Best Base layers for Winter 2021

Best Base layers for Winter 2021

Published: Oct 03, 2020

Sometimes, wearing winter jackets and pants isn't just enough to keep us warm during the extreme cold weather. A lot of us ignore the fact that layering is essential and that we cannot just choose any kind of layers; we need layers that are designed to keep us warm and at the same time absorbent enough to wick away moisture or perspiration from our body. We  also need layers that dry quickly so that sweat will not linger, thus making us feel colder.

So if you are planning to go out and be active outdoors during winter and have no idea where to start when it comes to buying base layers, let this guide take you through everything that you need to know when it comes to choosing quality base clothing.

Best Base Layers: Our Quick Answer

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Best Overall

1. Smartwool Merino 250 Crew

Smartwool Merino 250 Crew

Click to view on amazon.com.

Material: 100% Merino Wool (Machine Wash)
Weight:
Approx. 9.2 Ounces
Fit:
Slim

Smartwool was founded by two New England ski instructors in Colorado in 1994. The company primarily makes products from treated merino wool and claims that their treatment has moisture wicking, odor-reducing and anti-bacterial properties. They have products for men, women and kids and this Smartwool Merino 250 Crew is one of their high-quality inner clothing.

What we like

What we like about the Merino 250 Crew is that it is available in men, women and kids sizes.
This base clothing is constructed with 250 g/m² merino wool fabric, which is the thickest weight of its kind and so it offers optimum warmth and versatility. It performs well in the coldest weather conditions and in warm weather as well. When worn as a mid layer, it increases its versatility.
This Merino 250 Crew base layer will pull away sweat from your skin when things heat up and evaporate it at the surface. Its balance of warmth and breathability makes this a great base layer for freezing temperatures and even for fall and autumn activities.
The soft, thick and plush fabric of the 250 crew will swaddle you comfortably while having a full range of mobility because of the stretch weave at the arms and torso; the offset shoulder seams will keep your shoulders comfortable, additionally, you would not feel any seam lines against your skin because it utilizes flatlock seams.
This base layer from Smartwool also resists odors and regulates temperature. You can wear this over a thin base layer or just under an insulated jacket.

What we don’t like

What we do not like with the Merino 250 is that it does not dry quickly when it is soaked or washed because of the thickness of its fabric, although it does a great job with wicking perspiration, keeping you dry and it still insulates when wet. Additionally, this base layer is a bit large so if you want it to fit tightly and if you are in between sizes, we suggest sizing down.
Overall, this is a great base layer that is designed simply but with quality materials and impressive features.



Best Base layers for kids

2. Burton Kids' Lightweight Base layer Set

Burton Kids' Lightweight Base layer Set

Click to view on amazon.com.

Material: 100% Polyester Fabric (Machine Wash)
Weight:
Approx. 9 ounces
Fit:
Regular

The Burton brand was founded in 1997 in Vermont, by Jake Burton Carpenter, who has dedicated his life to snowboarding, thus it mainly manufactures products for snowboarders like snowboards, boots, bindings, accessories and outerwear. It became the largest snowboard brand in the world.

What we like about the Burton base layer set is that it is lightweight; it is not too tight and not too baggy either. This set includes a bottom and a top that has thumbhole cuffs to lock the sleeves in place. It utilizes DRYRIDE Ultrawick fabric that wicks away moisture and is breathable enough to keep your child comfortable. It is an all-in-one package that has anti pilling properties to prevent the fabric from getting thinner and developing holes. It also has chafe-free softlock seams for added comfort. It has a sustainable odor control feature to eliminate body odor and environmental odor, to keep your child smelling fresh; it also has a Stretch 180° feature to allow for a wide range of mobility, making this set a perfect base layer for active kids even during cold weather conditions.

What we don’t like about these base layer sets from the Burton brand is that they run a bit large so most might prefer sizing down. You have to carefully check their sizing chart to be able to choose a tight fit or if you prefer room for growth. Overall, this lightweight base layer for kids is super soft and cozy, providing the right amount of warmth and moisture, with a wicking ability that is best for snowboarding, skiing and any winter adventure.



3. Helly Hansen LIFA 2-Layer Thermal Baselayer

Helly Hansen LIFA 2-Layer Thermal Baselayer

Click to view on amazon.com.

