View Full Version : Base Layer

10-29-2010, 09:29
Please give me your best opinion on what you would get/use as your base layer. Planning on Leaver Springer around March 1st for a NOBO thru hike.
I've heard everything from Hot Chillys to Smart Wool to Pategonia Capilene to Terramar wool to Duofold polyester. Also, which number/weight would you use as they advertise capilene1-2-3-4 and others lightweight, middle weight, heavy weight etc.
I need good solid advice before I spend the $$$'s.
Thanks a bunch,

10-29-2010, 09:57
I carried the Patagonia 1 (lightweight) and 3 (midweight) top and bottoms last year and was very happy. The 4's are just way too heavy. Some hikers rave about Smartwools. Some people say SW's feel warmer than capilene but weear out quicker. If you go that way all you need are lightweight and midweight.

Good luck!

10-29-2010, 10:29
Thanks Spokes. Thanks for your time and solid information it is appreciated.

10-29-2010, 11:11
I took lightweight for hiking and heavyweight for sleeping/around camp for a March 1 start. I appeciated it in the Smokeys!

Serial 07
10-29-2010, 11:34
wool...while expensive, is the warmest, best wicking, but heavier...i wasn't sold on it until i used it myself...now i'm a fan...the patagonia capilene 3 quarter zip is an awesome piece that i use to hike in and wear around camp...inexpensive base layers that i've used and like are the synthetic champion brand that Target sells...they are warm and comfy...

10-29-2010, 12:43
What kind of daytime temperatures are you anticipating? The lightest polypro or silk unless it is very cold. When you are moving you want something that is easy to get out of.

10-29-2010, 12:54
Your base layer should be for camp/sleeping only. You always want to make sure you have a dry layer for camp. The other considerations are what type and rating sleeping bag do you have? Also....are you a warm, moderate or cold sleeper?

I start with heavy polypro and switch to the lightest some place in VA. I'm a cold sleeper though so YMMV.

10-29-2010, 13:38
For the AT, I suggest a combination (at least in the earliest, coldest times). One thinnest, lightest smartwool (upper) baselayer, and one capilene 1. I'd go long sleeved on the capilene 1 and short sleeved on the smartwool.

Wear the capilene 1 on the trail, use the smartwool as backup and as a "town" shirt. Smartwool doesn't stink as bad, so it's a good choice for use in town, whereas capilene 1 is the best I've found as a quick drying base layer I can wear in a variety of conditions.

Of course it depends on how you use a base layer; if you subscribe to Moose2001s philosophy, "Your base layer should be for camp/sleeping only" then a different specific gear mix might be a better choice (both type and thickness/weight/warmth), and ditto if you find smartwool uncomfortable.

10-30-2010, 00:39
I'd look into Under Armour ColdGear. I have been very happy with it on weekend trips so far. A medium long sleeve top weighs 7.5oz. I only use it around camp and to sleep in..it would be way too hot for me to hike in and sometimes it is close to being too hot to sleep in.

My only concern when it comes to through hiking is that the 11% elastane might make it less quick drying and less wicking than Marino wool or polyester. Maybe someone who has experience actually through-hiking with UA cold gear can comment more on pros and cons??

10-30-2010, 09:38
Just a note that you don't really need to spend big bucks on base layers. I still have and occasionally wear the first generic army/navy surplus blue polypro long underwear I bought back in the early eighties. They're full of holes, but still good for that nerdy shorts-over-long underwear look when heavy bushwhacking is expected, or hidden under ski wear. Less than $10 as I remember, and still going after 30 years of use.

A few decades later I splurged on a light weight Hot Chillys jersey and that, in combination with my Marmot Driclime jacket and nylon trekking shirt, worked great on the AT, April through July.

Rocket Jones
10-30-2010, 17:13
WalMart has Champion brand 100% polyester long sleeve shirts for $10.00. For a wicking base layer, you can't beat that.

10-31-2010, 15:50
WalMart has Champion brand 100% polyester long sleeve shirts for $10.00. For a wicking base layer, you can't beat that.

I wore one of these (zip front type) yesterday during a 10K race. It really did work well. I also wore a short sleeve version during my thru of the SNP this summer. It worked well also.


11-05-2010, 00:31
I second the Patagonia cap 3 quarterzip.

Iron Will
11-07-2010, 16:03
patagonia long sleeve top with zip is AMAZING!! btwn that zipper, some gloves and a hat you can really regulate your body heat!!

the rei brand is what i use for bottoms
and the target knock off of under armor is what i use for a t shirt base layer

my experience isnt from the trail on a thru YET but from a week up north on isle royale and then outdoor sports in MD through the winters

find what works for you!! and pay attention to details! i bought an REI version of the pantagonia and noticied after i bought it that it didnt have the piece of fabric at the top of the zipper to keep your chin from getting rubbed againts all day, for me that was a deal break to goto pantagonia and spend the extra 10$ or w/e and was please with their product ever since

OH and dont forget hte EXOFFICIO BOXER BRIEFS!!!! they are the best underwear EVER!!!!

11-10-2010, 08:44
If you have a target or marshalls near you they almost always have underarmor coldgear and marmot baselayers for like 10-19$ for a set. Sometimes they have other brands also but rarer, they have columbia often also.

11-10-2010, 10:29
I've done all my long hikes in the $10-$15 range polys.

Take that for what it is worth. ($10-$15? ;) )

11-10-2010, 14:21
My vote is for Minus33 100% Merino Wool Base Layer 703 and all of their Merino wool products. They feel terrific against my skin, they fit great and don't wear out.

11-10-2010, 14:22
Sorry wrong post

11-10-2010, 14:23
My vote is for Minus33 100% Merino Wool Base Layer 703 and all of their Merino wool products. They feel terrific against my skin, they fit great and don't wear out.