Base Layers For Hiking

MERIWOOL Womens Base Layer 100% Merino Wool Midweight Long Sleeve Thermal Shirt Charcoal Gray

MERIWOOL Womens Base Layer 100% Merino Wool Midweight Long Sleeve Thermal Shirt Charcoal Gray

MERIWOOL Mens Base Layer 100% Merino Wool Thermal Pants Black

MERIWOOL Mens Base Layer 100% Merino Wool Thermal Pants Black

MEETYOO mens Sport Long Johns Base Layer Set, Black, Large US

How To Choose The Best Base Layers For Hiking

What Is The Purpose Of Base Layers For Hiking?

Base layers are essential gear for outdoor enthusiasts who hike, climb, backpack, ski, snowboard, kayak, canoe, raft, etc. In other words, anyone who spends significant amounts of time outdoors needs a good pair of base layers.

The Basics

Base layers are designed to be worn underneath clothing so that you stay warm while still being able to breathe freely. Most base layers consist of two main components - fleece and polyester/cotton blend fabric. Fleece is lightweight, breathable material that traps air between its fibers which makes it great insulating material. Polyester/Cotton blends provide stretch and durability.

How To Choose A Pair Of Base Layer Clothing

There are three types of base layers available today - synthetic, cotton, and wool. Synthetic base layers are typically lighter weight and more durable than cotton or wool base layers. Cotton base layers are warmer because they trap more heat than synthetics. Wool base layers are heavier and thicker than either cotton or synthetics. All three materials perform differently depending on temperature and activity level. If you're planning on spending lots of time outside during cold weather months, choose a synthetic base layer with added insulation. If you plan on doing most of your activities inside, go with a cotton-based base layer. If you plan on going backpacking, climbing, skiing, or snowboarding, choose a wool based base layer.

Where Do You Find Them?

Most major sporting goods stores carry base layers. However, there are many online retailers that sell high quality base layers at affordable prices.

Are There Any Benefits To Buying Online?

Buying online has several benefits including convenience and price savings. Price saving comes in the form of lower overhead costs associated with retailing products.

Which Type Of Base Layer Is Best For Me?

It depends on where you live and what type of activities you enjoy. If you live in a very cold climate, you might prefer a heavy wool base layer. If you live somewhere milder, you might prefer a light cotton base layer. Regardless of location, you'll probably benefit from wearing multiple pairs of base layers throughout the season.

What Are My Options With Multiple Pairs Of Base Layers?

Depending on the number of pairs of base layers you purchase, you could end up with quite a few different combinations.

Base layers are essential pieces of clothing for hikers who plan on spending long hours outdoors. While many casual hikers think nothing more than a t-shirt and shorts are necessary, there are several other important factors to take into consideration before heading out on a hike. If you're planning on going on a multi day backpacking trip, you'll want to invest in high quality base layers. There are three main reasons why these types of garments are so vital to your success while hiking.

While most casual hikers might be able to survive with only a light jacket and short sleeves, those who venture further away from civilization will quickly discover that temperatures drop significantly during the night. In order to stay warm, you'll need something between your skin and outerwear that insulates you from the cold air around you. Most base layers consist of two separate fabrics; an inner liner and an outer shell. Both of these layers must be worn together in order to provide adequate insulation. The best way to ensure that you remain comfortable throughout your entire hike is by wearing multiple pairs of base layers. As soon as you start feeling chilly, simply remove the top layer and put on another pair underneath. This process will allow you to continue enjoying the great weather while still staying warm.

Features To Look For When Buying Base Layers For Hiking

Base layers are essential gear for anyone who hikes or spends lots of time outdoors. The right pair of base layers can be worn underneath other clothing to provide insulation and warmth. If you're planning on spending long hours outside, you'll want to invest in quality base layers. Here are some features to look for when shopping for base layers.


