Endura Baa Baa Wool Base Layer
For cold weather cycling, I feel I have my clothing options pretty dialed in. My system consists of:
1) Merino Wool Base Layer and bibs (always on, against the skin)
2) Wind & Water Resistant Base Layer (normally stays on, maybe not for steep climbs, but definitely a must!)
3) Insulated Puffy Coat (that can be stashed away in a frame bag or a backpack)
But to me, finding the right kind of layer that will be up against your skin for the duration of the ride, is perhaps the most important part. Especially for cold weather riding.
A base layer that is not well insulated will cause your skin to chill in cold temperatures and - let’s be honest, no one is having fun when they’re battling respiratory issues - there’s nothing but trouble if you can’t manage to keep your core warm enough. Yikes!
Otherwise, if a base layer is too well insulated, it could cause you to sweat. Then, your wet skin, if it happens to catch a chill from a strong wind, will cause you discomfort and extreme cold, again. Not good.
Merino wool is well insulated enough to keep your core temperature warm while the wool wicks away any moisture that your body is creating during your exercise.
I wore my wool baselayer under my thermal bibs during all of my Winter riding last year (temperatures ranging from 30 to -3 degrees F). There were plenty of times that I would strip down to just the wool layer, say If the temps were warmer for snow riding, but the gettin’ was still good (say 20 to 30 degrees), or if my body temp was high from a good climb. In just this one layer, I would be so content to let the cool air touch my skin to keep myself from sweating, but always feel protected enough so as not to catch a major draft.
Consider spending the extra money for a machine washable pair so that you can wear it time and time again on trail. (Personal secret, I managed to ride in mine 4 or 5 times on average last Winter before sweating it out and feeling obligated to wash it due to smelliness!)
Bottom line: This is not the place you want to skimp out! Consider your wool base layer your most essential piece of Winter riding gear and as a major key to year round cycling happiness!
I ride with Endura’s Baa Baa 100% Merino Wool Base Layer (in black) and I find it to be some of the best money I’ve spent on cycling gear. This particular shirt is machine washable, is low odor, and is a relaxed enough fit that I often wear mine to work or on casual hang outs (because it’s just that cozy). It is, without a doubt, my most worn item of clothing that I own.