/ / 10 Best Base Layers For Skiing & Snowboarding – Stay Warm On The Slopes

10 Best Base Layers For Skiing & Snowboarding – Stay Warm On The Slopes

best base layer for skiing

Intro into the best base layer for skiing & snowboarding

Skiing and snowboarding have long been some of the most popular winter sporting activities that people partake in every year. Whether it is competitively or just on a family holiday.

9.2 million people in the US went skiing and snowboarding in 2018 alone! That’s a huge number of people, and therefore the demand for high-quality outdoor winter clothing is massive. 

Having the right gear is not only crucial to your performance on the slopes but also to your safety.

Learning how to choose the best base layer for skiing or snowboarding could be the difference between a fantastic time and a disaster on your next outdoor adventure. 

This article is all about helping you choose the best base layer for skiing. We have 10 of our top picks for you to choose from and then a handy buyers guide at the bottom, letting you in on our selection process. 

The article is split into 2 halves, firstly the best skiing baselayers for men, followed by the same for women. 

Let’s dive right in! 

Mens – Best Base Layer For Skiing and Snowboarding  

Best Men's Base Layer For Skiing
Under Armour Men's ColdGear Armour Compression Under Armour Men's ColdGear Armour Compression
$31.45-$59.99

Under Armour has been one of the market leaders when it comes to producing thermal and compression base layers for a wide variety of sports.

This thermal base layer is produced from synthetic fibers so it can easily wick moisture away from your skin, keeping you dry and warm.

It has a tight compression fit so it acts as a 'second skin' and you'll hardly know you are wearing it.

Key Features:

  • Dual-layer fabric with an ultra-warm brushed interior & a smooth, fast-drying exterior
  • 4-way stretch construction moves better in every direction
  • Material wicks sweat & dries really fast
  • Anti-odor technology prevents the growth of odor-causing microbes
  • Smooth, chafe-free flatlock seam construction
09/17/2021 11:20 pm GMT
ColdPruf Men's Platinum Dual Layer ColdPruf Men's Platinum Dual Layer
$31.28-$85.01

This thermal base layer from Coldpruf has hundreds of excellent reviews on Amazon. It is produced from 70% polyester and 30% merino wool, so it is very good at wicking moisture away from your body to keep you warm and dry.

It is a compression fitting base layer, however, it is not as tight-fitting as a 100% synthetic fiber base layer so if you don't like the comfort of a tight top, this could be a great choice.

Key Features:

  • Tagless Garment with Flat Seams for Comfort
  • Extended Tail
  • True Sizing for Accurate Fit
  • Ring Spun Yarns Provides Exceptional Softness
  • ColdPruf Technical Fiber Polyester with SILVADUR Intelligent Freshness to reduce body odor
  • 100% Cpt Performance Polyester, Outside 70% Polyester, 30% Merino Wool
09/17/2021 12:52 pm GMT
Helly Hansen Men's Standard LIFA Thermal Baselayer Helly Hansen Men's Standard LIFA Thermal Baselayer
$40.00-$45.77

LIFA is the original Helly Hansen base layer which has been loved by outdoor professionals for many years.

This is a 100% synthetic fiber base layer that wicks moisture away from the skin to keep you warm and dry whilst out on the slopes.

It isn't an overly tight fit, and therefore can be worn as a long-sleeved t-shirt in warmer weather. LIFA fabrics wick moisture and retain heat even once they have gotten wet.

Key Features:

  • Original Helly Hansen base layer made of 100% LIFA fibers, providing warmth and insulation in cold weather
  • Regular fit which is neither slim nor oversized. Regular-fitting garments may be worn over thicker baselayers
  • LIFA naturally pulls moisture away from the skin and to the outer layer of the garment keeping you warm, dry, and comfortable
09/17/2021 07:56 pm GMT
100% Merino Wool Skiing Base Layer
MERIWOOL Mens Base Layer - 100% Merino Wool MERIWOOL Mens Base Layer - 100% Merino Wool
$59.99

Merino wool is a natural fiber with excellent wicking properties.

It can pull moisture away from your skin in hot or cold weather keeping you warm and dry.

If you don't like super tight-fitting base layers then merino wool would be a great choice as it is stretchy. Unlike other wool, merino wool is very small in fiber diameter so it doesn't irritate the skin.

