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Why do I need a base layer?

by Nick Baines August 13, 2019

For anyone with a passion for the outdoors, the base layer is likely to be one of the first pieces of kit that gets packed. Whether it’s a summer trek through a forested valley, or an epic descent into the backcountry, the base layer is what keeps your body going through unfavourable terrain and unpredictable weather.  

With technical outerwear being more advanced than ever before, you might be wondering why you need a base layer. However, while your jacket and snow pants will offer certain insulation and breathability properties, it’s the layer closest to the skin that does the hard work – and body temperature is something to take seriously when out in the mountains.


Unparalleled Warmth

Base layers sit against your skin and provide a close layer of warmth. But base layers have an important second role, absorbing and wicking away moisture from your skin. However, there are varying degrees of success here depending on the material used. The quick answer? Merino wool has amazing insulation and moisture wicking properties and is widely considered the best material for base layers.


The Importance of Comfort

A good base layer has the amazing ability to sit against you like a second skin. You need it to fit securely with no air gaps or baggy areas, but also with an incredibly high level of comfort. So comfortable, that you don't even notice you are wearing it. With this balance of comfort and warmth, you are then able to maintain optimum body temperature, while still being able to perform manoeuvres on the mountain with no restriction in movement.


Ride Harder For Longer

When we’re toasty warm, our muscles benefit from better circulation, which can help prevent a whole cocktail of injuries. Consistent warmth also stops us having to call it a day too soon, so you can keep shredding up on the hill for longer – from first chair to last call.  

At FLŌA, we took the humble base layer a few steps further, bringing in seamless technology for increased comfort. This means you don't suffer from chafing after a long day riding powder. It also plays even stronger into the ‘second skin’ construction of the garments.

We have also incorporated compression technology into our Backcountry Base Layer. This supports key muscle groups and helps to alleviate fatigue, allowing you to keep on going when others are suffering from tired, worn out legs.

It's important to remember that not all base layers are created equal, but a decent one provides an important foundation to any mountain pursuit, delivering warmth, comfort and dryness. So do you need a base layer? You do if you want to spend quality time in the mountains, in which case it's a necessity.

Nick Baines
Nick Baines


With an insatiable thirst for travel, Nick Baines is a journalist based on the UK’s south coast. With more than 20 years experience in snow sports, he’s contributed features to publications all over the world.


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