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Base Layer Basics

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A base layer is a thin layer of fabric that has one or two job to do as a piece of clothing.  The first and most important is to wick.  Wicking away your sweat or built up moisture helps with your body temperature control and keeps you warmer in the cold weather or colder in the hot weather.

Defeet UnD Shirt
Defeet UnD Shirt

My personal favorite is the DeFeet UnD for around $30.

The next reason for a base layer is for thermal reasons.  Keeping your core warm and allowing your energy to be used in other ways.  Most the thermals I prefer have long sleeve vs short or sleeveless, some have the little thumb hole to keep it in place on your arm but make sure that the sleeves are long enough and the base layer snug enough to go under your sports bra.

Craft proZero Base Layer
Craft proZero Base Layer

My favorite in this class is the Craft proZero for around $55

Some tips for base layers :

  • If possible, wear the base layer under your sports bra, it normally does a better job of wicking than the bra
  • Do NOT dry your base layers.  Many manufactures say you can, but any type of dryer sheets will clog the pores in your fabric that do the wicking.  Even if you don’t have a dryer sheet in your dryer, the 100 wash cycles you did prior are most likely on your dryer walls still.
  • Make sure your detergent doesn’t have Downy or fabric softener in it. Why? See above.
  • Wool is another great option for base layers, and the two I listed above have wool options.  It smells less too!
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  1. 5 Nov ’09 at 8:26 am — Reply

    Thanks for doing this! This will be my first winter car-free and it’s good to have a little direction.

  2. 5 Nov ’09 at 11:19 am — Reply

    I’m going to try a base layer this year. I felt it was the one element missing from my gear last winter. I’d stay mostly warm, but my stomach area was always cold when I got done riding. Just needed that little bit extra…

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