20 Best Base Layers for Cold Weather of 2021

Last update: 2021-01-17
☰ Table of Content

The base layer for cold weather isn’t made to keep you warm but rather to keep you dry from your body perspiration. The best base layer for cold weather must wick away moisture easily and quickly.

What other characteristics should you look for in base layers?

Where should can you buy good base layers?

Here are the best base layers for cold weather (Jan 2021 Update):

  • Best For Camping (Women’s Merino Base Layers): MERIWOOL Women’s Base Layer
  • Best For Running (Women’s Merino Base Layers): Roman Trail Outfitters Long Sleeve Base Layer
  • (Women’s Merino Base Layers): Icebreaker Women's 175 Everyday Long Sleeve Crewe
  • (Women’s Merino Base Layers): MERIWOOL Women’s Base Layer
  • (Women’s Merino Base Layers): Minus33 Merino Wool 814
  • Best For Fishing (Men’s Merino Base Layers): 7EVEN Clothing Long Sleeve Shirt 190 GSM
  • (Men’s Merino Base Layers): First Lite Men's Kiln Hoody
  • Best For Snowboarding (Men’s Merino Base Layers): Merino 365 New Zealand Long Sleeve Base Layer
  • (Men’s Merino Base Layers): Minus33 Merino Wool 714 Isolation Men's Midweight 1/4 Zip
  • (Men’s Merino Base Layers): Woolly Clothing Men's Merino Wool Henley Hoodie
  • Best For Small-Framed People (Women’s Synthetic Base Layers): Under Armour Women's Coldgear Authentics Compression Mock
  • Best For A Thin Sweater (Women’s Synthetic Base Layers): 32Degrees Women's Heat Scoop Neck Thermal Top
  • (Women’s Synthetic Base Layers): SILKWORLD Women's Workout Baselayer
  • (Women’s Synthetic Base Layers): BALEAF Women's Fleece Thermal Long Sleeve Running Shirt
  • (Women’s Synthetic Base Layers): Terramar Cloud Nine 4-Way Stretch Brushed Long Sleeve Scoop Neck
  • Best For Hiking (Men’s Synthetic Base Layers): Carhartt Men's Force Midweight Long Sleeve Shirt
  • Best For Skiing (Men’s Synthetic Base Layers): Arc'teryx Rho AR
  • (Men’s Synthetic Base Layers): Under Armour Men's Long Sleeve T-Shirt
  • (Men’s Synthetic Base Layers): ColdPruf Men's Base Layer Top
  • (Men’s Synthetic Base Layers): Ultradry Men Thermal Underwear Top
20 Best Base Layers For Cold Weather
Best For Camping
MERIWOOL Women’s Base Layer
  • Women’s Merino Base Layers
Best For Running
Roman Trail Outfitters Long Sleeve Base Layer
  • Women’s Merino Base Layers
Icebreaker Women's 175 Everyday Long Sleeve Crewe
  • Women’s Merino Base Layers
MERIWOOL Women’s Base Layer
  • Women’s Merino Base Layers
Minus33 Merino Wool 814
  • Women’s Merino Base Layers
Best For Fishing
7EVEN Clothing Long Sleeve Shirt 190 GSM
  • Men’s Merino Base Layers
First Lite Men's Kiln Hoody
  • Men’s Merino Base Layers
Best For Snowboarding
Merino 365 New Zealand Long Sleeve Base Layer
  • Men’s Merino Base Layers
Minus33 Merino Wool 714 Isolation Men's Midweight 1/4 Zip
  • Men’s Merino Base Layers
Woolly Clothing Men's Merino Wool Henley Hoodie
  • Men’s Merino Base Layers
Best For Small-Framed People
Under Armour Women's Coldgear Authentics Compression Mock
  • Women’s Synthetic Base Layers
Best For A Thin Sweater
32Degrees Women's Heat Scoop Neck Thermal Top
  • Women’s Synthetic Base Layers
SILKWORLD Women's Workout Baselayer
  • Women’s Synthetic Base Layers
BALEAF Women's Fleece Thermal Long Sleeve Running Shirt
  • Women’s Synthetic Base Layers
Terramar Cloud Nine 4-Way Stretch Brushed Long Sleeve Scoop Neck
  • Women’s Synthetic Base Layers
Best For Hiking
Carhartt Men's Force Midweight Long Sleeve Shirt
  • Men’s Synthetic Base Layers
Best For Skiing
Arc'teryx Rho AR
  • Men’s Synthetic Base Layers
Under Armour Men's Long Sleeve T-Shirt
  • Men’s Synthetic Base Layers
ColdPruf Men's Base Layer Top
  • Men’s Synthetic Base Layers
Ultradry Men Thermal Underwear Top
  • Men’s Synthetic Base Layers

