Index: Base Layers

There are a ton of base layers out there, and with all those choices, you might be tempted to just grab one off the shelf. But there are some details worth paying attention to, such as the type of fabric, and the weight, thickness, warmth, and wickability of a particular piece.

To narrow things down a bit for you, and to clarify some of your options, we’ve listed some of our favorite base layers that we wear on any given day in the mountains or around town.

We’ll be adding to this index going forward, but it should give you a head-start in shopping for a new layer.

We’ve split these products up into loose categories based on their material—ranging from pure merino wool, to merino / synthetic blends, to fully synthetic fabrics. We’ve also included an underwear section at the end, with our take on some more athletic underwear options

Also note that most of the wool and wool-blend base layers have a fabric weight listed. This should give you a relative sense of how thin or thick those pieces are. (A fabric with a weight of 150 g/m2 is quite thin, while a 250g/m2 piece will be quite a bit thicker and warmer.)


Wool Tops and Bottoms
Synthetic Tops and Bottoms


NEXT: Wool Tops and Bottoms

6 comments on “Index: Base Layers”

  1. Do you (or someone) know of any silk baselayers of sufficient durability for outdoor use? Also, how about something regarding yak wool…I have read some good things about that, but never seen it reviewed by outdoors people.

  2. Even as a former industry guy & lifelong gear nerd, g/m2 numbers mean *nothing* to me regarding garment weight or warmth.
    Simply listing the overall weight & size of the garment tested would be a much more helpful starting point: folks at home can easily toss e.g. their favorite zip-T on a postal scale to get a point of reference.
    g/m2 numbers are of no use to anyone who doesn’t work in a fabric mill.

    • I disagree, most merino wool baselayers have it listed, so after you own one or two, you get a pretty good idea for what you like. It’s not the be all-end all about fabric type, but it’s better than nothing.

      I know that I prefer merino under 200g/m2, since its dries fast and isn’t too warm. But it’s not durable. 260g/m2 is getting pretty darn heavy for a baselayer, and in wool, will really impact dry time. Ok for resort skiing, but to warm for summer use, or active sports for me.

  3. Hi guys. Thanx for such list. Could you please compare warmth of Trew NuYarn shirts and Mons Royale shirts? NuYarn site says that it’s fabrics 25% warmer. So their 145gms base layer must be indentical in warmth with 180-190 gsm.

  4. All the problems with “stink” are easily fixed by simply putting some cologne on before you go out and play . I learned this from a friend, it works really well, and frankly everyone should be doing this, even if they use wool. Correct me if i am wrong, but cologne was originally invented to cover up the stink from pre-enlightenment Europeans who bathed once a year because bathing was frowned upon by the church (it encouraged sexual promiscuity). If it worked for them it will work for you.

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