Base Layer

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Ten testers checked out 50-plus baselayers to land on this list

Go sledding, slow cook a hearty stew, sip on a rich cup of hot cocoa. Just because the days are shorter and colder doesn’t have to mean they’re any less fun.

No matter the temperature, these tops and bottoms kept us comfortable

What’s the best base layer top for women? Contributor Kassondra Cloos thinks it’s the Kari Traa Rose. “With a deep half-zip and thin side panels running from hip to wrist, the top also works in a wide range of temperatures,” she wrote. This version has a slim hood to…

We included the Eddie in our roundup for the best sun shirts because it’s stretchy, dries fast, and has a UPF 50+ rating. “It’s as performance-minded as your favorite tech tee but good-looking enough to wear about town,” our tester said. Added style points for the pearl snaps.

The H Bar B Snapshirt is style combined with functionality. Our gear editor recommended this shirt because it let him be “more comfortable at the office without looking like a schlub who just rolled out of bed.” The wrinkle-resistant material keeps the shirt looking clean. Plus, it has a…

Patagonia’s R1 line of fleece layers are well-loved and versatile, and the crew top version is no exception. Its raised grid-style insulation keeps you warm while you’re moving in cold weather.

Kari Traa’s base layers are specifically designed for women, by women, and the Rose pant is a perfect example of that. The pant uses playful, Nordic-inspired patterns that don’t feel overly girly. Plus, it’s made from 100% merino wool that wicks moisture, dries quickly, and resists odor.

It feels like you're wearing a pile of sleeping puppies, and the puppies are all dreaming about lambs

Getting outdoors in the winter doesn't have to be miserable. Here, musher Blair Braverman shares her top ten tips for keeping cozy in frigid temperatures.

With these key items, regulating your body’s temperature is a cinch

Keeping your body temperature at a happy equilibrium starts with the right layers

Icebreaker socks, T-shirts, and base layers are on sale today

Gear editor Ariella Gintzler loves this base layer tank top. “This buttery-soft piece is form-fitting enough to layer but loose enough to wear alone,” she wrote. The merino wool and nylon blend fabric add a mix of durability with odor and moisture management.

The Rose has been tester Kassondra Cloos’s favorite base-layer top for the past three years. “I’ve worn it skiing in Colorado and Wyoming, backpacking in rainy conditions in Colombia, working in the office, and while sleeping,” wrote Cloos. The soft merino wool is warm and cozy, while the deep…

We reviewed these bottoms in our our roundup of the best women’s base layers. They “pack down almost as small as a pair of pantyhose,” said our tester, “and the poly fabric is exceptionally breathable, wicks well, and is ideal for warmer days and rigorous activities like cross-country skiing…

Last spring, our Gear Guy tested five different fleeces and the Tekno Ridge came out on top. “It excelled during every activity and looks so good that my wife stole it from me,” he wrote. This hoodie is close-fitting for easy movement, sturdy enough to fend off 15-mile-per-hour headwinds,…

If you buy the right one, it can be one of the only tops you need for the entire winter season

We could all take ourselves a little less seriously

In our roundup of the best sports bras, this number was one of our runners-up for “small-chested women who hate sports bras.” Made from a featherweight recycled polyester-spandex blend, the bra wicks sweat and dries quickly to keep you comfortable on high-intensity workouts.

Contributor Andrew Skurka recommended this shirt for summer hiking in the West because it offers full coverage from the sun. The Echo uses lightweight, breathable polyester to keep you cool on warm days and provides UPF 15.

This long sleeve shirt looks like your basic button-down, but it has the performance features to keep up with you on chilly outdoor adventures. Like many of Stio’s shirts, the Tipton uses a cotton-polyester blend, so it dries faster than traditional layers.

Peloton is a fun distraction, but you don't have to relegate yourself to the trainer because it's cold outside

I traveled through three climates in three weeks and didn't check a bag. Here's how I packed.

Style for when you descend from the mountains

We recommended this merino base layer top as a worthwhile splurge item for hiking the PCT. “Having a set of dry, relatively clean clothes to sleep in will keep you warmer and your sleep setup from getting dirty,” wrote PCT hiker, Taylor Gee. Plus, the naturally odor resistant merino…

If you run cold, this pair of silk long underwear is what you want this winter. “I’ve thrown this pair of long underwear around for a couple years now and they’re surprisingly rugged,” said our tester. The thin, lightweight fabric also makes them easy to wear under additional layers.

REI’s boxers are an affordable performance underwear choice for those who don’t want the slim fit of a boxer-brief. “Their poly/spandex blend dries fast, and they’re looser than the other skivvies on this list, leaving plenty of room in the legs and nethers for a full range of movement,”…

The trick to staying the right temperature this time of year? Bring smart options.

We included this tank in our roundup of the best women’s running gear of 2019. Our tester said the Distance Tank was “sleek without looking like a racing singlet.” The tank is semi-fitted and uses a soft polyester blend making it ideal for warmer runs or gym sessions.