Merino Base Layers

For people who have a tight budget, we highly recommend choosing merino wool. It comes from a superior kind of sheep.

Their wool is especially fine, which makes for less itchy base layers. Also, merino wool doesn’t feel wet to the touch until they’re 60% saturated, so you’ll stay dry longer.

When the fabric does get soaked, merino fibers won’t collapse so the garment keeps its shape and thermal properties, which is rare for wet clothing plus your sweat won’t be able to embed deep into collapsed fibers, so you’ll avoid that funky smell shirt sometimes gets after they’ve been wet.

Another big bonus is its low maintenance.

Most Merino wool base layers are machine-washable and tumble-dry, or you can hand-wash it with cold weather.

Best For Camping (Women’s Merino Base Layers): MERIWOOL Women’s Base Layer

MERIWOOL Women’s Base Layer
MERIWOOL Women’s Base Layer
9.8Outstanding
Pros
  • Perfect for all-year-round usage - made of 250g/m2 interlock-knit merino wool
  • Reliable – backed by a 30-day guarantee and a 1-year limited manufacturer’s warranty
  • Able to fit everyone and every style – 9 color options & available in size XS to size L
  • Affordable – priced around $60
Cons
  • Attract hair and fuzz

If all you need is something to warm in the winter and cool in the summer with a flattering fit and quick-drying properties, this fits snugly the bill.

It is made of 250g/m2 interlock-knit merino wool, which is a mid-weight type of fabric specifically designed for cold weather.

Skiers, snowboarders, and campers love wearing it as either a base or mid-layer because, with it, you can easily add/remove outer layers for comfort when temps fluctuate from below to above freezing.

MERIWOOL is so confident about their products that they provide a 30-day guarantee and a 1-year limited manufacturer’s warranty.

MERIWOOL Women’s Base Layer Specifications

Fabric

18.5-micron Merino wool

Weight

250g/m²

Highlight Features

made of 250g/m2 interlock-knit merino wool; backed by a 30-day guarantee and a 1-year limited manufacturer’s warranty;

For those who are in need of the best women’s merino base layer for camping, this is a tried-and-true choice.

Best For Running (Women’s Merino Base Layers): Roman Trail Outfitters Long Sleeve Base Layer

Roman Trail Outfitters Long Sleeve Base Layer
Roman Trail Outfitters Long Sleeve Base Layer
9Outstanding
Pros
  • Great sweat and odor management - 160 GSM. 88 NM/2 merino wool
  • Allow for freedom in movements - forgiving and complimenting fit
Cons
  • They have tags
  • Wish there were more color options

For strenuous activities like running, what you should look for is a merino base layer made of ultralight or lightweight type because it keeps sweat and odors to a strict minimum.

While testing, we find the 160 GSM. 88 NM/2 merino wool of this Australia-made base layer is perfect for such purpose. It gives a really soft and comfortable hand-feel while the light insulation level still keeps you warm in mildly cool nights.

For three-season use, it is a wonderful option.

The forgiving and complementing fit, meanwhile, ensures your best freedom in movements.

Roman Trail Outfitters Long Sleeve Base Layer Specifications

Weight

160 gsm.

Fabric

100 % MERINO WOOL

Highlight Features

160 GSM. 88 NM/2 merino wool; forgiving and complimenting fit

Made from lightweight merino wool type along with a forgiving fit, the Roman Trail Outfitters Long Sleeve Base Layer is our favorite pick for runners.

