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Winter base layer

Old 01-05-13, 06:28 AM
  #1  
Sasquatch16
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Winter base layer

I usually wear a UA compression cold gear shirt as my first layer. No matter how cold it is I am always wet between skin and shirt. Then any light breeze gives a chill. Is it not cold enough to be wearing this shirt? Should I be wearing something else against skin. I have noticed when just sitting still like in a tree stand hunting I do not encounter this. It is almost like wearing a wet suit.
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Old 01-05-13, 02:43 PM
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I haven't tried a compression shirt as a winter base layer yet. I use that kind of shirt alone for temps in the 60's and alone under a nylon windbreaker for temps in the 50's and 40's, all depending on wind speed and direction, of course. When it gets colder than that, I consider switching to a merino wool midweight base layer. Colder still and I will use a loose poly shirt over the wool.

Two things I have learned this winter (my first winter commuting by bicycle):

- Everybody here on BF has a different preference, but I can learn from them all (and have)
- I bought one of several different kinds of shirts & pants and tried them out on my commutes and found what worked for me through (pre-educated somewhat by research ahead of time) trial and error

Good luck, I hope you find what works for you. If you find a good combo that works for you, post it up so we can learn and consider it.
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Old 01-05-13, 03:13 PM
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seems normal...

I think a lot of people don't understand the whole base layer thing but I'll get to that in a minute because I don't understand why you'd use a compression shirt. Compression socks are commonly used and they help squeeze the leg and promote return of blood because veins don't return blood well unless muscles squeeze them which doesn't happen while sitting. I'm not sure how that would apply to the torso. That question aside...
If you exercise hard you will sweat. Period. That sweat won't magically evaporate from your torso. It comes out as water and the question is where does it go. A base layer will allow it to pass through without absorbing it if it's' not cotton or wool. Cotton will just hold it next to your skin. Wool will wick it but it won't evaporate from the wool. Synthetics will pass it through without absorbing it. Some synthetics will help wick it from the skin but if you're working hard they can become pretty well saturated...but they'll allow it to evaporate as much as possible.
You can keep enough layers on top of the base to stay warm and eventually the moisture will evaporate out due to your body heat but if you keep that warm you'll be continuing to sweat. I promise that mountain climbers that are working hard are sweating. So are skiers...but they are working hard enough to keep warm and you find a balance between the sweat being evaporated and your work load and layers.
Just yesterday, riding at +5F I was talking with my wife about this and how I had a really good balance...I was just a bit chilly and could feel my entire torso being cool from my sweat evaporating. We each have windproof fronts but a more open weave on our jacket backs to allow sweat to pass. You should feel cool....your sweat should be evaporating...and passing through your base layer. A lot of people like wool over the base synthetic because it wicks the moisture and does contribute to you staying warmer and being more comfortable. Even wool next to the skin can help in that way but eventually wool becomes soaked and it does not dry out easily. It's good for limited time periods in my opinion.
You might try a layer of good wool (thin) over your base layer but basically you are going to sweat and it's got to pass through your base layer somehow. Some base layers wick better than others so you might try some other base layers but there is no total cure for the phenomena of being sweaty to some degree. The big thing is to find a balance between layers and sweat so it doesn't continue to just accumulate like it will with cotton.
When it's really cold and we bike long my wife and I will occasionally have to stop and brush the "snow" off each others backs that has accumulated from our sweat and yeah...we'll be sweaty underneath to some degree.
Originally Posted by Sasquatch16 View Post
I usually wear a UA compression cold gear shirt as my first layer. No matter how cold it is I am always wet between skin and shirt. Then any light breeze gives a chill. Is it not cold enough to be wearing this shirt? Should I be wearing something else against skin. I have noticed when just sitting still like in a tree stand hunting I do not encounter this. It is almost like wearing a wet suit.
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Old 01-05-13, 04:30 PM
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if you want to feel dry in the winter, get some merino wool base layers. you'll feel dry almost all the time, and even keep on wearing the clothes you worked out in after your workout, that's how comfortable and dry wool is.

polyester is garbage, and leaves users prone to the wet out you are experiencing. the synths, although they do dry fast, don't provide a dry feeling while wearing them.

