The testers who took this Cuddl Duds top on hikes on cooler, misty days found that it did not thermoregulate as well as the competition. What distinguished this top from other base layers in our test, though, was its comfort and fit: With that said, these would be perfect for sledding, down hill skiing, etc… or just out and about.
I also need to make sure and comment on the pouch. I've always found Timoteo to have a very comfortable pouch design, and these are now different. Designed for comfort, support, and flattery, you'll be very happy in the Timoteo Sport 2.
Similar to other cotton blend long underwear, the addition of the polyurethane gives is just enough stretch to keep it close to your body and keep it's shape during wearing and washing. The elastic waistband was well constructed and soft to the touch — perfect for all-day wear.
I found the contrast stitching to really give these an enhanced look. I tried the Color Cotton Leggings in both medium and large. Surprisingly, they both fit well — though I'd lean towards the large if possible. As a 34 inch waist, I often float between two sizes. Famous for their pouch design, the Toot pouch on these spats was the same as I find in their underwear styles. The pouch is comfortable, holds your package close, and creates an enhancing effect. The legs are shorter than you'd typically find in long underwear, but are perfect if you're wearing calf-height socks — which you'll often do during winter months.
The result is an incredibly soft, thermal material that is so comfortable, you'll want to wear these as lounge wear. And, let's make one thing perfectly clear….. The softness of this thermal cotton material is second to none. As we stated above, these are NOT your father's thermal long underwear.
Not only is the material a polar opposite from traditional thermal long underwear, the style is too. These have become my go-to long underwear for lounging around the house. The material is silky, soft and simply wraps around all of you. In addition, I especially liked the contrast stitching. If you're looking for something sexy to wear lounging around, these would fit the bill nicely. The fit of the microfiber long johns was spot on. The legs were a perfect length and the leg cuffs were soft and kept them from riding up.
The pouch design was comfortable, supportive, and sexy. You can't go wrong with the fit of the Malebasic Microfiber long johns. The waistband is comfortable as are the ankle cuffs. The overall fit of these long johns was perfect. Legs were of the correct length and the pouch area was adequate. Years of Wool History. Minus33 Merino Wool Clothing and Wool Baselayer was started with the foundation of providing high quality, warm, comfortable and functional Merino Wool Clothing and Merino Wool Socks to the active and Outdoor community.
Read more about our history. Merino Wool garments are biodegradable and return to their natural elements. Let Minus33 help keep you prepared for the unpredictable elements of nature so you can make the best out of your experience.
Superfine Merino Wool creates a fabric that is soft to the touch, allowing you to stay comfortable all day. Each of our distinct fabric weights utilize small micron measurements in the fibers before they are spun into yarns, keeping you itch-free. Merino Wool insulates against high temperatures and does not readily catch fire. Unlike with the Cuddl Duds top, Paradox treats this top with an oleophobic treatment a so-called odor-eliminating technology billed as Freshguard on the inside of its yarn to control odor and aid in wicking, which polyester fabrics do not naturally do.
Although the treatment is supposedly embedded in the polyester fibers, our testers found that our merino wool picks still smelled better than either of the synthetic picks after a day of use. Pierre Kim of Rhone warned us that some coated treatments in synthetics could often wash out completely after as few as 30 washes. Our testers found the zip to be an excellent addition to the basic design, especially for the price. Multiple people we interviewed said they had owned this top for years and that it showed less wear than other base layers.
Sizing tends to run about half a size larger than with the competition. It wicks away sweat while keeping you warm, all without feeling bulky. What impressed us is that it managed to offer a fit that was flush with the skin—not too tight but not too loose. Usually, a bottom works for one body type and not on everyone. But among our testers, from the bigger bootied to the skinny legged, the Rho LT Bottom fit a variety of body shapes. The gusseted crotch and side panels along the leg made a difference not just in sizing and look, but also in movement: Our testers felt much more mobile in this pair than in many of the other bottoms we tried.