(Women’s Merino Base Layers): Icebreaker Women's 175 Everyday Long Sleeve Crewe

Icebreaker Women's 175 Everyday Long Sleeve Crewe
Icebreaker Women's 175 Everyday Long Sleeve Crewe
9.4Outstanding
Pros
  • Durable, odor-free, and warm – 100% merino wool
  • Comfortable - raglan seam + side seam construction
  • Low-maintenance - machine-washable material
Cons
  • A bit thin

This brand though of everything a woman could need when making the Women's 175 Everyday Long Sleeve Crewe: less synthetic fabrics for enhanced longevity, toasty warm merino wool layers with odor resistance, and raglan seam + side seam construction for comfort.

Icebreaker Women's 175 Everyday Long Sleeve Crewe Specifications

Fabric

100% Merino Wool

Weight

7.05 Ounces

Highlight Features

100% merino wool

raglan seam + side seam construction

machine-washable

Plus, it is machine-washable. The base layer is perfect for multiple uses, from casual to outdoor activities.

(Women’s Merino Base Layers): MERIWOOL Women’s Base Layer

MERIWOOL Women’s Base Layer
MERIWOOL Women’s Base Layer
9.4Outstanding
Pros
  • Thin, low-maintenance, extremely-warm, and itchy-free - 100% all-natural superfine 400g/m2 18.5-micron merino wool
  • Good sun protection - a UPF 50+ rating
Cons
  • Slightly overpriced

The brand has seriously stepped up its game with affordable winter base layer options that are made from 100% all-natural superfine 400g/m2 18.5-micron merino wool. This fabric is extremely lightweight, soft, and thin but not itchy. Moreover, it offers superior warmth to keep you warm in freezing conditions.

MERIWOOL Women’s Base Layer Specifications

Fabric

100% 18.5-micron Merino wool

Weight

400g

Highlight Features

100% all-natural superfine 400g/m2 18.5-micron merino wool

a UPF 50+ rating

The fabric is also added with a UPF 50+ rating for extra skin-protection. Plus, it is machine-washable and dryer-safe.

(Women’s Merino Base Layers): Minus33 Merino Wool 814

Minus33 Merino Wool 814
Minus33 Merino Wool 814
9.2Outstanding
Pros
  • Incredibly soft and comfortable - 100% merino wool
  • Ultimate cold air blocking and durable - flatlock seams
  • Great sun protection - a UPF 50+ rating
Cons
  • Expensive
  • A little short in the torso

Minus33 Merino Wool has developed a cult-like following for its incredibly soft and comfortable mid-weight base layer that is made from 100% merino wool.

Minus33 Merino Wool 814 Specifications

Fabric

100% Merino Wool

Weight

8.8 oz.

Highlight Features

100% merino wool

flatlock seams

a UPF 50+ rating

The best part is this high-end fabric is combined with flatlock seams for ultimate cold air blocking, and a UPF 50+ rating for increased sun protection. It is a perfect three-season base layer for women.

Best For Fishing (Men’s Merino Base Layers): 7EVEN Clothing Long Sleeve Shirt 190 GSM

7EVEN Clothing Long Sleeve Shirt 190 GSM
7EVEN Clothing Long Sleeve Shirt 190 GSM
9Outstanding
Pros
  • Reliable – made of Australian merino wool material, the finest kind of fabric
  • Very comfortable to wear - gusseted underarms, contoured elbows, & smooth flatlock seams
  • Provide storage space – a zippered arm pocket
  • Extra protection - standup collar & stitched thumb holes
Cons
  • Too little color choices

Lots of expert male anglers who are also our friends greatly suggested this base layer. What they praised it the most is the Australian merino wool material.

It’s the finest type in the realm of merino wool, known for superbly natural moisture-wicking and rapid-dry abilities plus odor management. Therefore, it helps you adapt quickly to the weather changes.

This 7EVEN base layer is also designed with customers’ comfort in mind.

It has gusseted underarms and contoured elbows for mobility enhancement, and smooth flatlock seams for neck-rubbing protection.

It has a zippered arm pocket just in case you want to bring along your keys, cards, and cash securely. It also has standup collar for coldness and wind resistance from your neck, and the stitched thumbholes keep your wrists from being shown.

