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  1. #1
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    sweat-wicking base layers

    Hello,

    I was wondering if I could get some advice regarding sweat wicking material. So everyday I bike approx 2 miles to work at around 5:50am, already in my work uniform, and usually with multiple heavy layers on in the winter to protect me from subfreezing temps (live in the northeast). Once I get to work, I am stationed either inside or outside. In the case that I am outside, I am stuck trying to stay warm with a thick layer of sweat on my upper body and base layer, which in the past has predisposed me to getting sick easily.


    Seeing that there has been only one thread on sweat-wicking material since 2011, I wanted to throw to some questions here rather than search around old threads for potentially outdated info.

    1) I was wondering how sweat-wicking material works. I mean, even if it wicks the sweat/perspiration away to the next layer, won't one still feel just as cold because of the dampness of that second layer?

    2) Does such material it need to be skin-tight in order to wick moisture, or can it wick sweat without touching it? Should I buy a size smaller than normal? Extremely skin tight?...

    3) Are there cool weather v.s. warm-weather wicking clothes (wicking clothes that expel moisture while keeping in heat v.s clothes that expel both moisture and heat)?

    4) Do pretty much all brands work the same in terms of dryness? If not then what brands do you recommend? (I live near an EMS store, was considering their "techwick" brand.....)



    Thanks in advance for any advice in helping me understand how/how well this stuff works.....

  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I've had Some Patagonia Capilene stuff for decades. http://www.patagonia.com/us/shop/bas...gonia+capilene

    wear it like regular T shirts.. & long-johns..

  3. #3
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    I've had Some Patagonia Capilene stuff for decades. http://www.patagonia.com/us/shop/bas...gonia+capilene

    wear it like regular T shirts.. & long-johns..
    +1
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  4. #4
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    I've never been a huge fan of EMS long underwear or thermal layers, everything I've ever bought shrinks funny or pills after a few washings. I haven't bought the newer products though.


    Quote Originally Posted by dajjorg View Post
    Hello,

    I was wondering if I could get some advice regarding sweat wicking material. So everyday I bike approx 2 miles to work at around 5:50am, already in my work uniform, and usually with multiple heavy layers on in the winter to protect me from subfreezing temps (live in the northeast). Once I get to work, I am stationed either inside or outside. In the case that I am outside, I am stuck trying to stay warm with a thick layer of sweat on my upper body and base layer, which in the past has predisposed me to getting sick easily.


    Seeing that there has been only one thread on sweat-wicking material since 2011, I wanted to throw to some questions here rather than search around old threads for potentially outdated info.

    1) I was wondering how sweat-wicking material works. I mean, even if it wicks the sweat/perspiration away to the next layer, won't one still feel just as cold because of the dampness of that second layer?
    yes and no. It wicks the moisture away from your skin, so it's not as big an issue.

    You shouldn't leave any damp layer on, it will eventually sap your body warmth. Rule of thumb, dress for the last mile, not the first. You might be cold leaving the house, you shouldn't be sweating profusely a block down the road.

    You may want to look into some wicking layers that have merino wool if you can't change. Wool doesn't lose it's insulating properties when it's damp.

    Quote Originally Posted by dajjorg View Post
    2) Does such material it need to be skin-tight in order to wick moisture, or can it wick sweat without touching it? Should I buy a size smaller than normal? Extremely skin tight?...?
    It doesn't need to be overly tight, I own a spandex/silk wicking layer that is lighter but extremely warm, it's form fitting, but not constricting. Dead space in any of your layers will create air pockets and air is a terrible conductor of heat, so it will work against you to have a loose fitting layer. Same with gloves, you shouldn't have dead space at the finger tips, it'll make your fingers colder sooner.

    Quote Originally Posted by dajjorg View Post
    3) Are there cool weather v.s. warm-weather wicking clothes (wicking clothes that expel moisture while keeping in heat v.s clothes that expel both moisture and heat)??...?
    There are varying degrees of wicking layers, as far as thickness and warmth. Even the really thin layers can be really warm.

    Quote Originally Posted by dajjorg View Post
    4) Do pretty much all brands work the same in terms of dryness? If not then what brands do you recommend? (I live near an EMS store, was considering their "techwick" brand.....)



    Thanks in advance for any advice in helping me understand how/how well this stuff works.....

  5. #5
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    Your wicking problem is probably due to your work uniform that don't allow moisture to go anywhere easily.
    You should probably not ride with your work uniform but rather use a jacket and pants with a windproof front panel to allow moisture to be expelled from your back then put your work uniform once there.

    Here are some info:

    Clothing Evaporative Resistance: Its Measurements and Application in Prediction of Heat Strain
    http://www.lunduniversity.lu.se/o.o....postid=2065074

    Cold weather illness
    http://www.uiltexas.org/health/info/...eather-illness

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-pOfez1IsJ4.../windchill.gif

    Moisture and Relative Humidity
    http://www.glatfelter.com/files/prod...e_Humidity.pdf

    Atmospheric moist convection
    http://www.atmos.ucla.edu/~bstevens/....33.092203.pdf

    Generation III Extended Cold Weather Clothing System
    http://coldweatherclothing.ciehub.info/ECWCS/GEN3.html
    Last edited by erig007; 11-27-13 at 02:18 PM.