But most notably, this pair never felt plasticky, unlike a lot of the bottoms we tested. The weight of the fabric is thin enough to breathe but thick enough to keep you decent when worn alone and, more important, warm. A lot of the bottoms we tried had fabric that bunched in the area behind the knees. Instead, it has just the right amount of stretch to move with you—and your knees. Flat seams prevented the rubbing, chafing, and itching that our testers experienced with other bottoms.
This unusual waistband ensured that the bottoms never felt like they were falling down—regardless of the shape of our tester or where our tester wore it on the waist. Unlike the Lululemon pant, the Rho LT also never felt like it was sucking us in. Our snowshoeing tester found them so comfortable and versatile that she used the same pair during a day in the snow on Mt. Hood, while hanging out in the backcountry hut, and then when she was wrapped in her sleeping bag at night.
Like many synthetics, this pair retained odor more than the wool pairs we tried, but it does have an anti-odor treatment. In fit and comfort, the Hot Chillys model was leaps ahead of similarly priced bottoms. And unlike most of the base layers we considered, this one is made in the US.
Our snowshoeing tester loved that even when she sank in deep snow near Trout Lake, Washington, these bottoms stuck in place on her waist. Straight out of the box, this pair had a strong factory odor that subsided with a washing. The BodyfitZone pair is designed to breathe well, with strategically placed mesh paneling in areas of the body that can overheat, like the back of the knee—a difference that our testers could feel during some winter mountaineering outside Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado.
But like all the wool pieces we considered, this pair is expensive. Performance—not style—is the priority here. Depending on how you roll, you may not want to wear this pair in public without pants. While overheating in long johns was often a problem with the bottoms we tested, these leggings seemed designed for people on the move. Like all the merino wool pieces we tried, the BodyfitZone Zone Leggings did not dry as fast as the synthetics.
This indicates that their moisture absorption rate is high—perhaps why they wicked better than other layers. The Icebreaker material dispersed the moisture across a wide surface area quickly in our tests, so these leggings never felt clammy and did as they should to keep us warm when they were moist from a drizzle or a sweaty climb. Our testers spotted minor pilling in the mesh areas, but not between the thighs or on the arms, where pilling and rubbing can be an issue.
We asked several people who had thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada over four to six months about the durability of their Icebreaker bottom. For most people, this likely translates into many years of use. The other complaint we got from our testers is that initially this bottom felt scratchy or that the fabric made them chafe during outdoor activities. These issues seemed to subside with washings as the fabric became softer.
Our previous runner-up, the Ibex Woolies 1 Crew , has been removed from this guide as Ibex has announced an operational shutdown. Although when tested this top performed well in indoor and outdoor environments, had a luxurious feel, and had nice length, we expect it to be widely unavailable very soon. But only half our testers shared my enthusiasm; the rest found the fabric itchy.
We still love the soft, stretchy NuYarn fabric, but the crew model lacks the flattering cut and the flair of the hooded model. We loved the fabric: Despite a relaxed fit, sizes ran smaller than on almost all the brands we tested. Even after we sized up, the sleeves felt short, and almost all our testers found the arms to be too tight. This well-fitting top would have been a pick were it not so similar to the less expensive Cuddl Duds FlexFit. This Lululemon shirt wicks sweat away well, effectively fights odor with a silver treatment, and has an articulated torso area that hides a muffin top.
The fabric was silky soft and very stretchy, not riding up at all when we put our hands above our heads, though the sizing and sleeve length ran short. This top is the almostpercent merino wool equivalent of the Paradox—affordable, functional, and durable.
This merino wool shirt fit well and got the job done for our testers, and it comes with L. This midweight top was a favorite of OutdoorGearLab, but it was too constricting, nonbreathable, and expensive to excite our testers. The sleeve length and shirt length were long enough not to ride up and expose cold spots such as the wrists or the lower back. Testers described the inside of this constricting top to be fleece-like, but the outside felt like neoprene—and seemed to breathe almost as poorly.