7EVEN Clothing Long Sleeve Shirt 190 GSM Specifications

Weight

190 gsm

Fabric

100% MERINO WOOL

Highlight Features

Australian merino wool material; gusseted underarms, contoured elbows, & smooth flatlock seams; a zippered arm pocket; standup collar & stitched thumb holes

If you’re looking for the best base layer for fishing in cold weather, this is what you’re after.

(Men’s Merino Base Layers): First Lite Men's Kiln Hoody

First Lite Men's Kiln Hoody
First Lite Men's Kiln Hoody
9.6Outstanding
Pros
  • Maintenance-free – machine-washable & line dry
  • Decent concealment and temp regulation - an ergonomic, quarter zippered hood
  • Stretchy & flexible - 5% spandex
Cons
  • A bit overpriced
  • Wish it were a smidge softer to the touch
  • Too long in the mid-section

Fashion meets function with this toasty warm merino base layer that is also ideal for some specific outdoor activities, like hunting. For extra comfort, it has 5% spandex, giving the fabric a bit stretchiness and flexibility during mobility.

First Lite Men's Kiln Hoody Specifications

Weight

15 oz.

Fabric

95% merino / 5% spandex

Highlight Features

machine-washable & line dry

an ergonomic, quarter zippered hood

5% spandex

The apparel is also added with an ergonomic, quarter zippered hood for decent concealment and temp regulation. Above all, it’s pretty low-maintenance!

Best For Snowboarding (Men’s Merino Base Layers): Merino 365 New Zealand Long Sleeve Base Layer

Merino 365 New Zealand Long Sleeve Base Layer
Merino 365 New Zealand Long Sleeve Base Layer
9Outstanding
Pros
  • Thick and warm enough for snowy weather - mid-weight 230gsm New Zealand merino wool material
  • Ensure the best fit - Various size options
  • Keep the cuffs from pulling up and show your wrists - Thumbholes
Cons
  • Some people might feel the fabric is a bit thin

At a price range of $55 to $100, we find this base layer to be unbeatable for snowboarding.

Why? Because its mid-weight 230gsm New Zealand merino wool material is good enough to keep your warm in freezing cold weather conditions.

It also provides you with a wide size chart, available from S to XXL, even has two specific sizes for medium tall and large tall.

Merino 365 New Zealand Long Sleeve Base Layer Specifications

Weight

230 gsm

Fabric

100% merino wool

Highlight Features

mid-weight 230gsm New Zealand merino wool material; Thumb holes;

For a snowboarding base layer that is not just warm and comfy but also has a great fit with flexible movements, this is a good try.

(Men’s Merino Base Layers): Minus33 Merino Wool 714 Isolation Men's Midweight 1/4 Zip

Minus33 Merino Wool 714 Isolation Men's Midweight 1/4 Zip
Minus33 Merino Wool 714 Isolation Men's Midweight 1/4 Zip
9.4Outstanding
Pros
  • Easy to maintain – 18.5-micron merino wool 230g/m2 applied easy-care technology
  • Odor-free – rapid-dry & moisture-wicking properties
  • Durable - interlock knitting construction
Cons
  • The neck sometimes looks weird – too soft fabric

Ideal for heavy-sweat dudes, this three-season base layer uses 18.5-micron merino wool 230g/m2 applied easy-care technology, making it a renewable fabric. You can machine-wash it for more effort-saving, and the best thing is this base layer is anti-odor.

Minus33 Merino Wool 714 Isolation Men's Midweight 1/4 Zip Specifications

Weight

12.8 oz.

Fabric

100% Merino Wool

Highlight Features

18.5-micron merino wool 230g/m2

easy-care technology

interlock knitting construction

The interlock knitting construction, besides, makes this garment durable than ever. Even after plenty of washes, we still find no wears yet.

(Men’s Merino Base Layers): Woolly Clothing Men's Merino Wool Henley Hoodie

Woolly Clothing Men's Merino Wool Henley Hoodie
Woolly Clothing Men's Merino Wool Henley Hoodie
9.2Outstanding
Pros
  • High-quality - 190GSM 18.5-micron Australian merino wool & flatlock seams
  • Comfortable – itchy-free & tag-less
  • Versatile – ideal for 4-season use, whether daily wear, travel, or outdoor sports
Cons
  • A bit thin
  • The arms are slightly too long

For casual use, this Henley hoodie is our suggestion.

