Because it is in such proximity to the wearer’s skin, the base layer is one of the most important components of a hiking outfit. It plays a significant role in the wearer’s overall comfort and performance. The base layer of clothing is important for regulating sweat, protecting the skin from damage (such as chafing and UV radiation), and keeping the body’s temperature at its normal level.
As a result, a base layer must be able to wick away moisture, have a fast drying time, be durable, and provide adequate ventilation. Base layers for backpacking are often Merino wool, polyester or nylon. There are occasions when mixtures of these fabrics are employed to compensate for the inherent deficiencies of each substance.
On the other hand, Merino wool quickly replaces materials such as polyester and nylon as the material of choice for base layers. This is d because Merino wool provides superior airflow and moisture management performance compared to other materials like polyester and nylon.
In addition to this, Merino wool has a naturally occurring antibacterial property, is incredibly soft to the touch, and offers excellent protection against the sun’s ultraviolet rays. The following is a selection and evaluation of the best base layers made from Merino wool for hiking, climbing, trekking, and other types of outdoor sports.
What Exactly Is Meant by the Term “Base Layer”?
First, a base layer is the piece of clothing in your wardrobe positioned underneath the layer next to your skin. It primarily fulfills two different purposes.
- In the beginning, a base layer provides an insulation layer. One that allows your natural body heat to be retained. But don’t forget to breathe; you don’t want to pass out from the heat.
- In addition to this, a base layer will take in any perspiration and then let it dry out, preventing you from spending the entire day wearing drenched clothing.
The nature of base layers requires them to be extremely thin and lightweight. They are made to have a close fit so that you may wear one or two more layers of heavier clothes on top of them without worrying about bunching or chafing.
It is essential to have a base layer since it helps to keep the harsh, cold air at bay and allows you to regulate your body temperature at a steady and comfortable level.
Our Top 10 Picks for the Best Merino Wool Base Layer:
- Brand: Wooly Clothing. co
- Department: Women’s
- Weight: 5.54 Ounces
- Brand: Ortovox
- Department: Woman’s
- Color: Blue blend
- Manufacturer: Minus33 Merino Wool
- Department: Women’s
- Weight: 7.2 Ounces
- Brand: Smartwool
- Department: Women’s
- Weight: 7.04 Ounces
- Manufacturer: Icebreaker Merino
- Department: Women’s
- Weight: 6.38 Ounces
- Manufacturer: Kari Traa
- Department: Women’s
- Weight: 7.37 Ounces
- Brand: Merino Protect
- Department: Men’s
- Fit: True to size
- Brand Name: Terramar
- Color: Black
- Material: Polyester, Wool
- Package Weight: 0.23 Kilograms
- Brand Name: Icebreaker Merino
- Department: Men’s
- Color: Black
- Package Weight: 0.3 Kilograms
- Manufacturer: Ortovox
- Department: Men’s
- Weight: 1.32 Pounds
1. Woolly Clothing Co. Women’s Merino Wool:
Woolly Clothing Co., founded in Seattle, creates 100 percent Merino base layers in three distinct densities of wool. You may discover a variety of various styles within each category, such as crew neck, V-neck, and Henley shirts, amongst other options.
The greatest variety of cuts may be found in the Everyday Weight section of the store. The Woolly Everyday Henley shirt was the only option for this list because of its versatility and ability to adapt to various layering configurations, making it ideal for outdoor activities like hiking while still being fashionable enough to be worn in various other settings.
Because of the density of the fabric, it is quite adaptable and may be worn in any condition save the hottest temperatures.
- Elastane makes up the remaining five percent of this ultralight Australian Merino wool sweater’s composition.
- Excellent for practically any use.
- Comfortable enough to wear around the house, technical enough to wear on the trail, and a touch of added flair if you’re tired of wearing a plain t-shirt.
- Woolly combines the time-tested health benefits of merino wool with timeless daily designs suitable for any setting.
- Versatile fabric density.
- Material is too thin.
2. Ortovox 185 Rock’n’Wool:
We needed to include the Ortovox shirt in this compilation of the top Merino base layers because of its long sleeves. Ortovox is a German outdoor brand that places a significant emphasis on being environmentally responsible.
This is also the case with the company’s Merino clothing, which obtains its wool from certain Tasmanian farms that are certified to meet the Ortovox Wool Promise requirements. This pledge is an even more stringent standard about pet care than the Ethical Wool Standard.
