The Best Base and Midlayers of 2016
Underwear just keeps getting better.
Icebreaker Helix Long-Sleeve Zip Jacket
If you need a do-it-all midlayer this winter, go with the Helix. Despite the svelte profile, it’s warmer than any other top on this page, thanks to its wool insulation and wind-blocking poly exterior. That face fabric also shrugs off light snow. We happily wore it skiing, hiking, running, and sledding all season.
Trew Lightweight NuYarn Merino Bottoms
These aren’t your granny’s woolen knickers. Trew partnered with NuYarn, which developed a way to spin natural fibers over a nylon core without twisting the plushness out of the merino. The result: a loftier base layer that feels softer, stretches farther, and breathes better than any other we tried.
Mountain Hardwear Monkey Man Fleece
This jacket is nearly a quarter-inch thick and feels like a chinchilla that’s mainlining Rogaine. With that much fur and stretchy panels along the sides, it was a comfy insulator under a shell on ten-degree powder days and a perfectly capable jacket to wear out to the bar afterward.
Columbia Arctic Trek Long-Sleeve Shirt
This skintight, wafer-thin base is simple (no thumb loops or pockets) and cozy. Constructed from Polartec’s soft, breathable Power Wool, it wicks sweat away from your skin and dries extremely fast. One tester soaked it during a ski mountaineering race, but it dried in less than 15 minutes.
Outdoor Research Transition Hoodie
We wore the Transition as a stand-alone piece on 45-degree trail runs and under a shell on below-freezing ski tours. Chalk up that utility to Polartec Power Grid, a waffled fabric that pulls sweat away from your skin while trapping heat in tiny channels, and smart features like thumb loops and a full-coverage hood.
Ortovox Rock N Wool Onesie
Sure, we appreciate the Rock N Wool’s high-performance chops—the legs stop at the calf so they don’t interfere with your ski boots, the wool is lightweight yet warm, and a double zipper plus a curved drop seat make pressing business easy to attend to. But honestly, we mostly love it for the wild color scheme.