5 Best Base Layers for Hiking (Our 2020 Review)

If you don’t have time to read the entire review and just want to find out what the Best Base Layers for Hiking is, then we recommend the MERIWOOL Men’s Base Layer as the best choice.

If you want to be comfortable and have fun while hiking, it’s vital you choose the right equipment. When it comes to clothes, never underestimate the importance of the base layer. It’ll be in direct contact with your skin so it has to be natural and soft.

That’s why I’d suggest base layers made of merino wool. They let your skin breathe and eliminate any unpleasant odors. That said, there are various factors you should consider when choosing the best base layer for hiking.

In this post, we’ve reviewed the Best Base Layers for Hiking. These are:

What Should You Pay Attention To?

A base layer is more than just another piece of clothing. The wrong choice could completely ruin your experience in the mountains. You want a base layer that will keep you warm but at the same time wick well. Here’s a list of things you should have in mind when buying a base layer.

Temperature Control

When you’ve headed hiking, you can never be 100% sure what the temperature’s going to be. That’s why the best base layer for hiking should keep you warm when temperatures are low but adapt to your body temperature when it gets warmer. Put simply, it should let your skin breathe naturally.

Moisture Wicking

This should be your No. 1 priority. Hiking is a physical activity that has many benefits but it’s also very demanding. Therefore, it’s normal for you to sweat. You need a material that dries quickly and wicks well. There’s nothing worse than a change in the weather and having to continue hiking in wet clothes.

Merino wool is a good choice because it dries pretty well. Also, this material is odor resistant. In particular, Merino wool is much better than cotton or synthetics when it comes to eliminating unpleasant odors. It also has certain anti-bacterial properties.

Maintenance

Naturally, you need a base layer that’s easy to maintain. You should definitely opt for one that’s machine washable and dryable. Delicate base layers might feel great on your skin, but what’s the point if they get ruined after a couple of washes? You should choose a base layer that’s easy to clean and made of durable material.

Comfort

You’re going to spend a lot of time wearing a base layer, so you should choose the one that feels the most comfortable for you. Most people like to wear a base layer that fits their body snugly, whilst others prefer to have a looser fit.

It’s important that the material doesn’t itch and irritate your skin. When it comes to softness, it’s down to personal choice in terms of material.

Best Base Layer for Hiking

Best Versatile Base Layer: MERIWOOL Mens Base Layer

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This beautiful crew neck thermal shirt’s suitable for hiking and various outdoor activities. It’s made of very adaptable 100% merino wool that lets your skin breathe. Moreover, it looks more elegant than most of base layers available. Therefore, you could wear it on other occasions as well.

The best thing about this base layer is that it’s suitable for all weather conditions. It can be worn all year round, keeps you warm and wicks well. You’ll always be warm but it’ll never make you sweat.

It also prevents unpleasant odors, and is both machine washable and dryable. In addition, it’s very easy to maintain, even when you don’t have a lot of time.

The material is soft and itch-free; it feels great on your skin. You can wear it for hours and you’ll feel completely fresh, clean, and protected. It’s as if you were wearing a regular shirt, just much warmer and suitable for exercise.

You can choose from nine colors and various sizes – from XS to 3XL – thus catering for hikers of every shape and size. MERIWOOL is very practical and that’s why it’s recommended for people looking to buy one base layer that can be worn often.

This model comes with a 30-day refund. This means that you can exchange it for another model if you’re not satisfied with the color or size. You can also get your money back if you don’t like it. This is a very fair offer that you should definitely take advantage of. If it turns out that the model doesn’t look as good as it did in the picture, you can replace it, hassle-free.

Pros

  • Adaptive material
  • Available in many colors
  • There are large sizes
  • Odor resistance
  • Itch-free
  • Versatile
  • Good return policy

Cons

It can get thinner with time

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Best Quality Base Layer: Minus33 Merino Wool 718 Ticonderoga

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Minus33 has been a trusted brand popular among hikers since 2004. This model is very durable and made of high-quality Australian Merino wool. Thousands of happy customers are a testament to its quality.

At first glance, this lightweight model can seem somewhat thin, but don’t worry. It’s made using the latest technology and will keep you warm without being too heavy. Very smooth to the touch, it feels almost like silk on your skin.

You’ll always feel nice and warm but never overheated. This model is made to prevent sweating and unpleasant odors. It allows your skin to breathe and ventilate naturally.

Unlike other models that usually come only in neutral colors, this one comes in some bright colors as well. Therefore, you don’t have to look just like everyone else! If you’re bored of the same dull base layers, why not opt for azure blue or bright-green instead? This may be the best base layer for hiking for young and modern hikers.

It can be washed and dried in the machine often and won’t change a bit. It doesn’t require any special care as it dries very quickly. You’ll be able to wear it for years and no one will be able to tell how long ago you bought it.

