Often overlooked when layering, undergarments are the first thing that you put on (hopefully...) and the last thing that you take off. If you're taking the time to properly outfit yourself with the right base and middle layers, don't stick with those cotton undies -- make the move to the tech fabrics.
Patagonia's Active Undergarments may look like plain old underwear to you but they're definitely not. Designed and crafted from performance textiles they're the most breathable and quick-drying underwear you'll ever try. When worn next to the skin, they feel dry when you're hot and help preserve body warmth when you're not. Nothing beats them except maybe... well, wearing nothing?
As the name implies, Base Layers are the first layer of clothing you put on. It is a next-to-skin layer designed to move moisture from your body, providing comfort and allowing your breathable gear to do its job more effectively.
Sailing provides a unique set of challenges when it come to moisture management -- short bursts of movement in a sometimes wet environment -- and it is important to choose your base layers carefully, especially when it comes to layering for the cold. Avoid cotton clothing, when possible, as it retains moisture instead of moving it.
Base Layers are available in a range of weights to accommodate almost any climate. Ultra-Lightweight Base Layers provide dry, cool comfort and can be used on their own when the temperatures rise while Heavyweight Base Layers keep you dry and warm when the temps bottom out.
Worn between the Base Layer and Outer Layer (aka: Foul Weather Gear), the Middle Layer is an insulating layer to keep you warm when the temperatures turn colder.
As Outer Layers move more towards being shells, it is your Middle Layers that will provide you with the warmth necessary for a full (no misery) day on the water. Additionally, Middle Layers are made with technical materials that work in tandem with your Base Layers and Outer Layers to take advantage of their moisture wicking and breathability.
Middle Layers are available in two different weights -- Midweight and Heavyweight. Midweight Middle Layers are great for late fall and early spring conditions while Heavyweight Middle Layers are reserved for the coldest conditions of the season or for the more "thin blooded" among us.