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Layering base layers

Old 11-13-17, 01:16 PM
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Layering base layers

I am wondering if I can layer base layers. Most things I have read about talks about 3 layers. Base layer, mid layer of fleece/down, and top layer to keep wind and weather elements out. I really like the idea of lighter layers so really am looking more layers. Here's what I had in mind......a lightweight base next to skin, followed by a medium base layer, followed by the fleece and heavy coat. Please advise
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Old 11-13-17, 01:23 PM
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There's no rule against this practice that I'm aware of. If it works for you then do it.

When it's -20*C I'll have more than three layers.
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Old 11-13-17, 03:28 PM
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Of course you can, you can wear as many layers as you want provided the sleeves are wide enough to go over what's underneath and don't bunch up and the jacket/jersey zips. Vests are popular with hikers because they add core warmth, yet because they are sleeveless are easy to put on and weigh less. Some base/insulation layers are made such that the outside is slippery (nylon) for easier layering.
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Old 11-13-17, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by klwatzka
Here's what I had in mind......a lightweight base next to skin, followed by a medium base layer, followed by the fleece and heavy coat. Please advise
Are you riding across Siberia?

I don't see why you can't wear as many "base" layers as you'd like. They only thing that really makes them base layers is that they're suitable to go next to your skin in terms of feel/texture and the management of heat and moisture.
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Old 11-13-17, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi
They only thing that really makes them base layers is that they're suitable to go next to your skin in terms of feel/texture and the management of heat and moisture.
^^^That's an important point. In a perfect world, the layers would work together as a system to capture body heat but transport perspiration away from the skin. That requires that every layer be designed to function as whatever layer it's being used as. This is why most insulating (middle) layers don't make ideal base layers.

It's also why an ideal base layer might not make an ideal second base layer...because once you've transported perspiration away from the skin, you're already into middle layer territory, functionally speaking. I suspect
-- in the aforementioned ideal world -- that a second insulating layer (albeit a thin one) might be more useful than a second base layer.

But since so few garments are truly ideal, and very few are genuinely designed to work as an ideal three-part system, this is all generalization and conjecture. You may find a particular base layer makes a perfectly viable second base layer. Only one way to find out.
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Old 11-13-17, 08:12 PM
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Sure you can. Two layers are warmer than one layer of the same weight would be because of the thin layer of dead air that gets trapped between them.

The way you're talking about dressing, you'll probably overheat if you plan to ride with any intensity. Rule of thumb is you should dress for the second mile, not the first, or you'll sweat and then your sweat will chill you when you slow down.

You can drink something hot to feel warm when you first walk out the door, until the riding keeps you warm.
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Old 11-13-17, 10:07 PM
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I think multiple thin and flat layers can get to be stiffer/less flexible than fewer layers with some slickness in the middle and a little more loft, like fleece.
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Old 11-14-17, 12:33 AM
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This dilemma sounds like a basis for an episode of seinfeld
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Old 11-14-17, 03:37 AM
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First, there's a Winter Cycling forum here with threads on layering:
https://www.bikeforums.net/winter-cycling/

Second, on days about 10C and under ... which is most of the year here in Tasmania ... I wear a sleeveless jersey, a long-sleeved jersey, a polypro, and a lightweight merino wool. Then I top it with a rain jacket.
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Old 11-15-17, 10:35 AM
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It was 32° F on my morning loop with a steady 5mph wind. I wore thermal tights, shoe covers, ski socks, Under Armor thermal base layer long sleeve mock turtle neck and Aerotech Designs Jacket... along with gloves, ski mask thermal skull cap and normal-regular Pearl Izumi shoes. I was sweating 10 minutes into the ride. Only two layers on chest/body... counting under armor shirt and AD jacket.

Aerotech Designs cycling jackets are totally badass garments that laugh at the cold. Likewise with Under Armor base layers.
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Old 11-15-17, 12:30 PM
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If it's really cold I'll wear a couple of long-sleeved but very thin and slick base layers, plus a normal jersey and a very light windbreaker. The windbreaker has zippers to really open up from the armpit area down the sides for ventilation if I start getting too warm.