I used to think synthetics made great base layers -like, back in the 1980's! but not anymore.

it's wool for the base, polyester for the midlayer, and a simple wind shell for the top. If I'm not wearing cotton bombing around town, that is.
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Old 01-05-13, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Sasquatch16 View Post
I usually wear a UA compression cold gear shirt as my first layer. No matter how cold it is I am always wet between skin and shirt. Then any light breeze gives a chill. Is it not cold enough to be wearing this shirt? Should I be wearing something else against skin. I have noticed when just sitting still like in a tree stand hunting I do not encounter this. It is almost like wearing a wet suit.
Rather than trying to stay dry in cold weather using a vapor barrier layer can make your sweat stays warm.
For that use a pvc rain jacket or plastic wrap or a big plastic bag that you will use as a jacket as second layer and an insulation above the pvc rain jacket or plastic wrap and it will keep your sweat pretty warm but a good wind resistant/windproof outer jacket or insulation layer is essential for this to work well. It's not intended for high exertion though but low intensity and steady exercise like walking in cold weather below 14F/-10C. It lower the evaporative cooling process even stop it if the seal is perfect but i doubt it will be the case. You will sweat probably more but your sweat shouldn't cool you down.
But don't use that if you intend to do an intense ride where your exercise is not steady as you will overheat pretty fast and the only way to regulate your body temperature is to remove or add an insulation layer as your body will use the other parts of your body to release the excess heat until it's not enough. Not very fun to stop every 10 minutes to add or remove an insulation layer.

Last edited by erig007; 01-05-13 at 10:11 PM.
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Old 01-05-13, 07:01 PM
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when its 14F/-10C around here, i just put on a sweater and a windbreaker over whatever I've been wearing around the house. it's pretty easy to layer for winter.

Ditch the poly base layers. get some wool if you want to feel dry.
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Old 01-05-13, 07:35 PM
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It may depend on your sweat production, as well as what your "shirt" layer is composed of.
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Old 01-07-13, 12:27 PM
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I like some patagonia for my base layers, they have 3 different thicknesses.
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Old 01-07-13, 01:38 PM
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DeFeet's UnD Shurt works really well, in my experience.
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Old 01-07-13, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by digibud View Post
I think a lot of people don't understand the whole base layer thing but I'll get to that in a minute because I don't understand why you'd use a compression shirt. Compression socks are commonly used and they help squeeze the leg and promote return of blood because veins don't return blood well unless muscles squeeze them which doesn't happen while sitting. I'm not sure how that would apply to the torso. That question aside...
If you exercise hard you will sweat. Period. That sweat won't magically evaporate from your torso. It comes out as water and the question is where does it go. A base layer will allow it to pass through without absorbing it if it's' not cotton or wool. Cotton will just hold it next to your skin. Wool will wick it but it won't evaporate from the wool. Synthetics will pass it through without absorbing it. Some synthetics will help wick it from the skin but if you're working hard they can become pretty well saturated...but they'll allow it to evaporate as much as possible.
You can keep enough layers on top of the base to stay warm and eventually the moisture will evaporate out due to your body heat but if you keep that warm you'll be continuing to sweat. I promise that mountain climbers that are working hard are sweating. So are skiers...but they are working hard enough to keep warm and you find a balance between the sweat being evaporated and your work load and layers.
Just yesterday, riding at +5F I was talking with my wife about this and how I had a really good balance...I was just a bit chilly and could feel my entire torso being cool from my sweat evaporating. We each have windproof fronts but a more open weave on our jacket backs to allow sweat to pass. You should feel cool....your sweat should be evaporating...and passing through your base layer. A lot of people like wool over the base synthetic because it wicks the moisture and does contribute to you staying warmer and being more comfortable. Even wool next to the skin can help in that way but eventually wool becomes soaked and it does not dry out easily. It's good for limited time periods in my opinion.
You might try a layer of good wool (thin) over your base layer but basically you are going to sweat and it's got to pass through your base layer somehow. Some base layers wick better than others so you might try some other base layers but there is no total cure for the phenomena of being sweaty to some degree. The big thing is to find a balance between layers and sweat so it doesn't continue to just accumulate like it will with cotton.
When it's really cold and we bike long my wife and I will occasionally have to stop and brush the "snow" off each others backs that has accumulated from our sweat and yeah...we'll be sweaty underneath to some degree.
Exactly right IME. I use a Craft baselayer, this one in winter:
https://shop.craftsports.us/lightspee...l#.UOs1xW-uR8E

