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  1. #1
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    base layer top recommendations?

    I have an Arcteryx Gamma LT track suit that I wear when temps dip to below 45 degrees. I normally wear a cotton t-shirt underneath but I'd like to switch to a long sleeve base layer top with better wicking. Can you recommend some good base layer options?

    I have a few Patagonia Capilene long sleeve base layer shirts from a few years ago. The fit and style is decent but the fabric doesn't seem to regulate heat very well. I get pretty warm wearing the Capilene top under my Gamma LT jacket. I bought a few different Arcteryx base layer tops to try but they were all too small. My Capilene tops are all 2XL and are plenty roomy.

  2. #2
    high pivot witchcraft
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    No name long sleeve CoolMax t-shirt from Costco. $10. Good to go.

    I have some long sleeve Helly Hanson base layer shirts I wear skiing. Frankly, I donít find them any better functionally than the Costco shirt.

    I also have Paragon tops and bottoms from Costco, which are a Merino blend. Cheap AF. Less than $20 each. They function very well as a base layer as well.

  3. #3
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    I have icebreaker 200 zone and smartwool PhD base layers. The smartwool is a tin by more comfortable (wool blend vs IB 100% wool). Both work very well. Iíve used the synthetic before but am really impressed with the anti odor properties of wool. Iím also very sensitive to wool but this merino wool is not a problem.
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  4. #4
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    That jacket is probably too warm. Try a light wind vest.
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  5. #5
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    Biggest factor in temperature regulation with a base layer, IMO, is wether or not it has a 1/2 to 3/4 length zipper, or front button down. Even when well below freezing, on long climbs I will unzip the front from my chest to belly to keep from sweating up. (I've an abundance of chest hair so that factors in as well.)

    Material, as long as it is something like fleece or wool works.

    I've also found I can wear some fleece right next to my skin without a "base layer".

    Some of my favorite, all-purpose clothing, are Wrangle fleece, plaid button down tops from Wally-World. Yeah, I've got high end Outdoor Research and Smartwool tops, and the only advantage they have are the zip vs button down. I can get those fleece tops for like $14 each - and I own a dozen or so. I use them for every thing from biking, to xc skiing, to running. They are buffalo plaid design, and while maybe not your thing, I like them so much it is what I wear pretty much every day even when around the house. We are sort of a "woodsy family" and it goes with our style.

    If it's really cold I wear two of those fleece tops. Paired with an ebay $15 mesh-backed cycling vest I can handle most anything.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrmike View Post
    No name long sleeve CoolMax t-shirt from Costco. $10. Good to go.

    I have some long sleeve Helly Hanson base layer shirts I wear skiing. Frankly, I donít find them any better functionally than the Costco shirt.

    I also have Paragon tops and bottoms from Costco, which are a Merino blend. Cheap AF. Less than $20 each. They function very well as a base layer as well.
    Yes, whatever is cheap.

    Features I look for:

    Stretchy and fairly tight-fitting, loose is always colder for me.

    Somewhat of a turtle-neck, this can help immensely keeping your neck and lower face warm.

    Have a few different weights you can mix and match for conditions.

    Extra length is very helpful for tucking (sometimes hard to get with the right form-fitting size).

    Synthetics dry faster than wool and provide more warmth per pound, they make great base layers and as long as you don't wear the same shirt like 5 times in a row (gross!) they do just fine. 95% of the time in the winter, I'm wearing one base layer and one soft-shell jacket, down to temps around zero F. I have difference ones to mix and match and I occasionally go with another layer if it's cold, but one important thing is I need to be able to regulate my heat and piling on a bunch of layers makes that hard to impossible in some situations, so I need to be able to unzip my jacket and expose the layer(s) close to my skin to allow for cooling and not sweating. Riding in the winter and managing your heat/sweat is an active process and requires you to do things at times, but if you do it right, you stay totally dry and happy.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  7. #7
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    I just ordered one of these:

    https://www.rei.com/product/104303/r...f-zip-top-mens

    I love the price. Hopefully it beats the Capilene for lightweight heat regulation.

  8. #8
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    Craft makes good kit. I use their long sleeve baselayer tops, coupled with a short sleeve jersey and usually a windshell. Granted it usually doesn't get all that cold here. . .
    . . . . . . . .

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by titus View Post
    I just ordered one of these:

    https://www.rei.com/product/104303/r...f-zip-top-mens

    I love the price. Hopefully it beats the Capilene for lightweight heat regulation.
    I had capilene stuff in the past. IME, that's ok for the lower-intensity sports where you are relying more on insulation and less on your body heat. For the higher intensity stuff like XC skiing, running in the cold, biking, you need closer-fitting stuff, as generally the capilene that I bought wasn't really intended to be like the more form-fitting base-layers.