Key Features:

  • 100% all-natural superfine 18.5-micron Merino wool ensures comfort all-day
  • Breathable fabric keeps you cool in summer and warm in winter.
  • Interlock-knit Merino wool can be used as a base layer or mid-layer, but won’t weigh you down
  • Merino wool has a natural wicking ability and odor-resistant keeping you dry and comfortable while active in cold weather
  • Includes a 1-YEAR limited manufacturer’s warranty, which covers manufacturing and material defects
09/17/2021 06:42 pm GMT
Carhartt Men's Base Layer Carhartt Men's Base Layer
$29.98-$81.51

Carhartt is renowned for the durability of the products it produces, so you can be sure that this skiing base layer will last you a long time before it needs replacing.

Produced from 100% synthetic polyester which can quickly wick moisture away from your skin, making it easier to regulate your body temperature in cold weather.

Stretchy fabric makes this base layer comfortable and suitable for any positions your body will be in whilst skiing or snowboarding.

Key Features:

  • Classic waffle knit design traps heat between the skiing base layer and your skin to keep you warm
  • Fast dry technology wicks moisture and sweat away from your skin to keep you dry and warm in cold temperatures
  • Rugged flex technology for ease of movement, perfect for skiing and snowboarding
  • Smooth flatlock seams and tagless label enhance comfort and prevent skin irritation
  • Concealed thumb loops to prevent it from sliding up your arms whilst on the slopes
09/17/2021 05:13 pm GMT

Womens – Best Base Layer For Skiing and Snowboarding

Best Women's Base Layer For Skiing
Under Armour Women's ColdGear Compression Base Layer Under Armour Women's ColdGear Compression Base Layer
$22.44-$63.45

Under Armor takes our top choice for the best base layer for skiing in the women's section. Produced from 100% polyester, this base layer has the ability to wick moisture away from your skin to help regulate your body temperature and keep you warm and dry whilst in cold weather.

With hundreds of five-star reviews on Amazon, this base layer has been well received by avid outdoor enthusiasts.

Key Features:

  • Updated brushback knit fabric maximizes comfort, breathability & maintains warmth
  • Material wicks sweat & dries really fast
  • 4-way stretch construction moves better in every direction
  • Anti-odor technology prevents the growth of odor-causing microbes
  • Smooth flatlock seams prevent chafing
09/17/2021 01:19 am GMT
100% Merino Wool Skiing Base Layer
MERIWOOL Womens Base Layer 100% Merino Wool MERIWOOL Womens Base Layer 100% Merino Wool
$59.99

Merino wool is regarded as a premium base layer material and is trusted by thousands of experienced outdoor enthusiasts.

It has excellent natural wicking ability, pulling moisture away from your skin to help your body easily regulate your body temperature in cold weather.

This base layer has a loose fit which allows it to be worn as a long sleeve t-shirt in warmer conditions.

Key Features:

  • 100% all-natural superfine 18.5-micron Merino wool ensures comfort all day long
  • Breathable materials keeping you cool in summer and warm in winter,
  • Merino wool’s natural wicking and odor-resistant properties keep you dry and comfortable while active in cold weather
  • Includes a 1-YEAR limited manufacturer’s warranty, which covers manufacturing and material defects
09/17/2021 01:16 am GMT
Terramar Women's Thermasilk Pointelle Scoop Terramar Women's Thermasilk Pointelle Scoop
$39.99-$92.36

Similar to merino wool, silk has excellent natural wicking properties to help pull moisture away from your skin to keep you warm in cold weather.

Silk is also very smooth and soft so you can be ensured that this skiing base layer won't irritate your skin even whilst skiing or snowboarding.

Ultra-lightweight and thin, you'll hardly realize that you have this base layer on under your other layers.

Key Features:

  • Comes in Black, Natural, and Grey options and in the following sizes: Small, Medium, Large, and X-Large.
  • Its made from 100% pure silk
  • Produced with ClimaSense treatment to neutralize odors, regulate your body temperature, and wick away any sweat
  • Features Ec2 Quick-Dri Thermoregulation Comfort Technology which allows the fabric to dry at a quick speed
09/17/2021 09:47 pm GMT
HEROBIKER Women's Thermal Underwear Set HEROBIKER Women's Thermal Underwear Set
$19.98-$24.98

This is a great choice if you are looking for the best women's base layer for skiing as you not only get the top but also the bottoms which are very useful if your lower half gets cold whilst out on the slopes.

This baselayer from Herobiker is thinly fleece-lined, giving it a very soft feel on the skin. This complete set is a great budget option as you don't have to purchase any additional leggings.

