Best Merino Wool Base Layers
Hiking Gear, Layers

The 10 Best Merino Wool Base Layers

Being a little cold during winter is common.

But have you ever been in a situation where you can constantly feel chilly air sweeping in through your clothes making you go all nippy?

Ever been in a situation where no matter how many clothes you have on your body the passing of cool air currents just never stop? And adding more layers don’t help at all?

If your answer is yes, then you, my friend, have been wearing an unsuitable base layer.

The first layer of cloth on your body is the most important one. If the base layer is not good enough then no matter how bulky clothes you wear on top, you will feel chilly at most times.

You will never be able to feel entirely warm and cozy at any given instance.

Thus it is important that you wear a suitable and good quality base layer.

In this article, I will be discussing about base layers in depth and I will be presenting to you the ten best base layers made from Merino Wool.

Best Merino Wool Base Layers in 2017 (Top 10)

Why Do We Need Merino Wool Base Layer?

Now you may be asking yourself why you should invest in a base layer, let alone in a Merino Wool base layer.

The thing is, unless you will be basking in the sun in Miami all year around, you will require a base layer.

Base layers are one of the most important gears for hiking or trekking. If you are involved in a lot of outdoorsman-ship then you must own a good pair of base layers.

There is a misconception that good base layers are required only while doing high intensity works.

However, base layers are just as necessary and useful for everyday usage- prominently during winters.

Base layers keep us warm and cozy at all times. Merino Wool base layers, especially, are one of the warmest and most advanced base layers available.

One of the best features of the Merino Wool base layers is that they are antibacterial. They are naturally odor resistant as well. So you can wear these for many days without washing.

These Merino Wool base layers wick moisture which helps you to remain dry and fresh at all times.

They are extremely soft to touch and breathable as well. They give you a tight and comfortable fit.

Another great trait of these base layers is that since they are made from Merino Wool they provide you with UV protection.

Moreover, these base layers are machine washable.

Almost all of the Merino Wool base layers in this list are striking and attractive- which is another great feature of these.

How to Choose a Good Merino Wool Base Layer?

There is an enormous range of base layer clothing available in the market. These base layer clothing are generally made of cotton, polypropylene, Merino Wool and so on.

Sometimes you may get overwhelmed by the huge variety of base layers available in the market.

To avoid this overwhelm and confusion, you will have to get a basic idea about choosing good base layers.

Following are the major factors which you must consider while purchasing a base layer.

Material

The first thing you want to look for is the material. The densities, fibers’ diameter, porosity, mixture with other fabrics and so on are some factors which influence the materiality of Merino Wool base layers.

Merino Wools’ density ranges from 130g/m² to 250g/m². Lesser density fabrics are suitable to be worn during warmer climates and as the density of the cloth increase, it becomes apt to be worn during the colder seasons.

Similarly, the fibers’ diameter in Merino Wool ranges from 17 microns to 24 microns. The lesser microns are the ultrafine ones whereas the greater are the stronger ones.

Merino Wool may be mixed with other fabrics such as Nylon, Lycra, Polypropylene and so on in order to increase its durability, to fasten the drying time or to strengthen the product. However, be careful about these combined products as they will not be as soft as the products made from 100% Merino Wool.

Seams

The seams of base layers must be knitted generously. They need to be tightly woven so that the cloth will last a long period of time without wearing and tearing. The base layers need to contain flat lock seams because flat lock seams reduce the friction between the body and the cloth. This prevents chaffing and irritation which are bound to happen whilst trekking or hiking and even during normal days. So make sure to check the seams of the base layer properly.

Antibacterial and Odor-resistance Properties

Merino Wool is antibacterial in nature. It has a fatty substance called lanolin- which is also known as wool wax or wool grease- which helps to manage the odor and prevent the pungent smell from leaking out. You want to get a base layer which will control odor for a maximum number of days because when you are on a hike or travel, it is not feasible to carry many base layers or to frequently wash these. So choose a Merino Wool base layer which is antibacterial and odor resistant.

Moisture Wicking Properties

One of the main functions of a Merino Wool base layer is to keep the sweating to minimum. When a person sweats a lot, there is loss of important liquids and salts from the body. This negatively affects your performance. While doing outdoor activities, you are bound to sweat more than often. So you need a good base layer which will wick the moisture and keep you dry so that your performance does not get hindered.

Durability

One disadvantage of Merino Wool base layers is that they are not as durable as synthetic base layers. However, with proper care they can last you a good run. Moreover, if durability is a key point to you, you can opt for Merino Wool base layers which have been combined with other materials for extra durability such as the Ibex All Day Crew.

