Backpacking is one of the most popular outdoor activities, and layering correctly is the key to comfort and safety when heading out on the trail. A base layer is the foundation of any backpacking outfit, and choosing the right material and fit can make a huge difference in your overall experience.
Base layers come in a variety of materials, but for backpacking, synthetic fabrics such as polyester or nylon are best. These materials are lightweight, breathable, and quick-drying, which is essential for avoiding moisture buildup that could lead to discomfort or even hypothermia. Wool is also a good option for base layers because it can keep you warm even when wet.
The fit of your base layer is just as important as the material. It should be snug but not too tight — it should fit close to your body without constricting movement or inhibiting circulation. Look for garments with plenty of stretch so you’re not restricted while moving around on the trail.
When selecting a base layer for backpacking, it’s important to consider what kind of conditions you’ll be facing on your trip. If you’ll be hiking through hot, humid climates, look for garments with sweat-wicking properties that will help keep you cool and dry. For cooler climates, look for garments with built-in insulation and warmth-trapping features such as fleece linings or windproof panels.
When choosing a base layer for backpacking, look for lightweight and breathable materials such as polyester or nylon that fit close to your body without constricting movement. Consider what kind of conditions you’ll be facing on your trip and choose a garment with appropriate features such as sweat-wicking properties or built-in insulation that will keep you comfortable during your trek.