My Favorite Base Layers for Hiking and Backpacking

Base layers are for moisture management. A next-to-skin layer, they work by wicking moisture away from your skin and can also help to prevent chafing. These are the base layers I’ve used and recommend.

my favorite base layers for hiking and backpacking

Showers Pass Ridgeline Half-Zip Long Sleeve Top: This top is super light and comfortable, and the half zip allows for venting when needed. Featuring anti-microbial properties and UPF 40+ UV protection, the Ridgeline fights odor forming bacteria all while maintaining a comfortable temperature, even while sweating.

Icebreaker Merino Wool Oasis Crew Long Underwear Top: Made of soft merino wool, this top is form fitting and works well as a moisture-wicking layer. I like to wear it as a sleep layer when backpacking. View at REI – Women’s | View at REI – Men’s

Patagonia Capilene Midweight Bottoms: Made from 100% recycled polyester, these base layer bottoms include wide waistband for comfort, and a heat-trapping grid on the inside. View at Patagonia – Women’s | View at Patagonia – Men’s

Columbia OmniHeat leggings: Synthetic leggings lined with silver dots to reflect body heat, these base layer bottoms are less bulky than most options, so they work well when wearing multiple layers. View at Columbia – Women’s | View at Columbia – Men’s

REI Co-op Lightweight Base Layer Long-Sleeve Crew Top: Similar to the Icebreaker top at a much lower price, this lightweight merino top layers well without adding bulk. Spandex in the blend gives the fabric 4-way stretch, while underarm gussets ensure you can reach and move with ease, and the flatseam construction is comfortable against your skin. Manufactured using Fair Trade practices. View at REI – Women’s | View at REI – Men’s

REI Co-op Merino 185 Base Layer Bottoms: These lightweight wool base layer bottoms are soft without feeling itchy and provide good wicking and warmth. Features include a gusseted crotch and flatseam construction for comfort. Manufactured using Fair Trade practices. View at REI – Women’s | View at REI – Men’s

Warmest Base Layers

Woolx Merino Wool layers

Woolx Merino Wool: I’ve been looking for warmer base layers to wear on cold weather camping and backpacking trips and these heavy and midweight merino wool items from Woolx fit that bill. View my full review of these base layers.

Underwear

hiking underwear

Patagonia Women’s Barely Bra: A sports bra that doesn’t bind, create a uniboob, or pull your arm out of its socket to get it off. The fabric is soft, wicks well, and doesn’t feel restrictive the way most bras do. View at Patagonia

Patagonia Womens Active Mesh Boy Shorts Underwear: I only take one extra pair of underwear on backpacking trips. It’s simple to wash them at camp and they dry fast so you always have a clean pair to wear. These are so comfortable, plus combined with the bra, they make a great backcountry bikini! View at Patagonia

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