Base layers — even in hot weather?

Speaking of jerseys, I have some base layers along the lines of Under Armour (mine are by Jockey). They fit tight to the skin, which is somewhat disturbing to look at in the mirror, but work like a charm.

The base layers are thin polyester material that wick moisture away from the body. They add to the rider’s comfort, because they can warm a bit on a chilly day, and cool a bit when it’s hot and humid. I have a t-shirt and a tank top, and have used them both throughout the spring.

But today, the temperature was already well into the 80s when I left on my ride, and it was only going to go higher. I skipped the base layer. When I got back after a 24-mile hill workout, the temperature had risen to 94°F (34°C) — hey, this is central Texas and will probably be this way until late September — and I was drenched with sweat.

If I had worn the base layer, it might have minimized some of that drenching. But it might also have made me warmer on an already hot day.

Do you use base layers? Is there a temperature cutoff point at which you won’t wear them anymore?

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5 thoughts on “Base layers — even in hot weather?

  1. I wear a base layer when I commute…I’ve never worn one with a jersey…I’ll give that a shot one of these days. It’s been getting pretty hot the last couple of days! I rode most of the way to Buda on Friday but ended up turning back about 3 miles away because it was so stinking hot, humid and windy! When I got home the thermometer said 98…it felt like it was over 100!

  2. I know some racer wear a base layer to reduce road rash in case of a crash. I hate heat and I don’t wear a base layer except when it’s cold. I just wear enough to stay warm.

  3. I don’t wear a base layer unless I have to. Instead I prefer to wear arm warmers because I can take them off without stopping. If you want to wear a jersey that works well in cool and warm weather try wool. If I had the money that would be all that I would wear (except for my club jersey). The stories are true, they keep you warmer in the cold, cool in the heat, and don’t stink. Normally I am allergic to wool but the melano (sp?) wool does not itch. It also helps that I am a big fan of the traditional style of Jerseys with basic colors.

  4. Charles is talking about Merino wool–I have a couple garments made of this, and it’s magical stuff. I can wear the same shirt commuting for 3 or 4 days and it still smells fine–polyester jerseys stink when I get there in the morning. I haven’t tried them in a summer weight though, they’re kinda pricey. I might try some of the new bamboo fiber jerseys, too. Gotta love renewable resources.

    As far as base layers, I don’t bother with them. My apparel pretty much consists of baggy shorts and loose jerseys in warm weather. When it cools down, I add a windbreaker, then long sleeve jersey, then tights, then an insulated layer under the long sleeve jersey. I never saw the point of all the vests and arm warmers and other junk people put on.

    To get back to the question…I wear loose jerseys when it’s hot.

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