Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
Your baselayer is your first line of defense from the elements, so it’s crucial to choose wisely. Which materials and styles you opt for depend on the weather conditions and your activity level. Riding lifts in the dead of winter and need extra warmth. Reach for 100 percent Merino wool. Spending the day in the skin track? You’ll want a synthetic baselayer that wicks moisture from your skin and dries quickly to help you insulate on the descent. Here are the SKI editors’ top picks for skiing’s first layers.Section divider
Top Baselayers of 2022
Black Crows Merino Long-Sleeve Tee
Simple. Classic. The standard. Black Crows’ 100-percent Merino base layer top is made with 160-gram odor-resistant, naturally temperature-regulating wool that’s up for whatever conditions you throw its way. If this staple doesn’t already occupy a spot in your go-to ski kit, it’s time to rectify the situation. Available in men’s and women’s.
- Black Crows Merino Long-Sleeve Tee MSRP: $130
Mountain Hardwear Air Mesh Hoody
Made with an innovative material that funnels sweat away from the body through tube-like fibers, the Air Mesh Hoody is a next-to-skin layer made for high-output endeavors on the mountains. It also claims to be about half the weight of pieces made from materials of a similar thickness. Available in men’s and women’s.
- Mountain Hardwear Air Mesh Hoody MSRP: $85
Mons Royale Cascade Merino Flex Top
Mons Royale’s newest offering is made for active days on the mountain where warmth, ease-of-movement, and breathability are paramount. It’s made with Merino Flex, which infuses four-way-stretch into Merino wool to help the piece keep its shape and better contour the body. Available in men’s and women’s.
- Mons Royale Cascade Merino Flex Top MSRP: $120
Purchase the Mons Royale Cascade Merino Flex Top: evo
Picture Organic Synthetic Baselayers
If you’re not the wool type but want all of its properties, Picture Organic’s Nangha Top (men’s) and Milita Top (women’s) employ the brand’s Dry Now 240 material to wick away moisture and dry quickly to keep you warm and comfortable through all conditions. The tops are also low-key enough to wear with jeans or yoga pants.
- Picture Organic Synthetic Baselayers MSRP: $75-$80
Shop for Picture’s Synthetic Baselayers:
Mammut Aenergy ML Half-Zip Top and Trift Long Tight
The Aenergy ML Half-Zip was made for days in the skin track thanks to its Polartec Power Grid lining’s waffle structure that helps to pull moisture off of the skin. A deep zipper to the mid-chest also helps to dump heat. The Trift Long Tight is a Merino-polyamide blend that’s great for managing moisture and odor and while remaining more durable than pure Merino baselayers. Available in men’s and women’s.
- Mammut Aenergy ML Half-Zip Top MSRP: $99
- Mammut Aenergy Trift Long Tight MSRP: $99
Kari Traa Women’s Silja Crew and Pant
You can always count on the good old wool base layer for warmth on the coldest of days, wicking where you need it most, and the superhero quality of not carrying odors—even after a few days of use. The Swedish brand Kari Traa created by the Olympic freestyle skier of the same name debuts this new 100-percent Merino top and bottom that makes you look as good as it performs.
- Kari Traa Women’s Silja Crew MSRP: $110
- Kari Traa Women’s Silja Pant MSRP: $110
Shop for the Kari Traa BaselayersSection divider
Best Baselayers of 2021
Arc’Teryx Men’s Motus AR Top & Short
Reach for this lightweight Arc’Teryx baselayer set for your high-output activities. Made from polyester with excellent thermal and wicking properties, the Motus AR is designed to serve up great moisture management in a trim-fit style that will keep you comfortable and on the move all day long.
Arc’Teryx Men’s Motus AR Top & Short MSRP: Top $79, Short $79
Kari Traa Women’s Perle Baselayer Top & Bottom
All the ladies in the office love Kari Traa’s baselayers for their fun patterns, bright colors, and, well, spunk. They’re just fun to wear. The Swedish brand’s newest offering is a mixed blend top and bottom made from acrylic, modal, and wool designed for busy days on the slopes when regulating your inner thermostat is of the utmost importance. The midweight Perle will wick moisture, provide warmth, and keep you comfortable and looking cute all day.
