A Guide to Skiiing Baselayers

A Guide to Skiing Baselayers

A Guide to Skiing Baselayers

The best way to keep warm whilst skiing? Layer up. With a baselayer, mid-layer and outer layer, you are bound to stay warm in the cold. And sometimes, layering up can be more effective than throwing on one big coat.

But you’ve got to do it right. Beginning with the perfect baselayer will provide you with the start you need to put together your ideal skiing outfit. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a first-timer, staying warm is essential.

Skiing baselayers for the cold

Why do we need baselayers for skiing?

Not to be confused with ski thermals, baselayers are designed to prevent you from getting cold and to protect against heat loss, not to keep you warm… Now this may sound like the same thing, but it’s not. Energy/heat loss occurs in 4 ways:

  • Conduction: can occur when your warm body and the cold air come into contact with one another, or when you sleep on the cold ground. Your body loses only 2% of its heat this way.
  • Convection: when the wind carries away the energy/heat from your body – you lose around 10-15% of your body heat this way.
  • Radiation: the transfer of heat from one thing to another, without any physical contact. Your body loses around 65% of its heat through radiation.
  • Evaporation: aka, sweating. During intense exercise, you will lose around 85% of your body heat through evaporation.

Dressing appropriately and with the right layers can help prevent against each of these. Wearing insulated clothing can help with conduction and radiation. Whereas wind and waterproof layers will help keep the wind chill off the body and can be used over the top of an insulated jacket in the deepest winter months. And lastly, there’s evaporation. This is where your baselayers come in – to help prevent sweat evaporating from the skin and make it evaporate from the baselayer instead. Essentially, they absorb the sweat from the surface of your skin and allow it to evaporate away, without losing heat energy. But for this to work properly, they need to fit well. Consider your baselayer as your ‘second skin’.

Quality baselayers for skiing

Keep comfortable and ready for any winter adventure with the right skiing baselayer. We’ve put together a couple of tables for you to see a quick comparison of the two main materials:


Different materials achieve different results. So, choosing the right baselayer material for you is crucial in keeping you comfortable and warm while you’re on the move. We have outlined the two main options below:


Polyester and polyester blends offer breathability and moisture-wicking technologies to keep you feeling fresh in any weather. They also dry quickly, which is ideal for skiing conditions, but may not be as warm as other materials. But you can always layer up with a fleece and a waterproof jacket.

Look out for ventilation – whether that’s a half zip or mesh panels that allow for extra breathability. These ventilation techniques help to improve airflow which will keep your body temperature at a consistent level – so that no matter what you’re doing, you can feel fresh while doing it. From intense exercise to standing in line for a coffee.

Pros of Synthetic Baselayers Cons of Synthetic Baselayers
Lightweight Not anti-bacterial
Easier to maintain/wash
Dries faster and high-wicking Not as warm
Often Cheaper

Merino wool

Possibly the warmest and more luxurious solution, Merino wool has a natural ability to regulate your body temperature while keeping you warm and preventing overheating. Although, it can take longer to dry and is often more expensive to buy than the synthetic blends mentioned above.

But as an added bonus, Merino wool clothing, like the Craghoppers Merino Crew Neck Long Sleeved Baselayer, is naturally anti-bacterial – meaning it’s ideal for all outdoor and active pursuits. Essentially, they can be worn for days without needing to be washed.

Pros of Merino Baselayers Cons of Merino Baselayers
Warmer than synthetics and can maintain their thermal properties even when wet Can be more expensive
Naturally anti-bacterial which helps to avoid bad smells
High-wicking Often not machine washable so harder to maintain
Feels softer against the skin While high-wicking, Merino may not wick as quickly as synthetics
Naturally resistant to UV rays

Types of baselayers for skiing

When choosing your baselayers, consider what you’ll be wearing over the top before you choose your style. If your upper layers are equipped with other insulating and warming technologies, that may influence what style of baselayer you choose. For example, if your fleece or mid-layer comes with built-in arm warmers, you may be more suited to a short-sleeved baselayer. But you’ll probably find that most skiing baselayers are long-sleeved for extra warmth and protection against the cold. Flat seam construction also reduces the risk of chafing.

Baselayer bottoms are ideal for skiing, to wear under your everyday clothes on those really cold days, or even on their own! But the best baselayers for skiing are those that you can’t even feel when you’re wearing them.

How to choose the fit of your skiing baselayer

Baselayers for skiing should be tight and close-fitting as this will help them to effectively trap your body heat and wick away moisture while you’re on the move. They should cover all areas and you should be able to tuck the top into your trousers to prevent the cold from getting in. But don’t worry about sizing down, the style and design of baselayers means they’ll be close-fitting in your usual size. As for the bottoms, the hems should rest around your ankle to ensure maximum coverage and protection.

Perfect for preparing for unpredictable weather, Craghoppers’ ThermalControl technology can help to balance your temperature so that you can feel ready, whatever the weather. Pick up a range of ski layers and skiing baselayers from Hawkshead to prepare yourself for all eventualities. So you can focus on your skiing, instead of the cold.