Here is my selectionof the best merino wool base layers for 2019.

For our hiking and snowshoeing trip in Northern Norway we were looking for new merino wool base layers (which we can also wear for other outdoor activities like skiing, snowboarding or mountaineering).

Also check one of our packrafting videos where we were wearing base layers to stay warm while paddling 1 week in freezing cold conditions.


Pest Merino Base Layers for hiking backpacking and packrafting

However, there are also alternatives out there which I would like to present in this blog post which might be even better base layer options depending on your needs.

Icebreaker has sent us a sample base layer which we are going to test in Norway.

My first impression is that the Icebreaker base layer feels quite comfortable and soft on the skin.

However, we really need to test it first to give a final conclusion.

Lapland Finland

Patrick snowshoeing in Finnish Lapland. One example where a warm woolen base layer makes sense.


Weight comparison table

Icebreaker Men's Everyday Long Sleeve Crewe Top

Icebreaker Men's Everyday Long Sleeve Crewe Top

Weight: 210g

The Icebreaker Men’s Everyday Long Sleeve crewe is made from a 200gm rib fabric and us a great base layer under a shell or as a stand alone shirt. It comes in a slim design and dries fast.


Helly Hansen Men's HH Warm Ice Long Sleeve Base Layer Crew

Helly Hansen Men's HH Warm Ice Long Sleeve Base Layer Crew

Weight: 230g

The Helly Hansen Men’s HH Warm Ice Long Sleeve Base Layer Crew consists of less Merino wool and more synthetic fibers than the Icebreaker shirts. It might be a better option if you are planning to be very active as the lower percentage of merino may let the base layer dry faster. On the other hand it will not keep you that warm as the Icebreaker base layers.


Icebreaker Men's Oasis Long Sleeve Crewe Top

Icebreaker Men's Oasis Long Sleeve Crewe Top

Weight: 232g

The Icebreaker Men’s Oasis Long Sleeve Crewe is similar to the Icebreaker Men’s Everyday Long Sleeve Crewe Top but a view grams heavier and a slightly different design.


Smartwool Men's NTS Mid 250 Crew Base Layer Shirt

Smartwool Men's NTS Mid 250 Crew Base Layer Shirt

Weight: 260g

The Smartwool Men’s NTS Mid 250 Crew Base Layer Shirt is the warmest base layer from Smartwool and also slightly warmer than the other products mentioned in this blog post.


Icebreaker Men's Zone One Sheep Suit

Icebreaker Men's Zone One Sheep Suit

Weight: 590g

The Icebreaker Men’s Zone One Sheep Suit is an all-in-one baselayer solution made of 200 lightweight merino like the Icebreaker shirts mentioned above. However, one advantage on the Icebreaker Men’s Zone One Sheep Suit is that it has dedicated heat zones under your arms so heat can flow away from your body more easily. This is one of the products which we have received from Icebreaker and we are going to test in Norway.


Conclusion

The base layers above are all possible options if you plan a trip to colder regions. Selecting a base layer depends on the activity you are planning to do. For normal hiking or not that intense activities I would rather take a base layer which has more merino wool in it rather than synthetic fibers. It’s also important that the base layer stays next to the skin so it can dry faster if you sweat. The choice is yours.

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