Top 6 Best Merino Wool Base Layers For Women (2023)

Do you enjoy being outdoors during the winter months but find yourself always running cold? No matter how many layers you put on, you still can’t stay warm. There is a simple trick to keeping warm in cold weather and that is by wearing the right base layer

While there are many types of materials used to make base layers, we are unapologetically Team Merino - especially for cold weather. Merino wool is a great insulator, super comfortable against the skin, thermoregulating (it can keep you warm in the winter but also cool in the summer), not to mention it’s a sustainable fabric.

So whether you're an avid skier, on a multi-mile hike or just lounging après, we’ve found the best Merino wool base layers that will keep you warm and comfortable no matter what the outside temperature may be.

In this ProSurvivalStrategies.com Guide, you will learn:

  • What is Merino wool?
  • Why is Merino wool the best material for base layers?
  • Top 6 best Merino wool base layers.
  • And much more!

In a hurry! Check out our top 6 best Merino wool base layers in the quick comparison chart below.

ImageProduct
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Smartwool 250 1/4 Zip
  • 100% Merino Wool.
  • Midweight (250 g/m²).
  • Thermoregulating / Moisture-Wicking / Breathable.
  • 100% Merino Wool.
  • Midweight (250 g/m²).
  • Thermoregulating / Moisture-Wicking / Breathable.
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MERIWOOL 250 Base Layer
  • 100% Merino Wool.
  • Midweight (250 g/m²).
  • Thermoregulating / Moisture-Wicking / Breathable.
  • 100% Merino Wool.
  • Midweight (250 g/m²).
  • Thermoregulating / Moisture-Wicking / Breathable.
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Kari Traa Rose Half Zip
  • 100% Merino Wool.
  • Midweight (240 g/m²).
  • Moisture-Wicking / Warm / Durable.
  • 100% Merino Wool.
  • Midweight (240 g/m²).
  • Moisture-Wicking / Warm / Durable.
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Merino.tech 320 Half Zip
  • 100% Merino Wool.
  • Heavyweight (320 g/m²).
  • Thermoregulating / Moisture-Wicking / Breathable / Warm / Durable.
  • 100% Merino Wool.
  • Heavyweight (320 g/m²).
  • Thermoregulating / Moisture-Wicking / Breathable / Warm / Durable.
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Minus33 Tanana Crew
  • 100% Merino Wool.
  • Expedition Weight (400 g/m²).
  • Thermoregulating / Moisture-Wicking / Warm / Durable.
  • 100% Merino Wool.
  • Expedition Weight (400 g/m²).
  • Thermoregulating / Moisture-Wicking / Warm / Durable.
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VOORMI Base Layer Crew
  • Precision-Blended Wool.
  • Lightweight (185 g/m²).
  • Thermoregulating / Moisture-Wicking / Durable.
  • Precision-Blended Wool.
  • Lightweight (185 g/m²).
  • Thermoregulating / Moisture-Wicking / Durable.
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 OUR #1

TOP-RATED PICK

Smartwool Merino Wool 250 1/4 Zip Base Layer

Specifications:

  • Fit: Slim
  • Style: Quarter-Zip
  • Material: 100% Merino Wool
  • Insulation: Midweight (250 g/m²)
  • Flatlock Seams: Yes
  • Moisture-Wicking: Yes
  • UPF: 50+

Since it was introduced, the Merino 250 by Smartwool has been one of the best-selling base layers on the market thanks to its remarkable ability to balance warmth and breathability, super plush feel and well-designed fit. So it’s no surprise why we chose it as our #1 top-rated pick.

Smartwool has since refined this fan-favorite to bring you a better feeling, better performing and better-looking garment. With an updated fit and more colors to choose from, they have improved its functionality while enhancing aesthetics to accommodate different body shapes.

This new and improved version features an ever so slightly thicker construction with a tad more length in both the arms and torso. These simple adjustments not only make this top a little warmer but also a bit more stretchier from the previous iteration.

A redesign of the shoulder panels now eliminates top shoulder seams, making it more comfortable when wearing a heavy pack as well as offering a more accommodating fit for those of you who have broad shoulders. Its flatlock seam construction further helps to minimize chafing, keeping you comfortable while enjoying your favorite activity.

Designed with women in mind, its sculpted side panels and back-to-front body seams offer a more body-enhancing fit.

This top has a crew neck with a quarter-zip for easy venting, making it more versatile than most crew base layers on the market.

Its raglan sleeves offer a full range of motion through the shoulders and arms, perfect for those high-intensity climbs.

Made with 100% natural Merino wool, it provides one of the most extensive ranges of thermoregulation by keeping you insulated when cold, but cool, dry and ventilated as you start to heat up.

Its wool weave construction means you can wear it for longer periods out on the trail without starting to smell, unlike its synthetic competitors.