I've been using this garment for about 10 years. It shows no wear. Very popular around here. Easy to see with the label in front. For spring and fall, I use the same thing in a short sleeve version. I don't know what garments folks who dislike synthetic garments have been wearing, but it sure isn't Craft.
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Old 01-08-13, 04:08 PM
  #11  
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The top I wear is about the same thickness of the Rocky shirts that you find at Wal-Mart, maybe not removed from the hunting section yet...maybe. The Rocky shirts(Made In Jordan, black in color with ScentIQ) are compression fit, my top isn't. My Duofold Varitherm top fits just like a t-shirt would. If the temps are in the 20s its about the perfect temperature range for the top. I don't sweat...I don't get cold. Starting around 28-30 degrees I will start to notice the shoulder blades area getting wet as I get home, climbing any time I'm heading toward home. Once you get down to 10-15 degree range I start wanting something more, especially if it's windy outside. I am always wearing a double layer nylon jacket on top of the Duofold for both wind protection and precip protection. I have had one ride already this winter when I left home with sunny skies and abotu 30-30 miles from home I found myself in a long, 25-30 mile long, snow squall. I prefer to make sure I stay dry from the outside the best I can so I always wear the nylon jacket.

Erig007,

One thing you have to remember, things don't always go as planned. You can be riding along, all nice and warm and sweaty as you could ever hope for and than...BAM...a chain link break, you get a flat tire, etc. Now you are trying to work on your bike in 20 degree temps with light snow falling that you wasn't expecting, the forecast wasn't calling for it, and you are starting to chill down nicely thanks to the sweat you have on your skin/clothing.

No thanks, I'll stick to focusing on staying dry. That makes much more sense. I've had myself in several cases, just yesterday alone, where I've been off the bike for 5-15 minutes at a time outside, some planned some unplanned, and I've had no trouble staying warm even though I didn't have all that fancy smancy vapor barrier crap on. How did I do it? I stayed dry...I didn't have to worry about what happens when I'm outside off the bike in the cold, because I'm dry.

The only way to ride during the winter months is to ride dry, not warm. If your sweating...your killing yourself.

Sasquatch16,

I'm not sure what the thickness of the UA is. When you are talking cold are you talking cold as in FL cold or NH cold? Are you talking about riding where a cold day is waking up with overnight lows at the freezing mark, or overnight lows of -10F? There's a big difference there. Read the first paragraph that I wrote and I think you will understand what I'm saying. Your UA may be appropriate, but only at a lower temperature, you may need a thinner layer at warmer temperatures. You may simply, and it sounds that way, have too much warmth for the air temperatures you are riding in.

Yes, I disagree with everybody I have seen write on this message board. Everyone wants to suggest you need to stay warm. That's not been my experience. My experience through being on the bike 7 days a week, at temps from -5F and above, is the first thing you need to do is to stay dry. Sweat will cause your body to lose heat rapidly. If you don't sweat you don't have to worry about losing the body head so fast. You can get away with a whole lot more than someone who is sweating up a storm.

Don't try to remove to the sweat, remove the heat that is causing the sweat and as a result you will stay warm because your body will moderate to a comfortable temperature and you will be able to stay at that comfortable temperature even when $hit hits the fan and you run into trouble.

Remember this...

Would you go out and take the piece of glass out your flat tire and put the tube back in and pump up the tire? Why or why not?

Why go out and remove the sweat or heat up the sweat? Why not go out and remove the sweat before it can form in the first place...doesn't that make so much more sense?

It works for me and has now for the past two winters. I can't complain any at all.
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Old 01-08-13, 04:55 PM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by bikenh View Post
Erig007,

One thing you have to remember, things don't always go as planned. You can be riding along, all nice and warm and sweaty as you could ever hope for and than...BAM...a chain link break, you get a flat tire, etc. Now you are trying to work on your bike in 20 degree temps with light snow falling that you wasn't expecting, the forecast wasn't calling for it, and you are starting to chill down nicely thanks to the sweat you have on your skin/clothing.

No thanks, I'll stick to focusing on staying dry. That makes much more sense. I've had myself in several cases, just yesterday alone, where I've been off the bike for 5-15 minutes at a time outside, some planned some unplanned, and I've had no trouble staying warm even though I didn't have all that fancy smancy vapor barrier crap on. How did I do it? I stayed dry...I didn't have to worry about what happens when I'm outside off the bike in the cold, because I'm dry.

