Best Base Layers for Skiing

Best Base Layer for Skiing

Perhaps the most important clothing when you are out for skiing or snowboarding is the thermal base layer that you wear under every outer and mid layer. An ideal base layer should be a perfect fit, lightweight and comfortable enough to keep you warm and dry. Because a poor fit would only make skiing more challenging for you and leave you cold and damp.

In a Hurry? Here are Our Top Choices

The 5 Best Base Layers for Skiing

In this article, we’ll give a quick overview of the best base layer for skiing available today in the market. Take a look and choose your base layer wisely because any old, long-sleeve shirt won’t cut it for the extreme weather.

1. Smartwool Merino 250 Baselayer Pattern Crew

Smartwool Merino 250 Baselayer for women is made from 100% merino wool that is extremely comfortable against your skin. Their crew tops come in a wide variety of patterns and colors to match your style. They are fun and cool to wear, unlike those boring neutral-colored thermals.

Coming to its functionality, Smartwool base layer is the warmest one of the base layers in this list. It features back-pack friendly shoulder panels and flatlock seams. This thermal is odor-free and is perfect to be worn under layers for your next skiing trip on the mountains. Due to the extra warmth of merino wool, you can even wear this base layer under an outer shell in moderate winters.


  • 100% merino wool.
  • Odor free.
  • Moisture wicking material.
  • Extreme warmth and comfort.
  • Cool and funky colors and prints.


  • Slightly expensive for a base layer.
  • Size may not fit petite women.

2. Icebreaker Tech Top Long Sleeve Half Zip

Icebreaker Tech Top is another base layer manufactured in premium merino wool jersey fabric that makes it warm and odor free. It comes in a perfect size that can even be called a slim fit. However, a size bigger should be perfect for you.

This base layer features a longer back hem, a zippered neck for ventilation and a high neck design. It also comes with forward side seams and gusseted underarms to provide better motion. However, this is a quite pricier option.


  • 100% merino wool.
  • Machine wash friendly.
  • Zippered collar for ventilation.
  • Flatlock seams to prevent chafing.


  • Quite expensive.
  • Might be too tight for some.

3. Helly Hansen HH Dry Stripe Base Layer Crew

Helly Hansen HH Dry Stripe Base Layer Crew comes in FOURTEEN different color combinations to choose from. Its design features contrasting stripes running down the side of each sleeve. Made from a fast-drying polypropylene, this base layer is one of the driest options available. It fits tightly around your chest and torso.

The Helly Hansen base layer is perhaps the most affordable yet effective option available today that will last for years. It is great for keeping moisture away but might not be odor resistant. Therefore, you’ll need to wash it after every use.


  • Very affordable.
  • Durable and effective.
  • Keeps the moisture away.
  • Comes in a stylish design and great fit.
  • Available in many color options.


  • Can get stinky after too much precipitation.

4. Under Armour ColdGear Armour Compression Crew

Under Armour ColdGear Armour Compression Crew is another affordable and durable option in our list. This base layer is made from elastane and polyester, which makes it great for insulation. Made in a dual-layer compression material, it is available in six colors.

Since compression clothing is tight, you might feel uncomfortable at first. But rest assured that this base layer will keep you warm and safe from the weather when worn under outer layers. For the best fit, order one size bigger than your actual size.


  • Inexpensive and long lasting.
  • Compression fabric.
  • Six color options.
  • Great weatherproofing.


  • Might not be too comfortable for someone wearing a compression fabric for the first time.

5. Bambool Thermics Baselayer Top

Bambool Thermics Baselayer Top is an environment-friendly base layer made from sustainable bamboo, wool, and elastane. The material of this thermal top is extremely soft and naturally antibacterial, which makes it perfect to compel odor and moisture.

This base layer top is only available in black color and features a high neck with zipper to regulate the temperature. The long sleeves come with thumb holes are perfect to keep your fingers warm and offer a full coverage. The shirt also comes with armpit gussets and flat-lock seams.


  • Eco-friendly material.
  • Great for wicking away moisture and odor.
  • Great fit.
  • Extremely soft fabric.


  • The shirt should have been an inch or two longer.

What to Consider When Buying a Base Layer for Skiing

Here’s a list of the most important things you should consider when buying a thermal base layer for skiing:

  • Material: Merino base layers offer perfect warmth and comfort as they are great for heat retention. Being lightweight, merino wools is excellent in terms of breathability. On the other hand, synthetic fibers like polyester are also great for wicking away the moisture and regulating airflow. However, they are not as effective in keeping you warm.
  • Fit: An ideal base layer should have a not-too-tight slim fit so that it effectively traps body hit.
  • Breathability: Although base layers are made for heat retention, they shouldn’t retain moisture and odor. Choose a design and material that regulates the temperature and is effective in ventilation. Zippered necks should be great for regulating temperature.

Our Final Thoughts

After comparing all the options mentioned above, our top choice for the best base layer for skiing has to be the Bambool Thermics Baselayer Top for men and Smartwool Merino 250 Baselayer Pattern Crew for women. Both the options are effective in keeping you warm, dry and odor-free. The Bambool base layer is especially incredible considering that is its 100% eco-friendly.

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