7 best base layers for cold weather
Base layers, or mid layers as someplace to layer under a shell, are the lifeline of winter sports. Without a warm base layer, your body will suffer. Wearing too many layers without a base layer will also have adverse effects. Finding the suitable base layer requires finding something protective, breathable, and good-looking.
1. Merino Wool Base Layers
Merino wool base layers are designed for comfort, with soft, breathable fabrics and stretchy construction that provides freedom of movement. They're ideal for skiing, hiking, and other outdoor activities in cold weather.
Merino wool is naturally insulating, drawing moisture away from the skin, and dries quickly to keep you warm and dry. It's also highly breathable, which means it doesn't trap moisture like synthetic fabrics. The result is that it keeps you warm while still allowing moisture to evaporate. Merino wool base layers also offer superior odor resistance compared to other synthetic ones.
The downside to merino wool is that it tends to be expensive compared to synthetic options. You'll also want to be careful about washing your merino base layers - they should only be washed in cold water and hung dry after each wear (or at least air-dried).
2. Thermal Leggings
Thermal leggings are an excellent option for cold weather. The best thermal leggings will keep you warm and comfortable to wear all day. The best thermal leggings will also be made of high-quality materials so that they can be worn for years. Thermal leggings are designed to be worn under another pair of pants or jeans to keep your legs extra warm in the winter months. They are usually made from cotton or wool, which both work well at keeping body heat trapped inside them.
In addition to being made of natural fibers, thermal leggings have several other features that make them stand out among other types of base-layer clothing:
- They are often offered in many different colors and patterns, so you can find something that matches your style.
- They typically have a high-rise waistband below the belly button for added comfort and warmth. This also helps prevent your clothing from riding up during physical activity such as running or cycling.
- Most thermal leggings have an elastic band around the waistband that makes them easy to pull over your head without removing any other layers first.
3. Polyester/Cotton Blend Base Layers
Cotton is the standard material for base layers, but it's not the best choice for cold environments. It absorbs moisture and doesn't dry as quickly as synthetic materials like polyester or wool.
As a result, cotton can hold onto sweat, making you feel colder than you would in an identical garment made of another material. The higher the percentage of cotton in a garment, the more likely it will feel clammy when you're active. If you've ever worn 100% cotton underwear on a day when it was cold enough to be wearing long underwear, then you know what I'm talking about!
So why bother with cotton at all? Because it's cheap and comfortable! Cotton is also soft against your skin and breathes well when it's warm. And while plenty of synthetic materials breathe well, too, they're usually expensive compared to plain old cotton t-shirts or boxer briefs.
4. Compression Shirts and Leggings
Compression shirts and leggings are ideal base layers for cold weather because they wick away moisture and keep you warm. They're made of synthetic materials designed to trap body heat and move sweat away from your skin. These fabrics also have other benefits, including.
- They're highly breathable, allowing excess heat buildup in your body to escape. This is especially important for people who work out regularly or spend time outdoors in cold weather.
- They're very lightweight and thin, so that they won't bulk up under outerwear like winter jackets or ski jackets.
- They come in many styles, including long-sleeve tops, short-sleeve tops, leggings, and shorts. Some compression garments have built-in cooling technology, such as moisture-wicking fabric with ventilation panels that help cool down your skin during exercise.
5. Long Underwear
Long underwear is a type of base layer that is designed to be worn underneath other clothing. This base layer is suitable for cold weather and provides warmth, comfort, and protection from the elements. Long underwear was initially designed for use by mountain climbers, but it has since become popular with outdoor enthusiasts, workers, and sportspeople of all types.
Long underwear comes in two main styles: leggings or shorts. Leggings are made from thick material that extends down over your ankles, while long underwear shorts are cut above the knee and feature a looser fit than leggings. Both styles are made from soft materials that are comfortable against your skin while providing warmth and protection from moisture buildup during physical activity.
The most common materials for making long underwear include wool, polyester, and cotton blends. Wool offers excellent insulation properties but can be bulky and heavy due to its thickness. Polyester blends offer superior durability compared to wool. Still, they tend to retain more moisture than other fabrics when worn next to the skin for extended periods because they do not breathe well enough for active use in cold environments where perspiration occurs quickly due to physical exertion. Cotton blends offer good breathability at an affordable price but tend to wear out quickly.
6. Fleece Hoodies
Fleece hoodies are the best base layer for cold weather. They are warm and comfortable but also lightweight and breathable.
Fleece is a type of synthetic fabric made from polyester or cotton, resulting in a soft, fuzzy texture. Fleece is often used in jackets, coats, hats, and other clothing items that need to be comfortable and functional.
The material is also popular because it can be washed and dried quickly without shrinking or wrinkling. Many fleece products are machine washable on a gentle cycle with cool water and air drying. This makes them easy to care for when traveling or camping.
Fleece hoodies come in many different colors and styles, but they all have one thing in common: They're warm! They can be worn under other layers for added warmth or worn alone as outerwear during milder temperatures.
7. Crew-Neck Undershirts
Crew-neck undershirts are a staple of the wardrobe for women. These undershirts are designed to be worn under your clothes, so they're generally longer than other styles. They can be made from cotton, polyester, or another synthetic fabric and are available in various colors and patterns. The crew-neck style is popular because it can fit under just about any garment. They're beneficial for layering under V-neck sweaters or button-downs with an open collar. The crew neck will help to hide the shirt underneath it, creating a more polished look than if you were wearing just a plain white shirt underneath your outerwear.
Crew-neck undershirts are also ideal for wearing dress shirts and blazers, especially in professional settings where you want to appear as professional as possible. While there may be some days when you only wear one layer on top (such as in warmer weather), having a few extra layers underneath your outerwear can make all the difference when temperatures drop unexpectedly during winter.
Wearing base layers in cold weather can not only be a source of incredible comfort but can increase your overall endurance during physical activity. The best base layers for cold weather are designed to wick moisture away from the body and keep you dry and comfortable when temperatures drop.