    Craft does make good stuff. Most of us (no kidding, take a group photo of 100 people and 80 have these) wear the same Craft xc ski pants in the winter. You can find similar pieces sometimes cheaper, but if I find the craft stuff on sale I'll seriously consider adding a few to my inventory. Incredible temperature range with those pants, from around 50 degrees down to single digits with no big changes.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  10. #10
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    I have some Under Armour base layer that I really like. It's a grey digital camo and seems to wick well. On top of that I wear a long sleeve shirt I got from Deergear.com. Very light and wicking as well. These two pieces have become my winter go to. I layer on top of these accordingly.
    I like turtles

  11. #11
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    Try Endura BaaBaa layer.
    Of all the merino wool out there, whatever they do, texture wise, theirs is the best I've tried. (many)
    $$, but it feels better than anything ever next to my skin.
    I go the cheap route on most things, but for my first layer, Merino wool all the way!. YMMV

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bickle View Post
    That jacket is probably too warm. Try a light wind vest.
    Or just two shirts. People always seem to overdress in cool/cold weather. The jacket is likely overkill.

  13. #13
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    I read a review online complaining that Craft baselayers fit fairly small. I had that issue with Arcteryx baselayers which is why I'm on the hunt for other options. I need a true 2XL. 2XLT would be most ideal but I know thats hard to find.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by NYrr496 View Post
    I have some Under Armour base layer that I really like. It's a grey digital camo and seems to wick well. On top of that I wear a long sleeve shirt I got from Deergear.com. Very light and wicking as well. These two pieces have become my winter go to. I layer on top of these accordingly.
    Another vote for the generic base layer shirts. I have a collection of Under Armor and Reebok shirts from outlet stores, cheap and effective.

  15. #15
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    Craft base layers do tend to be size smaller, but longer bottom to be tucked in and no plumbers crack and snug. For Craft to do its job, it requires to be snug to the skin to help sweat off the skin and transfer to the next layer. I also have the Underarmour 2.0 and 4.0 baselayers that have a grid fleece pattern.. Those work well too can retain moisture around the grid area.
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  16. #16
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    Target has their C9 (light grey) baselayer with Merino mix and seems to hold up well after 2 years of washing and its my go to layer for going to the office and then outdoor activities after. I would like to try the Uniglo heat gear to see what the hype is all about.
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  17. #17
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    "Have a few different weights you can mix and match for conditions. "

    That. Layering, zippers, moisture moving, breathable, windproof, etc.

  18. #18
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    200g Icebreaker short sleeve base layer t-shirts. Your core is where you want more protection. The 150g versions won't last.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by ddoh View Post
    "Have a few different weights you can mix and match for conditions. "

    That. Layering, zippers, moisture moving, breathable, windproof, etc.
    There is a caveat to that I mentioned above, too many layers makes it difficult to impossible to expose the layer close to your skin to ventilate, which new-ish riders to the cold tend to do often and then sweat when they've gotten up to operating temp or the terrain goes vertical. 2-3 max, 3 can be too many in many cases I've encountered and more than that just gets ridiculous. It's more about the outer layer if you think you need more than 3 layers total (including the outer) IMO.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  20. #20
    high pivot witchcraft
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    There is a caveat to that I mentioned above, too many layers makes it difficult to impossible to expose the layer close to your skin to ventilate, which new-ish riders to the cold tend to do often and then sweat when they've gotten up to operating temp or the terrain goes vertical. 2-3 max, 3 can be too many in many cases I've encountered and more than that just gets ridiculous. It's more about the outer layer if you think you need more than 3 layers total (including the outer) IMO.
    I sweated my ass off tonight. I think it is time to give up on the GoreTex (Pro) shell...

