5 Reasons to Wear Thermals Under Your Clothes for Extra Warmth

In the cold winter months, staying warm and comfortable is a top priority for many individuals. While bundling up with layers of clothing is a common strategy, have you ever considered adding thermals to your winter wardrobe? Thermals are specially designed undergarments that offer enhanced warmth and insulation. 

In this article, we will explore the various reasons why wearing thermals under your clothes can provide you with that extra level of warmth needed to keep the chill at bay, including:

  1. How to enhance or increase heat retention
  2. How to stay dry and manage moisture
  3. How to stay comfortable when wearing thermals
  4. How to protect yourself against the elements, and
  5. How are thermals cost effective?

What Are the Basics of Thermal Wear?

Before delving into the benefits of wearing thermals, it's important to understand what they are and how they work. Thermals, also known as long underwear or baselayers, are snug-fitting garments that are worn underneath your regular clothing. 

They are typically made from a blend of natural or synthetic fabrics that offer excellent insulation properties. By trapping a layer of air close to the skin, thermals help to regulate body temperature and keep you warm in cold weather.

But let's dive deeper into the world of thermal wear and explore the fascinating details behind this innovative clothing.

What Are Thermals?

Thermals are designed to provide a comfortable and lightweight layer of insulation. They are available in various styles, including tops, bottoms, and one-piece suits, catering to different preferences and needs. The materials used in thermal wear are chosen for their ability to wick away moisture, maintain warmth, and offer a comfortable fit.

When it comes to choosing the right thermal wear, you have a wide range of options to suit your individual needs. From merino wool thermals that provide exceptional warmth and breathability to synthetic blends that offer moisture-wicking properties, there is a thermal fabric for every situation.

Not only do thermals keep you warm, but they also offer a layer of protection against the elements. Whether you're engaging in outdoor activities like skiing or simply braving the cold winter months, thermals act as a barrier between your body and the harsh environment, ensuring you stay comfortable and cozy.

The Science Behind Thermal Insulation

Thermal insulation works on the principle of trapping air between layers of fabric. When you wear thermals, this layer of trapped air acts as an insulator, reducing heat loss from the body and preventing cold air from penetrating. The materials used in thermal wear are also designed to retain heat, ensuring that you stay warm even in extremely cold conditions.

But how does this insulation process work? Let's take a closer look.

When you put on a thermal garment, the fabric creates tiny air pockets that trap warm air close to your body. These air pockets act as a barrier, preventing the cold air from reaching your skin and stealing your body heat. As a result, your body temperature remains regulated, and you stay warm and comfortable throughout the day.

Additionally, thermal fabrics are engineered to be breathable, allowing moisture to escape from your body. This moisture-wicking property is crucial in preventing sweat from accumulating on your skin, which can lead to discomfort and even hypothermia in extreme conditions.

So, not only do thermals keep you warm, but they also ensure that you stay dry and comfortable, even during intense physical activities.

As you can see, thermal wear is not just about keeping warm; it's a science-backed solution to combat the cold. By understanding the intricacies of thermal insulation and the various options available, you can make informed choices when it comes to selecting the perfect thermal wear for your needs.

The Importance of Layering for Warmth

In cold weather, layering your clothing is a proven method for staying warm. Each layer serves a specific purpose, and when combined, they work together to provide maximum insulation.

What Is the Role of Baselayers?

The baselayer is the layer closest to your skin and serves as the foundation for effective layering. This layer is responsible for maintaining your body temperature by wicking away moisture and providing insulation. Thermals are ideal baselayers, as they are designed to fit snugly against the skin, trapping a thin layer of warm air and preventing heat loss.

Thermals are typically made from synthetic materials such as polyester or merino wool. These materials have excellent moisture-wicking properties, which means they can efficiently pull sweat away from your body and keep you dry. By keeping your skin dry, thermals help to prevent the chilling effect of moisture on your body, allowing you to stay warm and comfortable even in the most frigid conditions.

In addition to their moisture-wicking abilities, thermals also provide insulation. The trapped layer of warm air between your skin and the thermal fabric acts as a barrier against the cold air outside. This insulation helps to retain the heat generated by your body, keeping you warm throughout your outdoor activities.

How Thermals Enhance Layering

Adding thermals to your layering system can significantly enhance its effectiveness. Thermals provide an additional layer of insulation, ensuring that the heat generated by your body is retained. Furthermore, the snug fit of thermals helps to keep the other clothing layers in place, preventing uncomfortable shifting and maximizing the overall warmth provided by your layered clothing.

When layering for warmth, it's important to consider the concept of trapped air. Each layer of clothing creates pockets of air that act as insulation. By adding thermals as a baselayer, you are effectively creating an extra layer of trapped air, increasing the overall warmth of your clothing system.

Another benefit of thermals is their versatility. They can be worn as standalone garments in milder temperatures or as part of a layering system in colder conditions. This flexibility allows you to adapt to changing weather conditions and regulate your body temperature accordingly.