The Merino 250 is the warmest of Smartwool’s line, perfect for skiing and other winter sports. Besides offering superior comfort next-to-skin, it's remarkably versatile as a midlayer, and even has a UPF 50+ rating for use as an outer layer in more milder temperatures, making it a great all-rounder.

With its impressive moisture-wicking and breathability capabilities, ability to thermoregulate, resistance to odor, not to mention its incredible softness and enhanced fit, the Merino 250 from Smartwool certainly delivers.

If you were to choose one base layer that can perform well year-round, the Merino 250 1/4 Zip by Smartwool would be a smart choice.

Top 6 Best Merino Wool Base Layers For Women

In a hurry? Check out our top 6 picks below. Keep reading to learn more about each one.

What Is Merino Wool?

Merino wool is a natural fiber harvested from Merino sheep. Its ultra-fine fibers are super soft and much gentler than regular wool.

In addition to clothing, Merino wool has been used for other textiles such as blankets, rugs, bedding and upholstery, just to name a few.  

DID YOU KNOW?

There are more than 1,000 sheep breeds in the world, including the Rambouillet Merino ram.  Like Merino, Rambouillet produces fine wools used mainly for apparel. 

Rambouillet Merino Ram

Why Is Merino Wool The Best Material For Base Layers?

Merino wool is known for providing exceptional warmth, even when wet. It has impressive moisture-management properties. Because wool is naturally hydrophilic, it loves moisture. As the wool fibers absorb the water molecules, it pulls the moisture away from your skin and releases it to the outside of the garment where it evaporates. Not only can it effectively wick sweat from the wearer, but it can move the water vapor before it turns to sweat. Wool can absorb up to 35% of its weight in water without feeling wet to the touch.

Merino wool also excels at regulating body temperature. Not only does it trap air for heat insulation in the bitter cold, but its breathable fibers allow excess heat to escape from your body, preventing you from overheating.

Merino wool is also known for its resilience and superior durability. Wool fibers are not straight but rather have undulations known as crimps. These crimps are what give them its elasticity. Like a coiled spring, once stretched, it’s able to return back to its original natural form by the fibers’ contraction.

Each fiber is also composed of keratin, the same tough fibrous protein found in our hair, nails and outer layer of skin. Incredibly, each wool’s fiber can be bent up to 20,000 times before enduring any damage.

Naturally UV-resistant, antibacterial and antimicrobial, Merino wool will protect you from the harsh rays of the sun while impeding the growth of harmful bacteria, mold and mildew, keeping you odor-free.

Did I mention Merino wool is also anti-static, flame-, wrinkle-, and stain-resistant?

And if you’re eco-conscious, Merino wool is a naturally biodegradable and renewable resource. 

In-Depth Reviews Of Our Top 6 Best Merino Wool Base Layers.

1

Top-Rated Pick

Smartwool Merino Wool 250 1/4 Zip Base Layer

Specifications:

  • Fit: Slim
  • Style: Quarter-Zip
  • Material : 100% Merino Wool
  • Insulation: Midweight (250 g/m²)
  • Flatlock Seams: Yes
  • Moisture Wicking: Yes
  • UPF: 50+

Smartwool’s Merino 250 1/4 Zip is our top pick and for good reason. Smartwool has elevated this fan-favorite bringing you more comfort to conquer all your cold-weather activities.

FIT / MOVEMENT
With sculpted side panels and rear body seams wrapping to the front, it now molds to your body for a more snug fit. A thoughtful update was also made to the shoulder seams. By increasing the width between the offset shoulder seams, it is now much more friendly to those with broader shoulders. With a new raglan sleeve construction, it offers more freedom of movement, perfect for high-intensity climbs or hikes.

!st Baron Raglan

"Field Marshall FitzRoy Somerset, 1st Baron Raglan'", 1855 Portrait by Roger Fenton

DID YOU KNOW?

Named after 1st Baron Raglan, a distinguished officer in the British Army, the Raglan Sleeve was invented by Aquascutum who innovatively designed a garment for him to wear after losing his right arm during the Battle of Waterloo. This allowed for greater movement, making it easier for him to dress and to continue using a sword during battle.

With ample length in the arms, you can easily pull the cuffs over your hands for some added warmth. A tad more length was also added to the torso making it easier to tuck in your bottom layers, perfect for you skiers and snowboarders.

The 8-inch quarter-zip also lets you regulate your warmth level. Whether you zip it to stay warm and cozy or unzip it for some temperature relief, it’s definitely a feature worth having.

MATERIAL / COMFORT
The Merino 250 screams comfort. It is the type of base layer you won't want to take off. You may find yourself waking up in it, wearing it all day on the mountain, out to dinner and back to bed. Designed with mobility in mind, its uber-soft, plush 100% Merino wool wraps you up like a warm, cozy blanket. So no matter the activity, you'll most likely find yourself reaching for this ultra-versatile top.

