Winter can be temperamental. Recently, a weather report for a single week here in the Northeast described temperatures in negative double digits (snow, ice, wind chill) rebounding to the forties (slush, rain, melt). It’s enough to drive one trying to dress for a trip, or even a daily commute, nuts. The shoot-from-the-hip solution might be to seek out the single most versatile piece of clothing available, but you’ll be hard pressed to find one thing that can handle winter’s erratic mood swings. Aim for a well-rounded system of layers that can be added or subtracted based on the day, starting with the baselayers.
Baselayers — long johns, long underwear, etc. — are the foundation of a winter outdoor kit. They’re worn directly next to the skin, they’re thin, they provide warmth and they breathe and wick away moisture. The best are usually, but not always, made of merino wool, while the worst are made of cotton. Don’t buy cotton baselayers. They’ll undoubtedly be cheaper, but they’ll leave you chilled the minute they dampen with sweat.
Yes, the alternatives are pricier, but they’ll last longer, and they’ll be warmer, which is the entire point. Right now, there are lots of great options available at Backcountry for notable discounts too, including midweight tops and bottoms from Smartwool, a lightweight tee from Icebreaker and a full-on onesie by Airblaster. Discounts range up to 50 percent and more, but you’ll want to hunt around for the right size.
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