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Our Guide to Buying: Base Layers

Why are base layers so important?


In a nutshell

Without a decent base layer, the fabrics of your outer layer are unable to work properly so it is really important that your next-to-skin layer is spot on. With a wide range from brands such as Gore, Helly Hansen and Craft you will be able to find one for your every need. Base layers are absolutely indispensable and it is well worth having a selection for different temperatures and weather conditions.

Why do I need a base layer for cycling?

Wearing the correct base layer next to your skin is the key to staying comfortable on your bike. Plus, many base layers use technical materials that reduce bacterial growth, helping to cut down on any nasty niffs that might develop when you are working hard.

How do base layers work in the summer?

Short sleeve and sleeveless summer vests are lightweight and highly breathable, wicking sweat away from your skin to ensure you stay dry and cool. Even in very hot weather, when it feels counter intuitive to be wearing an extra layer, a good mesh base or string vest will help carry your sweat to the surface allowing it to evaporate more easily thus cooling you down.

Why are base layers so important in the winter?

Winter base layers offer an extra layer of insulation and protection from the wind. They help to keep your body heat in whilst wicking away any perspiration so your skin feels dry and you are less likely to feel a chill. Long sleeve winter base layers feature thermal fabrics, such as merino wool and windproof panels, to protect your chest.

How do I properly fit a base layer?

Make sure your base layer is as tight fitting as possible, it should feel snug all over, as it needs to be in contact with your skin to work effectively. A base layer also offers protection from grazes and gravel rash if the worst should happen as your outer layer will slide over your base layer, thus reducing friction to your skin.