iSportsman Cyber Monday Apparel 25% Off Storewide
November 27, 2023 •iSportsman Staff
As temperatures plummet and we move into the cold seasons, staying warm and comfortable is a top priority for many. One essential garment that can make all the difference in keeping the chill at bay is thermal underwear. I’ve camped many times in below-freezing temperatures (including one of my favorite-ever trips to Fort Walker as a Boy Scout) and I can personally attest to the importance of thermal underwear in maintaining heat while out in the elements. I can always tell who’s wearing thermal underwear on every cold-weather trip I take: the ones who are shivering and miserable aren’t wearing them, while the people merrily having a blast are the ones who came prepared.
In this article, we explore the importance of thermal underwear and highlight the best options for both men and women.
Before I get into thermal underwear, it’s important to understand the basics of staying warm outdoors. Layering is the fundamental idea of how to dress in multiple layers of clothing to keep warm. However, each layer serves a unique purpose — you shouldn’t put five jackets on top of each other after all. The top layer is the shell; this one keeps the elements out and prevents cold from invading personal space. The middle layer insulates your body, keeping the warmth in with softer materials. The final layer, the base, helps to keep you dry by collecting the moisture your body generates and dispersing it through the fabric to keep you warm.
One big mistake that amateurs make when first recreating in the cold, is to wear clothes that keep them too warm, without any consideration for a moisture wicking layer. It might seem odd to say that, but let me explain: Exercising out in the cold while wearing super warm clothes will heat you up and this makes your body sweat in an effort to cool you down. The problem is that this sweat, which would normally evaporate or get wicked off in the summer time, is now trapped inside all those thick layers. Then, once you’re done moving your body and just want to relax, you’re going to be extremely cold and wet due to all that accumulated sweat.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen someone unused to cold weather outdoors who comes on a trip decked out in nothing but thick cotton shirts, cotton socks, and cotton sweaters, all packed underneath heavy overcoats. Needless to say, they were not having a good time.
This is where thermal underwear comes in. Also known as long johns or base layers, it is a specialized type of clothing that provides an additional layer of insulation beneath your regular clothing. These garments are typically made from materials that offer excellent heat retention properties while effectively wicking away moisture, ensuring that you stay dry and warm in cold conditions.
Now, let’s explore the top three thermal underwear options for both men and women: