Ski Base Layer Buying Guide

Shop Dare 2b Ski base layers

How do base layers work?

Base layers or thermals are used to add an extra layer for skiing. They give extra warmth and wick moisture away from your skin to keep you dry under your layers for the long days on your skiing adventures. Layering whilst skiing is very important so that you can add and take off layers throughout your day, depending on the weather conditions. 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 performance base layers, synthetic thermal base layers and merino base layers, which all have differing benefits. Thermal base layers can be bought as a set, or as single top or bottoms which come in different lengths. Don't forget that base layers can be bought for your legs to give them extra warmth when the weather gets cold or when you are cooling down in between runs.

Merino Wool Base Layers

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

Synthetic performance base layers

Dare 2b's performance base layers are usually a much tighter fit, helping to retain and regulate body heat under other layers with strategically placed knitted panels. These layers are thin and don't take up too much room, perfect for a layering item whilst skiing. The thermo-regulating fabric works with your body to maintain a comfortable temperature. Dare 2b's range of performance thermals have reduced seams for improved fit, extra comfort and durability. These are the best base layers for skiing or a long day in the snow with lots of movement as there will be less chance of rubbing from seams and give you more freedom for your outdoor activities, with the added quick wicking and antibacterial fabric treatments.

Synthetic thermal base layers

A synthetic thermal base layer is the most cost-effective range of base layers that Dare 2b stock, but still an excellent cold weather base layer. The base layer includes a brushed back which adds extra warmth, is soft next to the skin and has an added quick wicking and antibacterial fabric treatment to keep you dry and feeling fresh.

Technologies to look out for

  • Seamsmart

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

  • Qwic

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

  • Woolwic

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

Will base layers keep me warm while skiing?

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

How should my base layer fit?

Your perfect base layer should be as tight and close fitting as possible to trap body heat between your clothing and skin. A snug base layer will be more effective at wicking moisture away from your body. At Dare 2b, all of our ranges are close fitting but also have different tightness levels. Our performance base layers fit the tightest for optimal wicking and heat retention, whilst our merino base layers with our synthetic thermals being the loosest.


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

How to layer for Skiing

Layering is essential when heading to the slopes. When skiing, it's important to shield yourself from the elements, maintain your temperature and keep dry. Multiple layers are worn to achieve this rather than one thick insulated jacket. Dare 2b have put together 3 main items of clothing for the perfect layering system; they are:

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

Base Layers

This is your first layer of clothing and acts as a second skin that will keep you warm when on the slopes. A good quality base layer will provide a layer of warmth, whilst wicking away sweat to keep you dry and comfortable.

Mid Layers

A mid layer sits on top of your base layer and underneath your outer layer. This can be a zip up core stretch top or a warm ski fleece for optimal heat retention. A mid layer of clothing can also be removed depending on your warmth. Whilst a mid layer's role is to add warmth in cold climates, it can also hinder your overall movements, therefore it is important you choose correctly and take into consideration what snow activity you will be doing.

Outer Layers

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

  • Ski Jacket

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

  • Ski Trousers

    Dependant on the time of year, level of skiing or the climate will depend on the type of ski trouser.

  • Ski Gloves

    Dare 2b's range of gloves give varying amounts of flexibility, waterproofness and durability.

Don’t forget when layering

Ski Socks

A good fitting and comfortable pair of ski socks are essential when on your skiing adventures. Ski socks provide a much needed insulation than a normal pair of socks. It is also important to 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 your ski socks fit above the shin to make you as comfortable and insulated as possible!