Understanding The Difference Between Base Layers And Thermals

Understanding The Difference Between Base Layers And Thermals

Understanding The Difference Between Base Layers And Thermals

Are you looking to learn more about the right underclothes to wear so that you can retain more heat and stay warmer? You have come to the right article!

When you hear of base layers and thermals, people may mistake them for being one and the same but both have a very different purpose, come in different materials and are worn at different times. One focuses more on keeping the heat on your body if you are going to colder places while one focuses more on making sure that you keep your sweat at bay.

We’ve put together this article today so you can gain more knowledge on both base layers and thermals so that you can start seeing how they can’t be classified as the same and you’ll understand more fully the purpose they both serve when wearing them.


Why People Believe Thermals & Base Layers Are The Same

Many people believe that thermals and base layers are the same things but that is not true. People when going to brave colder conditions such as camping, hiking or even on worksites in a cold morning may want to purchase thermals as they are very effective when it comes to keeping the body warm due to their materials.

It is not a bad practice to consider thermals as a type of base layer but base layers will focus more heavily on wicking away sweat when you are doing heavy physical activities such as football, cricket, tennis, weightlifting and many more.

If you are frequently doing sports, you will know this scenario all too well. You’ve given 110% doing the activity and you’ve worked up a heavy sweat but you’ve either finished or on an interval. Now your sweat has gone cold which can be extremely uncomfortable especially if you are already playing in cold temperatures, this can even be quite dangerous in some cases.

The perfect answer is wearing sweat-wicking base layers that can help push away the sweat that you’ve worked up on your body and keep you at a suitable temperature. To sum it up quickly – base layers are created & worn to both keep you warm or push away sweat whereas thermals are more heavily focused on just keeping you warm in cold situations.


Can Base Layers Keep You Warm?

We’ve talked about how effective base layers are when it comes to pushing away your sweat and helping you compete better in whatever sport you may do but a question that we hear a lot is can base layers keep you warm? As it’s common knowledge to a lot of people that you purchase thermals to go under your clothes to keep you warm.

The truth is that there are a lot of different types of base layers that you can find online that do help you keep warm by trapping the body heat whereas some might just only say that the battle against sweat to keep down your temperature.

The reason for this is that there are a lot of different materials that different brands use in order to create base layers and with different types of materials you can create a wide range of base layers that serve different purposes.

Base layers aren’t just used by sports people to help them play more effectively but many people across the world wear base layers for activities such as hiking, camping and going to the gym.

They can be effective in a number of situations depending on the right materials, by getting a better understanding of what materials are used before purchasing a base layer you can purchase the right one for the intended purpose.


What Does Sweat-Wicking Mean?

When you come across base layers online, you might have heard them describe them as ‘sweat-wicking’ but what exactly does this mean? The definition of wicking is ‘acting to either absorb or draw off liquid’ and that is exactly what sweat-wicking fabric does.

It will wick away any sweat that you generate while doing your activity so that it helps keep your body dry so you don’t get a cold sweat after you stop playing which is why it is so popular amongst top-rated sports people across the world as it helps them perform more effectively and safer.

It’s super important to own base layers if you enjoy or play sports professionally full time that are capable of sweat-wicking through its materials as you are at a higher chance of producing a lot more sweat than usual.

If you just leave this sweat to become cold & wet under your skin not only can it be dangerous for a sudden temperature drop in cold conditions but you are at a higher chance of making the fabric you are wearing chaff under your skin.

You might have experienced this when running, that is why many professional runners or frequent runners will be seen wearing base layers underneath as it’s crucial that while running or taking breaks you remain at a suitable temperature & comfortable.



So now that we understand that base layers and thermals are both different types of quantities, you can think of a thermal as a type of ‘base layer’ – but to quickly summarise our point, if you are looking for a piece of underclothing that will keep you warm while on trips such as camping or staying toasty in the morning while at work then it may be best for you to look at purchasing thermals to go under your clothes.

If you are someone who is actively doing sports such as football, cycling, running and many more – whether that’d be just recreational with friends or you are a full-time professional. It will be best for you to purchase some high-quality base layers that will be able to keep your sweat from running cold and make you perform at the best standard you can perform at.

When wearing a base layer, it is important to be aware of how tight a base layer should fit to maximise performance in sporting activities.

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