined together by overlapping and sewing two pieces of fabric together, however this creates extra fabric within the garment which can then rub as you move your body during exercise. Flat-lock seams create a flat join between two pieces of fabric by lying the two sections side by side and sewing the two raw edges together, leaving no spare fabric and making sport MUCH more comfortable!

The Ultimate Guide To Women's Base Layers (4)

Mons Royale Bella Tech Merino Base Layer

What are thumb loops?

The Marmite of ladies base layers! Love them or hate them? Let us know! Thumb loops are the addition of a thumb hole to a slightly longer length sleeve keeping your hands warmer if you are out in the cold. They can also help stop the sleeve riding up underneath another layer. Personally? We love them! As long as you find a brand that has paid attention to the size of the loop, a big loop or bulky fabric can make it quite uncomfortable. So choose your brand carefully (Mons Royale are a great choice here) and if you get tired of the loop just double back the sleeve!

What is a dropped tail?

If you are looking for a long base layer then consider one with a dropped tail, with slightly more fabric at the rear the base layer extends towards your bottom. This is a great design feature if you are skiing or snowboarding and want to tuck your top in to ensure you don't get snow down your ski pants when you take a fall! And we like it as a design feature too, giving the product a more relaxed look.

Hooded base layer

If you are looking for a hooded base layer then look no further than Eivy! Their original Icecold hooded base layer top is a great option. Eivy have designed their tops with skiers and snowboarders in mind and so the hoods fit sleekly under a helmet making them the ideal option if you don't want to wear asnowboard or ski balaclava. Some hooded tops can be a little bulky so this feature is worth considering carefully if you want to wear the hood under a helmet or down, and under a women's ski or snowboard jacket. Check out the Eivy Women's Ice Cold Leopard Print Base Layer Hooded Topbelow.

The Ultimate Guide To Women's Base Layers (5)

(Video) Backpacking Clothes (Underwear, Base Layers, Hiking Shirts/Pants, Mid Layers, Rainwear)

How to wear your base layer - the art of layering!

To maintain a constant body temperature, not too hot and not too cold a layering system is critical. Layers can be added or shed as needs be also trapping air in between the layers to help regulate temperature. This is such an important topic we are in the process of creating a guide just for layering. But we'll provide a shorter version here!

  • First Layer - this is your ladies thermal, base layer or underwear. Whatever you call it, next to your ski you will want it to be comfortable, sweat wicking and the right weight of fabric to keep you warm or cool as needed
  • Second Layer - this is your women's mid-layer, insulator or fleece. This is usually the layer that adds some warmth and so will be made of a warm and fleecy fabric, typically Polyester, Merino Wool and may contain some down or insulating material.
  • Outerwear - there are a huge range of outerwear options on the market, the outer layer is usually waterproof (although this can vary significantly from jacket to jacket) and potentially also contain some insulation. There are many different types of Outerwear from insulated two layer jackets to three layer (3L) jackets(also sometimes called "shell jackets")or rain jackets. Again, we will cover this in another guide as its a hugely important decision to make. With an insulated two layer jacket you may well not need a mid-layer however this will depend on how much insulation the jacket contains, and of course the weather!

Types of Base Layer

Women's Base Layer Tops

We have covered a few of the key features above, if you are looking for a women's ski base layer top then we we'd definitely suggest going with a long sleeved option and consider a heavier weight fabric if you are skiing in mid-Winter or colder days. We stock a great range of long sleeved tops from Eivy, Nikita and Mons Royale.

Another feature to consider is a zipped top. Floa, a new British brand who have brought a highly technical offering to market (including a backcountry collection) are worth checking out. Their Merino half zip baselayer is shown below.

The Ultimate Guide To Women's Base Layers (6)

Floa All Action Half Zip Merino Base Layer

If you are looking for a short sleeved vest top forHiking we love theFindra Isla Merino blend vest top which is lightweight and coupled with a fine mesh for extra ventilation. Findra are another British brand,founded by Scottish Fashion designer Alex Feechan. Check it out below.

