Dollar for dollar, a thermal base layer is the best investment in winter warmth you can make. It stays close to your skin where it can do its job of insulating and wicking moisture without bunching up under your clothes.


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A base layer should fit snugly so it can do its job of wicking moisture away from your body. It doesn’t have to be so tight as to be uncomfortable, though, so buy something you’ll want to wear all day.


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To layer for warmth, wear a wool or fleece top over the base layer. Add a vest if it’s cold. Top your layering system off with a breathable, waterproof shell to keep out the wind and rain.

Even the best moisture-wicking synthetic base layer retains odors after a while, so buy more than one set so you can wash one while you’re wearing the other.