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Best/warmest Base Layer

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

I live in Georgia and hate to be cold (and I don't sweat very much).  I typically ski with UA 3.0 base layer, a fleece midlayer and an insulated jacket.  But, since I'm planning an 8 day ski trip in January, I figure I need more than 1 base layer. Do I stick with what I know and just get another UA 3.0/4.0 or is there another base layer that you would recommend?  Thanks.

post #2 of 24
My body runs cold. But skiing rules, so...

I like the compression base layers best, the warmest baselayer I've used. The tighter the warmer I think. UA may be my favorite, even if I find their marketing annoying wink.gif by tighter I mean compression is better ( tighter) (warmer) than fitted. But I like to size up if possible, since the longer the shirt, the better it stays tucked in, which is huge for warmth. The mock turtle neck feature seems key too.

My Nike compression is good too, but is a little loose on parts of the arms.

I bought a way big compression base layer to put over a smaller compression layer smile.gif that keeps me warm on the cold days. There's some binding and movement restriction I guess when I put it on, but once I'm outside, I don't notice it.

This plus wind proof outer layers and a thin windproof hat under my helmet. And some decent mid layer--I think it's job is the easiest. And heat packs for my mittens! And pit zips so I can vent if needed to avoid getting sweaty, and then cold after.

Again, I run cold smile.gif
post #3 of 24

One word: wool.

 

No material keeps you warmer and drier than wool. 100% wool undergarmets are hard to find, but there are blends readily available.

 

My usual outfit is a wool-blend base layer, a wool sweater, a down vest, and an insulated (but not too thick)  shell.  On cold days I'll go for a second base layer.  Sounds like you need to pack an extra layer or two.

 

Get a neck gaiter.

 

 

It's amazing how much difference one of these makes.  On cold days, I wear two.  I think I did about 30 below zero  days last season and didn't get cold.  YMMV.

post #4 of 24

I've tried UA and Nike compression garments as a top base layer and, they did not work nearly as well as the Craft base layers I currently use for cycling.  See:  http://www.competitivecyclist.com/craft-zero-extreme-crew-long-sleeve-mens?ti=UExQIEJyYW5kOk1lblwncyBCYXNlIExheWVyczoxOjg6MTAwMDAwMjMyX2NjQ2F0MTAwMTgx&skidn=CRA0362-RO-S

 

Not only are the Craft layers more comfortable and have a longer tail, the Craft layers move moisture away from my skin far better than the UA or Nike compression base layers.  The Craft layers are spendy, but worth it, IMO (keep in mind that I use them all year round, except summer). 

 

Also, I've had a number of Smartwool or Icebreaker merino wool base layers and found those superior to compression garments as well.  One advantage of wool on a long trip is that you can wear it multiple days without funky smells.  The synthetic layers need to be washed in the sink and hung to dry after 2 days.  If you don't get itchy from the wool, then that's a good way to go and better than compression garments.  I got itchy but was able to sell my wool layers for the same price I paid for them.

 

In sum, there are at least 2 alternatives better than what you've got, IMO. 

post #5 of 24

+1 for neck gaiters -- I always have one in my pocket. 

 

As for base layers, the Stoic Breath Composite is the warmest one I've tried, including Marino wool.  They come up on Steep & Cheap pretty often (I got mine for $22).  The material is more like neoprene than anything else, the fit is decidedly athletic (I'm 6'2" / 185, no belly ponch, with long arms and the large fits me great and very snug throughout).  It is very warm and is cut long to stay tucked in...

post #6 of 24

+1 for wool.  Merino wool doesn't itch and has an awesome skin feel.  It makes for the best base layer IME. 

 

It also moderates your temps better than anything else I've tired.  You can dress a little warmer and not overheat if the day is warmer than expected.  And if it's colder then you're warm.

 

Minus33 is good quality and the best price.  Steep and cheap sometimes have good deals on Ice Breaker.

 

Another great thing about wool is it's anti static and anti odor.  I no longer risk zapping my privates getting dressed in the morning lol.

post #7 of 24

post #8 of 24
http://www.sierratradingpost.com/?afsrc=1&gclid=COzB9euPrcICFZWGaQody5cA6A&codes-processed=true

I have been wearing thier "wickers brand" for about 20 years. Can't beat the price or the performance. Don't wear cotton any where.


http://www.sierratradingpost.com/mens-base-layer~d~7455/wickers~b~117/

Look around the site. lots of good stuff there.

www.campmor.com is another great place for good base layers and mid layers.
Edited by Max Capacity - 12/4/14 at 11:47am
post #9 of 24

Also a fan of wool.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Colorado View Post

 

Minus33 is good quality and the best price.