Material: 57% Merino Wool, 43% Polypropylene (Machine Wash)
Weight:
Approx. 9 ounces
Fit:
Regular

Helly Hansen is a producer of sports gear and textiles, founded in 1877 in Norway. They began with oilskin jackets, trousers and tarpaulins made from coarse linen that is soaked in linseed oil. Over the years, they developed and innovated fabrics that are good enough for workwear, rainwear and generally for outdoor use. In 2015, the brand became the apparel partner for alpine and para-alpine ski teams in Canada.

What we like about the Helly Hansen LIFA base layer for kids is that it is constructed with two layers of fabric, the exterior is made from 100% merino wool, which is not an itchy fabric and its interior is made with the unique LIFA fiber technology that will keep moisture away from skin and provide insulation to keep your child comfortable, warm and dry.
This thermal long john and top dries quickly, and when your child sweats, the moisture will quickly disappear, leaving no trace of odor. Its flat lock seams make this inner clothing less bulky and comfortable to the skin. The knees and elbows are reinforced with 100g of Polartec fleece, which is a polyester fabric that adds protection from wear and tear, provides warmth without the added weight and it is also hydrophobic; it absorbs less than a percentage of water, making this base layer ideal for outdoors.

What we do not like about this winter thermal set is that it runs small and so most will probably prefer to size up to also provide room for growth. It will be a bit loose for slimmer kids and there are no darker color options for girls. Overall, this is a good base layer or even a mid layer for kids. It’s cozy and has a nice feel on the skin and retains its shape even when washed.



4. Icebreaker Kids Merino 200 Oasis

Icebreaker Kids Merino 200 Oasis

Click to view on amazon.com.

Material: 100% Merino Wool (Machine Wash)
Weight:
4.93 ounces
Fit:
Slim

The Icebreaker brand was founded in 1994 in New Zealand and it was the first company to utilize the natural performance properties of merino wool. The company’s mission is to build sustainable products, with the use of natural fibers, considering environmental and social principles as well as animal welfare. They started with base layers made of merino wool and now manufacture underwear, mid layers, socks, outerwear and accessories that are based on natural fibers.

What we like about the Merino 200 Oasis is that it is designed neatly and it is simple. When thinking about garments made of wool, often we think of how bulky they are but this base clothing is not bulky and weighs just like a regular shirt at only 4.93 ounces, placing it into the lightweight category.
All of its seams are flat locked; this means that there will be no chafing. The fit is slim and close to the skin, so it can wick away moisture from your child’s body when it gets warmer. When your child perspires, this clothing might feel a little damp but your child will still feel dry and because of the natural properties of merino wool, it will also resist odor, making your child smell fresh after hours of play.
This Merino 200 Oasis base layer is form fitting and flattering but not skin tight. It is super soft against the skin and will keep your child warm during the cold weather. It even retains its shape even after washing and it also dries quickly.

What we don’t like about this base clothing is that the sizing might be a bit confusing. If your child is in between sizes, we suggest getting the smaller size for a tighter fit or the larger size for a looser fit. The brand’s size guide is based on height and weight. The garment might also be a bit itchy for children with sensitive skin but some just felt it on their first try and eventually didn’t feel as itchy when wearing it for a few more times.
Overall, this Icebreaker Merino 200 Oasis is a perfect base layer for kids because it is made of natural fibers, it’s lightweight and will keep your child feeling fresh, dry and warm even after hours of playing out in the cold.



Best Base layers for women

5. Arc'teryx Rho LT Zip

Arc'teryx Rho LT Zip

Click to view on amazon.com.

Material:  90% Polyester, 10% Elastane (Machine Wash)
Weight:
7 ounces
Fit:
Skin Tight

Arc’teryx is a company that is based in Canada. It is originally named, “Rock Solid,” and was founded in the late 80’s. They started with harnesses and they now manufacture products for climbing, skiing, snowboarding, backpacking and hiking. They also offer a lifetime warranty and a gear trade program.

What we like about the Rho LT Zip base layer for women is that its fabric construction gives a long, tight fit and retains warmth. The interior is fleece-lined and has a zip-up collar for additional warmth and also for releasing heat. Its exterior fabric is smooth and does not generate static; it's thin and very easy to layer.
This base layer is perfect for frigid weather condition, it regulates body temperature regardless if you are being active or just standing still. It wicks away moisture and transfers it outside the fabric. It resists wind to a certain degree and if you are not up for adding layers, it can function well on its own. The Elastine composition in its fabric makes this layer a tight fit and the fleece lining is comfortable. It is constructed with flat seams that will not scrape the skin while in motion and it does not itch. Additionally, it has a stash pocket for keys or a credit card.

