When preparing for a cold weather adventure, it’s important to make sure your body is protected and ready for anything. The weather on a mountain can be unpredictable and change extremely fast. If you're not dressed appropriately, you could end up in a dangerous situation that may even be fatal. Wearing multiple layers is the best way to ensure that you will stay dry, warm, and safe from any harsh conditions. Layering will allow you to remove and add clothing based on how active you or the weather may be. It’s really no joke, always prepare for the coldest and most intense weather. You can always take a layer off but if you don’t have it at all, well… game over.
The very first layer is known as the base layer, a.k.a. long johns, or long underwear. The base layer is basically an extra layer of skin designed to help evaporate perspiration, keep your body heat in, and hopefully eliminate any chafing. Base layer tops are available in both t-shirt and long sleeve styles, while base layer pants are available in typical long-pant styles as well as short-length bottoms which work wonders if you don’t want them to interfere with your snowboard socks. A few brands, like Airblaster Base Layers, offer a stylish one piece that comes with a functional pee flap for men and women.
Since the base layer is so intimate with your body, it needs to be gentle, warm, dry, and resistant to bacteria. When snowboarding or skiing, you are most likely going to work up a sweat. It is the base layer’s job to push this moisture away from your body and evaporate it quickly. In order to combine all of these functions implement a lot of technology into fabrics.
Your everyday cotton sweat pants may not be the best solution for a base layer. Even though cotton is incredibly comfortable when dry, it retains moisture when sweating, which can lead to chafing, extra weight, and may make it difficult for your body to regulate its temperature. In extreme cases, wet clothing may contribute to Hypothermia. Wool, silk, and synthetics like polyester are the way to go.
Wool is wonderful because it naturally wicks moisture. It’s also on the thicker side, which makes it best for cold and extreme temperatures. Silk is another natural material used in base layers. Silk is used in lightweight pieces providing a soft, strong, and moisture-wicking material. The majority of modern day base layers are going to be made of synthetics that combine the best of everything.
Synthetic base layers are designed to be great at wicking moisture, staying soft on your skin, and keeping your body temp right where you need it. On top of that, many synthetics are treated with anti-bacterial properties. This will come in handy during long adventures, or simply for those days you forget to do the laundry. Synthetic base layers are also available in different thicknesses usually categorized by light weight, mid weight, and heavy weight. Choose your base layer according to the conditions ahead of you.