Base Layers & Underwear

Absolute Guide To Thermal Materials

The main purpose for thermals is to wick away moisture, as they are next to the skin. This means that if you sweat getting down to the chairlift and the cool down whilst riding the chair back to the top, the sweat won't freeze against your skin, causing you to become extremely cold and ruin your day! They do also help with insulation - as any extra layers would - which is why you get light, mid and heavy weight thermals also. Obviously, you could not wear thermals, but you'd end up with some smelly midlayers or a smelly jacket which aren't so easy to wash, a bit like wearing shoes with no socks!

What's so great about wool and specifically Merino wool?

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  1. Thermals made out of merino wool have a great feature of being 'no stink', so you can wear them multiple times - maybe a weeks' worth of riding - before they start to honk and you'd think about putting them in the washing basket.
  2. Wool is a natural material, so if you aren't a fan of man made synthetic materials, this will tick your boxes.
  3. Merino wool is super soft. Gone are the days of scratchy wool material! Advancements in manufacturing mean that merino wool is so much softer than cotton or polyester.
  4. Merino wool comes from sheep in the South of New Zealand, that live high up in the mountains where other sheep would freeze. If it's good enough the keep them warm, it'll be good enough for any of us!
 

But what about polyester and synthetic materials?

  1. Polyester thermals are cheaper easy to manufacture, making them much cheaper to purchase than merino wool thermals. This is great if you're riding on a budget, or maybe only riding for an evening down at your local indoor slope and you can pop back home to wash your gear afterwards.
  2. It still wicks sweat away, just as merino wool thermals would, so it still helps you regulate your temperature when being active even though the material isn't as natural.
 

So why can't I just wear my old cotton t-shirt?

You can by all means, however you will be quite cold as t-shirts aren't tight to the skin to move sweat away and as soon as you sweat, you'll get cold quickly. Not only that but it means you won't have anything on your bottom half, so you'll be sweating straight into your snowboard pants which clings onto the smell, even after the moisture has gone. Besides, who wouldn't want something you can wear snowboarding, skiing, rock climbing, yoga, cycling and running!

 

Use your thermals for everything!

 

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