What we don’t like about this base layer is that the exterior fabric is not windproof, however, it can still resist a minimal amount of wind and it is less breathable when the day gets warmer and it does not have any additional venting. It is odor-resistant, but like most synthetic clothing, the odor sticks after using it for a few years. It has the ability to resist odor but may linger after a few years of use. Overall, this base layer gives a flattering fit and will provide all-day comfort and can accommodate most body types with its stretchy fabric construction. Although it is synthetic and is not made of merino wool, it still performs well for a wide range of activities.



6. Icebreaker Women's Merino 200 Oasis Long Sleeve

Icebreaker Women's Merino 200 Oasis Long Sleeve

Click to view on amazon.com.

Material: 100% Merino Wool (Machine Wash)
Weight:
7.05 ounces
Fit:
Slim

Another quality and sustainable product from the Icebreaker brand is the Merino 200 Oasis for women, it is made the same as its kid counterpart but there are a lot of features that sets them apart.

What we like about the Merino 200 Oasis for women is that it has the perfect weight for a base layer and it effectively traps heat when layered underneath and when things get warmer, it will still keep you comfortable and dry. It is very versatile and can keep you warm in colder temperatures. In terms of its breathability, it does a good job removing moisture away from the skin and it quickly dries. Take note that even when the weave of the merino wool is tighter, it will still offer some resistance to wind while maintaining its breathability.
This base clothing is made with 100% merino wool, it is known for its durability and it is stretchy and soft against the skin; the fit is snug and very comfortable.
It features flatlock seams, offset shoulder seams and gusseted underarms and these details are really helpful for a full range of mobility. It impressively dries very quickly when compared to other garments that are made with merino wool, plus it is odor resistant, perfect for any activity.

What we do not like about it is that it has a breaking in period. On your first try, you will find it a bit itchy; however, it goes away after a few washes. This is a comfortable base layer but will run a bit smaller around the arms and torso for taller women, causing it to expose your belly and wrist when you reach above your head. When washing this garment, take note of the tag that says “do not tumble dry”, doing so will make it shrink slightly, so it’s best to dry by laying it flat.

Overall, this long sleeve top does an impressive job for layering, the snug fit and stretchiness plus the smooth fabric makes it very comfortable to wear.



7. Under Armour Women’s ColdGear Fitted Crew Shirt

Under Armour Women’s ColdGear Fitted Crew Shirt

Click to view on amazon.com.

Material: 89% Polyester, 11% Elastane (Machine Wash)
Weight:
Approx. 7 ounces
Fit:
Slim

Under Armour Inc. is a company that manufactures sports apparel, footwear as well as casual apparel. Founded in 1996 in Maryland, its first products were shirts made from moisture-wicking fabrics and they soon developed clothing from microfibers that not only wicks moisture but also keeps the body cool and dry. The company got its first big break in 1999. when it was featured in Warner Brothers films. Up to this day, Under Armour still is one of the biggest manufacturers of sportswear.

What we like about this base layer is that it is constructed with Under Armour’s ColdGear Fabric, which is very ideal for active sports because of its moisture-wicking and quick drying abilities. This thermal fabric is also lightweight and is designed to keep you warm and will not weigh you down. It has a fitted and athletic look and it feels cozy against the skin. It is also breathable, which is why it dries really fast.

Featuring rolled forward side seams, a 4-way stretch construction to allow you to move better, and it has thick cuffs and thumbholes on the bottom of each sleeve to keep it in place, to seal in body heat and adds to its versatility. It is also made with an anti-odor technology to prevent the growth of bacteria that cause odor. This base layer works great for cold weather workouts and even for indoor activities. It is a flattering fit for women and is very comfortable.

What we don’t like about this Under Armour ColdGear base layer is that the sleeves and torso are a bit long but are adequate enough for women who are taller or for those of us with longer arms, although this is really not much of an issue when using this as a base layer. For the sizing, Under Armour has a size calculator, which you can use to be able to find the best fit.

