The 6 Best Base Layers of Winter 2012
Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
L.L. Bean Polartec Power Dry Quarter-Zip Lightweight Base Layer
Despite costing less than a fancy T-shirt, this lightweight base layer has as its main ingredient Polartec’s classic Power Dry, one of the best wicking fabrics around. The only downside: for a next-to-skin layer, the cut is a bit boxy.
TAGS: FAST-WICKING, NO FRILLS
SmartWool Midweight Hoody
Assumption: we didn’t think we’d use the hood; we thought it’d just get in the way. We were wrong; we used it all the time. On cool-weather runs. Atop windy ridges while backcountry skiing. On chilly lifts at the resort. Conclusion: we love us some midlayer hood!
TAGS: THUMB LOOPS, WARM HEAD
Helly Hansen Dry Revolution LS Base Layer
There’s skintight bad (suffocating and constrictive) and skintight good (comfy and stretchy). With no seams and an ultrasoft fabric that wicked away moisture as effectively as any next-to-skin base layer we’ve tested, the Dry Revolution is skintight great. The fit is snug enough to wear it underneath any non-body-hugging layer.
TAGS: SEAMLESS, QUICK-DRYING
Columbia Men’s Midweight Long Sleeve 1/2 Zip Base Layer
Its polyester fabric is lined with silver dots that reflect heat back at you, which made it a bit warmer than a similar base layer without. The trade-off is that it doesn’t wick quite as well, though the silver lining is surprisingly comfy against the skin.
TAGS: SILVER LINING, FORM FITTING
I/O Bio Siggy Full Base Layer
What we love most about the midweight, merino-wool Siggy is its adaptability. You can ski in it all day, eat and drink in it all night, and repeat. And thanks to wool’s natural antimicrobial properties, it won’t smell as if you haven’t changed your shirt all week.
TAGS: FULL ZIP, VERSATILE
FlyLow Gear Prefontaine 2.0
If a stretchy soft shell and an old-school track jacket had a love child, this is what it would look—and perform—like. Works great as a midlayer at the resort, and the DWR-coated fabric can fend off nastier weather than you’d think.
TAGS: DECEPTIVELY RESILIENT, STYLISH