The Ultimate Guide To Women's Base Layers (7)

Findra Women's Merino Isla Vest Top £38

Women's Base LayerLeggings

There are two main options for your bottom half, particularly if you are skiing or snowboarding. Either full length thermal leggings or a slightly shorter length,which is worth considering if you want a great fit with your ski or snowboard boot as it should finish slightly above the boot. Ski or snowboard brands have a whole range of different names for these slightly shorter pants, including 3/4 pants, 7/8 pants, Capri's or even "boot length!" Alternatively if you are looking for long thermal underwear then avoid these shorties! We've picked out two great choices below; thePatagoniaCapilene Thermal Weight Boot-Length Bottom and the Eivy Ladies Base Layer Leggings in Orchard. The Eivy leggings are longer length, but fit well under a boot thanks to the fabric which although is brushed and warm on the inside, is stretchy and well fitting to ensure it doesn't ride up in a ski or snowboard boot.

The Ultimate Guide To Women's Base Layers (8)

Patagonia Women's Capilene® Thermal Weight Boot-Length Bottoms

The Ultimate Guide To Women's Base Layers (9)

(Video) Top 5 Women's Base Layer Bottoms of 2021

Eivy Women's Thermal Leggings Orchard

Women'sSki All in One's or Ninja Suits

If you are looking for an all in one base layer then we have a couple of suggestions for you. Theawesome brand Airblaster, from Portland, Oregon has turned what may have been considered the grown up version of a baby grow into a super cool, technical Ninja suit base layer. Made from a blend of super-fine Merino and Tencel has everything from a "pony portal" (for the pony tail of course!) to an easy pee-zy 350 deg waistband zip.

Mons Royale also stock a Merino Wool all in one they call a "Monsie" we can't wait for their new collection to land!

The Ultimate Guide To Women's Base Layers (10)

Airblaster Women's Merino Ninja Suit

Women's Base Layer Underwear

Gone are the days of wearing cotton pants from M&S and any old bra for your action sports! There has never been more choice of technical underwear. We are currently stocking the Mons Royale Merino Wool Bra which with a cross back design is lightly supportive and allowing a range of motion. Made from a Merino Wool / Nylon / Elastane blend it has all the great benefits of Merino listed above but also a decent amount of stretch to make it super comfortable.

The Ultimate Guide To Women's Base Layers (11)


We also love the Tribesports Thong made from a premium performance soft Nylon / Elastane blend. This has a luxury feel and is sweat-wicking and anti-bacterial and perfect for all sports.

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Tribesports WomensThong Pink

And finally,

We've hope you've enjoyed our guide to women's base layers; if you think we have missed anything or would like to give us any feedbackwe'd love to hear from you We have two other blogs in our base layer series so if you would like to know more about these specific topics then check them out!

(Video) The Essential Guide to Motorcycle Base Layers

  • Women's Merino Base Layers
  • Women's Base Layer Brands
  • Stylish Women's Base Layers for Skiing and Snowboarding

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What's the best material for base layer? ›

Good base layers are made from synthetic, wool, silk, or bamboo fibers—more on each option below. Avoid cotton, which takes too long to dry and pulls heat away from the body, which will leave you cold and uncomfortable.

What is the difference between base layer and thermals? ›

Thermals aren't made to fully wick away moisture like a standard base layer does, but are intended to keep you warm. Base layers aren't meant to keep you warm, but instead to keep you dry and properly insulated with the assistance of more layers.

At what temperature should you wear base layers? ›

Generally, if you're confident you'll be in 60-degree weather or warmer, you can get away with a loose-fitting thermal. But if the temperature could drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, wear a tighter fitting base layer.

How do I choose my base layer weight? ›

You have three key considerations in choosing a base layer: Material matters: Fabric is your most important decision.
Underwear Weight
  1. Lightweight: Moderate to cool temps.
  2. Midweight: Cold temps.
  3. Heavyweight: Below-freezing temps.

How many base layers should you own? ›

Three layers of clothing will keep you dry and warm: a base layer for removing moisture, a mid-layer to keep you warm, and an outer layer to protect you from the elements.

Is merino better than cotton? ›

Next-to-Skin Comfort

A high-end merino shirt feels softer and lighter than cotton while outperforming it in warmth, moisture wicking, and temperature regulation. As a next-to-skin layer, merino wool is hard to beat.

