Base layers are essential clothing for your outdoor wardrobe because they primarily help wick moisture and keep you dry during physical activity. Thermal underlays are made from synthetic fibers, merino wool, or a mixture of both. You will find different thicknesses in these different layers which will vary depending on the activity you do and the temperature. The thickness will mainly influence the heat index as well as the weight. We will do the range of different layers that you can find in store.
Synthetic fiber base layers:
- This type of clothing is mainly made of polyester or polypropylene. Their advantages? They do not accumulate moisture, so dry very quickly which helps you stay dry. They are also extensible, guaranteeing you excellent freedom of movement. Clothing is often treated with an antimicrobial odor treatment as it tends to store odor over time. This treatment disappears after a certain number of washes. You can then buy a specialized soap with which you will neutralize odors in synthetic fiber clothing. Plus, companies outfit these basecoats with an SPF + treatment for extra UV protection, which can come in handy if you're in the mountains exposed to the sun. Synthetic fibers are also more affordable and durable than merino wool. We mainly use them in high intensity activities since they wick moisture away effectively.
The basic merino wool layers:
Merino wool is a natural fiber that comes from a sheep living primarily in New Zealand, the Merino sheep. This very fine and versatile type of wool is extremely comfortable.
- It does not sting thanks to its fine weave.
- It does not store odors since wool is naturally anti-fungal.
- It has thermoregulatory properties, to adapt to your body heat.
In addition, when the wool is wet and soaked in water, it is still able to retain some heat. You will find merino wool in different thicknesses, the thicker the weave the warmer the base layer will be.
The synthetic and merino blend:
The best of both worlds ! You have all the advantages of merino wool and those of synthetic fibers. You will have a base layer combining the versatility of wool and the durability of synthetic. So you can use it in the majority of your outdoor adventures. You will find different ratios in terms of the percentages of wool used. The higher the percentage of wool, the warmer it will be.
The layer closest to your body will have a huge influence on the efficiency of your multilayer system. Synthetic, merino or hybrid fibers remain the best fibers to recommend to ensure you stay dry and therefore warm. You can have the warmest coat in the whole world, if your first layer is cotton and you sweat a little, you will definitely be cold. In the mountains, humidity is our worst enemy. By choosing your thermal layers wisely, you will be able to fully enjoy nature! You will find in store and online a large selection of base layers from brands such as Smartwool, Ibex, Brubeck and without forgetting our indestructible Wigwam stockings.
If you want more information on thermal layers, come and meet us in store, we will be happy to advise you.