To ensure comfort while riding, one of the most important things you can do is layer properly. The days of good old cotton turtlenecks are long gone. The technical clothing that has emerged is amazingly advanced and keeps your body warm and dry throughout the day. Depending on how much you ride, it’s necessary to have a quiver of under layers to mix and match. There are several different types of under layers, and what you need will vary greatly with weather conditions, fabric and design preferences, and your personal body thermostat. Features to consider are fabric construction, breathability, and fit.
The features of under layer tops are standard. Most are made of moisture wicking polyester or nylon blend fabric, enabling the garment to breathe. The most important feature of base layers (those that touch your skin directly) is moisture wicking capability, which keeps you dryer and warmer. While the moisture wicking fabrics are called by different names, their function is the same.
The fit of your base layer is especially important. They should be tight enough to touch your skin. Many people make the mistake of wearing it too baggy. If your top is not in contact with your skin, the moisture wicking capability is diminished. With all layers, including fleece and down layers, fit is also important. Try them on with other under layers for correct sizing.
Types of layers for women include intimates, tank tops, lightweight or silk weight layers, first layer, fleece layer, and down layers.
In the past, companies made sports-type bras for women, but within the past five years, companies that manufacture ski and snowboard specific clothing have realized the need for snowboard-specific women’s intimates. Specialized sports bras have emerged from a few snowboard companies, and it’s likely that more will come in the near future. With the number of female snowboarders growing, companies are recognizing their needs. It’s about time!
Many companies make tank tops specifically designed for snowboarders. They are made of materials that pull moisture away from your body, thus keeping you warm and dry.
Lightweight/Silk weight Layers:
Lightweight layers provide a light, silky layer against your skin, which not only feels great but serves a purpose. Although some are made of a polyester and spandex blend, those that are made of mostly silk have natural moisture wicking capabilities. Although ultra light, these materials are very effective at pulling moisture away from your body, thus keeping you drier.
Slightly heavier than the silk weight but serving the same purpose, first layers are generally made of 100 percent polyester. Not like your grandma’s polyester, these tops are soft, comfortable, and flexible, and can be found in crew neck and 1/4 zip to satisfy your design preference.
Fleece layers provide extra warmth. Many manufacturers have constructed micro fleece, which is a fleece that feels thinner but is actually more dense and warm. Look for choices like crew neck, zip and quarter zip neck.
Down has always been my choice for warmth in extreme temperatures. There are various layers of down jackets available, from lightweight to heavy. I have found that the lightweight down jackets work well as a top layer, right before your jacket on the days that are extremely cold. Also, consider the type of outerwear you use. If you use a shell, a down layer might be a great investment for an added layer when you need it.
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