Fit

You want to buy a base layer which has a snug fit. The fit should be not only tight enough to trap heat inside to keep you warm but also sheltered enough so that your movements do not get restricted. Close fitting base layers look much attractive compared to baggy base layers. So choose the base layer which suits you the best.

Warmth

The major function of base layers is to keep you warm. Merino Wool itself is a warm material; so almost all of the Merino Wool base layers will provide you with the required heat. Make sure that you choose a base layer which is just perfect with the climate in which you will be wearing it.

Other

Other than the aforementioned traits, you may want to look for a Merino Wool base layer which is soft and has UV protection. Also, pay attention to the breath ability and ventilation which the base layer provides.

The 10 Best Merino Wool Base Layers

There are many premium brands which offer good quality Merino Wool base layers such as Icebreaker, Smartwool and so on. Some Merino Wool base layers from these brands are listed below.

I have personally tested and reviewed the following products.

So go ahead and freely fish through the following list and find the Merino Wool base layer which you prefer the most.

Good luck!

1. Icebreaker Oasis Long Sleeve Crewe

The Icebreaker Oasis Long Sleeve Crewe is made from 100% Merino Wool fabric. Its density is 200g/m² which makes it an all year around clothing. However, try avoiding this base layer during the warmest of the days.

The Icebreaker Oasis Long Sleeve Crewe has many good features. It is naturally odor resistant and antibacterial. The fabric absorbs all the moisture keeping you dry all the while.

The Icebreaker Oasis Long Sleeve Crewe is soft to touch and very lightweight. Also, you will not face chaffing or irritation while wearing this garment.

The Icebreaker Oasis Long Sleeve Crewe has a great tight fit. I have to be honest, at first I was a little scared about the tight fit restricting my movements. But once I was inside this garment, I realized that it is extremely breathable, comfortable and stretchable, and hence you can move around easily.

The Icebreaker Oasis Long Sleeve Crewe is a machine washable product. But it is better to let this cloth air dry.

For a Merino Wool product, The Icebreaker Oasis Long Sleeve Crewe is very durable and will last you a couple of years with good care.

You can wear it for all kinds of outdoor activities, trekking and hiking or even for everyday use.

The Icebreaker Oasis Long Sleeve Crewe is also one of the most attractive base layers among all the base layers in this list.

Features I like:

  • Can be used all year around
  • Naturally odor resistant
  • Extremely breathable
  • Comfortable
  • Stretchable
  • No chaffing or irritation
  • Moisture wicking
  • Lightweight
  • Soft

 

2. Minus33 Merino Wool Men’s Chorcorua Midweight Crew

The Minus33 Merino Wool Men’s Chorcorua Midweight Crew is made from 100% Merino Wool just like the Icebreaker Oasis Long Sleeve Crewe. Its density is 230g/m² which makes it apt to wear during the colder seasons.

 

As the name of this product is self explanatory, the Minus33 Merino Wool Men’s Chorcorua Midweight Crew is midweight in heaviness. It is a machine washable and machine dryable product.

The Minus33 Merino Wool Men’s Chorcorua Midweight Crew is Minus33 Merino Wool’s best selling base layer and it ought to be for all the good traits it is equipped with.

This beauty is extremely comfortable to wear. It has advanced moisture wicking properties which are bound to keep you dry and provide good insulation as well.

The Minus33 Merino Wool Men’s Chorcorua Midweight Crew has stretchable rib knit cuffs which help to keep sleeves in place. So from now on you will not get irritated by the constant sliding of the sleeves while adding cloth layers on top.

I have always found sliding of sleeves while layering clothes on top to be extremely uncomfortable and frustrating. So I don’t know about you people but this feature of the Minus33 Merino Wool Men’s Chorcorua Midweight Crew is such a great advantage to me.

The Minus33 Merino Wool Men’s Chorcorua Midweight Crew is also equipped with flat lock seams to prevent chaffing. It has interlock knit construction for added strength and durability.

This garment is such an excellent piece of material that I assure you it will become your go-to piece of cloth.

Features I like:

  • Flat lock seams
  • Interlock knit construction
  • Moisture wicking
  • Stay in place sleeves
  • Very comfortable
  • Machine washable and dryable

 

3. Smartwool NTS Mid 250 Crew

The Smartwool NTS Mid 250 Crew is a base layer fit for cold to moderate climate. Its 250g/m² density makes it unfit to wear during warm days.

The Smartwool NTS Mid 250 Crew is made from 100% Merino Wool as well. It provides with ample warmness and has a great insulation which makes it fit to wear whilst hiking or trekking in cold climates.

The thick fabric of this clothing absorbs moisture extremely well. The Smartwool NTS Mid 250 Crew is one of the most comfortable base layers available.

The Smartwool NTS Mid 250 Crew is a durable product. It is breathable as well. The fit is great and the quality of this product is excellent.

The downfall of The Smartwool NTS Mid 250 Crew is that it takes a little long period of time to dry compared to some other base layers in this list, such as the Icebreaker Oasis Long Sleeve Crewe.

Features I like:

  • Durable
  • Breathable
  • Warm
  • Moisture wicking
  • Super comfortable
  • Great fit

 

4. Ibex All Day Crew

The Ibex All Day Crew is a base layer with low density of 145g/m². As a result, this base layer is best fit to wear during warm or moderate temperature.

The Ibex All Day Crew is a thin garment. If you want to wear it during the colder seasons, you may want to add warm clothing layers on top.

The Ibex All Day Crew is 87% Merino Wool and 13% Nylon. The addition of Nylon has been done to increase the durability of the product and to fasten the drying time of the cloth.

Flat lock seams have been added to prevent chaffing. The Ibex All Day Crew is odor resistant and absorbs moisture very well.

Moreover, it has good ventilation and is extremely breathable.

The Ibex All Day Crew is lightweight in nature and has a regular fit.

Features I like:

  • Extremely breathable fabric
  • Moisture wicking
  • Durable
  • Fast drying
  • Lightweight
  • Odor resistant
  • Has flat lock seams

 

5. Ridge Merino Wool Men’s Inversion Midweight Crew

Another mid-weight base layer in this list is the Ridge Merino Wool Men’s Inversion Midweight Crew. It is 100% Merino Wool product with 190g/m² density.

The Ridge Merino Wool Men’s Inversion Midweight Crew is best fit to wear during warm or moderate temperature. It is a thin and lightweight material. As a result, it packs down really small and is travel friendly.

The Ridge Merino Wool Men’s Inversion Midweight Crew is a naturally soft garment. It is naturally odor resistant as well and wicks moisture nicely.

This base layer comes with flat lock seams to prevent irritation of the skin. It is a comfortable piece of clothing to wear.

The Ridge Merino Wool Men’s Inversion Midweight Crew comes with thumbholes. Now some people may like this but I personally found it be a little annoying.

The reason is that these thumbholes do not line straight to the seams. So when I make use of them, the arm sleeve rolled and twisted around which made it quite uncomfortable for me to wear.

Other than that, the Ridge Merino Wool Men’s Inversion Midweight Crew is a great product and you should definitely give it a try.

Features I like:

  • Thin and lightweight
  • Backpack friendly
  • Super soft
  • Comfortable
  • Has flat lock seams
  • Odor resistant
  • Moisture wicking

 

6. Omni Wool Men’s Base Layer Long Sleeve

 

The Omni Wool Men’s Base Layer Long Sleeve is a high quality 100% Omni Wool base layer. You can use this as a base layer all year around with appropriate clothing on top and it will provide with you enough warmth.

The Omni Wool Men’s Base Layer Long Sleeve has got tons of good features which surely will make you want to rush off to order these.

Firstly, the Omni Wool Men’s Base Layer Long Sleeve dries quickly compared to other Omni Wool base layers. It has temperature regulation and moisture wicking properties which will keep you warm and dry at all times.

The Omni Wool Men’s Base Layer Long Sleeve is an odor resistant base layer. It will also provide you with UV protection.

Because this clothing packs down really small- as it is thin and lightweight- I take it with me while I am travelling or trekking as I save on much space with this one.

The Omni Wool Men’s Base Layer Long Sleeve is extremely breathable as well. The fabric is soft and does not make you itch.

You can machine wash the Omni Wool Men’s Base Layer Long Sleeve. It has a snug fit and does not look baggy at all.

The Omni Wool Men’s Base Layer Long Sleeve is tightly woven and has an excellent stitching.

Features I like:

  • UV protection
  • Dries quickly
  • Temperature regulation
  • Non itchy
  • Thin and lightweight
  • Backpack friendly
  • Super soft and warm
  • Comfortable
  • Breathable
  • Odor resistant
  • Moisture wicking
  • Machine washable

 

7. Wool Pro Agena

The Wool Pro Agena is a high quality base layer by WoolPRO. It is a 195g/m² density base layer which can be used all year around except during very hot weather.

The Wool Pro Agena has a tight fit. You can stretch it as per your preference. The fit is very comfortable and relaxing.