Overall, this base layer will keep you warm enough and comfortable, and with the addition of more layers, it is adequate enough for colder temperatures.



Best Base layers for men

8. Smartwool Intraknit Merino 200 Crew

Smartwool Intraknit Merino 200 Crew

Click to view on amazon.com.

Material: 53% Wool, 45% Polyester, and 2% Elastane (Machine Wash)
Weight:
7.1 ounces
Fit:
Slim

Smartwool has a lot of clothing and accessories that are comfortable and durable enough for hiking, running, cycling and for daily use. One of their best base layers for cold weather conditions is the Intraknit Merino 200 Crew.

What we like about this base layer is that its merino-blend construction is perfect for trapping and retaining heat and it does a great job at blocking the wind. It also has the ability to get rid of excess heat and maintains an even temperature; its relaxed collar also helps to shed heat and moisture.

The gender-specific 3D mapping on this base layer targets areas where moisture tends to build up and so it is designed to have woven vents on the upper chest and down the center of the back to help keep these areas dry; it also makes the garment a near custom fit and allows freedom of movement because of its ribbed elbows and armpits. It is designed to have a long, stretchy torso and is slim fit to be able to easily tuck it in and layer over.

What we don’t like about the Intraknit 200 is that the arms are cut a bit long, which means that the articulated elbows are not in the right place and pulling the sleeves up will make the fabric bunch up on the inner elbow, causing sweat to build up on the area. This issue makes this top difficult to layer but with the right adjustments, it will fit in comfortably.
It is designed with a stretchy, athletic fit but may also feel a bit restricting for some. When washing, you have to lay it flat to dry.

Overall, this base layer is made with a very impressive knitting-technology that will keep you warm and dry during your outdoor activities.



9. Under Armour Base 4.0 Crew

Under Armour Base 4.0 Crew

Click to view on amazon.com.

Material: 78% Polyester, 22% Elasterell (Machine Wash)
Weight:
Approx. 11 ounces
Fit:
Fitted

Under Armour has been a manufacturer of high-performance clothing for many years. They have the ability to produce well-built workout clothes as well as tools for team sports. The Base 4.0 is one of their products that still gathers a lot of ratings from consumers.

What we like about the Under Armour Base 4.0 is that it has excellent breathability; its fabric stretches out, creating spaces for venting out moisture, thus wicking away any sweat that is condensed on the interior layer. It features a cozy drop tail and thumb loops to secure the sleeve and keeps heat from getting out. The fabric does not itch and you will not feel any chafing under the arms either. It comes equipped with Under Armour’s Scent Control Technology to keep you smelling fresh after hours of activity and the 4-way stretch construction will allow freedom of movement.

We also liked that the fabric feels strong but smooth and is snag-resistant, even on Velcro. It is designed to be used in high-intensity and low duration activities even in cold weather. You can even wear it underneath your jersey during outdoor winter games.

What we don’t like about the Base 4.0 is that the sleeves are a bit short, causing the thumbholes to be uncomfortable. The fit is also a bit tight, thus it does not fall back into its right place when moved into a different position. There are also no gussets under the arms to be able to reduce stress on the seams. Overall, this is best worn underneath layers, and is one of the best base layers for heavy sweating, perfect for active men, due to its breathability and moisture-wicking ability.



10. Arc'teryx Rho AR

Arc'teryx Rho AR

Click to view on amazon.com.

Material: 90% Polyester, 10% Elastane (Machine Wash)
Weight:
9.9 ounces
Fit:
Next-to-skin

Arc’teryx specializes in technical high-performance outerwear and equipment and their system of quality control and craftsmanship gives them the confidence to guarantee that their products measure up to their standards. The Rho AR for men is another reliable product from Arc’teryx.

What we like about the Rho AR is that it has a snug and comfortable fit, which traps heat remarkably and when it gets a little warmer, you can utilize its 9 ½ inch neck zipper to let the heat out. It is called “Rho,” because it is thermally efficient base clothing and wicks away moisture. The soft jersey fabric on the interior is significantly comfortable and the stretch will fit snugly around the torso. It stays in place very well so you don’t have to keep adjusting it.