The journey of a fabric enjoyed by everyone from Welsh shepherds to grunge Seattleites

We included the Karsee in our roundup of the best technical flannel shirts of 2019. The cotton-Tencel fabric is stretchy and on the lighter side for flannels. We especially like the buttons at the sides that let you adjust the fit so you can move as you need while…

Smartwool's new Intraknit range breathes as well as it insulates, thanks to a green new manufacturing technology

This base layer is best for shoulder season. Smartwool’s Merino 150 has all the qualities we love in merino wool—like odor resistance and moisture management—while a touch of nylon allows for easier movement while running or climbing. Plus, the shirt has a snug fit, so you can add extra…

We love this quarter-zip base layer. The merino wool helps to regulate body temperature when you’re building up a sweat under multiple ski layers, but the piece also works just as well as a light sweater for camping in the summer. And the wool naturally fights off odor, whatever…

Bundle up in our favorite fiber

Swaddle yourself in light-weight, breathable warmth

The Lifa Active Light is one of our Gear Guy’s favorite sun shirts. The shirt’s cut gives it more of a ski-mountaineering feel, but the lightweight synthetic fabric will wick moisture and keep you cool whether you’re going hard in the sun on a mountain bike or spending the…

This hoodie made it into our Summer Buyer’s Guide list of the best performance underwear of 2019. Norrøna’s merino-nylon-blend is “comfortable enough to lounge in,” our tester wrote. “Snug through the arms, it’s also great for technical endeavors.” Bonus: the half-zip helps dump heat for when you start working…

Though this versatile tank was built for riding, it’s one of our favorites for gym workouts. The compression knit jersey fabric is quick-drying, and the two drop-in pockets are perfect for holding your EDC essentials. Plus, the mesh back panel provides extra ventilation for when you work up a…

Last year, we included this Icebreaker base layer in our roundup of fall running essentials for men. Outside’s tester, Andy Cochrane, wrote: “Icebreaker’s merino wool base layers are made to fit tight, stretch with you, and help regulate heat and moisture.”…

This merino wool number was our favorite shirt for gym climbing in 2019. The wool lends sweat-wicking and odor resistance, but it also has 13 percent nylon for better shape retention and durability. In case you want to take the shirt outside the gym for some outdoor adventures, the…

In our review of the best base and midlayers of 2019, our testers said the Onset was “the most versatile base layer of the bunch.” The full-coverage hood provides both warmth and sun protection on bluebird days. Plus, the deep front zipper helps you dump heat on high-output missions.

Gear editor Ariella Gintzler called the Wazimu leggings “buttery soft” and “among the most comfortable running tights I’ve ever worn.” The leggings rock a thicker polyester fabric on the upper half with a thinner, mesh-like material below the knee to offer a combo of breathability and warmth.

We focused on comfort, stretch, and how well they fought off sweat and stink

In 2017, The North Face launched its Walls are Meant for Climbing campaign to focus on inclusivity, and this t-shirt became one of the brand’s staples. The triblend fabric also makes this tee comfortable and easy to move in.

We’re a big fan of henleys, but most of ours are cotton and don’t work well in the woods or on the river. That’s why we love the Tipton, which is made from a cotton-polyester blend, so it dries four times faster than traditional shirts but still feels like a…

This video from writer Blair Braverman answers the question of how many layers dog mushers wear in order to keep warm. 

First criterion: they can't overlap with your ski socks

Want an outfit that will take you from the slopes to town to the airport on your next ski trip? We've got you covered.

The Merino 150 is Smartwool’s lightest base layer. Wear it as a solo piece during warmer months or the first layer for winter pursuits. It’s mostly merino wool with some nylon mixed in for durability, but you get merino’s signature softness and antistink properties. The wicking and quick-dry capabilities of…

The Winter Warm tights are stretchy and snug without being too tight, so many runners find them far more comfortable than standard tights. They’re made from the company’s FlashDry fabric (a mix of poly, nylon, and elastane) for a moisture-wicking, quick-drying first layer. There’s a pocket across the back hip…

A blend of cotton, polyester, and spandex, the Captive is lightweight and quick drying. The polo style is cool on hot days but can also be dressed up. Truly it’s one shirt that you can wear anywhere.

Made of breathable, wicking, superfine merino wool, this top-and-bottom set has the technical chops for long days in alpine environments

Yes, there are layers out there for you, and yes, they're good

I've spent hundreds of hours of testing shirts. These five are the best.

There's an art to staying warm, dry, and happy

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From onesies to tanks, these performance delicates will keep you comfortable

Behind the scenes with the newest women's mountain bike clothing company

No reason to get undressed when nature calls

Littlest Sidekick Outfitters will launch with a line of kid-specific base layers, which parents will be able to return for a discount toward the next size

As a former raft guide, I know of what I speak when I say these six tips will prevent you from having to deal with soggy gear, whether you're skiing, backpacking, or biking

A versatile getup for winter’s last throes and spring’s first showers

Experts share their simple tool and apparel picks that improve the comfort and quality of subzero-degree workouts

Don’t overlook this crucial piece of your wardrobe

The stuff pro winter warriors say they can't ride without

There's a lot to talk about when it comes to this fabric

They hit the sweet spot of warmth and wicking, with zero chafe

Or how to not freeze your butt off on the chairlift and avoid other ski-day maladies

Technical outdoor capability with more than a dash of style

Treat yourself this holiday season with some new gear from REI's seasonal sale