Fabrics Really do Make a Difference!
Traditionally base layer clothing has been cotton
or wool blends that simply protected the
outer layer from moisture and oils, and were easily
washable. Over the years a number of synthetic fabrics
such as polypropylene and polyester have been promoted
as having superior properties such as wicking,
moisture management and rapid drying. While these
fabrics were superior to cotton, they have been
replaced by engineered fabrics specifically designed
for optimum performance. The base layer revolution is
under way. But with all the hype and
misinformation it's difficult for a consumer to actually
understand what they are buying.
Simply put, wicking is the ability for a fabric to
transport moisture. The objective for base layer
garments is to wick or transport moisture away from
your skin to the outer layer for evaporation. Wicking is tested by hanging a strip of fabric with
the bottom end in a test liquid. The distance the
liquid travel up the fabric, and how quickly it does
it, is a measure of the fabric's wicking ability.
Wicking is achieved in many technical fabrics by
applying a chemical treatment to standard fibers.
These coatings provide good initial performance, but
the coatings, and performance, wear off over time. A
more durable way to achieve superior wicking is by
optimizing the shape of the fibers in the fabric.
Drying is another important measure of fabric
performance. It is a measure of how quickly moisture
can evaporate from the fabric. Base layer garments get
damp when worn under outer layers like leather. When
you remove the outer layer fast drying time is simply
a matter of comfort - the faster moisture can
evaporate, the sooner you are cool and
Moisture management is a combination of superior
wicking and drying properties. Wearing garments that
transport moisture and evaporate it quickly actually
enhance your body's ability to cool itself. When your
body can cool itself more effectively you actually perspire
less as a result. With reduced perspiration
your body requires less
rehydration, and maintains maximum
performance for an extended period of time. Top athletes, emergency personnel and even
the military have realized that proper moisture
management optimizes physical performance and
Anti-bacterial qualities in a base layer garment
simply mean less odour.
Fabric may be given short-term anti-bacterial
properties by applying a chemical treatment. A long
term solution is to incorporate an anti-bacterial
agent into the fibers themselves. The anti-bacterial
properties of silver has been known for centuries. A
garment with fibers incorporating anti-bacterial
silver is very different from a garment sprayed with chemicals.
To learn about each of our fabrics, please select CoolMax,
CoolMax freshFX or Thermolite.