Are you looking for the best base layers for skiing in 2023? Whether a novice or an experienced skier, finding the best base layer to wear under your ski pants is essential to ensure your time on the mountain is as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.
Not only does a good base layer help keep you warm and dry even when temperatures drop, but it also helps keep your muscles loose so that each run feels smooth and effortless.
With advances in fabric technology making them lighter, more breathable, and better-insulated than ever, there are plenty of great options — so let’s look at what makes an excellent choice for ski apparel this year!
What are the best base layers?
Base layers are an essential part of your gear for skiing and snowboarding. The best baselayer will provide insulation, help wick away moisture, and keep you dry and warm even in the coldest temperatures.
This site contains affiliate links to products. At no cost to you, we may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. If you do make a purchase, we cannot thank you enough. It keeps our fridge stocked with caviar and champagne. Just kidding, of course, but seriously we genuinely appreciate it when you use our links to make your purchases.
100% Merino Wool
- Best Overall – Smart Classic Thermal
- Best Runner Up – Woolx Glacier LS Crew
- Best Honorable Mention – Icebreaker 200 Oasis Crew
Hybrid/Mix Merino Wool
- Best Overall – Ridge Merino Aspect Midweight
- Best Runner Up – Smartwool Classic All-Season
- Best Honorable Mention – Arc’teryx Rho Hybrid Crew Neck
- Best Overall – Helly Hansen Lifa Stripe Crew
- Best Runner Up – Patagonia Capilene Midweight
- Best Honorable Mention – REI Co-op Lightweight Crew
100% Merino Wool
Smartwool Classic Thermal
The Classic has been re-engineered to provide optimal warmth and performance. This base layer is one of their heaviest, constructed with 100% responsibly sourced Merino wool and extra shoulder panels to prevent discomfort while adventuring outdoors. Its flatlock seam construction helps to minimize chafing.
- Made in the USA
- 100% Merino wool fabric made with an interlock knit
- Fit updated to improve functionality while enhancing aesthetics
- 10” center front zipper with semi-locking slider
It’ll keep you warm; with it being the heaviest, it is not our go-to for more extreme sports, at least for me. I tend to generate a lot of heat, so lightweight items work better for me.
Woolx Glacier LS Crew
best Runner up
The Glacier top is designed with a purpose: made with ultra-heavyweight fabric that is soft and comfortable to wear while also locking in heat to keep out the frosty air. It offers total freedom of movement and maintains insulation when wet.
- Extreme warmth without bulk
- UPF Rating 50
- Breathable & moisture wicking
- Odor destroying
- 3 1/2” cuffs with thumbhole
I love my Woolx long sleeve. The only downside is it does attract a lot of lint, hair, etc., for that reason, and I typically wear it under something. It does keep us nice and warm.
Icebreaker 200 Oasis Crew
best honorable mention
Crafted from 100% merino. It features body-contouring designs that provide maximum movement and flexibility during any activity you might undertake. Not too heavy, not too light, with all the natural benefits of merino wool, including temperature regulation, odor resistance, and keeping you warm without overheating.
- Gusseted underarms for mobility and comfort
- Offset shoulder seams to prevent friction
- Flatlock seams to prevent chafing
- Drop tail hem for added coverage
This one is great for a good outdoor workout, either alpine touring or snowshoeing. Anything where you’ll be working up a sweat. With its lighter weight and still wicks away the moist
Hybrid/Mix Merino Wool
Ridge Merino Aspect Midweight
The Aspect Merino Wool Base Layer Crew is tailored to move with you as you move. It features thumb loops and an extended cut that stays tucked in while you play. It’s made with exclusive design and high-end materials like m(force) Technology, which gives it superior durability compared to other wool base layers. Aspect Merino Wool Base Layer guarantees the best feeling against your skin with its buttery softness.
- Natural and sustainable Merino Woo
- Stronger than comparable weights of Merino fabrics
- Versatile mid-weight base layer weight that is warm
- Flatlocked seams to prevent chafing
- Extended cut, especially for layering, stays tucked in
As far as mixed or hybrid Merino wool garments go, this is another one of our favorites, especially snowshoeing. It’s a little thin, but it feels very nice against the skin and works great even as an outer item to wear. For spring skiing, wear this and a coat, and it’s perfect for all-day riding.
Smartwool Classic All-Season
best runner up
Smartwool’s Core Spun Merino Base Layer Long Sleeve. Crafted with lightweight, responsibly-sourced Merino, this base layer contributes to a more sustainable future with plant-based dye colorways and smooth flatlock seams that help minimize chafing and offset stripes to lie smoothly under pack straps. No matter the season and activity, this top is made for it!
- Our lightest-weight Merino jersey fabric uses a nylon core to increase durability while still keeping 100% Merino wool next to the skin
- Offset shoulder and side seams designed to increase comfort and minimize chafing while wearing a backpack
- Side seams wrap to front for body-enhancing fit
- Flatlock seam construction designed to minimize chafing
If you are one to wear base layers year-round, then this is a good one for you.