185 Rock’n’Wool is the title of the brand’s range of products constructed entirely of Merino wool and, as the name suggests, have a fabric density of 185 grams per square meter.
You will stand out from the crowd thanks to the distinctive color blocking effects on the sleeves of the base layer. Therefore, the Ortovox base layer is ideal for those who do not shy away from remarking, both in terms of the environment and their sense of personal style.
- This shirt, which featured short sleeves and was designed with skiing and snowboarding in mind, is the ideal first layer in your ski outfit.
- Because the fibers have a diameter of 19 microns, you may enjoy all of the benefits of wearing a wool base layer without dealing with any itching or scratching.
- The highest possible temperature regulation and breathability may be found in merino wool sourced in an environmentally responsible manner.
- The appearance distinguishes itself from the rest of the pack, thanks to the introduction of new hues and unconventional color blocking.
- Versatile fabric density.
- Material is too thin.
3. Minus33 Merino Wool:
The superfine Merino wool used to construct the Minus 33 base layer has a diameter of 18.5 microns, making it ideal for use as a base layer. As a result, the texture of the cloth is very smooth and pleasant to the touch.
Because the fabric has a density of 230 g/m2, this base layer is ideal for use during the winter, fall, and spring. The base layer from Minus 33 features a regular fit, which allows for a great deal of flexibility of movement.
Additionally, it is constructed without tags and has flatlock seams to provide the highest possible comfort level. The drop-tail hem eliminates the possibility of the cloth riding up and revealing your back. Minus 33 is an excellent base layer that can adapt to various environments while still keeping you at a comfortable temperature.
- Merino Wool, made up entirely of fiber, is exceptionally plush and cozy.
- The adaptability and warmth of this three-season merino wool crew neck thermal make it an indispensable component of your camping equipment.
- Because it is treated with the most advanced technologies for simple maintenance, merino wool may be washed and dried in a machine.
- Not Much Durable Build Quality.
4. Smartwool Women’s Base Layer Top:
Compared to the Icebreaker Oasis Long Sleeve Crewe, the Smartwool Mid 250 Crew base layer has a higher fabric density, constructed out of a thicker fabric.
For this reason, it is an excellent choice for winter trekking and other activities that take place in cold weather. The Smartwool base layer has a density of 250 g/m2 and is constructed of fabric that is composed entirely of Merino wool. As a result, it is an effective insulator.
However, the fabric is so substantial that it does not dry as quickly as thinner base layers because it can absorb more moisture.
The snug fit enhances the insulation, which prevents the air already warmed by the wearer’s body from escaping into the surrounding environment.
Because it lacks seams in the region where the shoulder straps of a backpack are attached, the Smartwool base layer is exceptionally pleasant to wear because it has durable and strong seams and shoulder panels.
The Smartwool Mid 250 Crew base layer is ideal for individuals who want a base layer for trekking in extremely cold circumstances. This is mostly due to the base layer’s snug fit and heavier density.
- Tumble dry low.
- Only One color and Design.
5. Icebreaker Merino Women’s:
The Icebreaker is an excellent choice for a wide range of activities outside. The base layer consists of a fabric that is 200 g/m2 in density and is made up of one hundred percent Merino wool.
Therefore, except for the really hot summer days, this base layer may be worn at any time of the year. It is highly comfortable and provides exceptional ventilation, odor-resistance, and moisture-wicking capabilities since it is made of high-quality pure (non-mixed) Merino wool. Additionally, it is not combined with any other types of wool.
The base layer has a trimmer cut so that it may be layered with less bulk. Nevertheless, even though it has a close fit, the elastic material allows for a great deal of flexibility of movement. Additionally, the shoulder seams on the base layer are offset, and it has a dropped tail hem.
When you wear a backpack, you will experience less chafing and rubbing thanks to the offset shoulder seams, and the drop tail hem will prevent the cloth from riding up and revealing your back. Those looking for a base layer that can adapt to various outdoor activities should go no farther than the Icebreaker Oasis Long Sleeve Crewe.
- One hundred percent wool from Merino sheep.
- Pull On closure.
- Wash in a machine.
- Updated design.
