ContentsQUICK ANSWER – THE BEST BASE LAYERS FOR HIKINGBASE LAYER REVIEWSSMARTWOOL NTS MID 250 CREWICEBREAKER OASIS CREWEARCTERYX PHASE AR ZIPICEBREAKER EVERYDAY LONG SLEEVE CREWETHE NORTH FACE EXPEDITION LONG SLEEVE ZIP NECKTASC PERFORMANCE LEVEL B BASE LAYER LSMOUNTAIN HARDWEAR POWER STRETCH ZIPIBEX WOOLIES 2 CREWTERRAMAR TXO 2.0ARCTERYX RHO LT ZIP NECKCOMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST BASE LAYERS FOR COLD WEATHERHOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST BASE LAYERMATERIALWEIGHT OR THICKNESSTEMPERATURE CONTROL FEATURESFIT AND STYLECARE AND WASHINGETHICAL SOURCING You’re hiking to the summit. When you stop at the top for a break, you notice your first layers are cold and damp with sweat. Later as you make camp for the night, you get worried about staying warm enough as the temperature drops. Knowing what’s the best base layer for hiking is essential to enjoy your adventures outdoors safely. Hiking in cold weather poses a difficult problem to solve. You are hiking and sweating. Damp base layers are uncomfortable and suck heat from your body. This is a recipe for putting you at risk of hypothermia. Knowing how to layer clothes is crucial to staying warm and dry while hiking. But, how can you sweat in your base layers and still stay comfortable? That’s where we come in. One of our goals here at The Adventure Junkies is to make your life easier when it comes to choosing outdoor gear. In this article, we’ll walk you through what to look for while shopping for cold weather base layers. We’ll also show you how to find one that works best for you and keeps you warm and dry. For more of our top hiking gear recommendations, check out these popular articles: Tents | Hammocks | Bivy Sacks | Tarps Sleeping Bags | Sleeping Pads | Stoves Backpacks | GPS | Headlamps | Poles| Watches Boots | Shoes | Sandals | Pants | Shorts Base Layers | Fleeces | Down Jackets | Rain Jackets LEARN HOW TO CHOOSE HIKING GEAR FOR YOUR NEXT ADVENTUREJOIN THE FREE HIKING GEAR COURSEJOIN THE FREE HIKING GEAR COURSE QUICK ANSWER – THE BEST BASE LAYERS FOR HIKING Smartwool NTS Mid 250 Icebreaker Oasis Arcteryx Phase AR Icebreaker Everyday The North Face Expedition Tasc Performance Level B Mountain Hardwear Power Stretch Ibex Woolies 2 TerraMar TXO 2.0 Arcteryx Rho LT MULTI-DAYHIKING PACKING LISTDon't forget important gear at home!Print out this free hiking packing list to prepare for your next adventure.UNLOCK THIS LIST BASE LAYER REVIEWS SMARTWOOL NTS MID 250 CREW Check out the latest price on: Amazon | REI BEST FOR: Hikers wanting to smell good PROS: Anti-odor merino, breathability, good everyday wear CONS: Delicate MATERIAL: 100% merino WARMTH: Medium DURABILITY: Medium BREATHABILITY: High ICEBREAKER OASIS CREWE Check out the latest price on: Amazon | REI BEST FOR: Hikers wanting one base layer for everything PROS: Anti-odor merino, good everyday wear CONS: Delicate, can’t machine dry MATERIAL: 100% merino WARMTH: Medium DURABILITY: Medium BREATHABILITY: High ARCTERYX PHASE AR ZIP Check out the latest price on: Amazon | Backcountry BEST FOR: Hikers wanting very quick drying layer PROS: Wicks moisture well, silver ion antibacterial treatment CONS: Still picks up smell after heavy use MATERIAL: 100% polyester WARMTH: Medium DURABILITY: High BREATHABILITY: High ICEBREAKER EVERYDAY LONG SLEEVE CREWE Check out the latest price on: Amazon | Backcountry BEST FOR: Hikers wanting to party after the trip PROS: Anti-odor merino, lighter than Oasis CONS: Delicate, can’t machine dry MATERIAL: 100% merino WARMTH: Medium DURABILITY: Medium BREATHABILITY: High THE NORTH FACE EXPEDITION LONG SLEEVE ZIP NECK Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Hikers doing low-intensity activity PROS: Soft fleece, recycled material, warm CONS: Staticky fabric, too warm for high intensity MATERIAL: 83% recycled polyester, 17% Elastane WARMTH: High DURABILITY: High BREATHABILITY: Medium TASC PERFORMANCE LEVEL B BASE LAYER LS Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Hikers looking for more durable merino PROS: Benefits of merino but more durable than bamboo CONS: Hard to find MATERIAL: 60% Viscose from Bamboo, 35% Merino, 5% elastane WARMTH: Medium DURABILITY: Medium BREATHABILITY: High MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR POWER STRETCH