It features extra long sleeves and torso to avoid exposing the wrist and belly. Its flatlock seams are placed in areas that are away from chafing and with its sturdy side and underarm gussets, this base layer allows for a full range of movement. The upper part of this shirt dries out quickly and drains it at the bottom part, so you need to wring it out to be able to dry it quickly.

In terms of its durability, the fabric construction is strong and the seams are stitched thrice and four times to be able to withstand wear and tear.

What we don’t like about the Rho AR is that it is easy to overheat in it when using it as a base layer for high intensity activities and performs best in a low impact activity. And because it provides optimum warmth, it will lack breathability, which will slow down its moisture-wicking ability. With heavy use, the fabric in some areas will be vulnerable to snagging and pilling.

Overall, the Arc’teryx Rho AR is best used as a base layer for cold to frigid weather conditions and is a great second layer over shirts and thicker winter thermals.



Best under $100

11. Helly Hansen Classic JR HH LIFA Set

Helly Hansen Classic JR HH LIFA Set

Click to view on amazon.com.

Material: 100% Polypropylene (Machine Wash)
Weight:
6.5 ounces
Fit:
Fitted

Another innovative apparel from Helly Hansen is the JR HH LIFA set. The brand has been trusted by professionals since 1877, and we are glad that we’re able to share what we know about this product from their line of classic base layers for kids.

What we like about the JR HH LIFA set is that it is constructed with lightweight materials and 100% LIFA fabric, which is a yarn technology that wicks moisture away from the skin and evaporates it through the surface of the fabric, making your child warm, dry and comfortable even after hours of skiing, snowboarding or snow play.

This winter thermal is perfect for active kids as it is light and soft against the skin. There are also no complaints about the fabric being itchy and it is made with natural stretch fabric for maximum freedom of movement. Its Flatlock seams are designed to be softer, flatter and more secure. It feels great against the skin and can be layered easily.

What we don’t like about this classic base layer from Helly Hansen is that the sizing is a little bit confusing. Most of us found the top a little loose and the bottoms a bit too tight, while some find the fit perfect for kids with slender physiques.

Overall, this is a good base layer for keeping the kids warm and comfortable during their winter outdoor activities, plus it is not difficult to wash and it dries extremely fast.



12. Minus33 Ossipee Women's Midweight Crew

Minus33 Ossipee Women's Midweight Crew

Click to view on amazon.com.

Material: 100% Wool (Machine Wash)
Weight:
8 ounces
Fit:
Regular

Minus33 is a company that was founded by textile engineers in 2001 in New Hampshire. They started as a snowmobile brand and then expanded into making products for skiing, hunting and hiking. New Hampshire has been their testing ground for their products, with a mission of producing quality and affordable clothing and apparel that can be used by anyone who loves the outdoors.

What we like about the Minus33 Ossipee is that it is a midweight base layer that provides ample warmth when worn alone and will keep you very warm on a winter day when combined with other layers. It is constructed with 100% merino wool that has the ability to remarkably regulate temperature, making it great to use for high impact activities. It will also keep you cool when it gets a little bit warmer. It is soft and comfortable against the skin, the length of the arms and torso is just right and it is one of the more affordable merino wool layers.

What we don’t like about this Ossipee Midweight base layer is that the cuffs are not stretchy enough to be able to roll up the sleeve easily; it also dries a bit slow when it is soaked so we would not recommend it for boating or rafting and other watersports. This base layer needs to be treated with care because it is vulnerable to pilling and stretching out.
Overall, this is a functional base layer with great temperature regulation, layering ability and warmth. It can be used for low impact activities on warm days and for most winter outdoor activities.



13. Icebreaker Men’s  BODYFITZONE™ MERINO 150 ZONE

Icebreaker Men’s  BODYFITZONE™ MERINO 150 ZONE

Click to view on amazon.com.

Material: 83% Wool, 12% Nylon, 5% Elastane (Machine Wash)
Weight:
6.03 ounces
Fit:
Slim

Icebreaker claims that this is one of their lightest base clothing, and that the 150 Zone Long Sleeve Crew is perfect for everyday training and for active adventures.

What we like about the 150 Zone is that it is made with merino wool, 150gm of Jersey fabric and Lycra, making this base layer snug, thin and stretchy. This layer performs well through a wide range of temperatures; from rainy days to harsh winter days.

It fits well when layered, the sleeves and torso are long enough and it is not too tight around the chest. The lycra in its fabric composition adds to its stretch and keeps the shirt in place.