Aside from the relaxed, loose-fitting, the 190GSM 18.5-micron Australian merino wool combined with flatlock seams increase the garment’s durability to the extreme. It is anti-odor, anti-microbial, fire-resistant, rapid-dry, and naturally stretchy, which is also perfect for 4-season outdoor activities.

Woolly Clothing Men's Merino Wool Henley Hoodie Specifications

Weight

10.41 Ounces

Fabric

100% 190 GSM 18.5 micron Australian merino wool

Highlight Features

190GSM 18.5-micron Australian merino wool & flatlock seams

Want to know the best part? It is itchy-free and tag-less, which means for the highest comfort offered to you.

Synthetic Base Layers

Synthetic base layers are commonly used for more aerobic activities where you’re going to sweat heavily, such as mountain biking and mountaineering.

The biggest advantage of the synthetics over merino wool is it really pulls much more moisture as well as wick them away to dry far quicker, making your body temperature regulation more effective. The texture is not uncomfortable.

It’s stretchy and gives a close-fitting feel when you wear it.

Like the merino, synthetic fabrics are divided into lightweight, mid-weight, and heavyweight, which determines the insulation properties.

They also wash easily – 30 to 40-degree wash in a washing machine with some tech wash then practically dry so you can virtually put them on and just keep going.

One thing to take note of if you intend to choose this fabric is it doesn’t control bacteria quite as well as the merino, meaning that it can get a little bit stinky. As a result, it requires washing more regularly.

Best For Small-Framed People (Women’s Synthetic Base Layers): Under Armour Women's Coldgear Authentics Compression Mock

Under Armour Women's Coldgear Authentics Compression Mock
Under Armour Women's Coldgear Authentics Compression Mock
9.6Outstanding
Pros
  • Deliver maximum warmth retention, breathability, and comfort - 87% polyester and 13% elastane combined with brushback knit technique
  • Stretchy and comfy - four-way stretch construction
Cons
  • The collar feels a bit loose

Now the first option in this category is from Under Armour – a big brand.

It highlights the smart fabric blends of 87% polyester and 13% elastane combined with brushback knit technique for maximum warmth retention, breathability, and comfort.

It is a four-way stretch constructed base layer so regardless of your movements, it stretches phenomenally well to fit and feel comfortable.

According to our testing reports as well as other customers’ review, the size chart of this base layer runs a bit small plus it is available in size XS and S, so if you have a petite frame, try this.

Under Armour Women's Coldgear Authentics Compression Mock Specifications

Weight

8 ounces

Fabric

87% polyester, 13% elastane

Highlight Features

87% polyester and 13% elastane combined with brushback knit technique; four-way stretch construction

Under Armour Women's Coldgear Authentics Compression Mock is a shining contender for small-framed people.

Best For A Thin Sweater (Women’s Synthetic Base Layers): 32Degrees Women's Heat Scoop Neck Thermal Top

32Degrees Women's Heat Scoop Neck Thermal Top
32Degrees Women's Heat Scoop Neck Thermal Top
9.2Outstanding
Pros
  • Give extra soft hand-feel, durability, and stretch – a fabric blend of polyester, acrylic, rayon, and spandex
  • Ideal to layer with a thin sweater – a loose collar
Cons
  • The bottom hem could be stronger
  • Not for freezing cold weather – the fabric is too thin

The high heat retention properties of this base layer will be a lifesaver for those people whose work environment requires wearing a uniform with no coat or jacket on the outside.

Or, it’s also perfect to layer with a thin sweater thanks to the loose collar.

While made mainly of polyester and acrylic, it is added with spandex and rayon fibers for extra soft hand-feel, durability, and stretch. We like it!

32Degrees Women's Heat Scoop Neck Thermal Top Specifications

Fabric

37% Acrylic, 34% Polyester, 25% Rayon, 4% Spandex

Highlight Features

a fabric blend of polyester, acrylic, rayon, and spandex; a loose collar

After testing, we’ve found this base layer to take the cake as some of the best options for layering with a thin sweater.

