Keep warm and cozy this winter with the best base layers

Keep warm and cozy this winter with the best base layers

Base layers are truly the unsung heroes of outdoor apparel. Although tucked away under layers of fancy Gore-Tex and Primaloft, these hidden soldiers play a critical role in trapping and regulating heat next to your skin while wicking sweat and other moisture to keep you warm and dry. Sometimes referred to as thermal underwear or longjohns, the inner layers take on multiple forms: Merino and other wools, silk, fleece, bamboo, and synthetic blends — basically anything except cotton.

They also come in varying thicknesses depending on the level of activity planned and how cold temperatures might be. Base layers feature differing necks, cuffs, and waistlines with choices including zip-up collars, scoop necks, V necks, button-up tops, elastic waists, leggings or tights-style bottoms, fleece linings, and ribbed or waffle-grid patterning options. Whatever your personal preference, you want high-quality materials and premium technology to prevent you from getting cold. Here is a list of the best base layers to add to your outdoor gear closet this winter.

best base layers ibex woolies 1 crew lifestyle

Ibex is an eco-rooted company who make products exclusively from merino wool. Its lightweight base layer set is soft, silky, and ultra-pliable with rib-knit style patterning that sits close to the skin. For 2017, the material was updated with a more durable nylon core wrap yarn that reinforces the fabric, extending the life of the garment while keeping it lightweight and breathable.

The top features a crew neck and fitted wrists while the legging bottoms have a gusseted crotch and wide waistband, each of which offers warmth with minimal bulk. They come in striped or solid options and are perfect for hiking, camping, running, or a host of other winter-related outdoor activities.

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Backcountry

best base layers arcteryx rho lifestyle

Arc’teryx’s Rho AR top and bottom set features ultra-comfy Polartec Power Stretch made of 90 percent polyester and ten percent elastane. The blend offers stretchiness and flexibility that lets you move around without feeling constricted by tight-fitting gear. Its insulated material is exceptionally moisture-resistant, shedding sweat and odor while offering supreme breathability. A mid-weight set, it’s extremely warm yet lightweight and bulk-free.

Arc’teryx includes a flatlock construction with a soft, plush inner material that clings to your body, enhancing the thermal efficiency by staying in constant contact with your skin. The top piece features a laminated chest pocket and zip-up collar to offer ventilation while the bottom piece has a wide waistband and handy thigh pocket. These machine-washable base layers are a great choice for moderate winter outdoor activities where you aren’t working aggressively and need extra thickness to stay warm.

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Backcountry

best base layers patagonia capilene thermal one piece lifestyle

This fantastically cozy thermal onesie is made from Polartec Power Grid — a smooth, static-free material that’s warm, breathable, and ultra moisture-wicking. The snuggly fabric is stretchy and custom-fitting with Polygiene to assist with odor control. It showcases boatloads of anti-chafe features including flatlock seams, offset shoulder seams (to reduce rubbing at the backpack straps), and gusseted areas on the underarms and crotch. The snug hood is thin enough to fit under your helmet, making the garment Patagonia’s warmest polyester base layer and an ideal choice for skiing.

Possibly the coolest feature of this one-piece is that it offers easy access without compromising its heat-trapping properties. For example, the suit features a wrap-around waist zipper so you can use the bathroom without completely undressing. Additionally, the men’s version features a functional fly and the women’s a pony-tail exit so ladies can let their locks hang out.

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Backcountry

best base layers copyright forest woodward  1 2017 6 2018

This technical base layer set by Outdoor Research — which includes the Sequence long-sleeve for men and the Essence long-sleeve for women — is constructed with moisture-wicking Drirelease merino wool and treated with odor-blasting FreshGuard. The industry-leading material uses a mineral-infused technology that blends hydrophobic and hydrophilic fibers to absorb sweat and dissipate heat. Its breathable fabric dries four times faster than regular wool while providing greater thermal insulation. The tops boast quarter-length front zippers for added ventilation and the tights have elastic waistbands for a snug, comfy fit.

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Outdoor Research

best base layers fjallraven bergtagen woolmesh lifestyle

This is without a doubt one of the best all-sport base layer sets ever made. The technical top boasts three different styles of knits in one sleek sweater to deliver versatility regardless of what you’re doing. Not only that, it adjusts to varying conditions and activity levels even within one sport, depending on how hard you’re working. With a multifunctional body-mapping design, it boasts a warm, high-loft wool terry over the shoulders, chest, and upper arms while cool ventilating wool mesh covers the sleeves, side panels, and lower torso.

Flatlock seams cut down the chafing factor and the cuff, neck, and lower sides are rib-knitted. The Mulesing-free synthetic merino fibers are durable, breathable, and uber-warm, even when damp. The same body-mapping adorns the long john bottoms with mesh around the front and back of the thighs. Rib-knitting covers the lower legs with a loop-structure elastic waistband for comfort.

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Fjallraven

Editors’ Recommendations

Published at Wed, 13 Dec 2017 01:20:07 +0000

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