6. Kari Traa Rose Half Zip Women’s Baselayer:
The Rose is a top with a moderate amount of bulk. Thus it is recommended that it be used as a layering piece for lower-intensity runs or trips when windy, chilly, or exposed.
It has a high neck and flatlock stitches and a four-way stretch structure, allowing for the greatest possible range of motion. Because this is another layer made entirely of Merino wool, you could experience more sweat while wearing it, even though it performs a good job of wicking moisture away from the body.
Last but not least, the whimsical designs are evocative of traditional ski lodge apparel, yet they do not distract from the knit’s durability or its performance.
- Athletic garb tailored specifically to the shape of a woman’s body.
- The body-mapping process was used to create our baselayers, which are meant to be worn directly against the skin.
- Crafted with just the finest one hundred percent Merino Wool.
- Reinforced seams to ensure long-term use.
- Stretching in all directions.
- Exclusive to women.
7. Merino Wool T-Shirt for Men’s:
The material is brought in from New Zealand and Australia, home to countries that breed Merino sheep. The Merino sheep are not harmed due to our utilization of their organic wool for garments.
Every six weeks, new wool will emerge from the animal’s coat. Because of its unique fiber structure, Merino wool can assist in neutralizing the unpleasant odor that results from perspiration.
One of the most well-known qualities of Merino wool is its ability to keep its wearer cool during the scorching summer months and warm during the cold winter months.
Because the t-shirt is constructed entirely of natural Merino wool, once it has served its purpose as a garment, it can be composted and used as a source of nutrition for plants. This makes it a very eco-friendly material.
Merino wool’s distinctive fiber structure does not irritate or itch sensitive skin like other types of wool do, so wearing Merino wool will not create itchy skin. The Merino Wool used in constructing this man’s T-shirt makes it very comfortable, lightweight, and breathable for use in outdoor sports.
- Merino wool’s fiber structure reduces perspiration odor.
- Merino sheep are grown in Australia and New Zealand.
- Fabrics used for the soft lining.
- When using a pack, offset flatlock seams to prevent chafing from occurring.
- Can potentially become less shapely after being washed several times.
8. Terramar Men’s Ultra Merino Crew:
This cozy shirt is constructed from a flexible material that is also cheap. Thanks to its excellent wicking properties, the lining will quickly dry out during runs that leave you sweaty or moist. On bright days, the Ultra Merino Crew provides UV protection with a UPF of 50+ to keep you comfortable.
The offset shoulder seams provide comfort when worn beneath a pack, and the thumb openings help keep the sleeves in place while also insulating your hands, wrists, and forearms.
- The bi-layer comprises fifty percent polyester, thirty-five percent merino wool, and fifteen percent nylon.
- Extra-gentle and incredibly accommodating to the senses.
- The bi-layer ultra merino crew is the best that Mother Nature offers for excellent performance and additional comfort. It is made from merino wool.
- The simple stretch neck tape provides the design with both flexibility and comfort while adhering closely to the contours of your body.
- Liner softness.
- Flatlock seams decrease pack chafing.
- Multiple washing might cause form loss.
9. Icebreaker Merino Men’s:
The Oasis, made from one hundred percent Merino wool, is just as comfortable whether worn as a base or a mid-layer and worn during sweaty workouts or when lounging around a fire pit.
The Oasis will look great season after season since it is made from a tightly knit Merino jersey fabric that is extremely comfortable and resistant to pilling and holes. In addition to that, I’ve found it to be one of the toppers that resist odor the best.
The drop tail at the hem provides more coverage, and the flat seams, armpit gussets, and other design elements make it comfortable to move in repetitive motions.
- This half-zip long sleeve top for men is made of wool and is designed to fit well beneath mid- and outer-layer items for the perfect cool weather adventure. The top, which blocks odors and is comfortable to wear, also helps keep your body temperature in check.
- This shirt made of wool for men has flatlock seams designed to minimize chafing and an underarm gusset, which provides comfort and movement.
- The merino wool was used throughout the whole production process of this wool base layer.
- Excellent odor resistance.
- Long-lasting and meticulously knit.
- When fully zipped, there is no zipper garage to provide next-to-skin comfort.
10. Ortovox Merino Fleece Grid Jacket:
As the temperature outside decreases, a heavier, full-zip jacket is the best bet for maintaining your comfort while out for a run. This Merino wool product from Ortovox delivers the best of natural materials in addition to a clever gridded design that is more typical of entirely synthetic fleeces.