Furthermore, thermals are lightweight and compact, making them easy to pack and carry. 

Whether you're going on a winter hike, skiing trip, or simply braving the cold during your daily commute, having a pair of thermals in your wardrobe ensures that you're always prepared for the cold.

Thermals play a crucial role in layering for warmth. They provide moisture-wicking properties, insulation, and enhance the overall effectiveness of your layering system. By adding thermals to your cold-weather wardrobe, you can stay warm, comfortable, and protected from the elements.

Reason 1: Enhanced Heat Retention

Woman walking back on a road, carryng skis and ski poles and wearing Heat Holders® layers.

One of the primary reasons to wear thermals is their ability to enhance heat retention. As mentioned earlier, the insulating properties of thermals trap a layer of warm air close to your body. This trapped air acts as a barrier, preventing heat loss and keeping your body warm even in the most frigid temperatures.

Let's delve deeper into how thermals achieve this enhanced heat retention. The fabric used in thermals is designed to have a high thermal conductivity, meaning it can efficiently transfer heat from your body to the fabric. This helps in maintaining a constant and comfortable body temperature, regardless of the external conditions.

Furthermore, thermals are usually made from materials like merino wool or synthetic fibers that have excellent moisture-wicking properties. This means that when you sweat, the moisture is quickly drawn away from your skin and evaporates, keeping you dry and preventing any chilling effect caused by dampness. By keeping your body dry, thermals contribute to maintaining the optimal temperature for heat retention.

Another factor that contributes to the enhanced heat retention of thermals is their snug fit. The close-fitting nature of thermals ensures that there are no gaps or loose areas where cold air can seep in. This tight fit also allows for better circulation of warm air within the thermal layer, maximizing its insulating effect.

Moreover, thermals are often designed with additional features such as thumbholes, extended collars, and longer lengths to provide extra coverage and protection. These features help in preventing any heat loss from exposed areas, such as the wrists, neck, and lower back.

So, by wearing thermals, you can be confident that you'll experience enhanced heat retention, allowing you to stay warm and comfortable in even the most extreme cold weather conditions.

Reason 2: Moisture Management

Moisture management is another key benefit of wearing thermals. When you engage in physical activities or if you happen to sweat, thermals wick away moisture from your skin, ensuring that you stay dry. By keeping moisture away from your body, thermals prevent the build-up of sweat and discomfort, allowing you to stay warm and cozy throughout the day.

Reason 3: Comfort and Flexibility

Thermals are designed with comfort and flexibility in mind. The soft and stretchable fabric used in their construction allows for a full range of motion, ensuring that you can move freely without any restrictions. Additionally, thermals are lightweight and breathable, providing a comfortable layer against your skin without feeling bulky or uncomfortable.

Reason 4: Protection Against Hypothermia

Hypothermia is a serious condition that occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce it, resulting in a dangerously low body temperature. Wearing thermals as part of your winter clothing can provide an additional layer of protection against hypothermia. Their ability to retain heat and manage moisture helps to maintain a stable body temperature, reducing the risk of hypothermia in cold environments.

Reason 5: Cost-Effective Heating Solution

Heating a home or office during the winter months can be expensive. Wearing thermals can help reduce your reliance on heating systems, saving you money on energy bills. By keeping your body warm, thermals make it possible to lower the thermostat and still remain comfortable. This cost-effective heating solution can have a positive impact on both your wallet and the environment.

Choosing the Right Thermal Wear

Material Considerations

When selecting thermal wear, it's important to consider the materials used. Natural materials, such as merino wool, offer excellent insulation properties and moisture-wicking capabilities. On the other hand, synthetic materials like polyester or nylon are often more affordable, durable, and quick-drying.

Fit and Size Matters

The fit and size of your thermals are crucial for their effectiveness. It's important to choose thermals that fit snugly against your skin, without being too tight or restrictive. Properly fitting thermals ensure that they can provide optimal insulation and moisture management. Additionally, consider the length and width of the sleeves and legs to ensure they cover the areas where cold air can seep in.

Care and Maintenance of Thermal Wear

Washing and Drying Tips

To ensure the longevity and effectiveness of your thermal wear, proper care and maintenance are essential. Wash your thermals according to the manufacturer's instructions, using a mild detergent and cold water. Avoid using fabric softeners as they can diminish the garments' moisture-wicking properties. After washing, hang or lay the thermals flat to air dry.

Ensuring Longevity of Your Thermals

To keep your thermals in good condition, avoid excessive stretching, abrasion, or exposure to high heat. Store them in a clean and dry place when not in use. Regularly inspect your thermals for any signs of wear and tear and replace them as needed to ensure continued warmth and comfort.


Wearing thermals under your clothes can offer multiple benefits, including enhanced heat retention, moisture management, comfort, and protection against hypothermia. By choosing the right thermal wear and properly maintaining it, you can enjoy the added warmth and insulation it provides, even in the coldest of weather. So, why not make thermals a part of your winter wardrobe and experience the difference it brings to your overall comfort and well-being?

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