The Wool Pro Agena comes with an elastic hem, and strong and stretchy ActiveSeams for extra elasticity and durability.

The knitting on this garment is very generous and strapping. The Wool Pro Agena has long sleeves and a crew neck.

It is very soft to the touch. Odor resistance is another great quality of the Wool Pro Agena.

Features I like:

  • Great fit
  • Stretchable and comfortable
  • Has an elastic hem and ActiveSeams
  • Great quality product
  • Good knitting
  • Odor control
  • Soft

 

8. Merino 365 Longsleeve Base Layer

The Merino 365 Longsleeve Base Layer is the highest and finest quality base layer on this list. It is made in New Zealand with 100% New Zealand Merino Wool.

The Merino 365 Longsleeve Base Layer is an all season base layer. However, you may want to wear warm clothes on top if you will be using it for colder seasons just to be on the safe side.

It is a warm and comfortable base layer. The fabric of this product is super soft.

The Merino 365 Longsleeve Base Layer comes with a non itchy feature. The material is lightweight and will last you a long run with proper care.

Features I like:

  • A high quality product
  • Durable
  • Non itchy
  • Warm
  • Comfortable
  • Super soft

 

9. Wool Base Camp LS

The Wool Base Camp LS is a lightweight base layer made with the highest grade ultrafine Merino Wool. The fabric of this garment is of great quality.

The Wool Base Camp LS has a thick density of 160g/m² which makes it perfect for warm and moderate climatic conditions.

I found the Wool Base Camp LS to be super soft. It is one of the most comfortable base layers in my closet.

I love the design of this clothing. It has articulated sleeves and an attractive look.

The Wool Base Camp LS comes equipped with flat lock seams to reduce the friction between the cloth and your body.

The fabric is breathable and antimicrobial. It controls odor and wicks moisture which helps to enhance your performance whilst hiking or trekking.

The Wool Base Camp LS is a great value cloth which will carry out its job perfectly.

Features I like:

  • Made with ultrafine Merino Wool
  • Extremely comfortable
  • Soft
  • Lightweight
  • Odor resistant
  • Antimicrobial
  • Breathable
  • Good design

 

10. Icebreaker Men’s Anatomica Long Sleeve Crewe

 

Since I started this list with a base layer from Icebreaker, I wanted to end this list with another great quality product of the same brand.

The Icebreaker Men’s Anatomica Long Sleeve Crewe- though not as good as the Icebreaker Oasis Long Sleeve Crewe is a superior quality base layer made from the lightest and the finest Merino fabric.

It is made from a combination of 96% Merino Wool and 4% Lycra. The fitting of the Icebreaker Men’s Anatomica Long Sleeve Crewe is close and snugly.

I would recommend the Icebreaker Men’s Anatomica Long Sleeve Crewe to be worn during the spring and fall seasons.

The fabric is breathable, non-itchy, moisture wicking and naturally odor resistant.

The Icebreaker Men’s Anatomica Long Sleeve Crewe is thin and lightweight. I found it to be very comfortable. The stretch of this product further added to its comfort as I could move around easily.

Features I like:

  • Made with the lightest and finest Merino fabric
  • Comfortable and stretchable
  • Thin and lightweight
  • Odor resistant
  • Moisture wicking properties
  • Breathable
  • Non itchy
  • Snug fit

 

The Verdict

My top favorite base layers from the above list are the Icebreaker Oasis Long Sleeve Crewe, the Smartwool NTS Mid 250 Crew and The Minus33 Merino Wool Men’s Chorcorua Midweight Crew.

Further choosing only one base layer from the above three, I will have to say that the Icebreaker Oasis Long Sleeve Crewe is the best among these.

Now I may have leaned a little more in favor of Icebreaker because I have been wearing it for such a long period of time and I own more pairs of Icebreaker Oasis Long Sleeve Crewe than any other base layer, but let’s face it, we cannot deny the goodness of this product.

The Icebreaker Oasis Long Sleeve Crewe has so many great features, all of which I have already told you about.

Even though this product is a little costly, it is of a great quality. Once you invest in this garment and wear it, you will realize that it is worth all the money you have spent on it.

Well, that’s for my verdict. Now it is time for you to go ahead and purchase the Merino Wool base layer which you think is perfect for you. Then you can give your feedback on it. Happy shopping!

About Author

Neil Ferriss

Hey! I am Neil. Since I quit my job in 2015, I’ve traveled to several countries and have completed some thrilling items from my adventure bucket list. This blog is about sharing entertaining travel stories, useful travel tips and thrilling adventures with you from my non-stop adventure around the world.

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