The Best Women’s Baselayers and Midlayers of 2022
No matter the temperature, these tops and bottoms kept us comfortable
Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
Your next-to-skin layers are the foundation for a great day in the mountains. Working up a sweat in freezing temperatures necessitates clothes that strike the fine balance between keeping you warm and not allowing you to overheat. Do it right and you’ll hardly notice they’re there. Bonus points if they make you look good too. These were the most insulating, breathable, and versatile pieces from this year’s test.
Mountain Hardwear AirMesh Hoodie ($85)
At 2.5 ounces, this hoodie was the lightest midlayer in our test. But it was shockingly warm, even on a chilly night ski, and basically impossible to wet out. Credit the open mesh backed with brushed hollow fibers that trap heat like bird down. Raglan sleeves keep seams away from pack straps, a high non-mesh polyester neck blocks drafts, and thumb loops prevent sleeve creep.. (XS–XL)
Kora W’s Yushu Bottoms ($130)
Kora’s yak- and merino-wool bottoms drew us in with promises of breathability and odor resistance. They kept us hooked with soft fabric that is specially woven to stretch without elastic, meaning they hold shape. And they’re opaque, so you can rock them solo. The crotch panel is made from merino-wrapped nylon for extra durability where you need it. (XS–XL)
Corbeaux Amie Ankle Pants ($72)
On a warm late-season ski tour, the Amie Ankle pants felt like a stretchy, silky second skin. Made from Corbeaux’s lightest and quickest-drying base-layer material, an 88 percent recycled, Bluesign-approved polyester-spandex blend, they vent heat easily on sunny uphills but still kept testers’ legs from going numb on the descent. A brushed-elastic waistband and wide ankle cuffs keep them secure and comfortable. (XS–XL)
Tracksmith Fells Henley ($118)
The beauty lies in this henley’s fusion of functionality and style: four buttons at the neck allow you to adjust to rising temperatures or to the dress code of your favorite bar. Tracksmith made this hexagonal-knit Merino-polyester layer for running, but we found its combination of wicking and warmth (along with its hefty dose of stretchy softness) was a standout for any high-intensity cold-weather activity. (XS–L)
The North Face Steep 50/50 Down Jacket ($350)
For the hardest workouts on the coldest days, we reached for the Steep 50/50 Down jacket. Its torso alternates between down baffles and wide strips of breathable nylon, for great ventilation. The hood and hem are stuffed with 80 percent recycled synthetic fill, while the arms are an uninsulated stretchy nylon. The result feels like wearing an ultrabreathable down vest and a standard midlayer in one piece. Plus it’s feature-packed with PFC-free DWR, five pockets, a hem cinch, a helmet-compatible hood, and simple thumb loops. (XS–XL)
Royal Robbins VentureLayer 200 L/S ($70)
We love a challenging winter mission. But some days call for slow walks or sledding with family. This piece is for those times. It’s cozy and casual, with a side pocket for a credit card or keys and a drop-tail cut to prevent drafts. The heathered modal and wool knit fabric is lightweight and stretchy. Better: no one will look twice if you wear this top to the grocery store or the bar. (XS–XL)