The product is available in a variety of colors. The gridlike air ducts act as a heat trap while providing no additional weight. The high collar provides additional protection from the chill, and the zipped breast pockets are perfect for storing small items like food or my phone.
This layer has a narrow fit and moves with you, but if you plan to wear heavier base layers, you may want to consider scaling larger.
- Weight of Fleece: very light
- Fit: normal
- Length: to the center of the hip, 26 inches is the length of the back (medium).
- Microgrid construction, which provides warmth without adding weight.
Easily reachable pockets on the chest.
Layer of activity that may adapt.
- Slim fit runs small.
Merino Wool’s Many Uses and Benefits:
The Merino sheep are the source of the natural fiber known as Merino wool. Even though Merino sheep were first domesticated in Spain, all modern merino wool is sourced from sheep breed in Australia or New Zealand. Merino wool is the material of choice for base layers since it possesses many highly desirable characteristics.
Merino wool, much like other types of wool materials, is very insulating. The fibers themselves are slightly crimped, resulting in the formation of air pockets that effectively retain heat. It is a fantastic foundation layer for winter and transitional season hikes and adventures.
Merino wool fibers are known to be among the most absorbent and moisture-wicking fibers that are currently on the market. Each strand can absorb up to 30 percent of its weight in moisture, drawing moisture away from your skin and into the environment around you as it does so. Even if you are sweating heavily, the textiles will still feel refreshingly dry and cold when they contact your skin.
A Resistance to Odors:
Because of its capacity to regulate moisture, merino wool naturally resists the growth of germs that can cause unpleasant odors. Bacteria responsible for unpleasant odors cannot increase in the absence of moisture and therefore cannot make your wool clothing smell.
Clothing made from merino wool does not need to be cleaned as frequently as clothing made from cotton or synthetic textiles due to the odor-controlling characteristics of the wool. When I go trekking, I can go up to a week without washing my merino wool socks, and I can go up to three days without cleaning my merino wool t-shirts.
When you wear Merino wool, your skin will have a natural defense against the sun’s harmful rays. The vast majority of garments made from wool have a UPF rating of 30+ or higher.
Merino wool naturally has a crimped texture, which gives it considerable elasticity. This elasticity prevents the fibers from ripping when stretched or bent, even under pressure.
In addition, each fiber is constructed of keratin, which comprises the same sturdy protein molecules found in our hair, nails, and the top layer of our skin. Each wool fiber is resistant to harm even after being twisted and flexed more than 30,000 times.
Merino wool is renowned for having silky-smooth strands that are itch-free and feel wonderful when rubbed against the skin. Compared to typical wool, each strand of this material is very thin. It glides over your skin without catching or poking you, and it doesn’t cause any irritation.
Because of this, you won’t have to deal with the scratchy and uncomfortable sensation from the large fibers found in conventional wool. The majority of wool apparel is also a blend, which means that it is combined with flexible textiles like elastane so that it may move with the wearer while they are climbing or hiking.
Because Merino wool fibers are so small, each item of clothing may be carefully spun and woven into a lightweight fabric that dries just as rapidly as the majority of synthetic textiles of the same weight.
What to Look for When Buying Merino Wool Base Layer: Buying Guide
Before parting with your hard-earned money for an expensive item of apparel made from Merino wool, there are a few things you should take into consideration first. We present an overview of the most frequent features you will encounter and offer some helpful purchasing recommendations to get the appropriate foundation layer for your requirements.
The price of clothing that is entirely crafted from merino wool is high. Consequently, several producers use a wool blend that combines merino wool with other fabric types such as nylon, polyester, or polyamide.
You will receive all of the advantages of merino wool if you wear clothing made entirely of merino, but it will cost you a pretty penny. At least one bottom foundation layer made of one hundred percent merino wool will set you back at least one hundred dollars.
Clothes made entirely of wool also tend to wear out more quickly than clothing made from wool mixtures. When it comes to wearing and washing your base layers made entirely of wool, you will need to exercise more caution.
Merino wool mixes keep most of the beneficial properties of pure merino wool while selling for significantly less money. You’ll need at least 80 percent wool to reap all the advantages of your garment.
