Long underwear, also referred to as “Base Layer”, is your first layer of defense against the cold and your own perspiration. We will walk you through the various types of long underwear, different weights available, different construction materials, and how to shop for the one that’s right for you.
Most long underwear tops and bottoms will fit snugly with some having compression properties. Because of this, they are made to stretch. Even the looser fitting long underwear will still be considerably snugger than your average sweater. Long underwear designed specifically for snowboarding will have a moisture wicking property that wicks away your sweat while simultaneously remaining breathable. There are mens, womens, and kids long underwear.
Different Categories of Long Underwear
Long underwear can be broken into 3 categories: Tops, Bottoms, and One Piece Suits.
Tops – Long underwear tops are long sleeved and usually come in either a mock turtle or crew neck style.
Bottoms – Long underwear bottoms are made to cut-off at the ankle so that you can wear your socks over them and comfortably put your boots on.
One Piece Suits – One piece long underwear is not nearly as common as tops or bottoms, but these mythical beasts do exist. They do keep you warm!
Different Long Underwear Weights
All long underwear weights are not created equal. There are three basic types of weights that long underwear comes in. The various weights offer different levels of warmth so you have a great deal of flexibility in terms of staying not cold.
Lightweight – Lightweight long underwear is the least warm of the options and as a result, is also the thinnest. Lightweight is great for people who love to wear multiple layers for the most flexibility. It’s also great for those that don’t get cold easily. Or simply, grab your lightweight long underwear for those spring sessions.
Midweight – Midweight long underwear offers more insulation to keep you warmer than a lightweight, but not to the point of baking you. Midweight is good for riders that get colder easier or those looking for something a bit warmer for the colder parts of the season.
Heavyweight – Heavyweight long underwear is the thickest type of long underwear and is thus the warmest to be obtained. If you get the shivers just from opening your freezer, then this is the weight for you. Heavyweight long underwear is excellent for cold temperatures.
Different Material Types
Long underwear comes in a wide variety of materials. They can be categorized into two sections: Synthetic and Natural. We will walk through the most common types of materials for each category.
Synthetic – Synthetic materials are man-made such as spandex, nylon, polyester, and lycra or some mixture of them. They all have excellent moisture wicking properties and are durable.
Natural – Natural materials include Merino wool and silk. Long underwear constructed with natural materials tend to offer more comfort, but isn’t as durable. They require extra care during washing and drying as well. However, they provide an all-natural way of moisture wicking, breathability, and warmth.
Cotton falls under the Natural category, but should generally be avoided. Cotton has virtually no moisture wicking property causing you to get wet thus preventing you from keeping warm.
There you have it. Snowboard specific long underwear is not the long johns from your childhood. Now you know and knowing is half the battle.