The midweight fabric also held a plasticky odor that did not disappear after washing. When our testers lifted their arms, they felt pulling and tightness in the armpits, and when they used the thumbholes, the shorter sleeves pulled and felt uncomfortable.
Nonetheless, some testers found it itchy, and no one thought it performed well in wet or moist conditions, as it had one of the slowest drying times of any base layer we tested. While this shirt wicked well and was the quickest to dry when wet, the fabric felt cold, even when dry, and the cut was so ill-fitting that our testers left this piece toward the bottom of the pile.
Kora Shola Crew: This base layer was not in the lightweight category we were testing, but we decided to test it because we curious about the yak-wool material. It breathed and wicked well; the company says that because yaks live at lower elevations and warmer climates than sheep, their wool regulates a wider range of temperatures better.
The yak wool was also a bit itchy, according to our testers. These bottoms are perfect for someone who wants the anti-stink and breathability benefits of a merino wool bottom without the usual hefty merino wool price.
Although this piece is not a traditional base layer, we were crazy about the fit, comfort, and soft fabric, and how well these bottoms stayed up. This pair seemed like the perfect set of running tights, and we wish we had reviewed it for our winter running tights guide instead of for this base-layer guide. These bottoms were too thick to wear under clothing but otherwise fit well and never slipped.
They wicked and breathed among the best. They just were too much fabric and warmth to wear as a base layer. Under Armour ColdGear Armour: With a great fit that stays up, these budget running tights work on their own or as a base-layer bottom. More than on any base layer we tested, the color faded after a few months of use. These budget tights stretched, wicked, and fit great—except the distance between the crotch and the top of the waistband felt too short.
Everyone who tried this pair said they loved it, aside from the fact that it kept falling down. A few testers found the fabric itchy. But some testers found it itchy, and it had one of the worst drying times of any of the bottoms in our test group. Because the fabric was so light, it was somewhat see-through, too. These budget leggings are warm and available in every color. Patagonia Merino Air Bottoms: We liked these soft, light, and ultra-breathable bottoms—but not if we had to layer them under pants.
They were too thick to sit well under other clothing, yet looked strange if not inappropriate when worn by themselves. Patagonia told us that these bottoms were discontinued for the season.
Our female testers found the rise to be too low, and the distance between the inseam and the top of the pant to be too short. With those problems, plus a thin waistband, this bottom made a plumber out of all of us. Kora Shola Leggings: They also ran small in sizing. And as with the top, the price on these bottoms was too high to be palatable for most people. Ibex Woolies I Bottom: Among our testers, the women found the fit to be off, and all of them noted that the top was pouchy and loose.
These bottoms rode high up on the belly button, and several testers found that the waistband was too narrow, digging into the stomach. Cuddl Duds Climatesmart Legging: In our tests, they also retained odor more readily than any other bottoms we tried. Although the durability of a base layer depends a lot on its fabric, good care will help maintain the shape and fit of your garment over its lifetime. With the right treatment, a good-quality base layer can last 10 years or more. On multiday trips, consider hanging your base layers in the sun to reduce odor, which can be just as effective as washing them.
Scientists in found that microplastics released during washing can end up in the environment. Do your clothing and the planet good by washing your base layers only when they need it.
To follow Leave No Trace backcountry-ethics principles, carry water feet away from a stream using a gallon-size or larger zip-close bag or bucket. Put your base layer in the container along with a small amount of biodegradable soap or no soap at all. Shake the bag or hand wash as you would at home. Hang to dry, preferably out of direct sunlight. Justin Lichter and Shawn Forry, the first and only people to thru-hike the Pacific Crest Trail from Canada to Mexico in the winter, phone and email interviews, February 10, Robert Thomas, senior apparel product line manager for Smartwool, phone interview, October 4, We respect your privacy.
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What’s the Perfect Thermal Underwear?
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