Ski Base Layer Buying Guide

Shop Dare 2b Ski base layers

How do base layers work?

A base layer or thermals are there for an extra layer for skiing to add warmth and to wick moisture away from your skin to keep you dry from the inside and feeling fresh when skiing long days. Layering for skiing is really important so that you can add and take off layers throughout the day. But finding the best base layer for skiing depends on a number of different things and there are a few types to choose from; synthetic thermal base layers, synthetic performance base layers and merino base layers which have differing benefits. You can get thermal base layers as a set, as a single top or bottoms which come in full length or ¾ length. Don’t forget about getting base layers for your legs to give them extra warmth when the weather gets cold or when you cool down in between runs.

Merino Wool Base Layers

Merino wool base layers lock in body heat better than synthetic thermal base layers and the fine fibres are soft and comfortable against the skin. The flat locked seams are created for extra comfort against the skin. Merino wool base layers have a natural anti-bac, meaning that these base layers can be worn a few times in between washes, where synthetic base layers are advised to be washed after every long wear. Merino base layers are the best base layers for skiing in terms of breathability and quick drying as they will let body moisture pass through and keep you dry while you are active all day on the mountain.

Synthetic performance base layers

Our performance base layers are usually tighter fitting, to help retain and regulate body heat under other layers with strategically placed knitted panels. They are thin and don’t take up too much room so are a great layering item for skiing. The thermo-regulating fabric works with your body to maintain a comfortable temperature. Our range of performance thermals have reduced seams for extra comfort, improved fit and durability. These are the best base layers for skiing for a long hard day on the snow with lots of movement and layers on top as there will be less chance of rubbing from seams and give more freedom of movement. With added quick wicking and antibacterial fabric treatments.

Synthetic thermal base layers

Synthetic thermal base layers are the most cost-effective range of base layers Dare 2b stock but are still a great cold weather base layer. They have a brushed back, adding extra warmth and are soft next to the skin and have added quick wicking and antibacterial fabric treatments to keep you dry and feeling fresh.

Technologies to look out for

  • Seamsmart

    The range of Zone Out base layers in the men’s, women’s and kids ski base layer collection have reduced seams. The reduction of seams in the thermals give more comfort and durability with improved fit to offer unrestricted movement to give better performance.

  • Qwic

    This fabric treatment gives the thermals increased wicking and drying properties. A wicking base layer is extremely important when skiing as it will keep you dry and comfortable while skiing.

  • Woolwic

    Woolwic is a naturally wicking base layer technology. As one of the properties of a merino base layer is that it naturally wicks moisture away from the skin and contains anti bac.

Will base layers keep me warm while skiing?

The job of a base layer is to be your first layer next to the skin and to keep you warm and dry, both merino and synthetic thermals are great options for a cold weather base layer. You also need to consider other layers on top of a base layer that you may require to keep you warm. Depending on the type of skiing you are doing. If you are Spring skiing you may only need a base layer, a mid layer and a thin outer shell. But in winter and colder climates you may need 1 or 2 extra layers on top of your thermals and then an insulated ski jacket. Read our ski jacket buying guide here to find out more about which ski jacket you will need.

How should my base layer fit?

The perfect base layer should be as close fitting and tight as possible to trap body heat between your clothing and skin. A snug base layer will also be more effective at wicking moisture away from the body. All of our ranges are close fitting but also differ in levels of tightness. Dare 2b’s performance base layers fit the tightest for optimal wicking and heat retention, our merino base layers with our synthetic thermal base layers being the loosest fit.


The best way to check if your base layer is too tight is to test your movement in your arms and shoulders, if you cannot get full rotation you will need to size up. Another great way to test if you base layer is the correct size is to pinch the fabric and pull. If this is difficult do then your base layer will be a size too small.

How to layer for Skiing

Layering is always advisable for cold weather, but when heading to the slopes it’s essential. When skiing it’s important to shield yourself from the elements and maintain your temperature, it’s also imperative to keep dry. To achieve this it is more effective to use multiple layers rather than one thick insulated jacket. There a 3 main items of clothing for the perfect layering system; they are:

  1. Base layers
  2. Mid layers
  3. Outer layers

Base Layers

A base layer is your first layer of cothing, when worn corectly it acts as a seconded skin that will keep you warm when skiing. A good quuality Base layers will provide a layer of warmth, while wicking away your sweat to keep you dry and comfrotable on the slopes.

Mid Layers

A Mid layer is clothing that sits on top of your base layer and under your outer layer. Mid layer choices can be a zip up core stretch top or warm ski fleece for optimal heat retention. A mid layer can also be removed or added too depending on your warmth. While a mid layer’s role is too add much needed warmth in cold temperatures, it can also hinder your overall movement. So it’s important you choose correctly taking consideration into what snow activity you’re doing.

Outer Layers

An outer layer or shell is your final layer of ski clothing. Good outer layers will provide you with the protection you need from the cold temperatures as well as a defensive barrier against the wind and the rain by preventing moisture from penetrating into your clothing. An outer layer can be the following items of ski clothing.

  • Ski Jacket

    Insulated, shell or softshell depending on the climates and time of year.

  • Ski Trousers

    Depending on the time of year, climate and level of skiing will depend on the type of trouser.

  • Ski Gloves

    Our range of gloves give varying amounts of waterproofness, flexibility and durability.

Don’t forget when layering

Ski Socks

A good fitting pair of ski socks is essential when skiing. Ski socks proved much needed insulation that a normal pair of socks won’t manage. Ensure they fit correctly without any lumps or bumps as this can lead to rubbing and blisters once in the ski boot. Also make sure you ski socks fit above the shin to make you as comfortable and insulated as possible.