Uncovering The Baselayer - A Guide To The Essentials

2 mins

The humble baselayer is where every adventure begins. Unfortunately, it often gets overlooked. But choosing the right type of baselayer for your activity is critical to comfortable (and warm) adventures. Here’s everything you need to know about your most essential layer.

What’s the purpose of a baselayer?

A baselayer is your first layer of clothing; it sits directly on your skin and forms the foundation of your layering system. The main purpose of baselayers is to help manage moisture. Baselayers aren’t just limited to underwear either; now you can find everything from long sleeve tops and long johns to camisoles, singlets and tees. At Macpac, we have two kinds of baselayers – merino and synthetic.

Merino baselayers

Our merino thermals are made from 180 g/m2 merino wool and ideal for year-round comfort and versatility in warm or cool climates.

Key benefits of merino include:

  • Superior temperature control – merino wool has the remarkable quality of being cool in warm climates and warm in cool climates.
  • Odour resistance. You’ll happily be able to wear your merino baselayers without washing, even after prolonged use, which in turn is better for the environment.
  • Sustainable natural resource, recyclable and biodegradable
  • Comfortable and non-itch

Synthetic baselayers

Geothermals are our ‘entry-level’ synthetic baselayer. Made from 100% polyester, Geothermals are a great option for all round performance and warmth during activity.

Key benefits of Geothermals include:

  • Technical performance and durability
  • Durable and easy to care for
  • Moisture-wicking
  • Fast-drying
  • Good value

Prothermals are our premium synthetic baselayer option, made from Polartec® Power Grid™ with recycled content. Designed in partnership with the New Zealand Alpine Team, prothermals are an awesome option for technical performance during activities where weight is critical – such as climbing or hiking.

Key benefits of Prothermals include:

  • Lightweight and compressible
  • Superior warmth
  • Breathability

Wicking performance

Quality baselayers will last you a long time, so think of baselayers as an investment in your adventure kit. Hopefully this post helps illustrate the difference in merino vs. synthetic layers. If you need any help making the right decision, be sure to speak to one of our team in-store or message us To find out how they relate to winter layering, read our comprehensive post here