Smartwool Intraknit Merino 200 Pattern ¼ Zip Top & Bottom
The next generation of Smartwool’s baselayers made with 3D knit construction
incorporates fun patterns into the line. These virtually seamless layers remove chafing seams and uncomfortable fits from the equation. The lighter-weight Merino 200 utilizes a “Sport” version of the Merino yarn, which gives the finished products added durability and quicker dry times without sacrificing the softness and natural odor-resistant properties of Merino. A win-win. Available in men’s/women’s
Airblaster Merino Ninja Suit
If you haven’t tried a one-piece baselayer, well, what are you waiting for? Airblaster‘s Ninja Suit offers the best of Merino with Tencel added for better stretch and durability. Thoughtful features such as thumb loops, a drawcord at the waistband, and a 350-degree zipper around the waist for easy nature breaks add to the appeal. The women’s version boasts a feminine fit and an opening in the back of the hood for a ponytail. Available in men’s/women’s
Best Baselayers of 2020
GEAR OF THE YEAR: Smartwool Intraknit Merino Baselayers
Seamless is nothing new, so to say Smartwool’s innovative baselayers are seamless would be passé—and only part of the story. Instead, these 3D garments—which indeed have no seams—are much more. Crafted out of one continuous piece of fabric, Intraknit baselayers are articulated in all the right places for maximum movability as well as body-mapped for the best temperature regulation. The Intraknit baselayers come in two weights: The 100 percent Merino 250 set consists of a 1/4-zip top with terry looping, ribbing, mesh panels, and gender-specific areas on the bottoms, and is ideal for resort skiing on cold days. The lighter Merino 200 is a polyester and wool blend good for more active pursuits and comes in a crew-neck style with ribbed areas and mesh venting. A next-level baselayer that boasts excellent performance on the hill, and leaves zero waste in the production process.
- Fit: Tight
- Smartwool Intraknit Men’s Merino 250 Quarter Zip Top: $150 [BUY NOW]
- Smartwool Intraknit Women’s Merino 250 Quarter Zip Top: $150 [BUY NOW]
Mons Royale Yotei Powder Hood Longsleeve
New Zealand-based Mons Royale makes some pretty awesome baselayers for skiing. They are comfortable, have a ski-specific cut (3/4 bottoms are game-changers), and regulate temperature perfectly. The Yotei Powder Hood top is our favorite, featuring an integrated good and balaclava that works well in use but are hardly noticeable when left off the head and face. The perfectly balanced 190-weight, 100 percent merino wool feels soft and adapts to temperature swings as well as any other product on this page.
- Fit: Loose
- MSRP: $130
Mammut Vadret Long-Sleeved Top and 3/4 Bottom
Mammut uses its Phase Knit body-mapping technology in these new baselayers to help insulate and vent where you need it most. Made from a wool and Tencel blend, the Vadret set is a seamless, stretchy, and versatile workhorse that breathes, wicks, and stays odor-free even between washings.
- Fit: Tight
- Mammut Vadret Long-Sleeved Top: $99
- Mammut Vadret 3/4 Bottom: $89
Montane Women’s Primino Hybrid Hoodie
So much to love about this versatile baselayer top. One thing is the snug hood that sits right under a helmet, adding another warmth factor on cold days. We also appreciate the Merino/polyester/PrimaLoft construction that keeps it moisture-wicking, odor-resistant, and stretchy. PrimaLoft’s Primino Air technology used in the side and back panels goes a long way to help regulate the inner furnace.
Check it out on Amazon: Montane Primino Hybrid Hoodie
- Fit: Tight
- Montane Primino Hybrid Hoodie: $100
Outdoor Research Vigor Quarter Zip
This grid-back polyester fleece is made for skiers in search of something warmer than the average baselayer, or for skiers who want just a little more than perforated Merino while wearing a single layer in the skin track or on spring break. There is just enough spandex incorporated to make sure the Vigor Quarter Zip moves with you while you’re out and about, but for those who run warmer than average, keep scrolling. This is one hot ticket.