The best base layers will insulate you well while still being breathable enough so sweat doesn't build up inside the fabric. Insulating materials trap heat close to your skin, which prevents cold air from entering your body. Breathability is important because sweating builds up moisture inside your clothes. Moisture causes friction between your skin and the material, which leads to chaffing. Chafing makes you uncomfortable and can lead to blisters.

Moisture Wicking

Wool fabrics are great for absorbing sweat and preventing it from building up. Cotton tends to hold onto more water than wool does. Wool is naturally anti-microbial, meaning it kills bacteria and viruses that cause odor. Synthetic fibers aren't very effective at wicking away moisture, making synthetic base layers stinkier than cotton ones.


Most base layers are waterproof, but there are exceptions. Some manufacturers claim their products are waterproof, but only apply a thin coating to the outermost part of the garment. That leaves the inner parts unprotected. Waterproof garments are designed with a special membrane that traps liquid within the fabric. This membrane works by creating tiny pores that allow vapor to pass through, but block liquids from passing through. If these pores become clogged, however, the garment becomes useless. Make sure the label says waterproof rather than breathable.


Base layers must withstand repeated washing and drying cycles. Most base layers are machine washable, although some require dry cleaning. Machine washing removes dirt and stains, but it isn't always gentle enough to remove oils and lotions. Dry cleaning uses chemicals to break down oil and grease buildup. Both methods leave behind residue that could affect the performance of the next load of laundry. Be wary of labels that say "dry clean only, " since most machines can handle both wet and dry cleaning.

Different Types of Base Layers For Hiking

Base layers are essential gear for outdoor enthusiasts who hike, climb, ski, snowboard, skateboard, surf, bike, run, paddle board, kayak, raft, camp, fish, hunt, etc. The right type of base layer will provide comfort and warmth while protecting you from the elements. There are many different styles of base layers available today. Each style has its pros and cons depending on the activity you plan on doing. Below we discuss the most common types of base layers and which ones are best suited for each activity.


The main function of base layers is to keep you warm during cold weather activities. Most base layers are designed with insulation built into the fabric so you stay warmer longer. Some base layers are more breathable than others. Breathability refers to how well air moves through the clothing. If you're going to be spending long periods outdoors, choose a base layer that offers good breathability because you'll sweat more and need to ventilate more frequently. Look for fabrics that allow moisture vapor to escape freely. Moisture vapor is water vapour that comes out of our skin due to heat loss. Water vapour is very important to us since it prevents bacteria growth and reduces odours. Without proper ventilation, bacteria could grow and cause infections. In addition, moisture vapour helps regulate body temperature by allowing perspiration to evaporate faster. So, if you're planning on being outside for hours, choose a base layer that breathes well.


Another key factor to consider when choosing a base layer is waterproofness. That means they are suitable for temperatures below freezing. However, if you plan on using these layers in colder climates, you might want to invest in a few additional pieces of outerwear. Remember, there is no point wearing a jacket/sweater inside another jacket/sweater. Also, remember that rain does not equal snow! Rainwater doesn't freeze as quickly as snowfall. Therefore, if you plan on heading out in wet conditions, you might want to opt for a base layer that is rated down to 40 F. This way, you'll still be able to enjoy the benefits of a base layer while staying dry.

Moisture Management

Moisture management refers to how effectively the material wicks away moisture. Wicking refers to the ability of the fabric to pull moisture away from your skin. The higher the rating, the greater the wick effect. Generally speaking, the lower the rating, the better the moisture management. But, there are exceptions. For example, cotton tends to absorb moisture rather than manage it. Cotton is great for summertime activities where you'll likely be sweating profusely. However, cotton isn't the best choice for winter sports where you'll typically experience drier conditions. Choose a base layer that has a high moisture-wicking rating. Avoid synthetic materials such as polyester, nylon, acrylic, spandex, and lycra. Synthetic fibers trap moisture next to the skin causing chafing. Chafing occurs when friction causes irritation between two surfaces. This leads to blisters and sores.

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