Snowboard base layers are an important part of enjoying your day on the mountain or even a long day outside romp around town. You never want to be out there with cotton sweatpants and a sweatshirt under your outerwear. Cotton is not a very breathable material and will absorb moisture as you sweat. This can lead to you getting cold when that moisture builds up and freezes. Here are some basics to understanding base layers for any cool to cold weather conditon.


Most base layers are made from either synthetic materials such as polyester or wool. In some models you might even see a blend of the two. The key is that both of these materials are moisture wicking and will beat out any cotton based alternative on keep you warm and dry.

  • Synthetic: These are soft, light weight and quick drying. Down side is they don’t regulate temperature as well as wool. They are often cheaper though.
  • Wool: This is a natural fiber that has excellent temperature regulation. If you do not wash wool properly it is prone to shrinking. It is also usually a little more expensive.

Choosing either of theses materials helps keep you dry and at a consistent temperature. Not moisture wicking materials will lead to body temperature swings and not dry nearly as fast.


Depending on your preferences and conditions you can vary what type of base layer your ride. Here are a few different types:

  • Shirt Long Sleeve: Good in colder weather to maximize warmth.
  • Shirt Short Sleeve: Used for those warm spring riding days.
  • Pant Long Leg: These are like a pant that go all the way to your ankle. More length equals more warmth.
  • Shant or 3/4 Pant: These stop around your calf. Nice for people who want their first layers to stay out of their boot.
  • One Piece: The ultimate in protection and convenience. Seals out any drafts and gives you maximum warmth. 


Having different weight base layers allow you to be ready for any conditions. Here are the three most common:

  • Light: These are good for mild conditions or as a base in layering on super cold days.
  • Mid: The go to weight. Depending on your jacket warmth these are ideal for most average conditions. These can be used in combination with other layers.
  • Heavy: For those super cold days you pull out the big guns. Depending on the temp you can wear these by themselves or over a light or mid weight layer for extra warmth.

Ready to take your warm to the next level? Take a gander at the base layers we have here at Windward.



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