How a Warm Base Layer Can Make All the Difference

How a Warm Base Layer Can Make All the Difference

It's probably safe to say that we all know that layering is the key to staying warm during the coldest times of the year. From wind to rain to snow to sunshine, having the right layers on makes all the difference for your time outdoors. But how can you know you're layering properly for your climate? If you've ever invested in a heavy winter coat only to find yourself shivering and frigid after minimal time outside, you've probably realized that the key to winter layering is a warm base layer. Even the best weatherproof winter outerwear will not be enough to keep you warm on the coldest days if you don't have a solid base layer underneath. If spending time outdoors this winter season feels daunting to you, read on! We'll walk you through what's arguably the most important step in gearing up for winter fun—finding a warm base layer!

What Exactly Is a Base Layer?

A base layer is the layer of clothing that you put on first (usually on top of your bra and/or underwear). It's the layer worn closest to your skin which means it can help trap important body heat when you are outside in freezing temperatures. Good base layers are meant to keep heat in and close to the body, while also wicking sweat away from your skin. If you plan on being outdoors and being physically active, a good base layer specifically designed to wick moisture is recommended. This keeps you warm and dry. Staying dry is crucial to staying warm in the winter.

Base layers can be known as thermals, long underwear, or long johns. Depending on the activities planned for your day and the weather, a good base layer could be as simple as wearing yoga pants under your jeans to run errands, or wearing multiple layers of tights under your skirt to work.

Do I Really Need a Base Layer?

If you plan on being outside in freezing temperatures, you absolutely need a good base layer. This provides warm insulation while keeping you dry and snug. Make sure to invest in some good women’s long underwear that fit nice and close to the skin so you stay insulated and comfortable throughout the day. Even if your winter plans don't involve time outdoors, it's still a good idea to invest in basic base layers for every day layering.

Does It Matter What Kind of Fabric I Get for My Base Layer?

Yes! If your plans involve being outside or engaging in any sort of physical activity, cotton is not recommended. Cotton will absorb moisture like sweat and result in a cold, damp base layer! This defeats the purpose of a base layer. For these situations, it's best to opt for a warm, sturdy option like merino wool. Merino wool is natural, antimicrobial and moisture-wicking, and it stays warm and insulating even when damp.

Good thermal base layers also come in other natural fibers like silk and bamboo. A merino wool base layer is ideal if you are spending hours outside in sub-freezing temperatures. Silk and bamboo are slightly more breathable and thinner, making them great options for nearly every other layering scenario. Silk and bamboo are also great options for sweaty outdoor activities because they can prevent you from overheating. These types of materials tend to cost more, however. If these natural layers are out of your price range, a synthetic microfiber is a great moisture-wicking option for a base layer.

So I’ve Got My Base Layer—Now What?

Now it's time to layer! For example, you can easily layer a women’s fleece jacket on top of your thermal shirt. Layer insulated, weatherproof pants over your base layer thermal bottoms. Add a vest and your ski jacket and you are ready for nearly any winter wonderland weather!

Even if you're not working or playing outdoors in the snow, you still might need a good base layer to keep you warm. Your women’s winter parka can do its job keeping you warm and dry on your walk to the bus stop if you have a warm base layer underneath it. Invest in some good thermals, layer up and enjoy your time outs


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