ZIP Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Hikers out on cold days PROS: Soft fleece, stretchy fabric, reversible to have a warm base layer or fast-drying mid layer CONS: Picks up odor, too warm MATERIAL: 88% polyester, 12% elastane WARMTH: High DURABILITY: High BREATHABILITY: Low IBEX WOOLIES 2 CREW Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Hikers wanting less expensive merino PROS: Less expensive, merino, no smell CONS: Delicate MATERIAL: 100% merino WARMTH: Medium DURABILITY: Medium BREATHABILITY: High TERRAMAR TXO 2.0 Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Hikers wanting low-stink synthetic PROS: Activated carbon in yarn prevents smell, thumb loops, smooth outer face for layering CONS: Not as breathable MATERIAL: 80% polyester, 18% spandex WARMTH: Medium DURABILITY: High BREATHABILITY: Medium ARCTERYX RHO LT ZIP NECK Check out the latest price on: Amazon | REI BEST FOR: Hikers wanting a very warm base layer PROS: Very warm, cuts wind, extra long fit in body, smooth outer face for layering CONS: Not as breathable MATERIAL: 84% polyester, 16% elastane WARMTH: High DURABILITY: High BREATHABILITY: Low Gear up for hiking, without breaking the bankGet the Latest Deals on Hiking GearSent straight to your inbox...GEAR UP FOR HIKING COMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST BASE LAYERS FOR COLD WEATHER PICTUREBASE LAYERWARMTHBREATHABILITYPRICERATING PICTUREBASE LAYERWARMTHBREATHABILITYPRICERATING Smartwool NTS Mid 250 MediumHigh$$$4.9 Icebreaker OasisLowHigh$$4.8 Arcteryx Phase ARMediumHigh$$4.4 Icebreaker EverydayMediumHigh$4.7 The North Face ExpeditionHighLow$5.0 Tasc Performance Level BHighHigh$5.0 Mountain Hardwear Power StretchHighMedium$$5.0 Ibex Woolies 2MediumHigh$$4.8 TerraMar TXO 2.0 MediumHigh$4.5 Arcteryx Rho LTHighMedium$$$4.4 HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST BASE LAYER MATERIAL Merino wool is gaining popularity because it’s soft, breathable and doesn’t pick up odor like synthetics do. It also regulates your body temperature well when the thermometer changes. SYNTHETIC BASE LAYERS pull moisture away from you and breathe well. They’re durable so they’ll last a long time. The downside is the will eventually they will pick up an odor and it will be hard to keep them smelling fresh. BAMBOO is not a common material but is starting to gain popularity. It has wool-like anti-bacterial properties and breathability. It can be hard to find and is often mixed with other materials. SILK BASE LAYERS aren’t common either. They aren’t typically used for adventure because they don’t breathe as well as these other options. Blends of materials are common now. You might find a bamboo merino or synthetic merino mix. The idea here is to get the best of both worlds when you mix two types of material. WEIGHT OR THICKNESS For warmer or higher intensity hikes, you may want to opt for a thinner layer to release the heat. For cold weather trips, you’ll want to go thick for extra warmth. TEMPERATURE CONTROL FEATURES Collars, hoods, zippers and thumb loops all help you control how warm you are without taking the layer off. They also add weight, bulk, and cost to a layer. FIT AND STYLE Loose base layers will let heat escape while tight ones will keep it in. But too tight and they can restrict movement or circulation. Make sure they’re long enough for your body and of course, you want to look good! CARE AND WASHING Some of the materials or blends have to be hung or laid flat to dry. They can shrink or melt if you put them in the dryer. Check the care instructions if you want to use the dryer. ETHICAL SOURCING It’s important to be aware of where the products you use come from. You might prefer products that use recycled materials or ethically sourced wool. Many companies offer these more sustainable options. HIKING RESOURCESTABLE OF CONTENTSHIKINGTABLE OF CONTENTS 1. FUNDAMENTALS 5. HIKING TRAILS 2. HIKING GEAR 6. HIKING WITH KIDS 3. HIKING CLOTHING 7. HIKING WITH DOGS 4. CAMPING 8. WOMEN'S HIKING 1. FUNDAMENTALS 2. HIKING GEAR 3. HIKING CLOTHING 4. CAMPING 5. HIKING TRAILS 6. HIKING WITH KIDS 7. HIKING WITH DOGS 8. WOMEN'S HIKING Disclosure: The Adventure Junkies is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost for you. We also use other affiliate programs like REI, LeisurePro, Diviac and Liveaboard.com.