finetrack elemental baselayer review

Finetrack Review: The Ultimate Baselayer for Those Who Sweat a Lot Even in the Cold

Let’s talk about baselayers for winter activities

In the world of winter activities, baselayers play a crucial role in providing essential moisture management and insulation. This is because even during cold weather activities such as winter hiking and climbing, mountaineering, and ski touring, sweating can be a problem. 

Under all my cold weather layers, I tend to sweat a lot while moving, but as soon as I’ve stopped to rest for a snack, transition for a climb, or set up camp, that sweat can cool really quickly, causing chills in already low temperatures. 

As the foundation of your clothing system, base layers are designed to wick your sweat away from your body to help keep you dry and warm. However, if you sweat a lot like I do, this can take a long time, and your base layer will remain wet until the moisture evaporates. 

Since sweating is unavoidable, keeping the base layer dry all the time is impossible for people who sweat profusely like me. This is why Finetrack has developed the Elemental Layer as a solution.

best base layer for cold weather

Why it’s important to not sweat during cold weather activities

When engaging in winter activities, managing sweat is an important part of maintaining your comfort and safety. Sweat can cool you off very quickly, and excessive sweating in cold conditions can lead to rapid heat loss and subsequently, increased susceptibility to hypothermia. The longer you are in contact with your wet base layer, the higher your chance of experiencing these risks. 

Therefore, optimal moisture management is not just about comfort – it’s a key element in ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience in cold climates. It’s crucial to choose a base layer system that manages your sweat quickly and efficiently.

The L1 Elemental Layer and L2 Base Layer excel in these aspects, offering a unique blend of sweat management and body heat preservation that sets them apart from the rest. Together, they keep you dry, comfortable, and better equipped to tackle winter adventures without compromising your body’s natural heat regulation. 

Discover how Finetrack can elevate your winter adventures to a whole new level.

layering for winter hikes

Finetrack: Layering System for Cold Weather

If you’re unfamiliar with Finetrack, well, I was too. You’ve probably not heard of it as they haven’t been around the US market much yet, but that’s about to change. Finetrack is a Japanese brand that is redefining the layering system you know and love.

Finetrack has developed some unique and innovative, high performing textile fabric that will make you rethink your layering system.

They’ve essentially created a new, dry layer called the Elemental Layer to go under your base layer. 

It sounds redundant, right? It’s a unique product category that doesn’t quite exist yet and it is more effective with performance and less weight than you think — hear me out.

finetrack elemental layer

I run cold — very cold. But, I still sweat a lot when I am active, even in the wintertime when it is below-freezing temperatures outside.

I remember ice climbing with my friend in Hyalite Canyon a couple of years ago, and he specifically told me to pack an extra baselayer because he knew I would work up a sweat from the approach to our climb, and then I would have to stand around belaying and climbing in a wet baselayer and be cold even with my parka on.

So when Finetrack reached out to me to test out their Elemental Layer, it seemed like the perfect solution.

The Elemental Layer is made of an ultra-thin, fine mesh fabric with a water-repellent finish to move sweat away from your body and onto your base layer where it’s absorbed. It then essentially acts as a dry shield between your body and damp base layer to help you retain heat without having to change into a spare base layer to keep dry and warm.

It’s made of 100% polyester so while it is durable, the lightness makes this piece a bit fragile (but durable enough for adventures), ultra-lightweight, and very breathable. It weighs only 47 grams (1.6 ounces/ 0.1 lb). 

layering for cold weather, finetrack base layer

Sizing: Like most Asian brands, you will likely need to size up. I’m typically an XS in most apparel here, but I wear a size M for both my Finetrack L1 Elemental Layer Long Sleeve Crew and the L2 Baselayer.

I do want to point out that the Elemental Layer is extremely thin and it fits very snugly which makes it a great layering piece. It’s got a next-to-skin feel and fits well under anything. 

However, it is so thin, though, that I wouldn’t wear it by itself around town or the house without layers on top, like I often do in my other active baselayers. Think of it as an undershirt, but ladies, you still need a sports bra.

Don’t get me wrong, I still wear my other baselayers constantly and won’t swap it all out, but the Elemental Layer is a game-changer for me in the layering system.

L1 Elemental Layer Review

This is the layer for cold weather hikes and activities you didn’t know you needed.

Layering for Ice Climbing

what to wear for people who sweat

I’ve tested out this layer for a few weeks once I arrived in Colorado on January 1st. I wore it ice climbing a few times, each of which required a hiking approach. If you know me, any hike will get me sweating — a lot.

I particularly get a sweaty lower back with all exercise along with the underarms, but it’s the sweaty lower back in cold temps that makes me cold. My base layers are usually warm but it retains a lot of my sweat once I stop moving. While I did work up some sweat, the knitted fabric design of the Elemental Layer allowed for a lot of breathability and dried up the sweat quickly as it pulled the moisture right off of me and onto the base layer over me.

what to wear for ice climbing

The approach to the climb was open and very windy but once we reached our frozen waterfall climb at the end of the gully, we were tucked away from the elements and I was surprisingly warm when belaying and climbing in the sun — in just the L1 and L2 layers.

The tornado sleeve design looked a little funky to me when I first tried it on and I wasn’t sure I understood the purpose of it, but while climbing in the Elemental Layer, raising my arms constantly, swinging it, and shaking it out, I have come to appreciate the design. I feel like sometimes the fabric of my fitted long sleeves twists a bit and it can feel uncomfortable, especially with layers over.

Layering for Running in Negative Temperatures

Since I don’t have a gym membership out here in Colorado, I’ve started jogging outside at the neighborhood park in a range of temps from 33º with strong winds to -4ºF and sunny. Running in sunny negative temps was surprisingly the warmest. Either way, I worked up a good sweat jogging in the snow and blustery cold, and the Elemental Layer did not fail to keep me dry and comfortable.

Layering for Ski Touring

I tested out the Elemental Layer while alpine ski touring and this may be the activity I work up the most sweat for — I started sweaty right off the bat on the uphill and I realized once I got to the top, I felt dry underneath! A little cold still as I knew I had moisture on my outer layers but I was surprisingly dry. When I skied back down to the lodge a few minutes later, I was completely warm and dry.

L2 Baselayer Review

winter base layer

The Merino Spin Thermo Hoody, the warmest of their collection for those who run really cold like I do, is made of 65% polyester and 35% untreated Merino wool and weighs 205 grams (7.2 ounce/ 0.45 lb). The Merino wool keeps you warm and the polyester keeps you dry.

This layer is designed to retain heat for winter activities such as winter mountaineering, ice climbing, and backcountry skiing.

The base layer performed exactly as you would expect a baselayer to. The only thing that stood out about it is the hood fits nice and snugly around the head and face. The zipper goes all the way up to cover more of your face for those windy adventures.

It is a bit looser than I am used to for a baselayer but on a warm day, I feel it works as a mix between a base layer and mid layer.

The Bottom Line: Finetrack Elemental and Baselayer for Cold Weather Activities

If you sweat profusely, you could benefit from the Finetrack Elemental Layer. Size up. The game-changing impact of the Elemental Layer makes it a valuable addition to your winter gear arsenal, ensuring a dry and comfortable outdoor experience.

I’m stoked to try this out on some Spring objectives as well as I really work up a sweat then!

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