It’s simple, yet elegant flatlock seam construction reduces any chafing or rubbing when worn next-to-skin, keeping you comfortable as you move.

Thanks to the redesign of the shoulder panels by moving the seams further apart, this updated version is much more comfortable to wear with a heavy pack. If you’ve ever experienced your pack rub on a seam after a long trek in the backcountry, you’ll thoroughly appreciate this new design.

WARMTH / THERMOREGULATION
This base layer top is extremely warm and offers superb thermoregulation. While it's advertised as a midweight, it's thicker than any other midweight in our list, packed with 250 g/m² of Merino wool, making it exceptionally warm. As soon as you slip into this base layer, its thicker construction immediately starts to insulate. Its super fine fibers not only retains heat but also releases moisture. Since it’s constructed with 100% Merino wool, the material is somewhat porous which allows moisture to escape while moving, ultimately keeping you warm (or cool).

MOISTURE-WICKING / BREATHABILITY
Merino wool is known for its impressive moisture-wicking and breathability capabilities. The construction of this base layer has more of a looser weave as opposed to some other Merino tops, making it surprisingly breathable. The quarter-zip also allows for additional ventilation when you become active. While this base is highly-breathable, its thicker construction doesn’t make it an ideal choice for high-output activities during warmer temperatures. We recommend opting for a thinner build.

ODOR CONTROL
If you’re worried about being smelly with this base layer, “Don’t sweat it!” (literally!) Its wool weave construction means you can wear it longer without starting to stink, even after heavy activity.

VERSATILITY
This Merino wool midweight base performs beautifully across a wide range of temperatures. Trust it on your next ski, hike or a cold morning run. It can also be used as a midlayer for extra warmth or as a standalone piece in milder temperatures. If worn on its own, you’ll be happy to know it boasts a UPF rating of 50+ which will protect you from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

LAYERING ABILITY
This base layer offers decent layering ability due to the slim construction. The quarter-zip design offers more room to fit a tank or shirt underneath, much easier than any crew neck would.

Now if you want to layer it under a fleece or jacket, you’re gonna have to put in a little effort, especially if it’s tight. This is due to the fabric being fuzzy and having a bit more friction than tops that combine synthetics. However, under a looser fleece or jacket, it will work just fine.

Make it a part of your winter gear and layer it with ease. Just remember to hold the arm cuffs down as you layer to avoid bunching. Once layered, you’re good to go. It won’t ride up and will stay in place all day long while you move.

DURABILITY
While the fabric is super soft and cozy, there is a downside to consider - Merino’s lack of durability. As expected with natural fibers, this top will slouch and sag a bit through consistent wear and washing. To ensure its longevity, special care will be required when washing.

Also, keep in mind that when worn as an outer layer while engaging in any sort of abrasive activities, it’s more prone to surface scarring. So if you enjoy hiking in areas where there is dense vegetation (stunted trees, bushes, etc.), try to be careful not to come in contact with anything sharp (thorns, twigs, etc.), since Merino garments can tear quite fast. Nonetheless, when it comes to performance, nothing offers as good as Merino wool clothing.

DRYING SPEED
Merino wool is known to be comparatively slower to dry. This is because the internal structure of a Merino wool fiber is “hydrophilic” meaning it absorbs moisture and retains it, making it a little longer to dry out. The wool garment could also feel somewhat heavier when wet since Merino wool can hold up to 35% of its weight in moisture, yet still feel dry to the touch.

ADDED BENEFITS
Not only is Merino wool naturally odor- and UV-resistant, it is also static-, stain-, flame- and wrinkle-resistant.

OTHER VERSIONS
Due to the overwhelming popularity of the 250, it's made in a number of versions, including the Crew for $5 less. While it offers the same great benefits, many of us appreciate the quarter-zip since it not only makes it easier for us to put on and take off, but also allows us the ability to regulate heat when active.

While many of us prefer the quarter-zip as it can provide quick ventilation when we start to warm up, others refuse to have anything touching their skin. Rather, they’ll choose to wear it as a midlayer or as an outer layer. It really comes down to your own personal preference.

Now if you feel the 250 is a bit heavy for you, consider the 150 1/4 Zip. It’s similar in design and features but with a slightly lighter weight.
The 250 also came out with a new line of pattern designs. So if you want to add some interest and versatility to your technical gear, check out these fun designs.

BOTTOM LINE
Being a natural fiber, it should come as no surprise that Merino wool isn’t cheap. However, given its cozy feel, ability to thermoregulate, insulate when wet and resistance to odor, we feel Smartwool’s 250 is worth the high price.

Another reason why we love this product is that Smartwool stands behind everything they make with their “Go Far. Feel Good.™” Guarantee. If your Smartwool gear has not lived up to your expectations within 2 years of purchasing it, simply contact them and they’ll get you into new gear so you don’t miss out on your next adventure.

