The primary function of base layers, (aka “long johns” or long underwear) is to move or “wick” moisture off your skin and move it to the surface of the fabric where it can evaporate. If your base layer holds moisture, you’ll quickly start to feel cold when you stop moving, or slow down.
Natural or Synthetic?
One of the great base layer debates is fabric; polyester or merino wool?
Synthetic fibres, such as polyester absorb very little water and therefore are quick to dry. They usually have good stretch, are easy to care for and can last a very long time. The major drawback is that synthetic fibres tend to hold odour.
Merino wool can hold up to 35% of its weight in moisture and remains dry to the touch as the moisture is drawn into the fibre, which also still insulates you even when wet. It is much more breathable than a synthetic piece, is warmer (when comparing equal weights) and is naturally odour resistant. The drawback is a slower dry time, and generally is more expensive.
Icebreaker offers perhaps the greatest variety of Merino Wool base layers in the outdoor industry. The warmth of their garments is based on grams per meter squared with 150-190 being considered ultralight, 200 as lightweight and 260 as mid-weight. To avoid sweating, 200 weight is usually sufficient for active winter sports such as snowshoeing, cross country skiing and alpinism. 260 weight is better suited to less aerobic winter sports such as downhill skiing.
We carry a good selection of colours, styles and weights for men & women, be sure to come in to check out our collection!
Kuhl is perhaps best knows for their durable, rugged great fitting pants for men. We’re pleased that they have released a baselayer program now! For those of you who don’t or can’t wear Merino, we have a great option for you. 100% polyester, these baselayers fit close to the body, are very soft and will do a great job of wicking moisture away from your body as you work up a sweat skiing or snowshoeing this winter!
We are carrying three styles for men, and two for ladies, come on it and see it for yourself!
For girls, by girls…and colour! You will not find solid black baselayers by Kari Traa. A relatively young company (2002) Kari, an Olympic skier from Norway was designing and knitting her own ski wear. She now has a full line of clothing for the active women. We have a small collection in the shop now, including two different base layer options; Svala a lightweight DriRelease blend of wool and polyester that will wick moisture for your high activity sports and Rose, a 100% merino very soft and warm next to skin layer perfect for chilly days outside. You will also find a few mid layer pieces in our collection. We’re hoping you love Kari Traa as much as we do, and we can continue to increase our offerings with each season!