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Base layers or “outdoor underwear” should protect against wind, cold and heat and transport sweat away from the body as quickly as possible. Some models even support correct posture and more and more high-tech materials are being used in sports textiles to protect the wearer from scratches, UV rays and much more. to protect.
They are worn as the bottom layer and have become indispensable for athletes and outdoor enthusiasts. Especially on cold days, baselayers are an absolute must-have and keep the body pleasantly warm and sweat-free at the same time. Because we all know that nothing is more uncomfortable than a soaked shirt that sticks to the body and restricts freedom of movement.
High-quality base layers are made of thin, yet robust, elastic materials such as merino wool, polyester, elastane and sometimes even silk. They adapt to their own body without any problems and are not referred to as “second skin” for nothing. The great thing about it: Despite all the high-tech properties these shirts have, they can hardly be distinguished from classic tops (at least visually).
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The 5 best base layers
1. ACLIMA LIGHTWOOL CREW NECK
Pleasantly soft, well-insulated base layer
Material: 100% merino wool
Weight (size M): 182 g
WE FIND GOOD
+ 100% merino wool
+ great insulation
+ low fluid absorption
Although the Aclima Lightwool Crew Neck * is made of 100% merino wool, it is very dimensionally stable and elastic, which is very important for a good baselayer. The wool is well insulated and therefore excellent against outside heat, which has a pleasant, cooling effect on the wearer on hot summer days. But even on colder days, the shirt keeps you warm thanks to its cozy wool. In addition, the water retention capacity of the Aclima Lightwool is exceptionally high with a value of 30%, which means that it feels dry for a particularly long time. So the ideal piece of clothing for sweaty activities in the summer months!
2. ADIDAS TERREX SKYCLIMB TOP
Seamless baselayer by Adidas
Material: Main: 91% polyester, 9% elastane; Padding: 100% polyester; Attachment: 88% polyamide, 12% polyester
Weight (size M): 225 g
WE FIND GOOD
+ No seams
+ Wind protection
+ Good air circulation
An absolute exotic among the base layers is the Adidas Terrex Skyclimb Top *, which works completely without seams and is joined using the latest technology (so-called “ultrasonic welding”). On the front, the shirt has Polartec insulation with a Pertex cover, which is mainly intended to protect the wearer from the wind. According to test reports, this is only semi-good, as the material starts to stick to the skin as soon as you start sweating. The material on the back feels soft and comfortable and, in contrast to the front, is extremely air permeable. This drives the air circulation in the base layer and helps the body to cool down and remove sweat.
3. FALKE LS COMFORT WARM
Comfortable, casual and pleasantly warm
Material: 73% polyamide, 27% polyester
Weight (size M): 147 g
WE FIND GOOD
+ Very robust
+ Targeted zones for ventilation
The Falke LS Comfort Warm * Baselayer is characterized above all by its extreme robustness. The shirt is minimally air permeable and, although it is mostly made of plastic, it is comfortable to wear. When dry, it almost feels like real cotton and therefore warms very well. Small mesh inserts on the forearms, back and armpits ensure ventilation. Some customers report that the shirt does not adapt to the body shape properly and that the comfortable cut slaps around. We therefore recommend trying on a size smaller to achieve the best fit for maximum freedom of movement.
4. HELLY HANSEN ACTIVE FLOW LS
Traditional baselayer from Norway
Material: 65% polyester, 35% polypropylene
Weight (size M): 142 g
WE FIND GOOD
+ Very good heat output
+ Low fluid
absorption + Dries quickly
Helly Hansen was founded in Norway in 1877 and has since represented the ideal combination of performance, protection and style. The light, thin Helly Hansen Active Flow LS * baselayer is the ideal base layer for all outdoor activities, regardless of the season, thanks to its pleasant cut and the mix of wool and silk. The air permeability is in the middle, as the meshes of the fabric are relatively tight. But this also means that the thermal output of the baselayer is very good and is therefore a good choice even on colder days. Thanks to the LIFA Stay Dry technology, the shirt can absorb about 1/3 of its weight in water without it feeling damp.
5. X-BIONIC ENERGIZER MK2
A real all-rounder for all outdoor enthusiasts
Material: 88% polyamide, 7% polypropylene, 5% elastane
Weight (size M): 180 g
WE FIND GOOD
+ Reduces odor
+ Long service life
A bacteriostatic, thermoregulating, durable and at the same time comfortable base layer is without a doubt the X-Bionic Energizer MK2 *. This cleverly constructed shirt made of synthetic fibers adapts ideally to the shape of the body, absorbs sweat and quickly releases it again before unpleasant smells arise. So even with high activity there is no unpleasant feeling of moisture on the skin. Although the air permeability of this base layer is very low, the shirt cools the wearer through the lamellar structures on the chest, back and elbow. The water absorption and the drying time are also very low, which is why this base layer can also be used ideally as an insulation layer without the build-up of heat.
Buy the best baselayer
Before you decide on a baselayer, you should definitely consider our 5 most important criteria:
- Material: The first thing you should do is take a closer look at the material the shirt is made of. Because it makes a difference whether the baselayer is made of 100% merino wool or a mix of synthetic fibers. Wool not only feels more comfortable, it is also known to be more warm. In contrast, it also gets wet faster. Artificial fibers made of plastic are, depending on the processing, more air-permeable and water-repellent. So before you buy, think about which advantages suit your outdoor activities best and then decide on a material. From our own experience, however, we can say that no matter which one you ultimately choose, there is no such thing as a “wrong” baselayer.
- Fit: For some it is a clear knockout criterion, for others it is completely secondary. Like almost everything in life, the fit of a baselayer has advantages and disadvantages. A tight-fitting shirt feels almost like a second skin when worn (so it is hardly noticeable) and also has a stronger warming effect. A slightly open-cut baselayer, on the other hand, feels more airy and, for some people, more liberating. But the fact is: Most base layers adapt to the body shape and are therefore worn like a second skin.
- Air permeability: Some base layers are super air permeable due to their material, while others are not. For this reason, special nets are sewn in particularly tightly knitted fabrics in order to ensure pleasant air circulation. This is important to cool down the body during strenuous activities and to transport sweat to the surface as quickly as possible. So it is up to you whether you prefer a large area or specific zones for ventilation.
- Water absorption: A modern base layer can absorb a certain amount of its weight in liquid before it feels really damp. Everyone knows it: Wet clothes are just super uncomfortable to wear and therefore definitely not suitable for sporting activities. This is why baselayers are particularly good at absorbing and storing liquids such as water and sweat in order to keep them away from the body. However, at some point the capacity is reached and the shirt is damp. The hardworking inventors have also thought of this and designed the baselayer so that it has the shortest possible drying time and is ready for use again as quickly as possible.
- Protection: Protection should also not be neglected in some activities such as mountain climbing. Some baselayers have sewn extra protective inserts and are made of robust materials to protect the body, but without losing comfort. There are also special substances and processes to protect the body from harmful UV rays. Of course, this protection does not replace tested safety clothing or sunscreen, but it is still a nice nice-to-have if you do any extreme sports.
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