If the wool content is less than 80 percent, the fabric will no longer be able to retain its warmth, it will not drain away moisture, and it will not prevent odors. The finest mixes are corespun, which involves winding the wool fiber around a core fabric made of nylon, polyester, or polyamide.
The inner core fabric offers increased durability throughout its use, while the wool layer on the exterior offers both warmth and control over moisture buildup.
Ease of Layering:
Your base layer must fit snugly, almost as if it were a second skin, so that you do not feel like the character Randy from A Christmas Story, who can scarcely move after wearing so many layers. Pulling on sweaters and jeans will be much simpler if the cuffs at the wrists and ankles are tight. This will prevent your base layer from bunching up as you do so.
When putting on more layers, it is helpful to have sleeves that are either longer or include a thumb loop so that your sleeves stay in place as you do so. If you’ve ever tried to reach up to your sweater to pull down the sleeve of your long underwear, you completely understand what I’m talking about.
Freedom of Movement:
You will be moving around quite a bit when you are outside, so the base layer of your thermal clothing should be able to move with you. It is not desirable to bunch up beneath your arm or in your crotch area.
Gusseting is essential to the development of the movement. When this is done, seams are put out to allow for an additional piece of fabric in those places of the body that move a lot so that the garment may stretch with the wearer. Merino wool also has a natural ability to stretch and adapt to the wearer’s movements.
Merino wool is characterized by its long fibers, which contribute to the material’s strength when woven into fabric. You’ll also discover that some manufacturers strengthen their merino wool base layers by incorporating some nylon, one of the fibers with the highest strength, into the fabric.
Most clothes made from merino wool, especially base layers, are designed to have a narrow fit that is pleasant to wear below other layers of clothing. You may choose from a wide variety of outfits and combine and match them in a way that is appropriate for the weather that is currently taking place.
Long-sleeved or zipped shirts can be worn on top, and bottoms in the long underwear can be worn below for additional warmth during the hard winter months. You can wear lightweight leggings or even Capri-style trousers three-quarters of the way down your calf under settings when a zipped long-sleeve shirt with long sleeves is appropriate.
You don’t have to give up your cherished merino wool gear once the summer hiking season begins. Wearing a pair of merino wool underwear below your shorts and pairing it with a lightweight short-sleeve crew is a great way to create an odor-free ensemble, breathable and wicks away moisture.
Because it will contact your skin, any base layer you wear should have flat seams to prevent chafing. There wouldn’t be any zippers or buttons in a perfect world. Instead, choose garments that have flap-style openings and elastic waistbands.
The vast majority of clothing made from merino wool is intended for people who lead busy lifestyles and will contain practical elements such as pockets, thumb holes, and hoods. It is more convenient for the males to use the toilet if the fly has a flap design.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Does Merino Wool Experience Any Shrinkage?
Items of apparel made from merino wool are prone to shrinking if they are not properly maintained. If you take proper precautions, you shouldn’t worry about shrinking. The good news is that taking care of your purchase in your merino wool base layer won’t be quite as difficult as you would think. Washing should be done in cold water, and drying should never be done in a hot drier. It can be summed up like this.
Does Merino Wool Cause Itchy Rash?
Merino Wool isn’t itchy. Longer, finer threads bend as you move and wrap around your body. Short, thick fibers in other wools don’t bend easily. Short ones jab you. If your new merino wool shirt is scratchy, wash it in cold water to remove any broken threads. Hot dryers break fibers—Air dry.
What differentiates men’s and women’s basic layers?
Men’s and women’s base layers differ in form. A man’s top is straight, but a great woman’s features seams for the breast and hips. Try a man’s base layer shirt if you want a slim fit. Men’s base layers often have a crotch opening. That’s more fabric under your clothing. Women’s pants fit fuller hips.
Do you think Merino wool is superior to ordinary wool?
As a base layer, you should wear it! Because Merino wool fibers are thinner than the fibers of normal wool, Merino wool does not cause itching and maybe worn directly against the skin without causing discomfort.
Base layers are an essential component of any garment, but they are of utmost significance to a cyclist’s ensemble. Because you will be outside for extended periods when you are riding your bike, you need to take additional safety precautions.
Because of this, you require gear that will keep you warm and dry and ensure that you do not become overheated. We hope you found this article helpful in searching for the ideal base layer made of merino wool to meet your requirements.