If you're planning on keeping your healthy regime going throughout these cold and dark winter months then you'll need an awesome base layer. Ditto if you want to just stay warm in the Arctic weather we're currently 'enjoying'.
There are plenty of ways to keep your core temperature where it should be for a variety of sports and types of exercise.
For the uninitiated, a base layer is exactly what it sounds like. It's the layer you wear first before you put on anything else and one that keeps you warm and soaks up your sweat. Thermal underwear needs no explanation. We hope.
Choosing a base layer is more complicated than you might think though. For one thing, certain materials suit sports better than others. Merino wool, for instance, is better for skiing than synthetic material, which soaks up sweat better. Here's our guide to buying the right product no matter what activity you are undertaking.
Falke Base Layer Shirt
Featuring an ergonomic tight fit, fast drying technology and a 3-D structure, the Falke Base Layer Shirt has been designed to keep your joints warm while exercising, while also wicking away sweat from the body. The shirt features an ultra-lightweight construction that alternates open mesh cooling zones at the armpits and crook of the arm with thermal warmth zones for joints too. Naturally, the shirt is also seamless and non-chafing.
Craghoppers Vitalise Base T
Some of these layers are super technical and not a little costly. This one, by contrast, provides solid insulation, moisture control and wicking and costs bugger all.
You also get these two very choice colour options: blue and black, or black and off-black. These tops also have a 'recommended kit' award from the Department of the Environment. So that's nice.
Price £8 | Craghoppers
Odlo Evolution Blackcomb
An award-winning baselayer, no less (it scooped the ISPO Gold award in the Baselayer category), Odlo's Evolution Blackcomb uses Greentec fabric, with 38% recycled polyester
A three-dimensional circular knit technology is deployed in 'the exact areas where these functions are most needed', so body heat is maintained, while more moisture is moved away from sweat-prone areas. A choice of camo and 'animalier' jacquard patterns is available.
Price: £65 per item | Odlo
66º North Egill
The Egill uses Polartec Power Wool, a mix of man-made fibres and wool designed to give 'the best of both worlds.' The poly-nylon mix means it dries quickly and is machine washable, while wool keeps you warm even when it does get wet, and aids breathability and wicking.
The result is 66º North's lightest base layer, designed for athletes but also suitable for cold people in general,as long as they're reasonably wealthy - this is a highly technical base layer and not an economy purchase.
€120 | 66º North
One for all-year use is Aclima Coolnet. As the name suggests, the mesh net-like construction helps with ventilation and comfort, while keeping it elastic for sticking close to your body, regardless of how in or out of shape you are. Perfect for the sweatier activities. The fact that it's basically got boobs drawn on it does strike one as ill-advised, however.
X-Bionics Racoon Ski
As the name suggests, this particular base layer is for skiing, but not for looking like a racoon. No, it gets that name because of its ability to maintain warmth by staying close to the skin. Apart from weighing virtually nothing, you get 3D-BionicSphere technology for getting the sweat away faster and water-repellent material.
Tribe Sports Performance Thermal
As base layers go, the Tribe Sports Performance Thermal looks understated, but it happens to be reasonably priced and extremely comfortable. In fact, you can wear it on its own if you so desire, thanks to the strong material with 4-way stretch. Each garment takes 54 minutes, in case you wanted to know.
North Face Warm 1/4
There are plenty of North Face base layers worth looking at, but we like the versatility of a zip. The Warm 1/4 has flatlocked seams for comfort, hypoallergenic qualities, double-layer fabric design for keeping your body heat in and odour resistance.
Nike Pro Combat Core Compression
Nike's Pro Combat Core Compression 2.0 offers applies the benefits of compression to your lower half. Dri-FIT fabric is designed to keep you dry and comfortable, yet snug enough to do their thing. Machine washable so convenient to maintain when things get muddier later in the year.
Mammut Go Dry
The Go Dry long-sleeve base layer from Mammut uses a 'waffle' structure made from man-made materials try and keep you warm and dry, regardless of how sweaty or bad the elements get. It's suitable for all sports and activities so throw this on and off you go.
Kora ShoLa Zip
Yak wool is the base material for Kora's ShoLa Zip, making it 40 per cent warmer than a Merino equivalent. It's also said to be better at dealing with water vapour and more permeable for letting air through. Happy at sub-zero temperatures and warmer climates, it's a potent albeit pricey option for the exercise enthusiast.
Inov-8 Base Elite Merino SS
The Inov-8 Base Elite Merino SS is made from 18.5 micron Australian Merino wool for absorbing sweat while keeping you nice and warm when running. It requires no special cleaning process to maintain and has odour inhibiting characteristics for ensuring you smell better than you normally would.
40 athletes are said to have worked on HPE's Formula40 Compression shorts, hence the name. Four-way stretchy material with coverseam stitching makes them comfortable while the Freshfit fabric comprised 80 per cent nylon and 20 per cent spandex does everything a base layer should.
Helly Hansen Warm Ice Crew
Helly Hansen claims the Warm Ice Crew base layer is the 'best' of its kind. True or not, the Lifa fibre technology (which imitates polar bear fur) does its utmost to keep you dry while the merino exterior worries about keeping you toasty. Flatlock stitching, meanwhile, ensures there's no itching or chafing.
Aclima Lightwool Long Sleeve baselayer
The Lightwool line is the newest from Norwegian Merino specialist Aclima, and has all the hallmarks of that heritage. It's super-fine, super soft but has all the warmth you'd expect. Made from yarn of 17.5 micron, and only weighing 140g/m2 it's very light indeed. Although Aclima pitch Lightwool for summer use it's ideal for damp UK autumn cardio like runs and cycle rides, and with a windproof on top it will take you deep into winter in considerable comfort...
Ashmei is a firm believer in the wonders of superfine merino wool. The reason is because it can regulate your temperature better than a man-made substance. Carbon is added to aid sweat and water resistance, while the half-zip lets you cool off somewhat if need be.