(Women’s Synthetic Base Layers): SILKWORLD Women's Workout Baselayer

SILKWORLD Women's Workout Baselayer
SILKWORLD Women's Workout Baselayer
9Outstanding
Pros

>

Cons
  • The stitching on the sleeve cuff could be stronger

If you’re finding the best base layer for outdoor sports, don’t overlook this garment.

As made of polyester plus 8% spandex, it gives superb elasticity along with great moisture-wicking properties, soft hand-feel, and lightness. Combined with smooth tight seams, we assure you that there’ll be no chafing issues at all.

SILKWORLD Women's Workout Baselayer Specifications

Weight

10.23 Ounces

Fabric

92% polyester / 8% spandex,

Highlight Features

Feature a sharp look

smooth tight seams

polyester plus 8% spandex

The sharp design, on the other hand, gives this base layer that desired a sharp look to make you spirited and gorgeous.

(Women’s Synthetic Base Layers): BALEAF Women's Fleece Thermal Long Sleeve Running Shirt

BALEAF Women's Fleece Thermal Long Sleeve Running Shirt
BALEAF Women's Fleece Thermal Long Sleeve Running Shirt
9.4Outstanding
Pros
  • Good to be used at night – reflective elements
  • Support your movements – lightweight, four-way stretch fabric blend of polyester and elastane
  • Smooth and comfortable to your skin – flat seams
Cons
  • Big brand logo printed on the garment
  • Run a little large

Designed with some reflective elements, this BALEAF base layer is perfect to be used in low light conditions. Another notable thing is its fabric blend, including 13% elastane and 87% polyester, incorporated with flat seams to offer top-notch smooth hand-feel without feeling itchiness.

That also means this shirt (at least) won’t restrict your mobility.

BALEAF Women's Fleece Thermal Long Sleeve Running Shirt Specifications

Weight

10.58 Ounces

Fabric

87% Polyester / 13% Elastane

Highlight Features

reflective elements

87% Polyester and 13% Elastane

flat seams

It even supports every movement and makes you feel the most comfortable, all thanks to the lightweight, four-way stretch nature. Plus, the brushed fabric provides a great balance between breathability and warmth.

(Women’s Synthetic Base Layers): Terramar Cloud Nine 4-Way Stretch Brushed Long Sleeve Scoop Neck

Terramar Cloud Nine 4-Way Stretch Brushed Long Sleeve Scoop Neck
Terramar Cloud Nine 4-Way Stretch Brushed Long Sleeve Scoop Neck
9.2Outstanding
Pros
  • Rapid-dry, heat retention, and fast moisture-wicking capabilities - UPF rating 25+ and 2.0 mid-weight warmth level
  • Maintenance-free – machine-wash
  • Convenient - functional thumbholes
Cons
  • Run small
  • A bit heavy

Featuring UPF rating 25+ and 2.0 mid-weight warmth level, this base layer is a versatile option for spring and fall use when the weather isn’t too harsh. Its biggest strengths are rapid-dry, heat retention, and fast moisture-wicking capabilities.

The fabrics are also machine-washable so cleanup isn’t a thing.

Terramar Cloud Nine 4-Way Stretch Brushed Long Sleeve Scoop Neck Specifications

Weight

8 Ounces

Fabric

86% Polyester/14% Spandex

Highlight Features

UPF rating 25+

2.0 mid-weight warmth level

functional thumbholes

Aside from flat seam construction for comfort, we do appreciate the added functional thumbholes to keep the sleeve in place during movements.

Best For Hiking (Men’s Synthetic Base Layers): Carhartt Men's Force Midweight Long Sleeve Shirt

Carhartt Men's Force Midweight Long Sleeve Shirt
Carhartt Men's Force Midweight Long Sleeve Shirt
9.4Outstanding
Pros
  • Affordable – priced of around $25 to $40
  • Deliver top-notch heat-trapping, moisture-wicking properties, and freedom in movement - 100% high-grade polyester fabric
  • Extra comfort - added concealed thumb loops, tag-less label, smooth flatlock
  • Less stink smell - odor-management technology
Cons
  • The color collections could be more
  • Less neck protection - the crew neck design is too large
  • A little hard to take off

For male hikers, this is the most popular option these days because not just of its budget-friendly pricing but also the 100% high-grade polyester fabric.