So if you’re looking for a Merino wool midweight base layer that offers exceptional comfort, performance and versatility, while still looking stylish, consider Smartwool’s Merino 250 1/4 Zip. This humble top will instantly become your trusted adventure companion.

Pros:

  • Super soft and comfortable
  • Flatlock seams
  • Extremely warm
  • Thermoregulating
  • Excels at moisture-wicking
  • Highly-breathable
  • Naturally odor-resistant
  • Naturally UV-resistant
  • Venting features
  • Easy to layer
  • Versatile all-rounder
  • Static-, Stain-, Flame, and Wrinkle-resistant
  • 2-year guarantee

Cons: 

  • Not ideal for warmer days due to thick construction
  • Less durable than some other options
  • Slow-drying
  • Can feel slightly heavier when wet in warmer weather
  • Expensive (but has value)

2

MERIWOOL 250 Base Layer

Specifications:

  • Fit: Slim/Athletic
  • Style: Crew Neck
  • Material : 100% Merino Wool
  • Insulation: Midweight (250 g/m²)
  • Flatlock Seams: Yes (except hem)
  • Moisture Wicking: Yes
  • UPF: 50+

Coming in a close second is the MERIWOOL 250 Base Layer. Much like the 250 1/4 Zip by Smartwool, it offers the same top-quality but at a fraction of the cost. Slip into this base layer and you’ll feel liberated, rather than weighed down thanks to its lightweight feel.

FIT / MOVEMENT
The MERIWOOL base layer comes with an improved fit, designed for the female figure. It has a slimmer, more athletic fit with a stylish flair that can be worn on its own or as a midlayer without feeling too bulky. It also offers a decent amount of stretch for ease of movement.

MATERIAL / COMFORT
Crafted with 100% super-fine spun Merino wool, its interlock knit fabric is super soft against the skin. It also has flatlock seams (with the exception of the hem) which prevents any annoying chafing or rubbing when worn next-to-skin providing you all-over comfort.

Comfort Tip: If you are super sensitive to wool, it could feel a bit itchy at first but after a few wears and washes, the itchiness will go away. Slipping a silk base layer underneath can offer some added comfort.

WARMTH / THERMOREGULATION
Despite being a midweight at 250 g/m², the extra-fine Merino chosen to knit this base layer does make a difference when it comes to its warmth. As a standalone piece, it’s just not as warm as some of its direct competitors. However, while this base layer falls a bit short in terms of overall warmth, it's a standout for its impressive thermoregulation and doesn’t feel heavy. However, if you prefer something a little thicker and warmer, MERIWOOL offers it in a 400 g/m² version.

MOISTURE-WICKING / BREATHABILITY
Merino wool is known for its incredible moisture-wicking ability and the efficiency with which the fabric is able to transport moisture from the inside to the outside for evaporation. The extra-fine Merino yarn chosen to create this weave only improves that efficiency.

ODOR CONTROL
Being naturally odor-resistant, it will keep you smelling clean and fresh so you can enjoy your favorite outdoor activity longer.

VERSATILITY
This base layer top is super versatile. Not only is this base layer perfect for all your outdoor activities, its flattering shape makes it great for everyday wear. From sun to snow, it’s a fantastic all-rounder. If worn on its own, you’ll be happy to know it boasts a UPF rating of 50+ to keep you protected from the sun's harmful rays.

LAYERING ABILITY
This base layer is perfect for layering. A thinner or tighter shirt can easily be layered underneath this top without feeling bulky. It’s also perfect to layer underneath your favorite down jacket and with its comfy crew neck style and flattering fit, it can be worn as a standalone piece in milder temperatures.

DURABILITY
As with any garment made with natural fibers, it will slouch and sag a bit through consistent wear and washing. To ensure its longevity, special care will be required when washing. And if worn as a standalone piece during any sort of abrasive activities, it's more susceptible to surface abrasions. However, when it comes to performance, Merino wool is a standout.

DRYING SPEED
Merino wool is known to be comparatively slower to dry. This is because the internal structure of a Merino wool fiber is “hydrophilic” meaning it absorbs moisture and retains it, making it a little longer to dry out. The wool garment could also feel somewhat heavier when wet since Merino wool can hold up to 35% of its weight in moisture, yet still feel dry to the touch.

ADDED BENEFITS
Not only is Merino wool naturally odor- and UV-resistant, it is also static-, stain-, flame- and wrinkle-resistant.

THOUGHTFUL FEATURES
The MERIWOOL 250 includes a convenient loop for hang-drying. This added feature can come in handy while camping, hiking, skiing or partaking in any outdoor activity.

BOTTOM LINE
Not only does the MERIWOOL 250 Base Layer provide exceptional comfort and warmth, its flattering shape will allow you to wear it on its own or layered.

What we also love about MERIWOOL products is that they offer 30 days to try it out. If you’re not completely happy with it or want to exchange it for a more suitable size or color, simply send it back to the manufacturer.