Do base layers need to be skin tight? ›

A base layer should be tight fitting so it traps air next to the skin and insulates the body from the cold. It's best to buy base layer clothing in the size you normally wear as they are made slightly smaller with this in mind.

Do you wear something under a base layer? ›

Think of a base layer as an extra layer of skin. Light to wear and snug to fit, base layers help to keep you warm without overheating, and cool in hot weather when you're exerting yourself with activities like climbing or hiking. So, if you were to put a layer of clothing under a base layer, it won't work very well.

Which base layer is the best for cold weather? ›

Merino wool is soft, non-irritating wool that regulates body temperature no matter how freezing it gets outside. Hence, this common fabric stays a top choice as a base layer for cold weather. Also, it isn't a wrong choice for a warmer climate either. It is durable, naturally moisture-wicking, and dries slowly.

Do you wear undies under thermals? ›

Added Insulation and a Snug Fit

You may be worried that wearing briefs under your thermals would impair their intended function. But this is simply not the case. In fact, as multiple layers are the key to warmth, having one more can only add to the benefits, keeping you warm and snug in all the right places.

How can I wear layers without looking bulky? ›

How to Layer Without Looking Bulky This Winter
  1. Start With a Thin Layer. Layering clothes for cold weather begins with a quality thin base layer like a wool t-shirt, tank top or camisole to get started. ...
  2. Use Versatile Pieces. ...
  3. Mix & Match Colors. ...
  4. Accessorize. ...
  5. Test Out Your Look.
21 Nov 2021

How do you pick a base layer for winter? ›

How to Choose the Right Winter Base Layer
  1. Forget about cotton; only wool or technical synthetic fibers make a good base layer. ...
  2. Synthetic base layers are a great choice for vegans or for high-intensity activities which don't require as much thermal protection.
7 Nov 2021

What do you put over a base layer? ›

The base layer is the first layer you put on; this one goes right against your skin. The next layer is the mid layer (or insulating layer) which is typically either a fleece sweater or a puffy jacket. The final layer you put on is the outer layer (or shell), which is typically a waterproof, windproof jacket.

Which is warmer silk or merino wool? ›

Silk and wool are both equally warm. If anything merino wool is slightly warmer than silk. The reason why wool seems warmer is that it gets warmer at a slower rate. However, wool has poor moisture-wicking properties compared to silk.

Is silk a good base layer for cold weather? ›

Absolutely! Silk is an excellent base layer for fall and winter apparel. It's light enough to wear under anything, and it helps lock in your body heat to keep you warm but not overheated.

What are the 3 layers you need to maintain warmth? ›

What is the 3-layer principle?
  • Layer 1: Base Layer - Transportation. ...
  • Layer 2: Mid Layer - Insulation. ...
  • Layer 3: Outer Layer - Protection. ...
  • High intensity activities will generate body heat and sweat, so it's necessary to wear clothing that is breathable, moisture-wicking, and has good temperature regulation properties.
9 Jan 2019

What is the thinnest warmest material? ›

Our research found that the warmest material is wool, with thicker Icelandic wool being even better, and a wool-acrylic blend being somewhere in the middle. The warmest clothing for you will be dictated by the number of layers you can use, and the thickness of the materials you are wearing.

Can I wear leggings as base layer? ›

Can I use leggings as a base layer? If you're thinking about your bottom half, you can definitely wear leggings as a base layer since they are snug, but remember, they have to also be sweat-wicking to work.

What is a disadvantage of using merino wool? ›

Even though Merino is a fantastic temperature-managing fabric, it tends to be delicate. Much of the ultralight apparel (140 – 180 GSM) is especially weak since it is thin. And, with excessive use and over-washing, holes can sometimes form.

Is alpaca wool better than merino? ›

However, if you take a closer look at the physical characteristics of both fibers, you'll see why alpaca is the superior performance option. When compared to merino wool, alpaca is softer, stronger, warmer, and retains less water. It's also a more environmentally sustainable option when you look at the overall impact.

Is cashmere or merino better? ›

Cashmere is warmer and softer than merino, but less durable, making cashmere the preferred textile for casual wear, while merino is the preferred wool for activewear. Warmer: Cashmere can be seven to eight times warmer than merino wool. Softer: Cashmere has a higher loft, which makes it softer.

