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best fabrics for base layers and sweaters

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
I've heard about the horrors of wearing cotton and benifits of synthetics, but is there anything else, like wool for instance?

post #2 of 28
Forget wool. Synthetics have changed winter clothing for the better!
post #3 of 28
While I can't wear wool next to my skin (except in socks oddly) I would use it in a heartbeat if I could. Wool is so much better at odor control than any synthetic I've tried.
post #4 of 28
Merino wool is my favorite, no itch. Synthetics can be pretty good. I tend to like the smartwool stuff but there is other good stuff out there.
post #5 of 28
I love my Helly Lifa/merino baselayer. That said, I'd go merino whenever I can. Icebreaker and Smartwool make nice stuff.
post #6 of 28
pati makes a great wool baselayer. Merino wool rocks. I also like the arc' teryx base layers as well.
post #7 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by COSkiGirl View Post
While I can't wear wool next to my skin (except in socks oddly) I would use it in a heartbeat if I could. Wool is so much better at odor control than any synthetic I've tried.
I never thought about the oder control issue. Maybe I should??!!!!
post #8 of 28
I had heard good things about silk, but don't like the (very) thin shirt that I bought recently. It feels weird and didn't seem to do much of anything. May be that it's just too thin, but I doubt that would make me like the feel of it any better. My wife bought me silk boxers years ago and those really creeped me out, got "lost" quickly.
I have synthetic base layers from Wickers and other makers and SmartWool socks, and am happy with all of them. They're pretty much all Sierra Trading Post bargains, haven't found the need to spend more $$$ on such stuff as of yet.
post #9 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by mitch236 View Post
I never thought about the oder control issue. Maybe I should??!!!!
Well, I guess only if you have a problem with odor. I don't have a serious issue but I do notice that my feet don't stink quite as bad coming out of my ski boots with the Smartwool vs. a synthetic sock.

Like I said, I do use synthetic on my body because of skin irritation with wool. I like REI's MTS Midweight for my top and use CW-X Pro tights on the bottom. Synthetics have really progressed baselayers beyond the old cotton turtlenecks for sure but just don't count out the great wool baselayer options out there. If you want to give them a try keep an eye on steepandcheap and tramdock.
post #10 of 28
Patagonia Capilene 3...
post #11 of 28
Polartec Power Stretch & merino wool are my faves
post #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnus_CA View Post
Polartec Power Stretch
post #13 of 28
Patagonia Capilene
post #14 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by glennm9 View Post
I've heard about the horrors of wearing cotton and benifits of synthetics, but is there anything else, like wool for instance?

Wool is a great insulator as well, some of the drawbacks include odor retention and itchiness. A fine merino wool or a wool blend can usually take care of some of the issues.
post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by julielsexton View Post
Wool is a great insulator as well, some of the drawbacks include odor retention and itchiness. A fine merino wool or a wool blend can usually take care of some of the issues.
Odor retention? Wool is generally really good at not holding odors.
post #16 of 28
I'm a gear hound and have a little of everything including Patagonia Cap 3, Patagonia Wool 3, Powerstretch and others.


There isn't much difference in terms of warmth or wicking between Patty Cap 3 & Wool 3. Therefore, I'd recommend the Cap3 which is cheaper. Their merino wool is not itchy - nor are any of the smartwool socks I own. Odor? Meh. I wash my stuff after every use so odor isn't an issue and I still have capilene pieces from the early 90s that smell as good as new.

Powerstretch is the warmest and I use powerstretch bottoms under shell pants on the coldest days.

On my torso I use a cap 3 baselayer, 800 fill Patty down sweater and a goretex shell. On the coldest days I'll add a 2nd synthetic layer over the baselayer or maybe my fleece vest.
post #17 of 28
I often still wear cotton as a base layer. It hasn't killed me yet and it is very comfortable.
post #18 of 28
cotton kills....
post #19 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post
cotton kills....
especially if you nitrate it.
post #20 of 28

I switched all my base layers to wool as it's a natural fiber, and Merino is really comfortable. Most synthetics are petroleum based products.


Edited by Westcat - Sat, 31 Jan 09 15:11:12 GMT
post #21 of 28
Merino wool (Smart wool, Ibex, Ice Breaker, Patagonia) or Capilene 3 - maybe Cap 2 or 4 depending weather. Capilene is bit more versatile for other seasons and easier to wash and probably more durable, but there is something about skiing in merino wool that just feels right -love it and no stink
post #22 of 28
merino is the way to go. i have a capilene base too but it smells if i've worn it all day on the mountain. wool never smells and is much softer/more comfortable than the capilene.
post #23 of 28
I really like my silks. (LL Bean)They are thin enough to allow yet another layer for really cold days.
post #24 of 28

 I am also a gear head and have a 15 odd year collection of baselayers.  I love patagucci  capeline and find it very comfortable, enough that i even use it to sleep in these days. 

 

OTOH I think that the new merino products do it all, and more importantly do it all in a wide temperature range avoiding some of the clamminess in synthetics if you guess wrong on the temperature. 

 

ID try the ibex, love the company.  Just tried the Patagonia wool stuff and it is very luxurious also. 

post #25 of 28

Don't forget about a base layer for your hands

 

Mine used to get sweaty, and then would slide around inside the glove.  Now I have these ultra-thin polypro glove liners that wick perspiration away from my hands.  Even though my glove might get damp inside, my hands always feel warm and dry. 

post #26 of 28
Thread Starter 

Wow, thanks for the reponses! Now I have some info to go shopping with, sounds like wool products are a good bet.

post #27 of 28

The power of voting

 

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by glennm9 View Post

Wow, thanks for the reponses! Now I have some info to go shopping with, sounds like wool products are a good bet.

 

Ever heard of the man who had one watch and knew what time it was then got another and never knew the right time again?

post #28 of 28

Today's high quality Merino wools really aren't itchy.  Smart wools next-to-skin line is great.  I tend to wear a wool baselayer on top and CW-Xs on the bottom.  Wool is better that synthetics at retaining heat even when wet.  Merino wool really does not retain odors.  No need to wash after every use.  Great for a trip where you might not be able to throw your baselayer in the wash every day. 

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