So, the chilling winter months are coming up, and you’re getting ready to make the polar plunge.  Whether you’re a hunter, a snowboarder, an ice fisher, or a hiker, the most important part of your outdoor adventure this season is keeping warm.  The key to trapping your body heat in the winter is proper layering, and proper layering always starts with a base layer.

We’ve all heard about base layer, it wicks sweat away from the body, keeps in your body heat, etc., but sometimes the choice can be a bit difficult. Most brands have lightweight, midweight and heavyweight options, so how do you know what baselayer is right for you?  We’ve put together a little guide to help you determine what weight you’ll need this season. The most important thing to remember about layering properly is that you can always put more layers on; so make sure you choose your base layer by the amount of activity you’ll be doing, and not how cold you expect it to be.

Lightweight

This is not necessarily a weight for warmer conditions. If you’re a winter hiker or runner this is going to be the option for you even in very cold weather. A lightweight base layer performs two functions: it acts as an insulator, and it wicks sweat away from your body.  It’s important to choose a lightweight base layer that possesses these wicking qualities: this weight is specifically designed to draw away sweat that could stick to your skin and freeze, cooling down your core, and lowering your overall body temperature.

Midweight

This is a good choice for activities like skiing, snowboarding, spot and stalk hunting, and even sledding! If you do a mix of activity and rest, like sprinting down the mountain, and then sitting in the chair lift for 20 minutes, a midweight layer is for you.  It’s heavy enough to keep you warm during your rest spells, but not so heavy that you overheat on your way down the mountain.

Heavyweight

This is the way to go for any activity where you are relatively immobile for long periods of time, like ice-fishing and tree-stand hunting. A heavy weight base layer was created to keep you warm for a long time in the freezing cold. Maybe you’re a big hockey fan, and sit in freezing stadiums for hours at a time, or maybe your job requires you to be outside for  long periods of time.  The heavyweight is made to keep your body heat in, even when you aren’t moving around a lot.

Here at Earth’s Edge, we’re big fans of both Patagonia and SmartWool baselayer product, and we carry tops and bottoms in both brands. Check out our site for both men’s and women’s baselayer options or download our Layering Guide for a comprehensive look at the layering system!

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