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What’s the best Merino wool base layer?
And, well, is Merino wool worth it? Let’s look at it this way. A base layer, what’s that? As its name suggests, it’s the very first layer of clothing you’re wearing. Naturally, you want it to be as comfortable against the skin as possible. You want to feel good wearing it, and Merino wool offers you all of that…
In a 100% natural, durable, extra light and highly functional fabric.
To read more about the benefits of Merino wool scroll down!
Best Mens Merino Wool Base Layer – Our Favorite
A midweight mens Merino base layer long sleeve.
Overall the best Merino wool base layer for men, our favorite.
Made of 100% Merino wool, this high quality hiking base layer shirt is soft, lightweight and suitable for everything from hiking to walking with your dog in the park. At 230 GSM it’s neither too thin, nor too thick and bulky. Speaking of the bulkiness, Merino wool activewear is never really bulky, it’s just important to understand that it also isn’t always the same. Just like most of Merino base layers it’s highly durable, breathable and odor resistant.
It’s made to be worn a lot.
FABRIC WEIGHT: 230 GSM
Best Womens Merino Wool Base Layer – Our Favorite
A high quality midweight Merino thermal top for women.
Overall the best women’s Merino base layer, our favorite.
It’s warm, very lightweight and highly versatile. Made of 100% Merino wool, it’s a great choice for everyone who wants a fully natural base layer. It can be worn on it’s own or under a midlayer. At 230 GSM it’s neither too thin, nor too thick and bulky, and suitable for any season. Only during the winter, and when it’s chilly, of course, you won’t be wearing it on its own — it’s not that warm.
The top shares all the best features of Merino, which includes durability, breathability, outstanding moisture management and odor resistance. Apart from that it’s also very fast drying and protects you from the sun (UPF 50).
FABRIC WEIGHT: 230 GSM
Check out also this half zip base layer top.
Best Merino Wool Base Layer For Hiking
What other great options are there?
All of these are men’s base layers (see women’s Merino wool base layers).
A warm Merino long sleeve base layer with half zipper.
Thanks to its zipper, higher collar and more thick fabric, this shirt offers more warmth than most. Thanks to the same zipper, you can also cool down when it gets too hot on warmer days or during more active adventures. All of that and its Merino features makes it one of the best Merino wool shirts for hiking during the winter.
There are also more heavyweight Merino wool base layers. If you won’t be moving around too much, and you plan to use this base layer during the winter and in freezing temperatures, definitely look for something heavier.
FABRIC WEIGHT: 250 GSM
A casual midweight Merino wool thermal top.
Wear it on its own or under another layer, this long sleeve works both ways. It’s lightweight, super comfortable and offers outstanding moisture management — keeping you warm and dry in any season, warm in winter and cool in summer. Designed for everyday use, it’s machine washable and very easy to take care of.
Thanks to its athletic fit, it looks great also when worn on its own.
FABRIC WEIGHT: 250 GSM
An ultra lightweight Merino wool base layer.
Just like most of universal Merino wool base layers for men, from the outside it looks just like a regular long sleeve shirt, doesn’t it? However, when you look closer at the specifications, and when you actually try it out, when you touch it, especially this ultra lightweight version of it — you see the difference right away.
It’s very fine, very lightweight and highly technical (great with moisture, dries fast, keeps the smells away) – the best base layer for hiking for minimalists.
Available also in midweight and heavyweight.
FABRIC WEIGHT: 165 – 320 GSM
A lightweight multi-purpose Merino wool base layer.
Made of 100% Merino wool, and featuring offset shoulders and anti-chafe seams, you know that it’s a shirt designed for everyday use. However, you shouldn’t be too hard on it, it’s a very thin base layer shirt after all, first and foremost designed to keep you comfortable without slowing you down at all.
While Merino wool clothing is great in any season, it’s still important to understand that there are limits. Speaking of which, the Icebreaker Merino base layer is more on the light side (not as warm), hence it will work best in warm temperatures.
FABRIC WEIGHT: 200 GSM
A casual midweight 4-season base layer shirt.
Here we have an even more casual looking base layer shirt. If that’s what you are after, it’s definitely worth checking it out. Because apart from the design it’s still a high quality 100% Merino wool base layer — durable, highly breathable, odor resistant and also itch-free, due to its flat seams.
It’s great for everything from camping to travel and night out.
FABRIC WEIGHT: 250 GSM
5 Reasons to Choose Merino Wool Clothing
Is Merino wool itchy? Is Merino wool warm?
Here are the top benefits of Merino wool.
1. Odor Resistance
Merino wool is naturally antibacterial.
And that means it doesn’t smell. Well, of course, it will start smelling at some point, but it takes much longer to get to that point when compared to most other fabrics (most of activewear is made of synthetic fabrics).
2. It’s a Natural Material
Merino wool is a wool from merino sheep (New Zealand, Australia).
As a natural material it’s also much safer than synthetics for most us. In fact, Merino wool allergy neutrality is one of the top reasons why people choose Merino clothing. Being 100% biodegradable, Merino wool is also safer for the planet.
3. Outstanding Moisture Management
Merino wool adjust to you and the environment.
If it’s hot, it will keep you cool by transporting all the sweat and moisture away from your skin. If it’s cold, it will keep you warm. It’s all possible due to its fully natural moisture management system and moisture wicking features. Speaking of the cold weather, to stay warm it’s equally important to choose the right fabric weight — not all Merino wool base layers are good for winter.
Great breathability is a must in a base layer.
It’s what allows you to keep going long while staying comfortable.
5. Ease of Use and Longevity
Not only it’s durable, but also easy to take care of.
Merino wool is machine washable. But make sure to refer to the care instructions of the manufacturer of your shirt or pants, as they may differ.
How to Choose a Merino Wool Base Layer?
How to find the best Merino wool base layer for yourself?
Let’s make this super simple.
Generally speaking mostly it’s about these 4 simple things.
1. Fabric Weight
What are you going to use it for? In what weather?
Fabric weight is one of the main characteristic of Merino wool clothing. These 160 GSM, 200 GSM, 250 GSM (other times – g/m2), … to put it simply, they show how thin or thick is the fabric. The bigger the number, the warmer this base layer or these pants will be. If you want something for everything, look for 200 – 230 GSM, for cold weather and activities that include a lot of sitting or standing in one position – 250+.
If you want the most lightweight base layer, look for 165 – 180 GSM.
2. Style and Fit
Are you planning to wear it on its own?
There are several kind of base layers. While some look great also when you wear them on their own, others are made to be worn under a mid-layer jacket. Some are more athletic fit, while others – casual.
What kind of user are you?
Do you need this base layer for hiking and sports, or you plan to use it only for camping? Are you going to be moving around a lot, or will you use it for a lot of sitting and / or standing in one position. Remember also that not always 100% Merino wool will be the best option — in fact, for advanced users there are also more superior fabrics (mix of Merino and polyamide and polyester).
4. Your Budget
Decide upon your budget.
And choose the base layer that fits into it, and the one you like the most. There’s no reason to pay more for features you don’t need. Likewise, it’s not a good idea to get a cheap Merino wool base layer, if you plan to use it a lot — higher price often also means better quality and comfort.
What is your experience with Merino clothing? What is your experience with base layers? What’s the best Merino wool base layer you have tried so far?
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