What is a Base Layer and What Does it Do?

If you ski or snowboard (or do just about anything in the cold outdoors) you will likely have been roped into a discussion about baselayers, and how they keep you warm. But choosing the best base layer, especially on your own, can be overwhelming. So in this series we are going to break down everything you need to know about base layers, and make choosing the best base layer for you a lot easier. 

As the name suggests, it is called a base layer because it is worn as the very first layer over your skin. You might have even heard the term second skin used to describe base layers. It’s purpose is to keep you insulated, while you’re out there sweating in the cold. But base layers are most effective when worn under a mid-layer and an outer layer. 


Men wearing Brubeck base layers climbing a snowy mountain with skiis

Why Do We Sweat? 

To put it simply, to regulate your body temperature. Your body will always try to maintain your temperature at around 37°C or 98.6°F. In order to perform intense physical activity, your body needs to burn calories, so your body heats up. In order to keep your body temperature constant, you sweat. The sweat then condenses on your skin and you cool down. 

But this condensation can be dangerous in the cold. At those temperatures, it is likely that the sweat in your clothes will freeze. Which is why you need base layers that will quickly absorb moisture from your skin and evaporate moisture. But at the same time it needs to not cling to your skin or itch.


Wool or Non-Wool

Merino Sheep grazing in the Alps


Brubeck base layers are dual-layer, an inner dry layer and an outer merino wool layer. An intrinsic quality of merino is its ability to trap heat between its fibers. It also absorbs moisture rapidly and wicks it away.

But since sheep do not sweat, wool can get heavy when soaked with moisture and takes longer to dry and you may get a chill.

Most Merino wool base layers can be itchy at first because of the direct contact with wool fibres.

Dual-layer base layers such as Brubeck, accelerates the moisture evaporation, so you can stay dry longer and enjoy the outdoors longer. And they don't itch!

What Makes a Good Base Layer

    1. Super Absorbent: To soak up your sweat so your skin stays dry so your body can keep your temperature regulated. 
    2. Sweat Wicking: To make sure that sweat evaporates quickly without condensing and making you cold. 
    3. Non-itchy: Sweating for long periods of time, especially when there’s no room for your skin to breathe may cause skin irritations. 
    4. Lightweight: While thicker fabrics will provide more warmth, it is best to choose a base layer that is lightweight for the layer closest to your skin. And then add on a mid-layer and an outer-layer. 
    5. Fit: A base layer works best when it fits you snug, so it can retain your body heat. A snug athletic fit can take a bit of adjustment. Which is why, Brubeck base layers use circular knit technology, which creates a 4-way stretch and seamless design and still allows you a full range of motion. 
    6. Odour Control: The more time sweat stays on your skin, the more time bacteria has to set in and create body odour. So, the quicker your skin stays dry the more comfortable you will feel.


Shop Brubeck Base Layers here!