The only way to ride during the winter months is to ride dry, not warm. If your sweating...your killing yourself.
This is exactly when things don't go as planned that the vapor barrier jacket shine.
Staying dry is a very good solution. But don't mix being wet with a breathable system and wet with a vapor barrier system as results are not the same.
I used this technique many times in very cold days when i was wearing my wet merino wool base layer and i knew i had to do a short stop at the shopping mall (nearly similar result than a stop due to a chain link broken) the feeling on my way back was so much better than without the vapor barrier layer overheating problems excepted
The vapor barrier jacket isolate your body heat from the environment radiative heat transfers excepted. During your ride your sweat have accumulated sensible heat like batteries accumulate energy when you stop you use this energy to stay warm and as your body is supposedly isolated from the environment and with the inertial heat factor you should generate enough heat to stay warm..
At 20F differences are not so noticeable but at -20F or -30F and a wet base layer you notice differences. If you're perfectly dry then no need to go for the vapor barrier jacket but if you're not in this situation like if you naturally sweat well above average or you pushed too hard or one layer gather sweat or whatever other reason then that's when the vapor barrier jacket shine. Now if for whatever reasons you lose the accumulated heat inside the vapor barrier layer it will be harder to get the heat back as inertial heat act in both ways staying warm but also getting your heat back. In this case you can either temporarily increase your work out to warm it up back or get rid of the cold sweat. This situation never happened to me though.

Last edited by erig007; 01-08-13 at 05:12 PM.
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Old 01-10-13, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Sasquatch16 View Post
I usually wear a UA compression cold gear shirt as my first layer. No matter how cold it is I am always wet between skin and shirt. Then any light breeze gives a chill. Is it not cold enough to be wearing this shirt? Should I be wearing something else against skin. I have noticed when just sitting still like in a tree stand hunting I do not encounter this. It is almost like wearing a wet suit.
Weird, that's exactly what I wear and I don't have that problem. What kind of temperatures are you riding in? I don't start wearing that shirt until it gets into the 40s (F). Anything warmer than mid or upper 40s is too warm for that kind of shirt, you'll be sweating buckets.
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Old 01-10-13, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by erig007 View Post
This is exactly when things don't go as planned that the vapor barrier jacket shine.
Staying dry is a very good solution. But don't mix being wet with a breathable system and wet with a vapor barrier system as results are not the same.
I used this technique many times in very cold days when i was wearing my wet merino wool base layer and i knew i had to do a short stop at the shopping mall (nearly similar result than a stop due to a chain link broken) the feeling on my way back was so much better than without the vapor barrier layer overheating problems excepted
The vapor barrier jacket isolate your body heat from the environment radiative heat transfers excepted. During your ride your sweat have accumulated sensible heat like batteries accumulate energy when you stop you use this energy to stay warm and as your body is supposedly isolated from the environment and with the inertial heat factor you should generate enough heat to stay warm..
At 20F differences are not so noticeable but at -20F or -30F and a wet base layer you notice differences. If you're perfectly dry then no need to go for the vapor barrier jacket but if you're not in this situation like if you naturally sweat well above average or you pushed too hard or one layer gather sweat or whatever other reason then that's when the vapor barrier jacket shine. Now if for whatever reasons you lose the accumulated heat inside the vapor barrier layer it will be harder to get the heat back as inertial heat act in both ways staying warm but also getting your heat back. In this case you can either temporarily increase your work out to warm it up back or get rid of the cold sweat. This situation never happened to me though.
The "vapor barrier" jacket as erig calls it, does two things for you: it keeps the wind outside from cooling and evaporating your sweat too quickly (causing you to feel cold), and it traps your body heat (keeping you warmer). I use a Cannondale rain shell jacket that I picked up about 6 years ago and it is wonderful for cold weather riding. I just wear my Under Armor insulated shirt under it and I'm good to about 0 degrees F. Down to about 15 degrees F I have to unzip the armpit vents to help eliminate excess body heat. Barrier jackets like these are very effective, but if you go shopping for one, make sure it has ventilation zippers so you can adjust airflow as temperatures increase. Otherwise, on warmer days, you'll be a sweaty mess when you arrive at your destination.
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Old 01-10-13, 01:45 PM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by shepherdsflock View Post
Barrier jackets like these are very effective, but if you go shopping for one, make sure it has ventilation zippers so you can adjust airflow as temperatures increase. Otherwise, on warmer days, you'll be a sweaty mess when you arrive at your destination.
I have an image in my head of a rider coming back home totally wet from head to toes, shoes making wet noise on the ground.
And the wife saying: "Oh it's raining like crazy outside darling"
and the husband answering: "Nope i've just been shopping"