Nonetheless, all of their products come with a 1-year limited warranty that covers any manufacturing and material defects. So at this price point and a 30-day guarantee, why not consider the MERIWOOL 250? They also have bottoms to match!

Pros:

  • Flattering shape
  • Super soft and comfortable
  • Flatlock seams (except hem)
  • Thermoregulating
  • Excels at moisture-wicking
  • Highly-breathable
  • Naturally odor-resistant
  • Naturally UV-resistant
  • Easy to layer
  • Versatile all-rounder
  • Static-, Stain-, Flame, and Wrinkle-resistant
  • Convenient loop for hang-drying
  • 30-day guarantee
  • 1-year limited warranty

Cons: 

  • Not extremely warm
  • Can feel itchy at first
  • Slow-drying
  • Can feel slightly heavier when wet
  • Less durable than some other options

3

Kari Traa Rose Half Zip Base Layer

Specifications:

  • Fit: Fitted
  • Style: High Collar w/Deep Half Zip
  • Material: 100% Merino Wool
  • Insulation: Midweight (240 g/m²)
  • Flatlock Seams: Yes
  • Moisture-Wicking: Yes
  • UPF: N/A

Founded by Norwegian Olympic skier, Kari Traa, the brand was developed “by girls, for girls” and has become one of the fastest growing sports apparel brands in Europe. Combining 100% Merino wool with unique and fun color schemes, Kari Traa base layers are quickly becoming a fan-favorite in the US.

So if you are looking for a durable wool option that can hold up against any type of activity and still look cute and stylish, then check out Kari Traa Rose Half Zip Top. Not only is this top made with 100% Merino wool to keep you toasty on the nippiest of days but is super durable thanks to its tightly woven fabric. These fun and feminine patterns will keep you feeling fashionable and flirty from the slopes to hanging at the après.

FIT / MOVEMENT
With the use of body-mapping, this top is designed to fit perfectly snug against the body and with its 4-way stretch, it allows for a full range of movement.

Sizing Tip: Some say this top is not true to fit and can feel constrictive around the shoulders and chest area. The arms and torso also run a bit short. Part of the reason why the fit may be less than ideal is that the fabric doesn’t stretch as readily as other contenders in our list. So if you plan on buying this base layer, we recommend sizing up.

MATERIAL / COMFORT
The Kari Traa base layer is made with 100% Merino wool. While Merino wool is typically cozy and comfortable to the touch, some say this Merino wool is a bit itchy (especially when wet) and less comfortable than some other options. However, after a few wears and washes, the itchiness will go away. Its smooth flatlock seam construction also reduces any rubbing when worn next-to-skin providing you all-over comfort.

Comfort Tip:  Slipping a silk base layer underneath can offer some added comfort.

WARMTH / THERMOREGULATION
Crafted with 240 g/m² of 100% Merino wool, its super fine fibers trap and lock in warmth for cold days and nippy mornings. Its tightly knit fabric also provides a little wind-resistance, while the stretchy underarm panels and zip-up collar allows for easy venting.

While the tightly woven fabric offers fantastic durability, this top actually holds a bit of moisture causing you to cool after exertion. As a result, it doesn’t provide a whole lot of warmth after an activity. While this top does offer decent warmth for standalone use or trekking around town, it’s not a great option for aerobic purposes.

MOISTURE-WICKING / BREATHABILITY
While the fabric is relatively breathable, it doesn’t quite perform as well as some of the other Merino wool contenders in our list.

Since the fabric is so tightly knit, it decreases the breathability of the fabric. It also doesn’t wick moisture as well as others. However, while it does fall short in terms of moisture-wicking and breathability, it does make up for with the exceptional warmth and durability it provides.

ODOR CONTROL
Being naturally odor-resistant, it will keep you smelling clean and fresh so you can adventure longer.

VERSATILITY
This midweight base is ideal for cold weather conditions. It can also be used as a midlayer for extra warmth and with its flattering shape and cute designs, it can be worn as a standalone piece in milder temperatures.

LAYERING ABILITY
This top layers better than most Merino wool layers. Its face fabric isn’t very slippery and can grab layers easily. Since it’s tight-fitting, the arms and torso won’t bunch up. This top can easily fit underneath your favorite puffer or shell without adding bulk or causing restriction in movement. A smaller or tighter-fitting shirt can also be easily layered underneath.

DURABILITY
Although wool is typically known to form holes, given this base layer’s tightly woven fabric, it’s extremely durable and can be worn anywhere. It’s relatively snag-resistant and can take abrasion. The fabric is not nearly as delicate as some other Merino wool options, ensuring its use for all your future adventures.  

DRYING SPEED
Merino wool is known to be comparatively slower to dry. This is because the internal structure of a Merino wool fiber is “hydrophilic” meaning it absorbs moisture and retains it, making it a little longer to dry out. The wool garment could also feel somewhat heavier when wet since Merino wool can hold up to 35% of its weight in moisture, yet still feel dry to the touch. 