  6. #6
    Conquer Cancer rider Boudicca's Avatar
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    Can you change that bottom wicking layer when you get to work, and put on a dry base layer? You'll start your outdoor work with dry clothes, and you will stay warmer.
    Zero gallons to the mile

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    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    I usually wear silk or merino wool for a base layer in cold weather, and as pointed out need to dress for the last mile, you WILL warm up while riding.

    Aaron
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boudicca View Post
    Can you change that bottom wicking layer when you get to work, and put on a dry base layer? You'll start your outdoor work with dry clothes, and you will stay warmer.
    Need to cool down though.
    Depending on the rider and the intensity of the ride/heat exhaust it can take from a few minutes to 1 hr or more to stop sweating after the ride. Putting on another layer right after the effort will end up with the same result. But it's a good idea when done properly (for instance when dressed properly during the ride)

  9. #9
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    For me it does help if the first wicking layer is skin tight. Other layers, not so much but not loose either.

    Have you considered the idea that you're overdressed for the commute? I like to start out cold - cold enough that I would be uncomfortable if I didn't get moving. After about 1.5 to 2 miles I'm warmed up and whether I sweat or not (before sunrise this time of year, around freezing) just depends on how hard I want to push it for the remainder. Your commute is two miles. Start out colder and don't sweat it.

  10. #10
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    The OP has a 2 mile commute in the cold. If you pace your riding and wear the right amount of clothing, you wont even begin to sweat. Riding hard on a short commute is a waste, given the amount of time required to cool down.
    Cotton T shirt inner layer will get cold when damp. Polyester wicking T shirts will dry out fairly quickly. Expensive ones are a little better than cheap ones. Merino wool (superfine grade) will feel warm and comfortable but the appropriate grades are quite expensive.
    T-shirt style base layers are fine, you don't need tight fitting singlets or cycling-style jerseys with back pockets.

    Avoid wearing a waterproof shell (unless it is raining), this will trap moisture and cause condensation to form. A simple windproof outer layer is good.
    Wear sufficient midlayer insulation so that you are cool at the start of the ride.
    Wear a bodywarmer/gillet style insulation over your shell and you can easily add/remove it.

  11. #11
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    I've been using Terramar? found at most sporting goods stores. It is not an expensive brand and works great.

    Base layers are meant to transpire moisture/sweat away from your body, through the base layer and either between the base and next layer and/or into the next...insulating...layer.

    Too many layers is as bad or worse than not enough...too many generally trap sweat which when it cools it chills your body and never warms up again.

    Were it me I'd change upon arriving at work...bring a hand towel or leave one at work...wipe down your upper body to remove the sweat, change into my work clothes and go about my day.
    I also keep an extra set of clothes at work, just in case. It takes little time to change a pair of socks that have become wet and cold from sweat...changing into a dry pair of socks feels so good. It also takes little time to change a shirt...base or otherwise...
    It's your responsibility to take care of yourself...find the time to do so...

    I've found that inexpensive base layers work as well as expensive ones...maybe not the fit and finish of the awesome goodness of Patagonia's, etc. but they work.
    Base layers should be snug but not so tight they are uncomfortable to wear...like your skin you should not realize you are wearing them...
    Insulation layers should also be snug enough to form to your body but not too tight...if they are too loose they may not do their job properly and may bunch up just where you don't want them to causing discomfort.
    I have a variety of insulation layers, some expensive some not, of varied thickness/insulation ability...These are temp and activity dependent...the less active the heavier though temp contributes to this choice as well and your tolerance for cold as well as the activity will help determine this layer.

    A nice feature of real base layers is they dry quickly...meaning if your wear a base layer during your commute but change it at work it will be dry by the time you need to put it back on for your ride home.
    I like Terramar base layers and they are available in several weights.
    I also like Craft base layers and have a short sleeve and long sleeve that have wind block material on the chest and sleeves...these are awesome but expensive...but they last forever...the short sleeve layer is at least 20 years old and still like new.
    I also have some Perlizumi long sleeve base layers that are older...though they still work they are not as good as todays materials and weaves for base layers...seldom wear these.
    My favorite insulation layer is an Under Armor heavy weight long sleeve top that I got for Christmas last year...It is awesome...keeps me warm regardless of temp...but it cost $80.00.

    A key to keeping warm is keeping the cold air off your body...make sure your top layer, jacket, etc...is wind blocking...once cold air penetrates you are screwed...
    Good luck and keep us informed.

  12. #12
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    I usually wear silk or merino wool for a base layer in cold weather, and as pointed out need to dress for the last mile, you WILL warm up while riding.

    Aaron
    Merino for me too. It evolved to have superior wicking and temperature-regulating properties.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
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  13. #13
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    In cold wx, I wear a good quality snug fitting cycling jersey as a base layer. These have very good wicking properties.

  14. #14
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    Hmmm….. thanks for all the info! It's gonna take me some time to pour over all this with some follow-up questions (tomorrow, after Turkey day).

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