The 150 Zone also has the ability to regulate temperature and still feels comfortable even in temperatures up to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. In colder conditions, this layer will keep you warm and dry and will be perfect even for a cold-weather backcountry outing.

This base layer features thumb loops to keep the sleeves in place and to keep the cold out. The gusseted underarms and raglan sleeves allow a wide range of mobility and the flatlock seams prevents friction. Additionally, it is equipped with BodyFitZone™, allowing certain areas to be more breathable during high intensity activities.

What we don’t like about the Icebreaker Bodyfitzone Merino 150 is that the length of the arms might be a little too long for some, while others struggle with the overall fit. So we suggest double-checking your measurements and Icebreaker’s size chart to get the perfect fit. This base layer is also not the most comfortable shirt for sleeping or lounging around.
Overall, the Merino 150 Zone is an ultralight base layer that is comfortable and designed for movement, and if you are looking for a base layer that performs well in nearly any condition, this Icebreaker 150 Zone is a good option.



Best under $50

14. 32 DEGREES Kid's Heat Base Layer Set

32 DEGREES Kid's Heat Base Layer Set

Click to view on amazon.com.

Material: 39% Polyester 34% Acrylic 22% Rayon 5% Spandex (Machine Wash)
Weight:
Approx 3.5 ounces
Fit:
Regular

What we know about the 32 Degrees brand is that the full trademark name is “32° Weatherproof” and it is owned by an independent corporation called DPI Imports, which is located in New York. They generally produce coats, jackets, belts, gloves, sweat suits and other clothing, footwear and headgear. They gained a lot of reviews with this Kids Heat Base Layer and we are here to share why.

What we like about the 32° Kids Heat Base Layer set is that it is lightweight and easy to integrate into a layering system without the additional bulk and weight. The fabric may seem thin but it is excellent in retaining body heat and will keep your child warm even in 20° to 50° Fahrenheit temperatures, plus it will be very easy to pack. The stretch fit makes it easy for kids to slide it on by themselves and allows mobility. The material construction makes this garment resistant to static and odor, it will also withstand countless washes and it dries pretty fast.

This base layer set features an elastic waistband, to provide a snug fit and to keep the cold air out. The crew cut neck is designed well to keep the upper body warm without the feeling of discomfort.

What we don’t like about this set of base layers is that the fabric is too thin to the point that it may seem see-through when stretched; however, it provides ample warmth for most and is preferred this way for easy layering. It is also vulnerable to pilling and tears with heavy use.

Overall, this is an affordable base layer option that will provide that additional warmth and comfort, especially when in a layering system. Plus, It can also be used as a pair of pajamas.



15. Carhartt Women's Base Force Heavyweight Poly-Wool

Carhartt Women's Base Force Heavyweight Poly-Wool

Click to view on amazon.com.

Material: 80% Polyester, 20% Wool (Machine Wash)
Weight:
6.5 ounces
Fit:
Regular

The Carhartt brand was founded in 1889 in Michigan. It is a family-owned company that began by producing work clothes for railroad workers and is now also known for manufacturing jackets, coats, jeans, shirts, vests, fire-resistant clothing and hunting clothing.

What we like about the Carhartt Base Force Heavyweight base layer is that it is built with FORCE technology, which allows this garment to attract moisture and to move it away from the body. On colder days, it creates a thermal layer to return infrared energy back to the body for us to feel warmer. This base layer also has the ability to fight odor and to dry fast when soaked. It stretches well, giving you a full range of mobility due to the Rugged Flex stretch technology that was incorporated in the fabric. It features concealed thumb loops to keep the sleeves in place, flatlock seams and a tag-less label to avoid irritation.

This Carhartt Base Force Heavyweight Poly-wool can be used as a base layer in below freezing temperature and is also comfortable for wearing around the house.

What we don’t like about this inner thermal wear is that it may run short for others, especially on the sleeves, that you might find it complicated to use the thumb loops. It is also a bit see-through when stretched but that would not be an issue when you are to use them as a base layer.

Overall, this Base Force Heavyweight base layer for women is a budget-friendly choice; it is effective at wicking moisture and it regulates temperature well.



16. Helly Hansen Men's HH LIFA Stripe Crew

Helly Hansen Men's HH LIFA Stripe Crew

Click to view on amazon.com.