 

Another great thing about wool is it's anti static and anti odor.

 

Agree.  Minus33 mid weight is pretty thick and warm.  Great quality.  For me, a little too warm for most days, but I tend to run hot compared to most people.  For someone who is more concerned with being too cold, it might be a good all around option.

post #10 of 24
Okay, apparently the answer is wool! well at least I got you some replies now LOL
post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Colorado View Post
 

+1 for wool.  Merino wool doesn't itch and has an awesome skin feel.  It makes for the best base layer IME. 

 

It also moderates your temps better than anything else I've tired.  You can dress a little warmer and not overheat if the day is warmer than expected.  And if it's colder then you're warm.

 

Minus33 is good quality and the best price.  Steep and cheap sometimes have good deals on Ice Breaker.

 

Another great thing about wool is it's anti static and anti odor.  I no longer risk zapping my privates getting dressed in the morning lol.


-1 for Merino wool. It does itch for some people, including my wife and kids, and it isn't remotely as warm IME as a compression/poly multilayer blend such as you find in the CW-X line. As far as anti-odor, the technical term is "washing." Look, I like Merino, but in truth, it's been overhyped to a point of silliness. Kool Aid territory these days...

post #12 of 24
There is plenty of stuff that will make you happy. I have Patagonia Capilene layers (I like the 3x), Icebreaker wool layers, Ibex wool layers, my Patagonia Nano Puff or Down Sweater worn in addition to the base layers and insulated jacket on cold days...I wear it all interchangeably.
Quote:
-1 for Merino wool. It does itch for some people, including my wife and kids, and it isn't remotely as warm IME as a compression/poly multilayer blend such as you find in the CW-X line. As far as anti-odor, the technical term is "washing." Look, I like Merino, but in truth, it's been overhyped to a point of silliness.

Yes if you are allergic to wool Merino will still make you itch, but for the majority of us that aren't allergic, it bears no resemblance to those old coarse itchy wool garments that we used to wear. There's also a difference in brand and quality; once I bought a cheaper, coarser pair of Merino socks that weren't like any others I'd had, and I wasn't happy with them at all. And yes we know it can be washed, but if we're on a trip without laundry access (as is often the case), or better yet doing some outdoor activity like backpacking, the non-stink component is brilliant. I can wear the same wool base layer every single day of a ski trip and it won't smell in the least. I also find it very warm, and I am a small person with Raynaud's that runs very cold. Like anything it comes in different "levels". so you can get T shirts that won't keep you very warm, or better garments that will.
post #13 of 24

I don't understand the question.  The purpose of a base layer is to wick moisture and provide comfort.  If one wants warmth, that comes from trapped air.  Assuming one is wearing a wind shell, all one needs for warmth is some type of loft: wool, pile, down, synthetic fill, etc.  If one wants additional warmth, why not adjust the number/thickness of insulating layers?  Maybe add a vest over a jacket.

 

Personally, I use Wickers up top.  The quality is fine and the price from Sierra Trading Post is low.  For the legs, any 3/4 length will do.  I use CW-X because I think the compression is good for my legs.

post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walt View Post
 

One word: wool.

 

No material keeps you warmer and drier than wool. 100% wool undergarmets are hard to find, but there are blends readily available.

 

My usual outfit is a wool-blend base layer, a wool sweater, a down vest, and an insulated (but not too thick)  shell.  On cold days I'll go for a second base layer.  Sounds like you need to pack an extra layer or two.

 

Get a neck gaiter.

 

 

It's amazing how much difference one of these makes.  On cold days, I wear two.  I think I did about 30 below zero  days last season and didn't get cold.  YMMV.

Iv'e worn plenty of wool--see my avatar, which is now about forty years old. Wool is warm when wet, yes, but also heavy and takes forever to dry. There's a reason it went out of favor. 

