A Lesson on Baselayers

As fall ushers in the breezy temps and I dust off a heftier sleeping bag, I am finding myself grabbing baselayers again. Just what are you looking for in a good base layer?

- Warmth
The main reason you wear a baselayer is to add warmth. So, it must contain a synthetic or wool combination if it is going to keep you snug. On the other side, a quality layering piece also wicks well, ensuring that perspiration does not come back to haunt you as you cool down. Today's baselayers are good looking enough to wear alone once the day warms up, keeping you cool and dry once the cold weather has passed, or enabling you to enjoy a microbrew when the day is done.

- Comfort
A baselayer can be terribly irritating if tags or seams rub you the wrong way, or if the fabric feels abrasive in any way. A versatile baselayer should be easy to forget you are wearing it. If you think that a merino wool baselayer would be scratchy against your skin, think again. Today's merino wool is soft as can be, and does not make you itch like your decade old big sweater that mom knit you.

- Versatility
I tend to use my synthetic baselayers when I am likely to get hot or sweat, like heading up The North Slope for a trail run in Pisgah. I grab my wool baselayers for blustery days climbing at Rumbling Bald or the Obed, when I am really looking for extra warmth. Realistically, both types of baselayers serve well in both conditions. But with synthetics, I never bat an eye to wash them repeatedly. Natural fiber wools may show their age quicker if you toss them in the washer and dryer. But, all good baselayers dry quickly, so you will do fine to skip the dryer. Plus, I often forget to treat my wool layers differently, and so far so good going in both cycles!

In short, baselayers are great for running, climbing, skiing, backpacking, iceclimbing, camping, treeclimbing, paddling, biking, traveling, bouldering, tailgating....well, you get the picture!

Get your gear at Looking Glass Outfitters!
Serving outdoor enthusiasts of Brevard and beyond since 1985

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