Material: 100% Polypropylene (Machine Wash)
Weight:
5 ounces
Fit:
Regular

According to the Helly Hansen company, this is the original technical long sleeve base layer; it is extremely lightweight at just about 144 grams and can be used for a lot of outdoor activities.

What we like about the Stripe Crew is that it is one of the more affordable lightweight and synthetic base layers from Helly Hansen. It is also made with 100% LIFA fibers to provide warmth and adequate insulation. LIFA fibers naturally draw out moisture and keep it away from the skin. The outer layer of the fabric will make sure that you are warm, dry and comfortable.

It is great for active men because of its fast moisture-wicking ability and the thin fabric makes it easier for air to pass through, making it very breathable and dumps heat quickly. The fabric construction withstands minimal pilling and abrasion; it also has a fast drying capability, making it a great layer for high intensity tasks in the cold weather.
It features lightweight insulation, flatlock seams, natural stretch fabric and low bulk cuffs.

What we don’t like about this Stripe Crew winter thermal is that the fit is a little bit odd and runs small. It is tight around the neck and cuff, which is restricting, although it is nice for layering because it stays in place. The length of the torso is also short and can expose your back and belly when lifting your arms or bending over.

Overall, this affordable Stripe Crew base layer is also a nice option for high intensity activities in the cold weather, it dries really fast and it is very breathable.




Best Base layer Comparison Table

FotoBase Layer MaterialFitWeight
Smartwool Merino 250 Crew

1. Smartwool Merino 250 Crew

100% Merino Wool (Machine Wash)SlimApprox. 9.2 Ounces
Burton Kids' Lightweight Base layer Set

2. Burton Kids' Lightweight Base layer Set

100% Polyester Fabric (Machine Wash)RegularApprox. 9 ounces
Helly Hansen LIFA 2-Layer Thermal Baselayer

3. Helly Hansen LIFA 2-Layer Thermal Baselayer

57% Merino Wool, 43% Polypropylene (Machine Wash)RegularApprox. 9 ounces
Icebreaker Kids Merino 200 Oasis

4. Icebreaker Kids Merino 200 Oasis

100% Merino Wool (Machine Wash)Slim4.93 ounces
Arc'teryx Rho LT Zip

5. Arc'teryx Rho LT Zip

90% Polyester, 10% Elastane (Machine Wash)Skin Tight7 ounces
Icebreaker Women's Merino 200 Oasis Long Sleeve

6. Icebreaker Women's Merino 200 Oasis Long Sleeve

100% Merino Wool (Machine Wash)Slim7.05 ounces
Under Armour Women’s ColdGear Fitted Crew Shirt

7. Under Armour Women’s ColdGear Fitted Crew Shirt

89% Polyester, 11% Elastane (Machine Wash)SlimApprox. 7 ounces
Smartwool Intraknit Merino 200 Crew

8. Smartwool Intraknit Merino 200 Crew

53% Wool, 45% Polyester, and 2% Elastane (Machine Wash)Slim7.1 ounces
Under Armour Base 4.0 Crew

9. Under Armour Base 4.0 Crew

78% Polyester, 22% Elasterell (Machine Wash)Fitted Approx. 11 ounces
Arc'teryx Rho AR

10. Arc'teryx Rho AR

90% Polyester, 10% Elastane (Machine Wash)Next-to-skin9.9 ounces
Helly Hansen Classic JR HH LIFA Set

11. Helly Hansen Classic JR HH LIFA Set

100% Polypropylene (Machine Wash)Fitted6.5 ounces
Minus33 Ossipee Women's Midweight Crew

12. Minus33 Ossipee Women's Midweight Crew

100% Wool (Machine Wash)Regular8 ounces
Icebreaker Men’s  BODYFITZONE™ MERINO 150 ZONE

13. Icebreaker Men’s  BODYFITZONE™ MERINO 150 ZONE

83% Wool, 12% Nylon, 5% Elastane (Machine Wash)Slim6.03 ounces
32 DEGREES Kid's Heat Base Layer Set

14. 32 DEGREES Kid's Heat Base Layer Set

39% Polyester 34% Acrylic 22% Rayon 5% Spandex (Machine Wash)RegularApprox 3.5 ounces
Carhartt Women's Base Force Heavyweight Poly-Wool

15. Carhartt Women's Base Force Heavyweight Poly-Wool

80% Polyester, 20% Wool (Machine Wash)Regular6.5 ounces
Helly Hansen Men's HH LIFA Stripe Crew

16. Helly Hansen Men's HH LIFA Stripe Crew

100% Polypropylene (Machine Wash)Regular5 ounces

FAQs

What is the best material for a base layer?