You'll get more bang for the buck with a warmer mid layer than by going warmer on the base layer, if you have room in your jacket. A synthetic puffy is very light, very packable, and has a wide comfort range--it will keep you warm when it's cold without overheating you as bad when it's not. Can wear it directly over the base layer, over another mid layer, or as an outer layer in the evening. (Popular with climbers and backcountry skiers who often wear little when they're exerting but need to cover up when they're not--but that doesn't sound like your thing.) Patagonia nano puff is popular, montbell is very good but harder to find.

post #15 of 24
Lot of good options already mentioned. My long time well proven favorite base OR second layer fabric is Polartec Powerstretch. Very stretchy very warm, not restrictive, does not pill, wicks, smooth outer face makes other garments slide easily and comfortably on top. Wear this 10 months a year for biking, hiking, skiing, etc. Sometimes 12! I like the cwx stuff but do not find it warm. And it's pricey.

Powerstretch example:

http://raggedmountain.com/ragged-mountain-polartec-power-stretch-pro-tights
post #16 of 24

I won't add to base layer talk but can recommend something that really works.  I learned about this piece of clothing from my good friend Ted.  While standing and working the WC and Olympics and many other race courses.

 

Marmot windbreaker, they are black and lighly lined.  I have a jacket type with sleeves and a vest .  The reason they are so good is you put on your base layer, then a sweater, patagonia, sweat shirt or whatever and then the windbreaker over these and then your jacket.  The wind proof nylon holds inside your body heat and keeps you warm.  "The Marmot will crumple or fold up so you can put it in a pocket.

 

I wear the jacket one on real cold days and the vest sometimes on others.   If you go this route, only buy the Marmot one's they really work.  I have a pack that always goes with me in my truck and these are always in my pack.

post #17 of 24

Merino wool for me too!

At minus 40°, I highly rely on wool as my first and second base layer...Favorite brand? IceBreaker! It is so soft....

post #18 of 24

If you're going to be active, I've found that the Columbia OmniHeat works extremely well as a baselayer.  When worn directly against the skin, it does reflect your body heat back at you.

 

For a midlayer or outerlayer however, I think it's more marketing hype.

post #19 of 24

I recently picked up a Helly Hansen Warm baselayer (and pants from the same line), and they so far blow my other synthetic or merino stuff out of the water.  Super warm, with polypro inside and merino outside. I've used them on the slopes and for cycling in subzero weather, and so far so good - my skin stays dry even when sweating (cycling), and they seem more durable than the 100% merino items I own.  Not the cheapest, but I got mine during a 30% off sale, and they look like they'll be worth it if they hold up for a few seasons.

post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post
 


-1 for Merino wool. It does itch for some people, including my wife and kids, and it isn't remotely as warm IME as a compression/poly multilayer blend such as you find in the CW-X line. As far as anti-odor, the technical term is "washing." Look, I like Merino, but in truth, it's been overhyped to a point of silliness. Kool Aid territory these days...

 

Regular wool makes me itch, so I can understand it's not for everyone.

 

I think it really depends on intended use and climate.  All the polyester clothes give off massive amounts of static in our dry CO climate.  They also attract dust, pet hair etc to the point of being ridiculous.

 

At 6'1" and 150lb I don't sweat much, so the slower drying time for wool it's an issue for me.  Not to mention everything dries in CO pretty fast.

 

Another thing I really like about wool is that it's not bulky like the polly stuff so I can add an extra layer.

 

Now if I was doing an overnight hut to hut or something, I'd want polly.  But at a ski resort, if for some reason my wool got soaking wet, I'd just go home.  But I don't see it being a problem.

 

I live at 10,000ft and go for walks around my neighborhood all the time in blizzard conditions 30-80mph winds.  Wool and down keep me the most comfortable.  I love that I can wear my wool base layers around the house (~70 deg) without over heating.

 

Wool is not the be all end all, but it is superior to Polly in a number of ways.  Polly is also superior to wool in a number of ways.  For me and my climate I will choose wool.  No cool aid here.

post #21 of 24

Lot of people here now wearing mons royale, good but pricey merino. Bit more style and fashion conscious for the youngsters. 

http://www.monsroyale.com/

post #22 of 24

Tip: Sign up for "deal flyer" emails from Sierra Trading Post. You'll get emails every morning with good coupons (like 40% off certain items and free shipping over $100). They sell a lot of Icebreaker, which is one of the best brands for merino wool athletic apparel. With the "deal flyer" coupons, you'll often find Icebreaker base layer items that are less than half price from other vendors like Backcountry or Icebreaker themselves. Pay attention to weight. 260g is considered "midweight". 320g is their their thicker heavyweight stuff. I personally love the stuff.

post #23 of 24

Anybody heard from the OP lately ?

 

Just saying...

post #24 of 24

The last time I saw him, he was in a dressing cabin trying woolen underwear ...:D

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