As the name suggests, this layer is worn next to the skin. It’s main purpose is to regulate your body temperature. A good base layer works to aid your body’s natural processes, like sweating, to have maximum effect.
If sweat is held trapped against the skin as soon as your level of physical exertion drops you will quickly become cold. That’s why cotton is best avoided for outdoor activities as it holds on to moisture and doesn’t move/wick it away from the skin.
Synthetic materials like Polyester and Polypropylene are excellent at moving moisture away from the skin, helping it to evaporate. For high energy activities, like running, quick drying materials are perfect and function well in hot and cold conditions.
However wool has properties that make it highly effective across a range of temperatures and a popular choice for activities, such as, hiking and skiing. Merino wool, in particular, is non-itchy, wicks well, has insulating properties and doesn’t hold on to body odour like synthetics.
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