As stated above, synthetic material gives you unmatched heat retention, rapid-dry properties, and flex for hiking with ease.

But making it stand out from others is the added concealed thumb loops, tag-less label, smooth flatlock, and odor-management technology.

Carhartt Men's Force Midweight Long Sleeve Shirt Specifications

Weight

6.0-ounce

Fabric

100% Polyester

Temperature & Output Levels

Cold Temperatures

Highlight Features

100% high-grade polyester fabric; concealed thumb loops, tag-less label, smooth flatlock; odor-management technology

This base layer is a fine example of the best men’s synthetic base layers for hiking.

Best For Skiing (Men’s Synthetic Base Layers): Arc'teryx Rho AR

Arc'teryx Rho AR
Arc'teryx Rho AR
9.4Outstanding
Pros
  • Able to meet requirements in stretching, comfort, and warmth when skiing - Synthetic fleece textiles
  • Flexible - the zippered neck area
  • Offer storage space – a zippered chest pocket
Cons
  • Wish there were more color options
  • Expensive

Price aside, the Arc'teryx Rho AR gives us a whole different feel to the touch compared to the lower-end options.

Its softness, durability, and thickness levels are literally in the next level, and when testing it on strenuous activities like skiing, it is super-comfortable and warm. We like the zippered neck area for flexible use as well as the zippered chest pocket for your essentials.

Arc'teryx Rho AR Specifications

Weight

280 g / 9.9 oz

Fabric

Synthetic fleece

Highlight Features

zippered chest pocket; zippered neck area; Synthetic fleece textiles

We find the Arc'teryx Rho AR to provide the highest warmth and comfort levels out of a bunch, so it’s our solid pick for skiing.

(Men’s Synthetic Base Layers): Under Armour Men's Long Sleeve T-Shirt

Under Armour Men's Long Sleeve T-Shirt
Under Armour Men's Long Sleeve T-Shirt
9.6Outstanding
Pros
  • Odor-free and decent ventilation - stretch-mesh underarm panels
  • High-quality - HeatGear material
  • Good form-fitting & stretchiness - 16% elastane and 84% polyester
Cons
  • Big brand logo

Coming with a good form-fitting, the Under Armour Men's Long Sleeve T-Shirt is a great chance to show your muscles and body curves without restricting your mobility. The secret? It lies in the HeatGear fabric blend, including 16% elastane and 84% polyester, with all the benefits of UA Compression.

Under Armour Men's Long Sleeve T-Shirt Specifications

Weight

1.1 pound

Fabric

84% Polyester/16% Elastane

Highlight Features

stretch-mesh underarm panels

HeatGear material

The biggest bonus is it has stretch-mesh panels under the arm zones for extra breathability, keeping your body from stinky odors.

(Men’s Synthetic Base Layers): ColdPruf Men's Base Layer Top

ColdPruf Men's Base Layer Top
ColdPruf Men's Base Layer Top
9.2Outstanding
Pros
  • Ideal for low to medium activity levels in extremely cold weather - double layers of merino wool
  • Offer full range of movement - generous cut and loose-fitting shape
  • Keep the garment in place during movement - stay-put rib cuffs and a drop tail
Cons
  • The fabric gets shrunk if washed by machine
  • Slightly heavy

With double layers of merino wool, this base layer is undoubtedly one of the warmest we have in this list. In low to medium activity levels in extremely cold weather, you don’t need layer much if already wearing it.

The generous cut and loose-fitting shape offer a full range of movement.

ColdPruf Men's Base Layer Top Specifications

Weight

12 Ounces

Fabric

Merino Wool

Highlight Features

double layers of merino wool

the generous cut and loose-fitting shape

stay-put rib cuffs and a drop tail

Meanwhile, stay-put rib cuffs and drop tail keeps the base layer from pinching or pulling up during mobility. Flat seams and tag-less labeling are two of our most favorite things.