Pros

  • Easy care
  • Modern colors
  • Durable
  • Smooth touch
  • Not heavy

Cons

Somewhat shorter sleeves

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Best Base Layer for Hiking in Every Season: Woolx Explorer – Men’s Midweight Merino Wool Baselayer Top

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Every experienced hiker knows that you need a base layer for every season. During winter expeditions, this model protects you from the cold. In warmer months it regulates your body temperature and lets your skin breathe. For that reason, it can be used both as a base or mid-layer, depending on the weather.

At the same time, this model is very warm and soft. It keeps you comfortable during long hours in the mountain and doesn’t affect your performance. It won’t cause itching or irritation, as some synthetic materials do. It’s easy to maintain and can be washed and dried in the machine. Most importantly: It won’t shrink!

The biggest advantage of this base layer is that it dries super quickly. It’s also odor resistant – but that’s not all. This model has special anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties. This is very important because sometimes you won’t be able to wash your base layer as often as you want.

This model is somewhat longer than regular models. Some people find this ideal because it means they’ll finally get that extra few inches in the sleeves. This can be both an advantage or a downside, however, depending on what’re you looking for. That said, it’s perfect if you have long arms and torso and struggle to find the model that’d fit you.

Pros

  • Multipurpose
  • Quick-drying
  • Anti-microbial
  • Odor resistant
  • Very warm

Cons

  • Pilling
  • Maybe a little long in the arms and torso

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Most Practical Base Layer for Hiking: 7EVEN Mens 100% Lightweight Merino Wool Hooded Long Sleeve Shirt

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7EVEN is somewhat different than other models. That’s why it’s perfect for young and active persons. Made from 100% Australian Merino wool, it actually looks like a hoodie. But it’s very comfortable and it doesn’t limit your motion. In addition, it’s moisture wicking and dries very quickly.

The design is perfect to help you achieve your best results. Best of all, the manufacturers have thought of every little detail. Things like a pocket, zipper, and tall collar, can mean a world of difference when you go hiking. Small details like this are not only a great help but real game-changers.

This base layer comes with a zippered arm pocket, where you can carry all of your essentials. This makes the base layer really convenient and practical. The pocket’s safe so you can even store your money or keys there. Therefore, you won’t need to carry additional backpacks, only the ones that you need for your food.

One of the best things about this model is that it fits your body perfectly. Not too tight, not too loose, it has specially contoured elbows to enhance mobility. This helps you move faster and be more flexible. Plus, it has a collar that protects your neck from coldness and wind.

Another cool feature of this model is that it comes with a half-zip. This means that you can regulate your body temperature easily. If you start feeling hot all you have to do is unzip it and you’ll immediately feel better. The zipper also distinguishes this model and makes you look very sporty and professional.

Pros

  • Zippered arm pocket
  • Protection for head and neck
  • Fits your body
  • Enhances performance
  • Modern

Cons

It’s not very soft

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Best Base Layer for Ethically Conscious Hikers: Merino 365 New Zealand

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This midweight long sleeve base layer is made of 100% New Zealand Merino wool. Like other base layers, it’s adaptable, temperature regulating, and wicking. All of which will keep you comfortable for hours. Moreover, this natural material dries before you even realize you were sweating.

New Zealand Merino wool is a very flexible material which means that this base layer won’t stretch out even after years of actively using it. However, this also means that this model isn’t as smooth as the other ones.

This model comes with thumb loops that make it extra practical. You may appreciate this feature if you’re irritated when your sleeves move every time you try to add another layer. And I know this happens often because most hikers wear multi-layer clothes. Also, they protect the more sensitive skin of your hands.

One thing that sets Merino 365 apart from the other models is that it’s sustainable and proven to be ethically produced. This makes it the best choice if you’re ethically conscious and care about the environment. If you want to be sure that the money you’ve given is a well spent, you should opt for this model.

As mentioned, the wool itself comes from New Zealand but the products are actually made in various parts of the world, in controlled conditions. The manufacturer guarantees that everyone who participates in the process of making your base layer will be fairly paid.

That may be the reason why this model has a slightly elevated price. If the price varies depending on the size you choose.

Pros

  • Ethically produced
  • Natural material
  • Temperature regulation
  • Doesn’t stretch out
  • It has thumb loops

Cons

Some models are pricey

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Conclusion

All of the models are made of high-quality material suitable for hiking. Of course, everything depends on what do you look for in a product. Whether you want it to be highly practical, look nice, or you’d like to have the best of both worlds.

That’s why I believe that MERIWOOL Men’s Base Layer may be the best base layer for hiking. It adapts to the outdoor temperatures and you don’t have to worry about being too hot or too cold. It prevents unpleasant odors and dries very quickly. Moreover, it’s easy to wash, maintain and keep clean.

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What I love about this model, apart from the highly practical and important features, is the variety of choice. That’s very important as only you can choose the right product for yourself. The base layer must be comfortable and fit properly and that’s only possible when you have a lot of sizes to choose from.

They also offer a very good return policy, which is pretty much essential, especially when you’re shopping online. That way, you won’t end up wearing something that doesn’t fit you right.

I believe that this is an excellent model that meets the requirements of most hikers.

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