Should base layers be worn next to the skin? ›

A layer of sweat-wicking fabric next to your skin can help to keep you cool and dry when it's warm outside and many athletes - cyclists in particular - choose to wear a base layer in the summer months. They really come into their own in winter, though, helping your body to maintain heat when the temperature drops.

How are base layers supposed to fit? ›

How Should Base Layers Fit? When trying on a base layer you should ensure that it feels tight against your skin whilst still giving you the flexibility to move. Although base layers should fit tight against your skin, don't be tempted to buy a size smaller than your normal dress size (especially if buying online).

Are thermals base layers? ›

Thermal clothing (also called long underwear) are the base layers that you wear under your regular clothes. Thermals are great because they trap body heat better than your jeans or men's dress shirts when it's incredibly cold. The best thermal clothing also wicks sweat away to keep you from getting chilly.

Can you wear base layer under jeans? ›

So, yes, you can wear thermals under your jeans. It's also a good habit to get into. Winter can be long and usually cold. You might as well do your best to stay comfortable while keeping your denim style in full swing during the winter months.

Can you wear 2 base layers? ›

The answer is yes. Depending on your activity level and the weather conditions, the second layer of thermal pants for women is possible and not unheard of. While it may seem unheard of, wearing that second base layer may be suitable and even desirable in certain situations.

What is the warmest thermal base layer? ›

Merino Wool Base Layers

Merino wool is the most naturally warm of all base layer fabrics – which is why it is often the chosen material of thermal clothing. Merino wool regulates body temperature, keeping you nice and warm while preventing overheating – perfect when hiking.

What are the warmest thermals for extreme cold? ›

Warmest Thermal Underwear For Extreme Cold
  1. Thermajohn Men's Ultra Soft Thermal Underwear Long Johns – Best Thermal Underwear Lightweight Choice. ...
  2. Under Armour Men's HeatGear 2.0 Leggings. ...
  3. Thermajane Thermal Underwear for Women Ultra Soft Long Johns Set with Fleece Lined.
8 Jan 2022

What layer is the warmest? ›

The thermosphere is often considered the "hot layer" because it contains the warmest temperatures in the atmosphere. Temperature increases with height until the estimated top of the thermosphere at 500 km.

Should thermals be a size smaller? ›

Generally, the thumb rule is that you get thermals which are one size smaller than your loose fitted clothes.

Should you size down in thermals? ›

To ensure maximum effectiveness, base layers should be fitted and not loose. If there are gaps between the fabric and your skin, the cold is more likely to sneak in. Always go for your actual size in base layers as they are made slightly smaller than normal t-shirts to take into account the fitted styling.

Should thermals fit tight or loose? ›

For maximum insulation, thermals should fit close to the body and have no gaps around the waist, neck, or wrists. Overly tight thermals produce discomfort, but if thermals are too loose, you risk allowing cold air in through your layers. Loose thermals are appropriate for warmer conditions.

How do I look thinner in layers? ›

Dressing to look tall and slim is about layering properly (avoiding those bulky layers that widen you) and about color. Using color to elongate your body shape and keep your outfit distraction-free is key. Darker tones and black work very well to slim you out.

What body do you use with layered clothes? ›

Layered Clothing lets clothes fit on almost any kind of body, whether it be a fishman, a rock golem, or a human space explorer. The only requirements are that they be bipedal humanoids. You should model the character in a neutral and natural pose.

How do you wear oversized without looking frumpy? ›

You won't look frumpy leaving even the most oversized shirts or oversized sweaters untucked or unknotted. Plus, leaving it out helps cover the bum for a more modest look. What is this? Baggy shirts and sweaters can be worn with skinny jeans without tucking because the slim jeans balance the flowy top.

How many layers do you need for 0 degrees? ›

To dress for cold weather, you need three layers to work in concert for maximum warmth: Base layer: Your long underwear needs to keep your skin as dry as possible. Middle layer: Your fleece or puffy jacket needs to hang onto as much body heat as possible.

Should you wear wool as a base layer? ›

If you're looking for a great fabric for layering, merino wool is one of the best choices out there. Layering with wool has a number of advantages: It's lightweight and comfortable. Merino wool helps wick away moisture, so you won't end up cold and clammy when you break a sweat through your exertion.