- Fit: Relaxed
- Outdoor Research Vigor Quarter Zip: $89
Helly Hansen H1 Pro Lifa Seamless Half Zip Crew and Seamless Pant
The seamless Merino offering from Norwegian brand Helly Hansen incorporates the brand’s extremely hydrophobic Lifa material, which means sweat and moisture is shuttled from the skin to the other side of the fabric faster and more effectively than Nicolas Cage stealing cars in “Gone in 60 Seconds.” The Merino wool blend means the baselayers are always the perfect temperature and naturally odor-fighting, and we’ve been able to get 3-4 days of strenuous touring out of them before someone else in the group insisted they needed a wash.
- Fit: Tight
- Helly Hansen Men’s H1 Pro Lifa Seamless Half Zip Crew: $150
- Helly Hansen H1 Pro Lifa Seamless Pant Women’s: $110
Le Bent Le Base 200 Lightweight Crew and Bottom
If there is one softgoods brand you should start to recognize more often this season, it’s the New Zealand-based Le Bent. The brand is making a strong push into the American market by signing a slew of great athletes and putting out some amazing products to back them up. Our favorite baselayer option is the brand’s Le Base 200 Lightweight Merino/bamboo rayon blend, which is a perfect fabric combination to be warm, lightweight, and comfortable on the skin, while the brand also focuses on keeping sourcing and production as sustainable as possible. Quite the combination.
- Fit: Tight
- Le Bent Le Base 200 Lightweight Crew (Men’s): $85
- Le Bent Le Base 200 Lightweight Bottom (Men’s): $85
BlackStrap Skyliner Crew Top and Outback Pant (Men); Pinnacle Crew Top and Sunrise Legging Pant (Women)
New for this season, the headgear brand BlackStrap is launching a line of baselayers for men and women. The only 100 percent synthetic option on this list, the brand is finally giving guys and gals fabric prints that look like cool yoga pants without the spandex-specific fit. The baggy jersey material is very comfy, but it can feel a little greasy on long hikes. If you prefer to go uphill on chairlifts, however, and you’re looking for fresh threads without spending a ton of dough, the new option from BlackStrap is worth checking out.
- Fit: Relaxed
- BlackStrap Skyliner Crew Top: $60 [BUY NOW]
- BlackStrap Outback Pant: $60 [BUY NOW]
- BlackStrap Pinnacle Crew Top: $60 [BUY NOW]
- BlackStrap Sunrise Legging Pant: $60 [BUY NOW]
Icebreaker Merino 260 Tech Longsleeve Half Zip and Leggings with Fly
There’s something to be said for keeping things simple, and Icebreaker deserves praise for doing exactly that. The Merino 260 tech baselayers are 100 percent Merino wool and find the perfect ratio of feeling comfortably lightweight but always warm. The half zip top is especially ideal for trips both in-bounds and out. We’d love it if they would tighten up the saggy crotch region of the men’s bottoms, however, as it just looks and feels stretched out in all the wrong ways.
Check it out on Amazon: Icebreaker Merino 260 Tech Longsleeve Half Zip
- Fit: Athletic
- Icebreaker Men’s Merino 260 Tech Longsleeve Half Zip: $125 [BUY NOW]
- Icebreaker Men’s Merino 260 Tech Leggings with Fly: $115 [BUY NOW]
lululemon Keep the Heat Thermal Tights
If you like it tight, look no further than the form-fitting baselayer option from Canadian brand lululemon. The Keep the Heat wool blend is very comfortable above and below, and the corrugated fabric in key spots allows the fabric to fit most bodies well. There’s no doubt that these baselayers are very warm, but for some tastes, the form-fitting cut might be a little too much.
- Fit: Tight
- lululemon Keep the Heat Thermal Long Sleeve: $98
- lululemon Keep the Heat Thermal Tights: $98