Combining base layers

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Combining base layers

Postby CleeRider » Tue Feb 05, 2013 22:19 pm

I have 2 merino wool base layers (varying thickness and style) and a white mesh vest type thing.
Is there any best practice, tips or problems in combing 2 or more of these to stay warmer under a long sleeve jersey/jacket?
I'm mostly thinking of how the wicking and temperature control will be affected by multiple layers.

If I wear just one base layer I feel fine on the ride but once I get home, my stomach is really cold to touch - I've read that a low core temperature can mean freezing/numb extremities eg toes, and its probably not great for my overall health also.

Which combination would work best?

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Re: Combining base layers

Postby Danlikesbikes » Tue Feb 05, 2013 22:56 pm

Its a good question & I have seen quite a few people say its good or bad.

However if you have a thicker merino base layer (which is a good choice by the way) why not wear that under your long sleeve top. In addition if your feeling a drop in temperature perhaps a windproof gilet to keep the wind off the core of your body?

If you are going to wear 2 base layers then what your doing is making a thicker "single" top which will keep your core warmer and probably aid in wicking with your jersey over the top you should be warmer to a point e.g. more insulation less body heat lost. Though you might find it harder to regulate your temperature if the 2 base layers to not allow you to adjust them having said that assume your jersey is half zip/full zip so you could cover it that way.

However in the current winter conditions I think you will find that the combination of cold air, wind & your bike moving forward you are simply loosing heat by convection that way, hence my suggestion above.

For me I tend to have 2 basic set ups.

Cold - long sleeve base layer, long sleeve jersey, gilet & a buff around my neck tucked into the gillet. If I get too warm riding I can undo my jersey zip and the gilet too if need be but the wind is reduced by the buff.

Extreme cold - Same set up but remove the long sleeve jersey and replace with a thick winter jacket that is also windproof but has good ventilation flaps.

Personally for me its about controlling my exposure to the wind, so have a selection good winter socks, over socks, over shoes, thick 3/4 bibs & full over bibs, cycle cap, windproof skull cap & a couple of different thickness gloves
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Re: Combining base layers

Postby Stueys » Wed Feb 06, 2013 07:27 am

I'm a big advocate of multiple, thin layers. I was skiing in Jan in -20 in two thin base layers, a mid-layer and goretex shell. Absolutely fine and multiple thin layers means you can adjust easily if you get too warm and seems to regulate my tempreture better than thick layers.

My cold weather biking gear tends to be long sleeve base layer, long sleeve jersey, then either gillet sometimes topped with rapha city wind jacket (long sleeve, water/wind proof number) or an endura high vis jacket if its grey outside. Both combinations work down to zero, I've not been out below that. I've been in longs and a merino beanie thing since Oct.

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Re: Combining base layers

Postby smidsy » Wed Feb 06, 2013 07:38 am

The one you put on 1st is a baselayer. the one you put on next is now something else :-)

No problem wearing more than one and layering is deffo the best way rather than 1 thick garment.
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Re: Combining base layers

Postby SecretSam » Wed Feb 06, 2013 08:53 am

LOL I wore 3 baselayers the other day, kept me nice and cosy all way round, mind you it was cold!

After an hour or so you do find you're warming up a lot, so just take off a layer and stuff it somewhere
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Re: Combining base layers

Postby Mikey23 » Wed Feb 06, 2013 15:00 pm

In the coldest and windyest weather in east Cornwall, I have used a merino base layer, long sleeved top and thin rain proof top. Those three layers have kept me toasty warm and never got at all sweaty. Gloves and two pairs of socks. not quite got feet sorted out but working on different ideas. i think as the weather warms up, different combinations will work best ... it's just a question of trial and error

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Re: Combining base layers

Postby marcusjb » Wed Feb 06, 2013 16:47 pm

Multiple thin layers work well for me in colder conditions. I feel the cold quite badly (being a skinny little lad), so what I wear may well be more than many (I wear base layers in summer!).

Thin merino base layer, slightly heavier merino mid layer, Rapha winter long-sleeve and then my outer shell.

It does mean I can regulate my temperature by removing the mid layer if needed.

I've ridden good distances in temperatures of minus 7 like that and been okay - but as I said, I feel the cold worse than many riding companions.

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Re: Combining base layers

Postby SmoggySteve » Wed Feb 06, 2013 18:04 pm

I find that so long as your base layer is made if a good wicking material, the other lays can be anything although preferably waterproof. The thing that will make you feel cold is the moisture sitting on your skin. Wind chill can drop your core temp very quickly if you are wet. I have seen soldiers with plenty of layers on still go down in extreme cold all because the base layer was making them sweat and chilling them.

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Re: Combining base layers

Postby jecooper » Thu Feb 07, 2013 09:59 am

CleeRider wrote:If I wear just one base layer I feel fine on the ride but once I get home, my stomach is really cold to touch - I've read that a low core temperature can mean freezing/numb extremities eg toes, and its probably not great for my overall health also.

Core temperature refers to temperature of vital organs and can only be measured by having a thermometer lodged in places best not spoken about. The instantaneous temperature of the skin around your 'core muscles' is certainly not indicative, in fact if you've been exercising you'll probably find that your core temperature has risen since you started and will take about 30 mins after you stop to reach its maximum.

If your comfortable in one base layer, then just wear one base layer, wearing 2 won't stop your fingers falling off if you go out without any gloves on.

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Re: Combining base layers

Postby DesB3rd » Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:09 pm

The string vest (the Brynje baselayer was a cult item for many years, only recently have other brand piled in with similar products) probably isn’t much cop anywhere but next to skin and most of the appeal of merino over lighter & equally insulative sythetics is that it feels particularly nice next to the skin – thus I don’t see that the cross-over between the products as baselayers per se. However there’s nothing wrong with merino tops as additional insulation, though I’d probably keep the string vest for milder weather and wear 1-2 merinos when it’s cold.

N.B. on the stomach - my chest gets cold when I’m otherwise comfortable – I carry a piece of poly-silk with a couple of self-adhesive velcro patches stuck on, goes on my chest between my baselayer & jersey – Heath Robinson stuff but there’s nothing on the market that even comes close.

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