GREAT GEAR RECOMMENDATION - Best Base Layer List - Revised

The tried and true mountaineering three layer clothing system starts with what is next to your skin.  Be it synthetic or wool, the base layer has to keep you cool, warm, dry and be comfortable.

Here is the current list of base layer pieces that I am using and recommending.  Changes to the list will be made when necessary.

Sitka Gear Traverse Zip-T (as an expedition weight base or a light insulation layer) in Optifade Open Country camouflage and solid Ash.

REI Activestretch Zip T-Neck (outstanding as an expedition weight base or a light insulation layer - no longer available)

REI Lightweight Polartec Power Dry Half Zip longsleeve shirt

REI Midweight Polartec Power Dry Half Zip longsleeve shirt

REI Midweight Polartec Power Dry Long John Bottoms 

Patagonia Capilene 2 Lightweight longsleeve Zip Neck shirt 

Patagonia Capilene 4 Expedition Weight Zip Neck top

Smartwool NTS Micro 150 Longsleeve Crew shirt

Under Armour 6 inch Boxer Briefs (2013 models don't have a fly opening)

Under Armour Heatgear Tactical Longsleeve Crew shirt

Under Armour Heatgear Short Sleeve Crew shirts

The new Patagonia Long Sleeve All Weather Top with mesh back replaces the Helly Hansen Odin Fish Net mesh body Zip T-Neck (best for high or ultra high exertion situations - no longer available)

Base Layer Pieces Still To Be Considered
Looking for more Merrino wool base layers to test.

Items Previously Recommended
REI MTS Polypro longsleeve t-neck light, medium and expedition weights (still outstanding but no longer available)
Cabelas Polar Expedition Weight Polartec Power Dry Zip T-Neck

Cabelas Polar Expedition Weight Polartec Power Dry Bottom
Arcteryx RHO LTW Zip Top
Arcteryx RHO LTW Bottom
Outdoor Research Saturn Suit
Under Armour Coldgear Tactical Longsleeve Crew
Under Armour Coldgear Longsleeve Compression Mock
Massif Flamestretch Uni (FR) union suit
Massif Flamestretch Pullover (FR) zip t-neck
Massif Hot Johns Bottoms (FR)


Wade Nelson

Sorting through the fads and fashion of the outdoor equipment industry to identify and promote the very best wilderness gear for high end recreational users, backcountry professionals and government agencies.

Hardcore Outdoor is dedicated to those who won't or can't turn back.


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  • January 7, 2014 Jeremy wrote:
    Have you ever used First Lite products? Thanks for the gear recommendations.
    Reply to this
    1. January 8, 2014 Wade Nelson wrote:
      No, but I would like to.  I use some Merino wool pieces now and am a big fan but I would like to look further into those kinds of garments.  Thanks for the comment.
      Reply to this
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