Summer Base Layer Guide 2022

Summer Base Layer Rider

As with many things in cycling, summer base layers can inspire passionate debate. Should you wear one in the summer? Which style is best – a vest or t-shirt? Should you wear merino or synthetic fabrics? How thick should your base layer be?

Whichever side of each debate you are on, GripGrab has a range of summer cycling base layers that will add comfort to every ride. 

Why should you wear a base layer in summer?

For many people, the idea of putting on more clothing for a warm ride seems counter-intuitive to the point of discomfort. But a summer base layer should be the foundation (the base) of any layering system, regardless of the time of year.

Here's why… 

  • A base layer offers next-to-skin comfort that many jerseys cannot provide. When exertion and sweat combine, such as on a long alpine climb, you do not want friction from your jersey to add to the effort; a well-fitting lightweight base layer will bring that added comfort and an extra layer of sun protection.
  • A summer base layer also dramatically improves moisture wicking performance in a hot weather cycling outfit. The open weave structure of a base layer moves sweat away from your body as you work hard on the climb; so you are not wet-through and prone to chills on the subsequent descent. 
  • Superior next-to-skin comfort, reduced skin irritation and enhanced moisture wicking performance are clear reasons to wear a base layer for summer cycling adventures. 

A short sleeve or a sleeveless base layer?

This is a question many people ask when choosing a new base layer, but it really comes down to personal choice.

For some, the t-shirt style short sleeve base layer is their top choice as it mirrors the outline of their jersey for coverage in all areas. Short sleeve base layers also go well with arm warmers if your ride is likely to start in cooler temperatures, meaning there is no skin gap under the sleeves of your jersey.

However, for other riders sleeveless is the way to go as it reduces weight and concentrates on cooling their core on those sweltering summer ascents.


The 3-season base layer is available in a short and sleeveless version.

How to decide fit and sizing when choosing a base layer

The first place to start is with GripGrab’s size chart, accessible on every relevant product page.

Consider that a summer base layer is designed to be worn next-to-skin, and as such it must fit like a second skin – but without restricting movement in any way. Choose a base layer size that allows you to move freely, but without excess fabric that might bunch up and cause moisture retention.

It is also worth considering that some people like to wear t-shirt base layers such as the GripGrab Merino Blend Short Sleeve Base Layer for more casual wear – if this is you, then you may want to consider sizing up from the size chart size to have a more relaxed fit. 

The best base layer for the hottest summer conditions

To ensure you get the best out of your summer cycling kit, it pays to dress to the conditions. On those high summer days you will benefit from a lightweight next-to-skin layer like the GripGrab Ultralight Mesh Sleeveless Base Layer.

The lightweight open mesh construction of this base layer means it is extremely breathable and moisture wicking; to help with temperature regulation and to keep you dry and comfortable when riding in scorching summer heat. 

GripGrab Ultralight Mesh Sleeveless Base Layer

What is a three-season base layer?

A three-season base layer could be one of the most versatile pieces of kit you ever buy. Indeed, for many people, a product such as the GripGrab 3-Season Short Sleeve Base Layer could be the first thing you reach for before every ride – the foundation of a riding outfit, for almost all the year.

A three-season base layer is designed and made to keep you dry and comfortable in a range of varying weather conditions. The GripGrab 3-Season Short Sleeve Base Layer is made from a four-way stretch fabric so that it fits like a second skin; it features an open mesh weave on the front of the base layer and a solid fabric panel on the rear of the torso.

The unique design is focussed on maximum versatility; with the open weave front allowing maximum ventilation with a jersey unzipped on a sweltering summer climb; while the solid high-wicking material back panel draws moisture away from your skin to keep you dry and comfortable, even in the chillier transition seasons. 

GripGrab 3-Season Short Sleeve Base Layer

The advantages of a seamless summer base layer

Seamless kit is all about comfort and freedom of movement. You might not notice a misplaced seam when you first set off on your ride, but you will be very aware of it after a few hours in the saddle. Seamless base layers allow you to move and ride without discomfort or distraction.

The GripGrab Expert Seamless Lightweight Base Layer uses specialist seamless fabrics to allow the base layer to move with you. The fabric is highly breathable, moisture wicking and very high stretch, assisting with ventilation and body temperature regulation in mild and warm conditions. Comfort is further enhanced using strategically placed ventilation zones – all without the integration of seams.

GripGrab Expert Seamless Lightweight Base Layer

What is a Windbreaking base layer and when to use one

True to its name, a Windbreaking base layer keeps the chill off your chest on those long descents or blustery days, without the need for a gilet for extra protection.

The GripGrab Windbreaking Short Sleeve Base Layer uses Arrowind™ technology – this unique warp knit construction blocks 80% of windchill-inducing air particles, while remaining as breathable as any other warp knitted base layer.

The GripGrab Arrowind™ Windbreaking fabric significantly improves breathability and temperature regulation when compared to two-layer windproof fabrics.

While most air is stopped from reaching your skin, the little that is allowed through will carry away perspiration to keep you comfortable on rides that involve long descents after lengthy climbs.

A Windbreaking base layer is an excellent choice for anyone who often wears a gilet on their rides; to protect them from windchill on long descents or blustery exposed roads. The wind-resistant base layer will allow you to leave your gilet at home, and adopt a sleeker and lighter weight clothing set-up, but with the same protection and versatility.

Windbreaking Fabric Infographic

What are the advantages of Polygiene® fabric treatment? 

Polygiene® BioStatic ‘Stays Fresh’ technology inhibits the growth of odour-causing bacteria; helping to keep your clothes, and you, smelling fresher for longer.

Many synthetic fabrics encourage the growth of bacteria within the fabric weave – necessitating frequent washing and potentially premature disposal. Polygiene® uses silver ion technology to inhibit the growth of those smell-inducing bacteria; so, your kit can be washed less and worn for longer.

The treatment is entirely safe to wear against the skin and does not wash out. It will keep you smelling fresher and feeling more comfortable. It can also significantly extend the life of a base layer and reduce its environmental impact. 

Polygiene Fabric Treatment Infographic

Why choose a merino blend fabric summer base layer?

The unique 50/50 merino-synthetic blend fabric, like that used in the GripGrab Merino Polyfibre Base Layer, provides the well-known benefits of merino wool – soft, naturally insulating and with exceptional temperature regulation and odour resistance; while also delivering on the enhanced durability, stretch properties and wrinkle-resistance found in polyester blends.

The result is that merino blend fabrics are beautifully soft and comfortable to wear against your skin, but also have superb longevity and will cope exceptionally well with repeat use and frequent washing – the perfect combination for cycling wear.

Merino blend base layers are a fantastic choice for multi-day trips and even casual off-the-bike wear.


Layer up, ride more

The main factor to consider when buying any cycling kit should be comfort: the more comfortable you are, the more you will ride. A well-chosen summer base layer can help with on-bike comfort and help you concentrate or reaching the next summit or setting a personal best time on a local climb, without concerns about kit irritation.

Decide which style suits you, consider the conditions you will be riding in and find which of GripGrab’s base layers is best for you; you might even wonder why you hadn’t bought one sooner. 

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