November 4, 2021

7 Best Base Layers (Top)

November 4, 2021

7 Best Base Layers (Top)

As we know, the best base layers are one of the essential items of clothing you can own, and yet so many people skip them or do not think to take them with them on their outdoor adventures. That's a grave mistake, especially if you are dealing with cold weather. 

Essentially, these base layers help you wick moisture and perspiration from your body. Depending on the fabric, the base layer can even save you from the foul odor. At the same time, a base layer can add insulation to your system, especially if paired with other pieces of outdoor clothing. 

If you want to choose a good base layer for your next adventure, you should start with the selection below. I've listed some of the top-rated base layers for both men and women. Check them out. 

7 Best Base Layers

 Material Best For
REI Co-op Midweight Base Layer Crew Top Polyester/spandexMultisport
Smartwool Merino 250 Base Layer Crew Top Merino woolMultisport
Smartwool Intraknit 200 Crew Base Layer Top Wool/polyester/elastaneMultisport
Arc'teryx Rho LT Base Layer Hoodie Polyester/elastaneMultisport
Patagonia Capilene Midweight Crew Base Layer Top Recycled polyesterMultisport
Icebreaker 260 Tech Crewe Base Layer Top Merino woolSnowsport
Icebreaker 260 Zone Half-Zip Base Layer Top Merino wool/spandexSnowsport

1. REI Co-op Midweight Base Layer Crew Top

PRODUCT LINK

The REI Co-op Midweight Base Layer Crew Top is an excellent base layer for those who are doing snow-based activities such as skiing. It offers exceptional warmth retention and moisture-wicking properties that you can't see on other base layers. It features a smooth outer surface, which allows additional layers to slide in smoothly. Meanwhile, its interior has a brushed texture to optimize insulation.

With its four-way stretch, you can expect that this base layer won't restrict your movements. Furthermore, it has a flat-seam architecture that decreases chafing and bulk; its rolled-forward shoulder seams guarantee that the straps of your pack won't damage it. 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Material - Polyester/spandex
  • UV protection - Yes
  • UPF rating - 50
  • Moisture-wicking - Yes
  • Sleeve length - Long sleeve
  • Fit - Women's 
  • Weight - Middleweight
  • Ideal use - Multisport

2. Smartwool Merino 250 Base Layer Crew Top

PRODUCT LINK 

It's not that difficult to see that the Smartwool Merino 250 Base Layer is excellent outdoor gear. It provides a quality that doesn't hinder its wearers from moving at high speeds or doing high-exertion activities. As its name suggests, this base layer features the use of interlock-knit Merino wool, which is not only comfortable but highly breathable, too. Furthermore, it has excellent thermoregulation so that it can help you withstand frigid regions. You'll appreciate its odor-resistant capability, as well.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Material - Merino wool
  • UV protection - None
  • UPF rating - Not applicable
  • Moisture-wicking - Yes
  • Sleeve length - Long sleeve
  • Fit - Women's 
  • Weight - Midweight
  • Ideal use - Multisport

3. Smartwool Intraknit 200 Crew Base Layer Top

PRODUCT LINK

For men, the Smartwool Intraknit 200 Crew Base Layer is definitely an impeccable item of clothing that keeps you comfortable even while on the move. It has a lightweight architecture, which is paired with an ultra-stretchable quality. Its knitted structure guarantees that it can last several uses; aside from that, the knit makes this base layer sleek and clean. 

With its mesh ventilation integrated into its specific areas, it can ensure that your body remains fresh and cozy. Its 3D mapping provides it with almost-custom fit construction, which, in turn, allows more freedom in your motions. Interestingly, this gear has ribbed elbows, which prevents them from wearing out quickly. 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Material - Wool/polyester/elastane
  • UV protection - None
  • UPF rating - Not applicable
  • Moisture-wicking - Yes
  • Sleeve length - Long sleeve
  • Fit - Men's 
  • Weight - Midweight
  • Ideal use - Multisport

4. Arc'teryx Rho LT Base Layer Hoodie

PRODUCT LINK

Surely enough, the Arc'teryx Rho LT Base Layer Hoodie is an eye-catching gear for many outdoor enthusiasts. Designed for low-output activities during the cold weather, this clothing provides efficient moisture dispersion and next-to-skin suppleness--like you are being embraced. Its insulation isn't that over-the-top, but it can still add warmth to your body. 

This base layer is crafted from the proprietary brushed Torrent stretch polyester. It is known for its moisture-wicking and quick-drying capabilities. It has been infused with a Polygiene treatment so that it won't cause a foul odor when you get sweaty. Meanwhile, its hood is quite versatile. You can wear it as a traditional hood or a neck warmer. It can also convert to a balaclava for extended coverage against the elements. 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Material - Torrent fabric (polyester/elastane)
  • UV protection - None
  • UPF rating - Not applicable
  • Moisture-wicking - Yes
  • Sleeve length - Long sleeve
  • Fit - Women's 
  • Weight - Lightweight
  • Ideal use - Multisport

5. Patagonia Capilene Midweight Crew Base Layer Top

PRODUCT LINK

The Patagonia Capilene Midweight Crew Base Layer is designed for daily wear. But it is also suitable for weekend trips on your favorite trails. Its primary fabric is the proprietary Capilene, which strikes the perfect balance between breathability, streamlined weight, and moisture-wicking performance. With these qualities, this base layer works as a stand-alone garment perfectly. In cold weather, it can add to the ventilation and insulation in a multi-layer setup. 