Last edited by erig007; 01-10-13 at 01:48 PM.
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Old 01-14-13, 05:28 PM
  #16  
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Originally Posted by bikenh View Post
The top I wear is about the same thickness of the Rocky shirts that you find at Wal-Mart, maybe not removed from the hunting section yet...maybe. The Rocky shirts(Made In Jordan, black in color with ScentIQ) are compression fit, my top isn't. My Duofold Varitherm top fits just like a t-shirt would. If the temps are in the 20s its about the perfect temperature range for the top. I don't sweat...I don't get cold. Starting around 28-30 degrees I will start to notice the shoulder blades area getting wet as I get home, climbing any time I'm heading toward home. Once you get down to 10-15 degree range I start wanting something more, especially if it's windy outside. I am always wearing a double layer nylon jacket on top of the Duofold for both wind protection and precip protection. I have had one ride already this winter when I left home with sunny skies and abotu 30-30 miles from home I found myself in a long, 25-30 mile long, snow squall. I prefer to make sure I stay dry from the outside the best I can so I always wear the nylon jacket.

Erig007,

One thing you have to remember, things don't always go as planned. You can be riding along, all nice and warm and sweaty as you could ever hope for and than...BAM...a chain link break, you get a flat tire, etc. Now you are trying to work on your bike in 20 degree temps with light snow falling that you wasn't expecting, the forecast wasn't calling for it, and you are starting to chill down nicely thanks to the sweat you have on your skin/clothing.

No thanks, I'll stick to focusing on staying dry. That makes much more sense. I've had myself in several cases, just yesterday alone, where I've been off the bike for 5-15 minutes at a time outside, some planned some unplanned, and I've had no trouble staying warm even though I didn't have all that fancy smancy vapor barrier crap on. How did I do it? I stayed dry...I didn't have to worry about what happens when I'm outside off the bike in the cold, because I'm dry.

The only way to ride during the winter months is to ride dry, not warm. If your sweating...your killing yourself.

Sasquatch16,

I'm not sure what the thickness of the UA is. When you are talking cold are you talking cold as in FL cold or NH cold? Are you talking about riding where a cold day is waking up with overnight lows at the freezing mark, or overnight lows of -10F? There's a big difference there. Read the first paragraph that I wrote and I think you will understand what I'm saying. Your UA may be appropriate, but only at a lower temperature, you may need a thinner layer at warmer temperatures. You may simply, and it sounds that way, have too much warmth for the air temperatures you are riding in.

Yes, I disagree with everybody I have seen write on this message board. Everyone wants to suggest you need to stay warm. That's not been my experience. My experience through being on the bike 7 days a week, at temps from -5F and above, is the first thing you need to do is to stay dry. Sweat will cause your body to lose heat rapidly. If you don't sweat you don't have to worry about losing the body head so fast. You can get away with a whole lot more than someone who is sweating up a storm.

Don't try to remove to the sweat, remove the heat that is causing the sweat and as a result you will stay warm because your body will moderate to a comfortable temperature and you will be able to stay at that comfortable temperature even when $hit hits the fan and you run into trouble.

Remember this...

Would you go out and take the piece of glass out your flat tire and put the tube back in and pump up the tire? Why or why not?

Why go out and remove the sweat or heat up the sweat? Why not go out and remove the sweat before it can form in the first place...doesn't that make so much more sense?

It works for me and has now for the past two winters. I can't complain any at all.
After trying some different things I am thinking that it has not been cold enough to wear this shirt. Mid to high 30's I think I am just generating to much heat and end up sweating. Wore a lightweight shirt with my usual jacket the other day in the 30's and I was cool but not uncomfortable. I was dry and I think that was key. Will try that shirt when it gets into the 20's. Also bought a merino wool shirt to try out.
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Old 01-14-13, 06:14 PM
  #17  
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I just acquired two sets of Minus33, mid weight, 100% merino wool base layer.
I am totally in love with this stuff. This is the first year that I have had wool base layers.
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