What is the hunter's most important item of clothing? ›

The most important clothing choices are a daylight fluorescent orange hat and daylight fluorescent orange outerwear—a shirt, vest, or jacket. Daylight fluorescent orange clothing makes it easier for one hunter to spot and recognize another hunter because nothing in nature matches this color.

Can you wear too many layers in cold weather? ›

The more cold weather gear you layer on, the better to make sure you stay warm, right? No! Surprisingly, it's possible to wear too much insulated gear or too many layers, and it can actually put your health at risk.

How do you wash merino wool? ›

Machine-wash on gentle cycle in warm or cool water (avoid hot water as heat may shrink wool). Use mild soap, no bleach or fabric softener (bleach destroys the Merino wool fibers, and fabric softener coats those fibers—reducing their ability to naturally manage moisture and regulate body temperature).

What material is best for thermals? ›

The wool material is probably the most reliable material out there in the thermals category. The merino wool of natural quality delivers the maximum level of comfort. It also seamlessly balances moisture management and body heat protection. This material can fight against the 0 degrees C temperature.

Is wool The warmest base layer? ›

Wool - Wool tends to be more expensive than synthetic base layers, but it also has the best balance of heat efficiency, odor control, and moisture wicking capability. Because wool is so breathable, it's easier to regulate our body temperature during high-output activities.

What material are base layers? ›

Types of Base Layers

Synthetic fabrics and merino wool are the most common fabrics used for base layers. Cotton is unsuitable for a technical base layer as the fabric soaks up moisture and draws heat away from the body leaving the wearer cold and uncomfortable.

What do you use for base layer? ›

Generally speaking, most base layers are made from synthetic materials, such as polyester or a polyester mix, or even wool such as Merino. Although, base layers made from wool mixes are also available. All of these are very effective at helping to moderate your body temperature and keep you comfortable.

Which base layer type of material is best for cold weather running? ›

To help pull sweat away from your skin, start with a base layer made of a breathable, quick-drying fabric (we have several good options in our thermal underwear guide). Merino wool, polyester, nylon, and Lycra work well. Cotton does not, since the material absorbs moisture but doesn't wick it away.

Are Merino base layers better? ›

Next to skin comfort

Because Merino wool fibres are so fine, they are softer than standard wool and itch-free for all but the most sensitive of skin. It's hard to explain why, but Merino wool base layers also feel much nicer to wear than man-made fabrics.

Are Merino base layers worth it? ›

Merino wool base layers are more of a performance statement, and if you're going to be in cold weather, they're totally worth it. With proper care, merino wool layers can last a long time. For sustainably, warmth, and durability, I've found merino wool base layers and clothing to be worth it.

Are base layers worth it? ›

'Sweat accumulating on your skin needs to be removed – by wicking – to help keep you comfortable and regulate your body temperature. I'd recommend wearing a base layer in all weathers.

Should thermals be the first layer? ›

FIRST LAYER –Is your thermal layer, which is worn against your skin. You will find them in 3 different forms. The best fabric used for Thermals is Wool, predominately Merino. Wool helps to keep the body warm by locking body heat in.

Can you wear base layer by itself? ›

Yes: Base Layers Are Made to Be Worn by Themselves

Base layers are made to be worn by themselves. They are designed to keep you warm and dry while active, so there's no need to layer them with anything else. A good base layer should fit snugly and not bunch up when moving.

What is the best material for all around warmth? ›

What are the warmest clothing materials? Our research found that the warmest material is wool, with thicker Icelandic wool being even better, and a wool-acrylic blend being somewhere in the middle.

Which fabric is best for extreme winter? ›

Best Fabrics To Wear in Winter
  • Wool. One of the most popular natural materials for winter clothing, wool will keep you warm in the coldest of weather. ...
  • Silk. Silk is another natural material that can help you stay warm in the cold. ...
  • Down. ...
  • Polyester. ...
  • Nylon. ...
  • Polypropylene. ...
  • Gore-Tex. ...
  • Synthetic Blends.
11 Jun 2021


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Hobby: Paintball, Calligraphy, Hunting, Flying disc, Lapidary, Rafting, Inline skating

Introduction: My name is Trent Wehner, I am a talented, brainy, zealous, light, funny, gleaming, attractive person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.