With its smooth surface, layering becomes easy. Meanwhile, the internal grid pattern on its interior is comfortable to the skin. At the same time, they help trap warmth efficiently. The full underarm gussets of this base layer ensure that your shoulders will have unrestricted mobility. Of course, its entire fabric is quite stretchy, which, in turn, would prevent you from feeling any stiffness. The hollow-yarn architecture elevated its moisture-wicking capabilities and hastened its drying time. 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Material - Capilene (recycled polyester)
  • UV protection - None
  • UPF rating - Not applicable
  • Moisture-wicking - Yes
  • Sleeve length - Long sleeve
  • Fit - Men's 
  • Weight - Midweight
  • Ideal use - Multisport

6. Icebreaker 260 Tech Crewe Base Layer Top 

PRODUCT LINK

With the versatility of the Icebreaker 260 Tech Crewe, you'll be able to take it from the highest peaks to the most solemn forests. Essentially, it is an excellent garment for layering in highly frigid conditions. After all, it has a Merino wool jersey as its primary fabric. It demonstrates impeccable moisture management, breathability, and suppleness. It also includes underarm gussets and side seams for enhanced mobility. Meanwhile, its flatlock stitching on its entire construction effectively prevented it from chafing. 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Material - Merino wool
  • UV protection - Yes
  • UPF rating - 35
  • Moisture-wicking - Yes
  • Sleeve length - Long sleeve
  • Fit - Men's 
  • Weight - Heavyweight
  • Ideal use - Snow activities

7. Icebreaker 260 Zone Half-Zip Base Layer Top

PRODUCT LINK

Suitable for high-exertion activities in the snow, such as winter hiking and skiing, the Icebreaker 260 Zone Half-Zip provides exceptional thermoregulation and moisture-wicking capabilities. It is also tailored from a Merino wool jersey, which exhibits breathability and stretchability. There are also eyelet mesh panels made from Merino in this base layer that helps in regulating temperatures. Meanwhile, a Merino/polyester waffle jersey is strategically placed on the clothing's high-wear regions--forearms and elbows--for enhanced abrasion resistance. Since it has been integrated with the proprietary Lycra spandex, its stretch has been amplified. 

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Material - Merino wool/spandex
  • UV protection - Yes
  • UPF rating - 35
  • Moisture-wicking - Yes
  • Sleeve length - Long sleeve
  • Fit - Women's 
  • Weight - Heavyweight
  • Ideal use - Snow activities

How To Choose The Best Base Layers

The biggest mistake we can make when searching for the perfect base layer is going with the first thing we see. The perfect base layer can be found by taking a little time to do detailed research. Whether you're looking for a layer for hiking, skiing, snowboarding, cold glove use, cold water sports, cold temperatures, or cold weather hiking, the following guide will help you to find the perfect base layer.

Type Of Base Layer

Base layers aren't just for winter getaways. In fact, they can get you through a variety of activities, from backpacking to skiing. The key to a great base layer is being able to adjust to a wide range of conditions. That means that you need to consider different fabrics, features, and styles. 

Synthetic Layers

Staying warm doesn't have to be hard, especially if you're an avid runner, hiker, mountain biker, or any other type of athlete. When choosing your base layers, there are a few important points to keep in mind. Synthetic materials are easier to wash, don't lose their wicking ability, and are more durable. This means you'll spend less time removing your shirt during the day but will also be much less likely to encounter chafing. Most of these synthetic layers are made from polyester, nylon, or a combination of different materials. 

Merino Base Layers

Merino wool is the best of both worlds, combining the warmth of synthetic fibers with the natural moisture-wicking of wool. This makes it the ideal material for base layers because it can help you stay dry, comfortable and maintain your body's natural temperature when you're in the cold. 

Merino wool also provides decent UV resistance, which makes them ideal clothing for sunny climates. Interestingly, they can also have heat retention, which means that if they acquire heat, they can keep it and utilize it once they are wet or cold. With its antibacterial properties, Merino wool can also keep you dry without generating any foul smell.

Silk Base Layers

With a silk base layer, you can expect a supple performance, which is quite beneficial if you are doing low-output activities such as a fall hike or stroll around the nearest trails. A silk base layer provides moderate moisture-wicking capabilities, so it can still deal with your perspiration. But at the same time, keep in mind that silk doesn't provide odor resistance. Hence, after using it, you should wash it immediately. 

Wool-Ceramic Base Layers

One of the recent trends in base layer systems is the combination of ceramic and wool. Specifically, the ceramic has been coated with fine ceramic particles. The resulting product of this is a base layer that is efficient in thermoregulation. The clothing easily traps heat generated by your body; after that, it releases the heat quickly so that you can feel cool all the time. 

This particular clothing is suitable for hot weather outdoor activities. You can also use it on high-exertion pursuits, such as cycling, jogging, or trail-running. 

Base Layer Fit

Base layers are a significant investment, and selecting the wrong one is a serious mistake. This is especially true when you're wearing the wrong layer on the wrong body.

For example, a layer made for a slender woman with a petite frame may fit a thin man who's a little on the heavy side. Keep in mind that base layers should have a tight fit so that they would be snug. Such a design would enable the base layer to trap air and provide additional insulation to your body. 

It is recommended that you get a base layer that matches the size of clothes that you tend to wear. After all, most of these layers are made to be small and tight. 

In Summary

The best base layers are an essential aspect of your clothing layers. During the fine weather, you can wear a standalone base layer. If the weather becomes grumpy, it supports your other clothing in providing your body with sufficient insulation. Hence, it is essential that you pick the correct base layer and wear them appropriately depending on the weather. 

That's it for now. If you have other inquiries, feel free to ask me in the comment section below.

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