Thermals Buying Guide

To layer or not to layer - Tips on buying Thermals for Skiing and Snowboarding

Having multiple layers is a great way to have versatility in all weather conditions no matter what the day throws at you so that you can still spend all day on the hill.

The general recommendation consists of 

  1. Base Layer
  2. Mid Layer
  3. Outer Layer

This way is the best way to have the most versatility on the hill for all weather condtions. However you need to take into account your own body, skiier and snowboarder type and ability. Some people really just feel the hot or cold more than others. If you are someone who is always freezing no matter what the conditions then then 1,2,3 system is perfect for you. This would also be true for beginners and lower level skiiers and boarders. Lower level skiiers and boarders are going to be less experenced meaning they wont be out there hitting those black diamond 5km runs and working up a sweat. The beginner types will be on easy slopes with lower activity levels meaning their heart rate is low and the wont be getting too hot.

If you are a hard skiier or boarder who will take any black diamond run, hike some trails to get that fresh snow or someone who just generally feels the heat then the 1,2,3 system may be a bit too much layerying for you. If you are one of these people a simple base layer and outer layer jacket or shell may be better for you.

However this is why 1,2,3 is the most versatile because even if you run hot  and you take off that mid layer fleece on the middle of your hike to the peak, the Australian conditions can change quickly and in the middle of your hikeyou could get caught in a blizzard needing to put that mid layer back on that you just peeled off on the way to the top.

Base- Layer Thermals

The base layer is the first layer of clothing closest to your skin, it helps wick perspiration keeping you dry and therefore warm. Base layers can be anything from a T-shirt to technical long or short sleeve thermals.

This layer is usually light weight, and fitting. Look for something snug or tight and is comfortable next to your skin. This layer can be worn on a warm day or when you go back-country.

If you spend a lot of time on the snow you may want to consider one of the many technical thermals available. These will include added benefits such as compression technology and anatomical seams. The base layer may include

thermal pants or long johns under your ski pants.


Mid layer is the layer of clothing that goes between the base layer and your jacket, it may be a light weight fleece or a heavy jumper depending on the level and type of activity. When purchasing a mid-layer take into consideration the

weight of your base layer and outerwear.

A mid layer is usually worn over the top of the base layer and is made from a medium to heavy weight fabric, polar-fleece or a cotton jumper etc.

A heavy weight layer is best suited for really cold conditions; they are usually worn loose and used to add insulation.

Outer Layer

The outer layer means your outerwear. This includes a heavy or light weight waterproof jacket, shell or windbreaker that goes on the outermost layer of your ski wear. This layer is where you need your waterproofing. You can see

the link Fabric Explained to find out more about waterproofing, which rating you need and how it works.

Base Layer Fabrics

The two main choices of fabric is either wool or synthetic. There are benefits and drawbacks to both types, here are a few things to consider:





Natures natural fibre will keep you warm and dry


Dries quickly


Warm when wet

Odor Resistant


Great temperature regulation

Itchy or irritating against the skin

Can shrink if not washed correctly

More expensive then Synthetic


Advancing Technologys

Drys quicker than wool


Easy to wash

Cheaper option

If not washed  will start to smell

Petroleum based production