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Best for , , , cycling

Best for , , , cycling

Whether you're going walking, hiking, running or cycling, what you wear against your skin makes all the difference when trying to keep warm.

A base layer is the layer you wear next to your skin and what keeps you warm and soaks up your sweat. It traps hot air next to your skin, a good base layer should also be breathable enough to remove sweat from your skin.

Base layers are made out of two main materials:

  • merino wool  that comes from Australia and New Zealand's merino sheep  Merino wool retains heat and is breathable so allows sweat to escape, and owing to it's naturally antibacterial it can be worn for several days without needing to be washed.
  • synthetic base layer, these use various polyester blends that are also breathable.

In practice, many base layers use a mix of merino and synthetics.

When looking for base layers to keep you warm when it's the cold, remember that you are still likely to sweat, it's very likely that even the finest merino wool won't be able to remove (wick) all the sweat away from your skin. So it's a good idea to allow for easy ventilation such as a zipped front that can be easily pulled down to let in cool air. Base layers are available for lower and upper body.

Here are a few examples of base layers:

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