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Base layers and underwear

Base layers: unsung heroes of the outdoors

Technical base layers and underwear are the foundation of any outdoor layering system. Whether you’re hitting the slopes, exploring local trails or tackling a first ascent, these key pieces move moisture away from your skin to keep you warm and comfortable all day long.

To choose base layers, start by thinking about the temperature and your activity level. If you wear sports bras, also consider the amount of support you’ll need for higher-impact activities like running compared to lower-impact pursuits like hiking or stretching.

Merino wool vs. synthetic base layers

Merino wool base layers are soft, breathable and naturally antimicrobial. They’re ideal for activities like camping trips, leisurely hikes and downhill skiing. Synthetic base layers are made from high-performance polyester or polypropylene. Lightweight and quick-drying, they’re also usually more durable and budget-friendly than merino wool. Synthetic base layers shine during high-output activities like trail running, cross-country skiing and mountain biking. Merino-blend base layers offer the best of both worlds, with the durability of synthetic fabrics and the temperature-regulating qualities of wool.

Top your base layers with an insulating mid-layer and a weather-blocking outer layer to handle whatever your day has in store.