View Full Version : base layer best choices

09-06-2006, 23:01
hey everyone I am wondering about the best base layer option to use in winter..I have always used polypro expedition weight"military issue" stuff in the past but have been thinking of making my base layer a silk layer, followed by the polypro layer, then followed by a medium weight stretch layer and then a heavier stretch layer..of course all these layers would only be used as needed. added and removed to regulate body temps..but I was just wondering if any of you had used a silk layer and how did it perform? thx

09-06-2006, 23:09
I use a silk layer. I would rate it at as equal to the generic blue polypro tops in warmth. A full set top(L) and bottom(M) weighs about 8 oz. I only carry them in winter. They fit very nicely under other layers. I also only sleep in them, I use a set of blue polypro long johns if needed when hiking. It's rare that I have the pants part on though. Silk can be somewhat expensive but keep an eye on Sierra Trading Post, they cleared out a bunch earlier this year. If not available there, Fiddlehead mentioned that he sells them on his site. http://mayor98.safeshopper.com/specials.htm?209

09-06-2006, 23:42
i've gone to smartwool for all underlayers...just got tired of the godawful stink with synthetics....yes the big manuf. like patagonia have come along way but still after 5 days in 90+ heet the funk comes on...wool just doesnt stink like synthetics...

09-07-2006, 06:19
If you want more bang for your buck, too me it's still good old polypro. Yes it stinks, but it works, and it's cheap. The GI expedition weight is the warmest long underwear i've sold and it's only $15 a piece. in contrast, the patagonia would be around $79-$100 for the same thickness and keep you no warmer although i would probably fit better and look nicer and perhaps even last longer.
Silk is ok, more for underneath your clothes in the working world. It's natural if you have a problem with synthetics bothering you. It's all made in China.
There's some new stuff called Outlast that's pretty good as well as the X-static which doesn't smell much at all. They (x-tatic) use silver in the thread and that takes away or kills bacteria or something. anyway it really works but can be expensive.
There's lots of choices. Bergalene by EMS was great as it was warm yet lightweight (the heavyiest weight was still pretty light) but they discontinued it. '
There's new stuff coming out every year but the old fashioned GI polypro keeps you as warm as any of them.
Keep in mind, when you're walking, you won't be cold. It's when you stop. So, i'd have a lightweight set on in winter or better yet, full zip windbloc pants, and have something nice and fluffy to put on when you stop. CAmp is different and the nights are long. That's when you need the heavier stuff of course. Anyway, that's my 2 cents. have fun out there. and don't forget the water bottle trick. it can be your best friend.

09-07-2006, 06:39
I'm with MM....smartwool.


09-07-2006, 07:56
Another wool fan. I've had great success with Ibex 18.5 and 17.5 micron shirts. The downside is; they are far from cheap!



09-07-2006, 08:14
I've always worn the lightest long-sleeve synthetic I could find when hiking in the winter. I carry a heavier-weight zip-tee for camp or really bad weather. Last year I got an Icebreaker mid-weight wool zip-tee, which is great; now I am looking for a lighter longsleeve wool base layer to wear while hiking. I tried on the new Patagucci wool tops, but they are *very* tight and stretchy -- they would look and feel great on a young, fit, hairless hiker. Not so much on me, though. I think an Ibex or Icebreaker top in the 190g weight would be similar to the synthetic I've been using.

09-07-2006, 08:20
Nothing beats Patagonia Capilene for all around comfort.

09-07-2006, 12:44
I vote for the capilene silk weight ...expensive but if you are thru hiking you will get your moneys worth

09-07-2006, 14:28
is capilene as smelly as polypro? The outfitter here in Asheville has capilene layers by patagucci on sale for 24.99.

Time To Fly 97
09-07-2006, 14:35
is capilene as smelly as polypro? The outfitter here in Asheville has capilene layers by patagucci on sale for 24.99.

Not as smelly as polypro and smell washes off easily.

Happy hiking TTF

09-07-2006, 21:27
Once you go wool, you'll never go back!

the goat
09-07-2006, 22:23
silk, always.

09-07-2006, 22:45
goat, why do you think silk? do you have winter hikeing knowledge useing silk as a base layer.. I was thinking of going to silk just as a base since it is so light .but I also want to be warm and I only have experiance with the polypro bases, anyone else got some input? I need this for upcoming winter sobo..so I want the proper base...thx:)

the goat
09-07-2006, 23:42
silk is light, comfortable, and dries fast.

i use silk in summer & winter. i just use more layers over it in winter.