THOUGHTFUL FEATURES
The zip-up collar with chin guard allows for quick ventilation while the unique stretchy underarm panels provide an escape for heat.

BOTTOM LINE
This 100% Merino wool base layer is super durable and provides exceptional warmth. Although it may not be as comfortable or breathable as other Merino wool contenders and slightly more expensive, it does layer nicely and features fun designs that some of us ladies love. So if you’re seeking a durable Merino wool base layer, consider Kari Traa Rose Half Zip.  While it may be slightly higher in price, it might be worth throwing down the coin. If the Rose Half Zip caught your eye, it's also available in hooded and button versions. Want to look stylish from head to toe, complete the look with matching bottoms

Pros:

  • Flattering shape
  • Cute and stylish
  • Flatlock seams
  • Exceptionally warm
  • Naturally odor-resistant
  • Versatile
  • Easy to layer
  • Extremely durable
  • Venting features

Cons: 

  • Uncomfortable fit
  • Less breathable and moisture-wicking than some other wool options
  • Slow-drying
  • Can feel slightly heavier when wet
  • Not ideal for aerobic purposes
  • Expensive (but has value)

4

Merino.tech 320 Half Zip Base Layer

Specifications:

  • Fit: Regular
  • Style: Half Zip
  • Material: 100% Merino Wool
  • Insulation: Heavyweight (320 g/m²)
  • Moisture-Wicking: Yes
  • UPF: 50+

Are you looking for a Merino wool base layer that provides the same great benefits as the big brands do at a fraction of the cost? Then check out the Merino wool base layer by Merino.tech. 100% Merino wool, this base layer comes in a variety of thickness weights, styles and colors to choose from. For the purposes of this article, we are focusing on Merino.tech’s expedition weight which is 320 g/m² for freezing conditions.

FIT / MOVEMENT
This base layer features a half zip with a fit that adapts to any woman's figure, making it snug-fitting, but not constraining for maximum comfort. The extended length in the torso not only provides added warmth but also helps to keep it tucked in your outer layers.

Sizing Tip: This base layer runs true to fit so we recommend ordering your normal size.

MATERIAL / COMFORT
The Merino.tech base layer is crafted with 100% Superfine 18.5 micron Merino wool that is highly-breathable and super soft against the skin. Perfectly tailored, this ultra soft Merino wool prevents rubbing, overheating and bunching providing you with all day comfort.

WARMTH / THERMOREGULATION
This base layer top is extremely warm and offers excellent thermoregulation. With its 320 g/m² stretch knit construction, not only is it comfortable next-to-skin, but is exceptionally warm. Now if you feel the 320 g/m² is a bit heavy for you, consider the 250 midweight. It’s similar in design and features but with a slightly lighter weight and is priced a bit less. 

MOISTURE-WICKING / BREATHABILITY
Merino wool is known for its incredible moisture-wicking ability and the efficiency with which the fabric is able to transport moisture from the inside to the outside for evaporation.

DRYING SPEED
Merino wool is known to be comparatively slower to dry. This is because Merino wool is “hydrophilic” meaning it absorbs moisture and retains it, making it a little longer to dry out. Due to the “hydrophobic” property (repels moisture), it also becomes slightly heavy when wet (the fiber core “holds” all of the liquid) but that means it’s “drawing” that moisture from your skin ultimately keeping you dry.

ODOR CONTROL
Thanks to Merino wool’s naturally odor-resistant properties, this base layer will keep you dry and fresh allowing you to adventure longer.

VERSATILITY
This top can be worn as a midlayer for extra warmth or as a base layer in freezing conditions. From cool runs to arctic climbs, this expedition weight base layer will help keep you moving in any weather condition.

LAYERING ABILITY
The base layer has a looser fit so you’re able to easily wear a small shirt or tank top underneath. For those of you who are more sensitive, slip a silk base layer underneath for some added comfort.

DURABILITY
Constructed with 320 g/m² of stretch knit fabric, this base layer top is quite durable.

ADDED BENEFITS
Not only is Merino wool naturally odor- and UV-resistant, it is also static-, stain-, flame- and wrinkle-resistant.

OTHER VERSIONS
This long sleeve Merino wool top is also available in a crew version. While it offers the same great benefits, many of us appreciate the zip style since it not only makes it easy for us to put on and take off, but also allows us the ability to regulate heat when active.

While many of us prefer the zipper style as it can provide quick ventilation when we start to warm up, others refuse to have anything touching their skin. Rather, they’ll choose to wear it as a midlayer or as an outer layer. It really comes down to your own personal preference.

Again, if you want something a bit lighter, consider the 250 midweight. It’s similar in design and features but with a slightly lighter weight. Merino.tech also offers base layer sets which may prove to be more cost-effective than buying individual pieces.

