Summer / Mesh Baselayers - Help or Hype?

Seeing as the weather is going to transition from spring to “swamp heat” in my area, I was considering trying out a mesh baselayer for cycling during the summer. 90+ degree days and high humidity are the norm where I live and were always due for a heat wave or two when tempt hit 100+.

Any riders with experience or recommendations for mesh /summer baselayers?

Are they worth it and do they work?

Are they baselayers with the ceramic fibers worth the extra expense?

Any recommendations for brands that produce a good summer base layer?

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The answer is complicated and depends on your jersey material itself. The more layers the more heat is trapped, but you do want the sweat to wick away from the surface and evaporate near the skin which is actually the cooling effect.

The jersey material is often asked to do too many things like be aero, has sponsor logos that don’t breath etc. but there are a number of summer jerseys made with wicking and cooling in mind.

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I live in Texas, and summer baselayers don’t work for me in this climate. I have opted instead for the lightest jersey I can find with UPF protection. The solution I found is Velocio’s Radiator jersey. I have recommended this jersey so many times now that Velocio really needs to start paying me.

https://velocio.cc/products/mens-radiator-mesh-jersey

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yeah the whole base layer in hot humid climates doesn’t make sense to me. It’s never worked in my favor. I just opt for the thinnest jersey I can find, I’ve even gone sleeveless for certain rides. Fashion be dammed.

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So the thing is, if the sweat is dripping off, you are losing the ability to cool from the evaporation, I think keeping sleeves will result in better overall cooling

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I like a sleeveless baselayer.

IME they help the most with wide temperature swings throughout the day. They add a bit of warmth early in the ride, but also wick sweat when it gets hot. I’ve used them in 100+ degree, non humid heat without issues. Can’t comment on the swamp heat though. We rarely get that around here.

They also help with shoulder chaffing and they hold in the fat. They’re like Spanx for the lovehandles.

They’re perfect for the trainer (no jersey), so it’s a no-risk proposition to get one to try out. Don’t like it? Just use it indoors.

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Back in the day when jerseys were just Lycra, baselaywrs made sense, even when hot out.

With the modern jersey material, there is zero need for baselayers above a certain temp (will vary by person and their preferences). For me, that line is ~70*.

Jerseys today are cooler and very effective at wicking moisture away from the body. And the sooner it can do that, the sooner the moisture evaporates, which is what helps cooling. Adding a base layer just clogs up the process.

Below 70* I still wear a baelayer…,and the cut : material will vary based on temps. But above 70* it is straight jersey.

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Once I started wearing one. I never stopped. Just buy a few as they are cheap and try it on all temps. You may find some that don’t work

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I often wear a baselayer in Houston heat. Not only do I feel it wicks sweat, but it also helps with nipple rash. I’m not huge, but I’m not a twig either, and I prefer to not wear a super tight and see through jersey.

Having said that, I like the base layers with wider holes like this one from Craft Men's Cool Mesh Superlight Cycling Baselayer | Craft Sportswear US

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Another Texas rider, I do not wear a baselayer. My opinion is there is no clothing article ever designed that can wick away the Texas heat and humid. I’ve tried all sorts of clothes that claim cooling / evaporation in the heat. I am pretty sure they don’t test it in 85% humidity (during the summer it’s 85%, 70-75% dewpoint at 5am). I am wringing clothes out after running and biking during the summer. I am not a big guy either. I have been using the Rapha Flyweight and Castelli Climber jerseys. They seem to work better than others. I am going to give the Velocia a try now.

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Depends on the jersey. Some cheap club jerseys I only wear with a base layer. The better stuff generally doesn’t need it.

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I’ve had good experience with this one from Castelli

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I love Velocio’s stuff. I have their concept bibs. Good stuff! I’ve been eyeing the radiator jersey for a bit. Sounds like I should do it.

I honestly couldn’t believe how good the radiator jersey was. I just didn’t think they could get a light mesh jersey to offer sun protection. I really didn’t believe it until I tried it. Now I am pretty much 100% Velocio for all my gear.

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Castelli doesn’t make it any more, but I did see a listing on Amazon for the Seamless Baselayer. I have 2 sleeveless and 1 shortsleeve and they are amazing. The mesh is thick enough to hold the jersey off your skin, which thinner mesh baselayers don’t do. Its so nice not having that feeling of the jersey stuck to your skin. They are my go to baselayers for long, hot rides.

The Core Mesh is one of their other mesh baselayers, but for me, I don’t like them as they aren’t thick enough or have enough structure to hold the jersey off your skin.

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In Atlanta I have had good success with Rapha Pro Team base layer (sleeved or sleeveless) combined with the flyweight jersey. They also work well with Rapha aero jerseys and a bonus there are the sleeves are long and add good sun protection.

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Texas, wear these baselayers year round:

Except when it’s cold, then I wear these:

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For some reason the one’s I’m seeing at $60+ even if they are just mesh.

This looks just like the Craft ones I use, but at a lower price. Thanks for sharing.

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I will also 2nd castelli climbers jersey with active cooling sleeveless base under it. Yesterday it was 40C (102F), and it was hot, but I definitely wasn’t overheating.

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