09-13-2006, 16:41
i would love to try smartwool if it weren't so depressingly expensive.

09-18-2006, 12:20
Once you go wool, you'll never go back!

I sure went back.

09-19-2006, 21:48
I read a few comments about patagonia, and the stench factor. I talked to their rep today, and he said that they have developed a new line that gets rid of stench without containing silver. I think wool is great stuff. Ice breaker, Smartwool, Arc'terix or any other number of companies are great options. I personally will stick to my Patagonia midweight thermals. For one, I like the company and its environmental policies. It is also not quite as expensive as its wool counterparts.

10-01-2006, 13:47
would anyone mind giving a comparison of smartwool vs capilene in terms of wicking and ability to keep you warm? I am leaning towards smartwool now mainly because of the stench factor.

PS...is smartwool the same as merino wool? i seem to see these words used interchangeable, especially on REIs site.

10-01-2006, 14:26
Got my Smartwool Lightweight Zip Shirt from www.steepandcheap.com.
Saved $50.00. Yea, they are darn expensive. It feels great.
Tag says 100% superfine merino wool.

10-02-2006, 00:17

I've tried the rest and they are good but the wool is excellent!
Lately there have been some large disounts on smartwool base layers on steapandcheap.com .

10-06-2006, 10:12
I've only switched to Smartwool base layers in the last year or so but I must admit that for me, there is nothing better. I have loads of Capilene and it certainly works OK, but the wool wears better over time, it dries plenty fast and the funk factor is almost nill. I may test drive the new Patagonia wool stuff that's just been introduced, but it's awfully pricey at retail .... imagine that!?

10-06-2006, 20:22
smartwool polypro wool capaline silk

smartcappolysilwool! now thats what we need! say that three times fast.

10-07-2006, 03:33
I got an Arcteyx "Ether" crew earlier this year ? or last and liked it so much I picked up a long sleeve version as well....year round ss or ls Ether is the first layer to go on...

I absolutely LOVE them.

10-11-2006, 15:52
Campmor has some midweight Smartwool bottoms for only $35 right now. the best deal I've seen so far.

11-04-2006, 03:43
I have not used the new wool base layers because my old capilene from Patagonia still is as good as new even though it has years of use. The tee I use as my second layer and I can wear for day on end, weeks even, hand wash it in a sink and use it walking the next day through any airport in the world flying home. Either I dont smell as much or those around me dont complain. So, I'll stick with my Camplene, until it wears out, which may take a while

Frolicking Dinosaurs
11-10-2007, 18:52
Campmor has some midweight Smartwool bottoms for only $35 right now. the best deal I've seen so far.Realize this is an old thread, but someone sent me a link to address a question I had raised in another thread.

For low cost base layers, check out Warmstuff Distributing (http://fiddleheadpa.safeshopper.com/index.htm?578) (formerly the Underwear Guys - aka Fiddleback on this site)

11-10-2007, 19:38
Good deals here www.sierratradingpost.com/d/161_Mens-Underwear-and-Baselayer.html

11-10-2007, 20:12
I know I'm jumping in late here but I have been real happy with my Helly Hansen Polypro long johns...I bought them in Seward, AK as a bit of an impluse buy - we were scheduled to go out on a boat in the pouring rain and stupid me didn't bring any base layer (it was August after all) - I wore the long underwear with my regular hiking pants and my gore-tex rain pants over that on the boat ride - standing still in 40 degree rain/ocean spray - and was toasty warm. I went back and bought the shirt that matched and wore it the next day on an 8 mile, 3,000ft elev gain hike to the Harding Ice Field - again the weather was horrible, about 40 degrees and raining - and nearly drowned in sweat! I also slept in the pants when we were in Denali and it went down into the 30s (I was in a MH with an "indoor" sleeping bag and a noisy furnace) and was toasty warm then too!

A few days later we discovered an outfitter that sold Patagonia stuff and it was the same price as the "expensive" Helly Hansen stuff... I just do day hikes so stench isn't really an issue for me though...I just come home throw it all in the wash!

11-11-2007, 21:20
.... Warmstuff Distributing (http://fiddleheadpa.safeshopper.com/index.htm?578) (formerly the Underwear Guys - aka Fiddleback on this site)

I'll second that. These guys are top notch.