BOTTOM LINE
Merino.tech may not be a well-known company right now, but they are quietly making a name for themselves in the Merino wool world. Their products are all about affordability and comfort and this base layer is no exception. For those who are looking to add Merino wool clothing into their wardrobe without breaking the bank, this base layer is the perfect choice. As an added bonus, you’ll receive a free pair of Merino wool hiking socks with your purchase.

Pros:

  • Runs true to fit
  • Super soft and comfortable
  • Thermoregulating
  • Exceptionally warm
  • Excels at moisture-wicking
  • Highly-breathable
  • Naturally odor-resistant
  • Naturally UV-resistant 
  • Ultra-Versatile
  • Easy to layer
  • Durable
  • Static-, Stain-, Flame, and Wrinkle-resistant
  • Great size selection
  • Budget-friendly

Cons: 

  • Slow-drying
  • Can feel slightly heavier when wet
  • 60-day warranty window

5

Minus33 Tanana Crew Base Layer

Specifications:

  • Fit: Regular
  • Style: Crew Neck
  • Material: 100% Merino Wool
  • Insulation: Expedition Weight (400 g/m²)
  • Flatlock Seams: Yes
  • Tagless: Yes
  • Moisture-Wicking: Yes
  • UPF: 50+

Are you looking for a quality base layer that can deliver ultimate warmth during all your cold-weather activities? Combat the cold with the high performance of Minus33 Merino Wool Tanana! Made with 400 g/m² interlock knit construction, this base layer is built to keep you dry and warm when temperatures plummet.

DID YOU KNOW?

This base layer was named after the Tanana River in East-Central Alaska and is an important tributary to the Yukon River, which is still a vital waterway for commerce.

FIT / MOVEMENT
The Minus33 Tanana features a crew neck with a regular fit that’s not too baggy but has just enough room for the fabric to breathe. Its princess seams also give your body a more shaped silhouette that is flattering for all body shapes and sizes. With stretchable ribbed knit cuffs, it will help keep your sleeves in place, making it easy for layering and allow for ease of movement.

Available Sizes: This base layer is offered in a wide range of sizes from XS to 3XL.

Sizing Tip: It runs true to fit so we recommend ordering your normal size.

MATERIAL / COMFORT
Crafted with 100% Merino wool fibers, it’s extremely soft and comfortable, even for the most sensitive skin. Its interlock knit fabric provides extra stretch while its flatlock seam construction and tagless labels reduces any chafing or rubbing when worn next-to-skin, providing you all-over comfort.

It also boasts a UPF rating of 50+ to help protect you from the harsh rays of the sun if worn on its own.

WARMTH / THERMOREGULATION
With its 400 g/m² interlock knit construction, this base layer top is exceptionally warm and offers excellent thermoregulation.

Now if you feel the 400 g/m² is a bit heavy for you, consider the 235 g/m² midweight. It’s similar in design and features but with a slightly lighter weight and is priced less.

MOISTURE-WICKING / BREATHABILITY
Merino wool is known for its incredible moisture-wicking ability and the efficiency with which the fabric is able to transport moisture from the inside to the outside for evaporation.

DRYING SPEED
Merino wool is known to be comparatively slower to dry. This is because the internal structure of a Merino wool fiber is “hydrophilic” meaning it absorbs moisture and retains it, making it a little longer to dry out. The wool garment could also feel somewhat heavier when wet since Merino wool can hold up to 35% of its weight in moisture, yet still feel dry to the touch.

ODOR CONTROL
Its wool weave construction means you can wear it for longer periods out on the trail without starting to smell, unlike its synthetic competitors.

VERSATILITY
This base layer is the ultimate when it comes to versatility as it works well as an outer layer during warmer temperatures, a midlayer for extra warmth or as a base layer in extreme cold environments.

LAYERING ABILITY
Since this top has a regular fit, you’re able to easily wear a small shirt or tank top underneath. For those of you who are more sensitive, slip a silk base layer underneath for some added comfort.

DURABILITY
Constructed with 400 g/m² of interlock knit fabric, this base layer top is extremely durable.

ADDED BENEFITS
Not only is Merino wool naturally odor- and UV-resistant, it is also static-, stain-, flame- and wrinkle-resistant.

BOTTOM LINE
Whether working hard or playing hard in the coldest days of winter, Minus33 Tanana will have your back. It's the perfect choice to keep you dry and warm in the coldest conditions. From cool hikes to cold winter climbs, this expedition weight base layer will keep the cold from biting into every bone. For full body warmth, check out their matching bottoms.