Arc’teryx Rho Hybrid Crew Neck
best honorable mention
Halfway between a technical base layer and a casual wardrobe staple, the Arc’teryx Rho Hybrid Crew Neck offers unbeatable comfort and a range of motion for a wide range of outdoor activities. It is crafted with Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) certified Merino wool that has the ability to efficiently regulate temperature resist odors and static, and is luxuriously soft next to the skin.
- Thermally efficient with stretch comfort
- Allows moisture vapor to escape, helping regulate temperature and elevating comfort inside the garment
- Lightweight, natural anti-odor properties
- Produced in a Fair Trade Certified facility
- High-performance designs for diverse activities and conditions
They make a great product, and it does an excellent job of warmth and wicking moisture, but it is not our go-to base layer since there are other options at a better price point.
Helly Hansen Lifa Stripe Crew
Combining style with performance, Helly Hansen’s Lifa base layers are crafted to maintain optimal comfort and breathability during physical activities. These technical base layers provide warmth with their moisture management features. A nod to the iconic sailor stripe gives this long-sleeve crew top a vintage look and feel.
- Lightweight insulation
- Flatlock seams for max comfort and to reduce chafing
- Natural stretch fabric
- bluesign® product, environmentally friendly production, and responsible use of resources
Good price point and good features, but not the best at reducing odor. If you tend to sweat during activities, it’ll need to be washed more often.
Patagonia Capilene Midweight
best runner up
Classic, all-around, 100% recycled polyester baselayer is perfect for all seasons. The hollow-core yarns and a diamond-grid back are designed to trap warm air while wicking away moisture to keep you cool and dry. HeiQ® Pure odor control means your baselayer won’t get snagged on unpleasant odors, allowing you can wear it comfortably all day long. In addition, this piece is Fair Trade Certified™.
- Raglan shoulder seams allow freedom of movement, with a full underarm gusset for range of motion and chafe-free comfort
- Elastic thumb loops for secure hand coverage
- The smooth, soft face makes for easy layering; HeiQ® Pure odor control keeps things fresh
- Classic crew styling with internal neck tape for added comfort; locker loop for hang drying
For synthetic materials, the price point is way too high. It works well, but again, not the best at odor management.
REI Co-op Lightweight Crew
best honorable mention
The REI Co-op lightweight long-sleeve base layer crew is the perfect companion for any outdoor activity. It offers a 4-way stretch for a full range of motion. The fabric does its job with moisture-wicking and quick-drying properties. It will keep you warm until your exertion picks up and then wick away sweat.
- Made of a soft polyester blend that wicks sweat and dries fast
- Spandex in the blend gives the fabric a 4-way stretch
- The lower back hem stays tucked when you stretch
- UPF 50+ sun protection
- Fair Trade Certified™
A great price if you are good with synthetics. Plus, with it being an REI product, if it does not work out the first time you wear it, you can always return it. Bonus for the UPF 50+.
Airblaster Hoodless Ninja Suit
Alternative winner – Airblaster offers both merino wool and synthetic blend suits.
With its distinctive design, this hoodless base layer keeps the elements out and your coziness levels up. Don’t settle for less because of a hood that makes you feel too closed off – the Hoodless Ninja Suit has reimagined how we layer up without sacrificing warmth or comfort. Experience the feeling of complete body coverage without feeling constricted. Strap on the Hoodless Ninja Suit today, and stay warm with the top down!
- 4-way stretch AIR-TECH fabric with Ninja Star embroidery
- 350° waist zip – because the powder is better after a big dump
- Front fly for quick access for number 1’s
- Stretch-stitched neck hole with chin protector
- Thumb loops at cuffs
- Waistband drawcord
I’m really liking the Ninja Suit for skiing these days. It is thin enough not to be restrictive under my bibs but thick enough to offer warmth on the chairlift rides back up. They offer suits with hoods, but I wear a balaclava for face protection, and with a hood, it would be too warm with a helmet on for me.
The Best Baselayers are?
When it comes to base layers, there is one clear choice: merino wool. Merino wool base layers are renowned for their comfort, breathability, and warmth compared to synthetic fabrics.
This magic fiber regulates body temperature, wicking away moisture when you get hot and retaining your natural body heat when the temperatures dip. Forget about changing base layers throughout the day.
A merino base layer works rain or shine and keeps you comfortable from sunrise to sunset. With a proper fit and care, merino baselayers can last for years, making them an economical choice for outdoor adventurers everywhere.
Our top three picks with 100 percent merino wool will keep you warm and wick moisture away. But our top pick goes to the Smartwool Classic. This garment will not let you down.
So, what are the best base layers for skiing in 2023? Any of the options on this list will serve you well. Still, our top picks would have to be the Smartwool Classic Thermal, Woolx Glacier LS Crew, or the Icebreaker 200 Oasis Crew.
All three of these garments offer excellent insulation, breathability, and moisture management capabilities, making them perfect for a day on the slopes.
If you’re looking for something that will keep you warm and comfortable all day long, we highly recommend giving one of these products a try.
See you out on the slopes!