Key Features:

  • Thermal underwear set made of super skin-touch fabric that feels cozily soft
  • The latest 4-way stretch material provides a breathable and comfortable fit
  • Baselayer fabric is light but thick, which fits the skin perfectly
09/17/2021 07:05 pm GMT

Best Base Layer For Skiing & Snowboarding – Buyers Guide and FAQ

Choosing the right base layer for your next skiing and snowboarding adventure should be an important decision as it can make or break your trip. If you make a wrong choice you might end up cold, wet and uncomfortable which will reduce your time out on the slopes. 

And not all base layers will be suited to all environments, so use our handy guide below to ensure you pick the right base layer for your next adventure. 

Depending on the time of year you go skiing or snowboarding, there might be a big difference in the temperature. For example, skiing in Norway in November will be much colder than skiing in springtime in southern France. 

What is a base layer? 

The base layer is the clothing that is put closest to your skin. Some tight-fitting thermal base layers are referred to as a ‘second skin’. It can consist of your top and bottom half, coming in separate items of clothing or as an all in one (long-johns) base layer if you prefer.  

Base layers are designed to wick moisture and sweat away from your body to prevent your skin from being damp which would lead to you feeling wet and cold. 

How should a base layer fit?

For base layers to work properly they need to have a tight or athletic fit against your body. You will notice that some of the base layers we recommended are not super tight, however, as long as it is in contact with your skin, it will be able to wick away the moisture and perform optimally. 

If your base layer isn’t tight enough, it won’t be able to transfer the moisture away from your skin causing your skin to feel wet and cold. 

What is the wicking effect?

Like we said above, wicking is the pulling of moisture away from your skin. Certain materials are better at this than others and the fabric choice will probably be the most important choice to make when it comes to choosing a base layer. 

Many people think that cotton is a great material choice because it’s regarded as comfortable and warm, but for high activity exercises, it couldn’t be further from the truth.

Avoid using cotton at all costs! Cotton holds onto moisture very well, meaning it is terrible at wicking moisture away from your skin. This causes you to remain wet and cold. As a result, your core body temperature could drop quickly which can be very dangerous. 

What are base layers made from?

Recommended base layers for any winter sports are either made from synthetic materials or merino wool. It is not uncommon to see base layers (even those made with merino wool) made from a blend of different materials.

Both layers are great as a starting point but do come with some pros and cons, I’ll describe them below. 

Both types of base layers have pros and cons. They also work in different ways, which I’ll describe below.

Synthetic base layers 

Pros 
  • Made from synthetic materials
  • Lightweight
  • Great at wicking moisture away from your skin
  • Quick-drying 
  • Stretchy and comfortable 
  • Often cheaper than merino
Cons
  • Bad odor control 
  • Slow regulation of body temperature
  • Can become itchy and static overtime 

Merino wool base layer 

Pros 
  • Lightweight
  • Great at wicking moisture away from your skin
  • Quick-drying 
  • Soft on the skin 
  • Excellent odor protection 
Cons
  • Usually more expensive 
  • Can ‘sag’ over time 

If you have the budget, then merino wool is the premium choice of base layer for any winter sports and outdoor activities.

Its excellent odor control can allow you to ski for many days without the need for washing, and it can hold 30% of its weight in liquid without even feeling damp! 

Synthetic base layers do have their benefits, however, so a lot of the choice will come down to personal preference. 

Base layers and weight classes

Base layers for winter sports are usually classified into three weight classes: lightweight, mid-weight, and heavyweight. The weight classes are measured in grams/m2 fabric weight. The higher number of grams per square meter, the warmer the base layer is.

Lightweight insulation usually ranges from 170-200 grams. These are good at the end of the season in March or April when it is starting to get a little warmer.

If you pair them with a warm mid-layer, softshell or 3-in-1 jacket, you can also wear them earlier in the season. I would not recommend these for cold or icy conditions though.

Mid-weight insulation usually ranges from 200-300 grams. This weight class is the most versatile when it comes to recreational skiing.

With additional layers, you can wear a mid-weight base layer all year and even in hot weather. If you are looking to choose only one base layer for year-round, then the versatility of the mid-weight will serve you well. 

Heavyweight insulation is anything from 300 grams and up. If you like to go skiing in freezing temperatures early or mid-season, this is definitely the type of base layer you will want.

Heavyweight base layers can be worn as an extra layer of insulation on top of a lightweight base layer.

Conclusion

Choosing the best base layer for skiing or snowboarding, shouldn’t be a difficult task. Once you know why you need to choose certain materials and the benefits of each, and how the base layer should fit against your body, the decision is fairly simple. 

All of our recommendations are made from either synthetic materials or merino wool and therefore are perfect for wicking moisture away from your skin to keep you warm and dry. They also all have a tight or athletic fit against your skin. 

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