Mesh base layer effectiveness in cold or rainy weather.-
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  1. #1
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    Reputation: bakerjw's Avatar
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    Oct 2014

    Mesh base layer effectiveness in cold or rainy weather.

    I wondered what the thoughts were about the effectiveness of using a mesh base layer while riding in cooler or wet weather.
    In cold temps (30s and lower) I usually ride with a base layer and a windproof fleece layer. Of course everything underneath gets soaked.
    As is said, breathable rain gear does not breathe in 100% humidity which puts you in the same boat as when riding in cold weather.

    I'm just looking at picking up some more gear to provide more options.
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  2. #2
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    Reputation: OwenM's Avatar
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    Oct 2012
    "Mesh" like a loosely woven synthetic or one of those fishnet baselayers? I have no experience with the latter, so can't comment on those, but generally reserve the former for warm weather when sweating a lot and not wearing anything over it, since they dry extremely quickly.

    What stands out to me is that you said *windproof* fleece. After a point your baselayer is no better than your outer layer's ability to breathe and transport moisture, which stuff like Windstopper fleece pretty much sucks at-and you might as well look at it like raingear, then, because you're gonna be wet.
    I don't really like windproof anything(have a Windstopper softshell vest, and tried several windproof fleece jackets in the past) for active wear.
    My windshirt is old, and not one of the better ones. It's ok sometimes, but I've had the best results with lightweight softshells like the OR Ferrosi over a a highly breathable baselayer of appropriate weight for the temps. I do run very warm, but for me, that's Patagonia's Capilene2 in the 30s, and grid fleece like R1 or Terramar's Geo for teens or 20s.
    The unlined softshells provide decent wind resistance along with excellent breathability that even the ones with thin fleece linings typically don't have. Some of the newer and more breathable windshirts might do just as well, but I don't know firsthand.
    It does means always starting cold, but is well worth it for comfort throughout the day, IMO.

    I don't know how much wind you're dealing with, but if you've got good quality baselayers, already, I'd think about trying a different outer layer that doesn't feature a windproof membrane. Something like a windshirt, light softshell, or even regular fleece(in descending order based on wind resistance).

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