Pros:

  • Great size selection
  • Runs true to fit
  • Soft and comfortable
  • Flatlock Seams
  • Tagless labels
  • Thermoregulating
  • Exceptionally warm
  • Excels at moisture-wicking
  • Highly-breathable
  • Naturally odor-resistant
  • Naturally UV-resistant
  • Ultra-Versatile
  • Easy to layer
  • Extremely Durable
  • Static-, Stain-, Flame, and Wrinkle-resistant

Cons: 

  • Slow-drying
  • Can feel slightly heavier when wet
  • Expensive (but has value)

6

VOORMI Base Layer Crew

Specifications:

  • Fit: Athletic
  • Style: Crew Neck
  • Material: DUAL SURFACE™ Precision-Blended Wool
  • Insulation: Lightweight (185 g/m²)
  • Moisture-Wicking: Yes
  • Thumbholes: Yes

Rounding out our Top 6 comes the VOORMI Long Sleeve Crew. USA-made, the VOORMI Long Sleeve Crew is a high-performing base layer that is unmatched like no other thanks to its DUAL SURFACE™ Precision-Blended Wool. Although this base layer is constructed with a blended wool, we felt it was worthy to be in our Top 6.

This base layer blends moisture-wicking properties of wool with strategically placed high-performance synthetic fibers, resulting in a base layer that offers superior warmth, comfort, moisture-management and durability.

If you're not familiar with VOORMI and their high-performance clothing, check out the video below for a behind the scenes look at how they evolutionized a wool-based textile and created a new breed of technical apparel.

FIT / MOVEMENT
This top has a slimmer, more athletic fit with a stylish flair. Its longer fit in the sleeves and torso offer a full range of motion.

MATERIAL / COMFORT
Crafted with a unique blend of domestically-sourced Merino wool and high-performance synthetic fibers, this top provides all day next-to-skin comfort.

WARMTH / THERMOREGULATION
Despite only being 185 g/m², this base layer packs in an incredible amount of warmth, perfect for cold-weather activities.

MOISTURE-WICKING / BREATHABILITY
Constructed with Dual Surface™ Precision Blending Technology, its thin inner layer of high-performance wicking yarns will pull moisture off your body to the outer surface of the fabric and evaporate, keeping you dry and comfortable all day long.

DRYING SPEED
This base layer dries relatively fast thanks to its blend of Merino wool and strategically-placed synthetic fibers. While its fiber structure does make it breathable, it doesn’t dry as quickly as a light polyester or 100% Merino would.

ODOR CONTROL
Although constructed with blended materials (one being Merino wool), it's still odor-resistant which means you’ll be able to wear this top at least 6 to 8 times before developing any real odor.

VERSATILITY
This midweight base performs beautifully across a wide range of temperatures. Trust it on your next ski, hike or a cold morning run. It can also be used as a midlayer for extra warmth or as a standalone piece in milder temperatures.

LAYERING ABILITY
This top can be worn as a midlayer without feeling too bulky. You can also easily layer a smaller or tighter-fitting shirt underneath.

DURABILITY
This base layer is incredibly durable due to the materials used in combination with the meticulous processing and knit/weaving construction.

The wool used to construct this base layer is sourced domestically, specifically from the Rocky Mountain Region. The fibers harvested in this region seem to have more “crimp” to them due to their environment making them stronger. Combine that with the painstaking process of removing the shorter fibers with the unique knitting/weaving construction and you have yourself one extremely durable piece of technical apparel. 

As an added bonus, it also prevents pilling.

THOUGHTFUL FEATURES
If you’re like me and love thumb holes, this base layer comes equipped with integrated hidden thumb holes. Thumb holes are great as they help keep your sleeves secure if you’re layering up, or use them as makeshift gloves to help stave off the chill.

BOTTOM LINE
The VOORMI Base Layer Crew gets very high marks due to the unrivaled comfort and performance it provides.  So if you’re looking for a “do-it-all” base layer that can keep you dry and warm for all your outdoor and everyday adventures, VOORMI's Base Layer Crew hits all the marks.  It’s an excellent choice for year-round use that will last you for many years, validating the somewhat expensive price tag. So why not chase your next adventure wearing the Long Sleeve Crew by VOORMI! 

Pros:

  • Flattering shape
  • Super soft and comfortable
  • Exceptionally warm
  • Thermoregulating
  • Excels at moisture-wicking
  • Breathable
  • Naturally odor-resistant
  • Versatile all-rounder
  • Easy to layer
  • Extremely durable
  • Integrated hidden thumbholes
  • Made in USA

Cons: 

  • Slower to dry
  • Expensive (but has value)

Some of the links on this page are affiliate links, which means we may receive a modest commission if purchases are made through those links. This adds no cost to our readers and helps us keep our site up and running. Our reputation is our most important asset, which is why we only provide completely honest and unbiased recommendations.

The Final Layer!

Wearing proper gear when engaging in any outdoor activity is important, especially in cold or freezing temperatures and your base layer is no exception. Base layers crafted from Merino wool will keep you dry and sweat-free thus keeping you warm. There is a reason why sheep can tolerate the cold - their wooly winter coats keep them insulated from the elements.

Don't let the cold keep you indoors.  Wear a Merino wool base layer and take back winter!

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