I find I get the most bang for the buck by keeping my head and hands warm. For the head I've got a thin skull cap for moderately cold riding. It's not thick or fleecy or anything but it does trap some heat and keep airflow from the helmet vents off the head. I've also taped over the helmet vents with 100mph tape before too. For colder weather I've got a fairly thin balaclava that fits under the helmet. With this on I can wear fewer layers on my torso and arms/legs than I otherwise would, without feeling too cold. You lose a lot of heat through the head.
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Old 11-15-17, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by redfooj
This dilemma sounds like a basis for an episode of seinfeld
Seinfeld! Layer of four!
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Old 11-15-17, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest
Rule of thumb is you should dress for the second mile, not the first, or you'll sweat and then your sweat will chill you when you slow down.
If I had $10 for every time I have had to remind people on my group rides, especially ones with climbing in the early miles, to not dress to be warm in the parking lot waiting for the ride to start I would have a lot of money. But some people never listen and end up sweating and needing to shed (and carry) layers relatively early.
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Old 11-15-17, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by redfooj
This dilemma sounds like a basis for an episode of seinfeld
It would be Kramer figiting with the layers and George with so many layers, he can hardly move. George gets angry and starts cursing. Cops come and arrest him.
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Old 11-18-17, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by klwatzka
I am wondering if I can layer base layers. Most things I have read about talks about 3 layers. Base layer, mid layer of fleece/down, and top layer to keep wind and weather elements out. I really like the idea of lighter layers so really am looking more layers. Here's what I had in mind......a lightweight base next to skin, followed by a medium base layer, followed by the fleece and heavy coat. Please advise
I’m from Minnesota where we know a little bit about real cold. I routinely ski at -20F or colder (ski patroller) where i might be out continuously for anywhere from 2-4 hours. I routinely cycle at 0 to -7F. I wear a lot more than three layers and none of them are heavy. The only time I wear a heavy outer layer is when I’m going out in the car and I’m in a hurry. Any outdoor athletic activity is going to have layers of light or medium weight stuff.

On a very cold day (-20F) I would wear a very thin base layer, with a medium weight power stretch zip T over that. Then I’d wear a fleece vest or a fleece jacket followed by something like a Patagonia Down Sweater. Over that goes a wind proof shell. If it’s really cold, I might add another down layer over that. This leaves me able to move freely and ski or do work outside that requires mobility. I’d use some combination of that (removing a layer or two) for cycling. What’s that maybe 5 or 6 layers?

The fewer layers you use, usually means that you give air the ability to move between the layers. That’s where you get cold because you haven’t trapped the air where your body can warm it and keep it in place.

I’ve got a fortune in cold weather gear. I’ve been able to buy it and set it up kind of as a component system. By mixing and matching the layers, it’s pretty easy to stay comfortable in even extreme conditions without having any overly heavy layers. Heavy insulation layers general compromise mobility very quickly.

J.
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Old 11-18-17, 07:13 PM
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Sometime baselayers build in the layers themselves. Just picked up, but haven't worn on a ride yet, a seemingly pretty well-built poly/wool construction. I'd recommend for the price, especially if you get STP coupons https://www.sierratradingpost.com/he...nsen~b~8070%2F

With a somewhat basic wardrobe it isn't hard to get it right. Inventory the following, and then do the math on the combinations available
1. Sleeveless poly base
2. Long sleeve lightweight base
3. Long sleeve insulation base
4. Short Sleeve jersey
5. Long sleeve jersey
6. Convertible jacket with removable sleeves
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Old 11-18-17, 07:50 PM
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Base layers with built in layers...

Craft Active Extreme WS base layers come with a layer of Gore Windstopper in front on top of the insulating/wicking layer. The link is to the Craft website and their prices are insane. They are available for much less on the open market. I own this product. It is a staple of my winter wardrobe.






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Old 11-20-17, 11:08 PM
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I ride in SoCal, so not so cold, but I have had a few snow rides. Kid in CO - it is cold. But I also ride a scooter and 50MPH 50 degrees is cold.

When layering it is good to have the wind proof on the outside, rather than inside. Or...A garbage bag over is better than one under.
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Old 11-20-17, 11:52 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
If I had $10 for every time I have had to remind people on my group rides, especially ones with climbing in the early miles, to not dress to be warm in the parking lot waiting for the ride to start I would have a lot of money. But some people never listen and end up sweating and needing to shed (and carry) layers relatively early.
I resemble that remark. I'm cold natured. If I'm cold before I start, I don't start. Taking off layers and stuffing them in a bag isn't as traumatic as you make it out to be. Frequently it's just unzipping.
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Old 11-21-17, 06:30 AM
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Originally Posted by DeadGrandpa
Taking off layers and stuffing them in a bag isn't as traumatic as you make it out to be. Frequently it's just unzipping.
It disrupts group road rides. And often times people don't bring the carrying capacity on those types of rides.
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Old 11-21-17, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
It disrupts group road rides. And often times people don't bring the carrying capacity on those types of rides.
Ah, yes. I had forgotten why I don't do those group rides anymore.
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Old 11-21-17, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Doge
When layering it is good to have the wind proof on the outside, rather than inside. Or...A garbage bag over is better than one under.

We went through this last year. Wind block base layers work. I own several and use them all the time, with or without a wind block outer layer.


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Old 11-21-17, 10:47 AM
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If we only covered material once on the forum, there would be little reason to come back.
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Old 11-21-17, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by redfooj
This dilemma sounds like a basis for an episode of seinfeld
He wore fleece as a base layer. Not that there's anything wrong with that....
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Old 11-21-17, 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by klwatzka
Here's what I had in mind......a lightweight base next to skin, followed by a medium base layer, followed by the fleece and heavy coat. Please advise
That was fine until you got to the "heavy coat" part. The outermost layer should be thinnish, windproof and as breathable as possible. I prefer windproof/breathable (well windproof is only sorta breathable) in the front and very breathable / not windproof in the back.

If you're just biking a mile or two, you can stick with your usual winter jackets and stuff as long as you don't bike hard enough to break a sweat.
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