The best base layers keep you warm on the hill, wick sweat when you’re worked up, and look good enough that when you peel your shell and midlayer to après with your buddies, you won’t clear the bar out from your personal ripeness. These baselayers are top performers––and they give you cred when the lifts close.
Patagonia Capilene 4: This grid-backed fleece traps warm air against your body forming a personal envelope of perfect weather against your skin. The warmest and most breathable Capilene that Patagonia makes, it’s stretchy and smooth––great for layering. Attention to detail, like the brushed waistband on the pants, an anatomical hood, and thumb loops on the top increase the comfort, while a functional fly (men’s only) keeps you from missing a run when you need to take a leak. Odor control keeps the stank down, not as long as wool, but long enough. And, its made from 30 percent recycled soda bottles. $79 bottom, $119 top, patagonia.com
Pros: Best warmth for weight.
Cons: Velcro can cause pilling.
Made For: Hardcore adventurers, greenies, ski bunnys who want to look pro.
Smartwool NTS Mid 250: Smartwool’s warmest baselayer was just improved with a more tailored fit, chafe-free seams and panels designed to prevent pressure points when you’re wearing a pack. Want to slip into a toasty cocoon of cashmere-like softness? Get this. The Mid-weight Zip Tee and bottoms will keep you toasty even on the coldest days without too much bulk under your pants and jacket. $95-$105, smartwool.com
Pros: Won’t stink even if you wear it all week.
Cons: Doesn’t dry as quickly as synthetics when you sweat.
Made For: Skiers who want to own just one set, and powder hounds who like to snuggle.
Helly Hansen Dry Revolution: A body hugging baselayer, Helly Hansen’s Revolution is stretchy, seamless, and high performance, like all of Helly Hansen’s legendary Lifa. Wicking isn’t what this Helly baselayer is about. Lifa literally sucks the moisture away from your body. It’s hydrophobic and woven to pull moisture away from your skin and force it to the outside, away from your skin. This lightest weight layer is never restrictive and ideal for sliding under a fleecy mid layer. $30-$60, hellyhansen.com
Pros: Thin, slippery, and infinitely stretchy.
Cons: Refresh your deodorant before you slip into this. It could benefit from some odor control.
Made For: Euros and those with six pack abs.