A good set of baselayers are your second skin when out on the trail. They’ll wick sweat away when you’re working hard, and provide a little extra warmth when the temperature drops. Whether you’re a devotee of natural fibers, or looking for the latest high tech fabric innovation, we’ve been putting this year’s crop through the ringer on backcountry missions in all conditions. These three picks represent the best in terms of performance and style for all season comfort.
Best All Around: TREW Gear NuYarn
For years Hood Oregon based ski brand TREW Gear has been building a very devoted following among die hard power hounds. Their latest baselayers, built with NuYarn fibers will easily help you see why. Using a nylon core fiber with wool spun around it, the NuYarn is light and airy, yet extremely strong. This is especially nice when you’re in alpine areas and your baselayer is often getting rubbed on gear, snow, and rock. This means it breathes like a lighter weight material, protects and insulates, like a heavier one, and looks better than everything else on the market. We love the 1/4 zip top and bottom for winter wear, and are eagerly awaiting summer temperatures to put the t-shirt version to use as well.
Best Synthetic: Patagonia
The venerable Patagonia R1 has long been a staple of alpine climbers and mountain enthusiasts. Its Polartec Power Grid Fleece body wicks sweat more efficiently than anything we’ve ever worn, and often at half the weight of heavier mid layering pieces. It is also treated with Polygeine antimicrobial technology, making it the only fully synthetic piece we own that doesn’t get stinky after a few days of wearing it on the trail. Paired with a light or midweight Capilene bottom, this baselayer system will keep you warm and dry in the alpine all year long.
Best Merino: Duckworth
When we first came across Duckworth’s Made in the USA Wool, we figured it was much like any other merino brand. We were wrong. Using a system that eschews harsh chlorine for steam washing as the wool is spun into fabric, Duckworth’s Maverick baselayers is much softer to the touch and more elastic than similar merino pieces. That translates into excellent temperature management properties – we wear our Snorkel Hood piece backcountry skiing from the mid 50s to well below zero comfortably. This is a true all season set of baselayers for mountain living, and a pair of the bottoms and top will last you long seasons of hard use.
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