While cotton provides warmth and is great for wearing to work or just around town, it is not ideal to use outdoors or in a wilderness environment because it absorbs water around twenty times its own weight, making it heavy and it will take forever to dry. Merino wool or synthetics are more ideal for outdoor activities.

Merino Wool is a natural fiber that is highly breathable and it even insulates when wet. It dries quickly and is naturally odor-resistant. The merino sheep is very special and its ultra-fine wool is not itchy to the human skin and it is much softer than most synthetic fibers. This type of wool can also be weaved into thin fibers, making a garment lightweight and perfect for all seasons. The only downside is that it is a bit expensive and not as quite durable like most synthetic materials, however if you are to use them occasionally and not for regular outdoor activities, they can withstand minimal wear and tear. Additionally, a lot of manufacturers blend merino wool with nylon to increase its durability.

Synthetics, on the other hand, have better moisture wicking properties and are much cheaper. They are hydrophobic, which means that they do not absorb water. Some synthetics dry slightly faster than merino wool and are a better option for watersports or for activities where you might sweat profusely, but synthetics can be uncomfortable when damp and you will feel much comfortable in a damp merino. Lasty, synthetics cannot really claim that they have the same odor-resistant and anti-bacterial properties that merino wool has.

Should base layers be tight or loose?

Base layers should be close fitting to be able to trap heat in and to be much more effective at wicking moisture. It is also important that the base layer is designed to be stretchy and that it can naturally adjust to your body shape with proper length in the arms and torso. Badly fitting base clothing will lead to heat loss, reduced wicking abilities and possible skin sores because of the excess material that can rub against the skin. Thus, base layers should fit snugly and not be restrictive to be able to utilize every feature they offer and to ensure maximum effectiveness.

BUYING GUIDE

Layering systems vary from person to person and what works for someone might not work for you, so to help you decide and understand base layers better, we've put together this buying guide.

Material - Merino wool is excellent for retaining heat and is great for breathability. It allows freedom of movement and it naturally has antibacterial properties, which means that it can be worn for days without washing. Synthetic base layers are also great for breathability. They have better moisture-wicking abilities and are quick drying, but they are not as warm as merino base layers.

Ventilation - whichever material the base layer is made from, you should always look out for how well it can regulate temperature or how well it can vent out heat when it gets a little warmer.

Fit - base layers should be close-fitting to be able to efficiently retain body heat and to wick moisture. Slim fit base layers are snug and closer to the body. Regular fit base layers are neither snug nor loose, while skin tight base layers are very close-fitting.

Weight - Lightweight base layers offer versatility and can be used alone on hot temperatures and under layers in cold temperatures. They are best used as the very first layer in your layering system, regardless of temperature.

Midweight base layers can be worn over a lightweight base for added insulation in cold weather conditions; they can be worn alone as a mountaineering shirt during summer and even just around the campfire. Most are heavy but are enough to provide some warmth.

Heavy weight base layers are usually used for colder winter climates but also function well during spring and fall when worn alone. They give more insulation and they dry quickly.
A compression base layer restricts vibrations and movements to help reduce fatigue around the muscles. This type of base layer is more in-demand among athletes and anyone who can benefit from its muscle stabilization.

Seams - seams are also an important feature to look out for because this adds to the garments' durability.

Odor retention - it is best to look for base layers that can prevent the buildup of odor-causing bacteria. Base layers that are made with fabrics that can control odor are best used for high intensity outdoor activities.

Fast drying - base layers should have quick drying abilities not only after a wash but also when breaking a sweat as this will help to utilize their insulating properties.

Durability - look for more durable base layers if you are to use them regularly. Wool is moderately durable, while synthetic is more durable. You can also choose base layers that are made of wool and are blended with synthetic fibers.

Layering clothes is the best way to keep warm during cold weather conditions because it traps air between each layer and it is much more effective than one thick jacket. The layering system is composed of a base layer, mid layer and outerwear.


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