A base layer is now an essential purchase for the rugby season so we’ve put together a rugby base layer buying guide to assist you make the right purchase.
Base layers need to perform the dual act of keeping you either warm or cool on the pith but also providing plenty of breathability to stop an excessive build up of sweat.
To do this, the base layer has to be vented and in contact with your skin, but not too close to prevent wicking. That said, excessive wicking will keep your body producing more and more sweat, so ideally a thin layer of moisture should be maintained.
In this rugby base layer buying guide we look at the five main considerations when making a purchase.
A muscle compression is one of the key benefits of base layer clothing. Compressing your muscles during and after exercise helps greatly improves muscle oxygenation and blood circulation. This reduces the build-up of lactic acid in the body and greatly aids the time it takes your body to recover.
A good compression base layer can also significantly reduce the chance of muscular strain and injury. However, too much compression can restrict muscle movement. A good base layer usually has 10-20% elastane (also known as spandex or lyrca) of the base layer, and is what creates the stretch in the fabric, keeping your muscles compressed.
A quality base layer will help move moisture away from the skin, a process known as wicking. Moisture wicking base layers work by drawing sweat away from the wearer’s body during exercise and allowing it to evaporate on the surface of the material, instead of sitting on the skin.
A good base layer usually has 80-90% polyester or nylon, and this is what gives the base layer its moisture wicking properties. Polyester has particularly good wicking properties, and is often preferred to nylon in base layer manufacturing process. Combined with a good compression fit the sweat that is produced is captured by the base layer and evaporates quickly. This helps keep the wearer dry and light during exercise.
A quality base layer will help you keep cool during intense exercise such as rugby. An extra layer of technical base layers designed to evaporate warm sweat from the body, helping you stay cool and light. The more advanced base layers also have ventilation panels to improve airflow And speed up evaporation of sweat. Laser-cut perforations in the polyester can also improve temperature control without sacrificing muscle compression. Wearing a short-sleeve base layer during the summer will help temperature regulating qualities.
Whilst some base layers are designed to ventilate to keep you cool, others are designed to insulate to keep you warm. Thermal base layers can use a web of textiles to trap body heat. Advanced thermal base layers use infrared energy from the body to boost the flow of blood to tissue delivering vital nutrients while increasing oxygen levels. It mimics a heat revolvers system that turns wasted energy expelled from the boy and turns it into useable energy.
Advanced base layers will incorporate a copper or silver treatment to create an antimicrobial finish. The anti-microbial properties prevent the build-up of the bacteria that creates odours. All anti-microbial treatments and odour control systems have a shelf-life. The entry level anti-microbial protections last only a few washes, whilst the most advanced can last up to 50 washes. Always refer to the care instructions when washing your base layer to help preserve the anti-microbial finish.
Note: Muddy Rhino will update this Rugby Base Layers Buying Guide from time to time to ensure it covers the latest advances in technical apparel.