(Men’s Synthetic Base Layers): Ultradry Men Thermal Underwear Top

Ultradry Men Thermal Underwear Top
Ultradry Men Thermal Underwear Top
9.2Outstanding
Pros
  • Provide the needed warmth that only thicker base layers have – microfiber fleece liner
  • Durable and long-lasting – wrinkle-free and not shrink after wash
Cons
  • Run a little bit small
  • It has tags on the inside of the shirt

Whether you’re camping, skiing, snowboarding, hunting, biking, or hiking in the winter, rest the heart that this ultradry Men Thermal Underwear Top will always keep your body toasty warm.

The thin construction combined with microfiber fleece lining enhances its moisture-wicking properties, making the fabric dry out quickly and insulated well from the cold. Plus, the soft texture offers superior comfort to your skin.

Ultradry Men Thermal Underwear Top Specifications

Weight

6.4 Ounces

Fabric

92% Ultra Soft Polyester, 8% Spandex.

Highlight Features

microfiber fleece liner

wrinkle-free and not shrink after wash

The best part is it isn’t shrunk even after repeated washes.

How To Choose The Best Base Layer For Cold Weather?

Materials

The very first thing to look into when shopping for base layers is the fabric. Mostly, you will have three options: merino, synthetic, and silk. Here’s how they compare:


Pros

Cons

Merino

Remove moisture well

Odor-resistant

The most expensive

Synthetic

Dry quickly

Less odor-resistant

Require regular laundering

Silk

Feels very soft

Lightweight

Not odor-resistant

Among these three materials, silk is only suitable for those who are not active. Merino and synthetic are good choices for active wearers.

Don’t opt for cotton if you need something for outdoor activities. The reason is it doesn’t wick your sweat away as fast as the three others, meaning that it will give an unpleasantly wet feeling.

Weight

Base layers are classified into lightweight, midweight, and heavyweight with different levels of warmth.

  • Heavyweight: the warmest of all, suitable for extremely cold weather and strong wind.
  • Midweight: fairly warm, suitable for moderately cold/cold weather.
  • Lightweight: features good air circulation, suitable for moderately cold weather.

Fit

For wearing in the winter, you need to get base layers that snug fit your body, like your second skin. Also, choose blasé layers with elastic cuffs for better heat retaining.

Which Brands Make The Best Base Layer For Cold Weather?

Roman Trail Outfitters

With technological advancements, this brand offers outdoor gear that helps you withstand the most extreme weather conditions. You will surely find a quality base layer here.

Under Armour

Focusing on product performance, Under Armour bring about the best base layers as well as other clothing items for your winter.

32Degrees

With this brand, you will find good base layers made with innovative fabric technologies and functionality. Its products also come in style for your daily wardrobe.

Carhartt

Founded in 1889, this is one of the long-standing brands in the market with a century of experience in the industry. If you want a reliable brand to start with, try this one.

Arc'teryx

There are a lot of good things about this brand, but its products are best known for great design, advanced technology, and sustainability.

FAQs

What is the best material for a base layer?

The best materials for base layers are either synthetic or merino. They wick away moisture very well and offer odor resistance.

Is fleece a good base layer?

No, it isn’t. Fleece is good for mid-layers, not base layers.

How should I dress for 20 degrees?

Here are some suggestions for 20-degree outfits, exclusively for women.

  • High-slit skirt and over-the-knee boots
  • Short skirt and tall socks
  • Light jackets and silk scarves
  • Summer dress and overcoat
  • Plaid pants and sleek button-down
  • Trench and wide-leg pants
  • Midi skirt and sweater

How long should the base layer last?

Good base layers can last for years. This also depends on how often you wear them and how you maintain them through laundering.

How many layers should you wear at 0 degrees?

When the temperature reaches 0 degrees, you need to wear 3 to 4 layers.

Conclusion

We hope that this post has made it easier for you to determine the necessary features for your best base layer for cold weather. Remember that material is the top priority and should always be the first factor you take into account when shopping for base layers.

Bryan Listor
Bryan Listor

Related Articles