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirt diggler View Post
    Target has their C9 (light grey) baselayer with Merino mix and seems to hold up well after 2 years of washing and its my go to layer for going to the office and then outdoor activities after. I would like to try the Uniglo heat gear to see what the hype is all about.
    C9 is my go to gear too, sure it's not the best, but it's awesome for 1/3 the cost a comparable gear.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrmike View Post
    I sweated my ass off tonight. I think it is time to give up on the GoreTex (Pro) shell...
    Patagonia Houdini (formerly Dragonfly) is incredibly breathable. Fairly water repellent.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by ddoh View Post
    Patagonia Houdini (formerly Dragonfly) is incredibly breathable. Fairly water repellent.
    IME, they are better for cool temps like putting on for a descent in the summer or if you live in a mild climate in the winter, but when working hard, these do not breath well. Light softshells and long-sleeve jerseys and imortantly, you'll have to make changes while riding. I do like the packable jackets for milder/cool (but not cold) temps, they are excellent for that. Although the jacket itself is quick-drying, I tend to find it doesn't let the layer beneath it do the same.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  24. #24
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    I've found that the wind blocking properties trump the softshell's better breathability in colder temps. I've been happy w/ my Dragonfly in temps down to -13F.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by ddoh View Post
    I've found that the wind blocking properties trump the softshell's better breathability in colder temps. I've been happy w/ my Dragonfly in temps down to -13F.
    Yes, any good softshell should have wind-blocking material on at least the front, otherwise it's just for "cool temps". Down at -13F, I break out puffy down-type jackets to go over base layers. Hard shells also make a lot more sense at those temps IME, it's cold enough that much of your generated heat will be whisked away, vs. when it's a bit warmer and hardshells just serve to trap too much heat.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  26. #26
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    it has probably been said, but merino wool works great. I like the smartwool brand with the 1\4 zip.

    the cheap 10 shirts work really good to, especially if it just used for hours at a time and not days at a time.

  27. #27
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    any type of shell comes off for climbing and back on for the descents.

  28. #28
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    Has anyone here tried the Salomon Agile LS Tee? Looks pretty decent and Salomon quality is generally good

  29. #29
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    Looks like Target makes their C9 baselayers in a max size of XL whereas I require a size of 2XL

  30. #30
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    since everyone here likes craft so much I'll definitely try one of their "active intensity crewnecks"

  31. #31
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    I recently stumbled on this https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    I'm 6 1 and 210, and wear an XL. I'm from Tucson but wear this from 40 to 65 degrees. Other parts of the country might snicker at this, but 45 is fricken cold to me.

  32. #32
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    I received the REI baselayer but unfortunately it's more of a dark grey than black although it's advertised as black:

    https://www.rei.com/product/104303/r...f-zip-top-mens

    It seems like a nice material and weight and it has a nice half zip down the front but "off black" black is one of my pet peeves so I'm returning it.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by titus View Post
    I received the REI baselayer but unfortunately it's more of a dark grey than black although it's advertised as black:

    https://www.rei.com/product/104303/r...f-zip-top-mens

    It seems like a nice material and weight and it has a nice half zip down the front but "off black" black is one of my pet peeves so I'm returning it.
    Base layers go under things, right? LOL.

  34. #34
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    I have a Starter brand 'Dri-Star' t-shirt that I love, I think it was about $8 at Walmart. My wife bought it for me on a trip because I forgot my 'swim shirt' to keep the sun off at the pool, and I started using it on the bike. I don't think I've ever been cold while racing with that as a base layer, - cold after but not during.
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  35. #35
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    The Atcteryx Cormac Zip LS is great! Lightweight and breathable, basic styling and fits well. I'll post a followup report after I go on a ride with it but first impressions are very good.

  36. #36
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    My Patagonia Capilene is too warm for cycling. I have some $6-8 polypropelene long sleeve base layers that work great. I've had 2 of them for over 20 years and bought 2 more from Amazon about 3 years ago.

  37. #37
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    I'm guessing the problem is the 500g softshell jacket as your outer layer. The Gamma line jackets are fairly burly and not that breathable, better for slower exertion activities like climbing and hiking. I've tried various softshells, but they never work for me. I found the only upside is they hold up to crashed well.

    I prefer either a 200g or 260g merino wool baselayer, then an appropriate midlayer, finally a wind jacket like the Patagonia Houdini, else a rain jacket if its snowing or raining.

    I think the midlayer is the real key to the whole equation. Traditionally midlayers have been a fleece vest or jacket, maybe down if really cold. Now they are getting fancy with the various 'breathable' insulations like the Patagonia Nano Air or Arc'Teryx Atom series etc.

  38. #38
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    Uniqlo, very good wicking and warmth and only $14

    Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirt diggler View Post
    Craft base layers do tend to be size smaller, but longer bottom to be tucked in and no plumbers crack and snug. For Craft to do its job, it requires to be snug to the skin to help sweat off the skin and transfer to the next layer. I also have the Underarmour 2.0 and 4.0 baselayers that have a grid fleece pattern.. Those work well too can retain moisture around the grid area.
    I love my Craft. They wick moisture very well. I have some with wind blocking front which are great for cold weather (fat biking) but limit heat regulation. I got the Craft on sale years ago. While they are great, I would not pay retail for them vs the Costco base layer.

    Having just had a melanoma removed, my priority has changed to sun protection. I am giving Adidas Climacool long sleeve base layers a whirl for summer. UPF 25 blocks 96% of sun.

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