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Best Base Layer for Women: Get the Best One to Keep You Comfortable and Warm

woman wearing bamboo base layer

You all agree that hiking, camping, and mountaineering among other outdoor activities require you to wear the best base layer for women?

There are numerous choices on today’s market, though. This can be a problem, especially if you do not know what defines a good women’s base layer for your application. You certainly need reliable buying tips and suggestions of the ideal products.

And that is the precise reason why we prepared this brochure. We are going to breakdown all the important features that a high performing base layer must have. We have also supplied you with an all-inclusive list of highly recommended products.

Product NameWeightMaterial/fabricAvailable sizesPrice
ColdPruf1 lb40% polyester, 60% combined ring spun cottonS, M, L, XL, and XXLCheck price on Amazon
Patagonia Capilene0.33 lbPolartec power grid fabricXS, S, and MCheck price on Amazon
TASC Performance Hybrid Tee0.45 lb52% cotton, 43% viscose, and 5% lycra spandexXS, S, M, L, and XLCheck price on Amazon
Duofold  Thermatrix Shirt1 lb8% spandex, 92% polyesterS, M, L, and XLCheck price on Amazon
Hot Chillys1 lb100% polyesterXS, S, M, L, and XLCheck price on Amazon
Helly Hansen1 lb43% polypropylene, 57% merino woolXS, S, M, L, XL, and XXLCheck price on Amazon
Icebreaker  Oasis Crewe Top0.56 lb100% merino woolXS, S, M, L, and XLCheck price on Amazon
32 Degrees1 lb6% spandex, 16% acrylic, 78% polyesterS, M, L, and XLCheck price on Amazon

Things to Consider Before Buying

You can best improve your outdoor experience by wearing the appropriate clothing for the occasion. Women’s base layers are among the latest clothing that offers better insulation in the cold. The following buying tips are meant to help you find the best layer/top/shirt.

The importance of moisture wicking

In cold weather, a base layer made of synthetic or wool fabric can be very useful for a hiker for survival. The reason why they are more important is that cotton absorbs the sweat from your skin and keeps it against your skin. That moisture makes your skin damp and keeps you cold.

woman hiker wearing synthetic base layer

That clearly shows that cotton will keep you cold. If the weather is warm, then cotton may be a good option, but for cold weather, you need wool or synthetic base layer if you want to keep yourself warm and active.

Weight and snug fit

Weight depends on the fabric and what it included in the base layer. You need to consider what kind of base layer will suit you the best and is the weight suitable for the activities you are going to do. If you are looking for an all-rounder then a mid-weight layer might be a good option.

For cold weather, go for a rather heavy base layer which will keep you warm. And, for warmer weather, go for a lightweight base layer. For aerobics, go for even an ultra-light weight fabric.

woman playing tennis in base layer clothing

When you are buying any piece of clothing fitting is the most important aspect. Don’t buy something if it doesn’t fit you well. Base layer needs to be a perfect fit because you need to move around and if you are wearing a comfortable base layer then that you’ll be comfortable overall.

Base layer doesn’t mean skin tight or something that needs to be short. You should buy a base layer that is long enough to sit on your hip and bum. This will cover you up and will be very helpful in cold weather. So, buy a base layer that fits you well and feels comfortable.

You need a breathable layer with good UPF

Breathability is really important because breathability will keep you warm during cold weather and will keep you cool when it’s cold outside. Moisture wicking fabrics are breathable and they let the moisture out and will keep you warm. So when you are looking for base layer keep in mind the breathability factor.

Picture of a woman wearing Montane Primino Baselayer

UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) is an important feature because most of the times sun rays can penetrate through your upper layer clothing, if your base layer has UPF then your skin will be protected from harmful rays and you won’t have to worry about being in sunlight for too long.

How fast does the fabric dry?

Drying duration of your base layer is important because if you get wet and you are stuck somewhere far from home the drying factor will be your major concern. The faster your clothes dry the quicker you can move somewhere safer.

So drying duration of the fabric should be kept in mind when buying base layer. The base layer is going to be in direct contact with your skin so if it’s wet, then it can make you sick faster than you can imagine so you need to make sure it’s completely dry before you put it on.

Durability of the fabric

Durability matters a lot too, because you are going to use it excessively and the base layer is something that is used regularly and excessively. So you need to buy a base layer that is durable will stand against the excessive use and abuse.

picture of a woman climbing the mountain

The synthetic base layer is usually more durable than wool base layers. If you are going on a long trip, then you should make sure that you can rely on the product you are buying, because it can prove to be a bit of an issue for you.

Top Products on Today’s Market

You will never run short of women’s layers/shirts/tops on the market. In fact, there are so many brands and models, and you might be overwhelmed by the choices. We have prepared the following list to make things easier for you.

ColdPruf Base LayerColdPruf Women's Basic Dual Layer

Price: $10 – $20

Weight: 1 lb

Material: 40% polyester, 60% combined ring spun cotton

Specific features: Imported, thermachoice, true sizing, ring spun yarns, tag-less & flat seams

Best use: Backpacking, camping, and mountaineering

Description: The ColdPruf Base Layer is made of 40% polyester and 60% cotton. This base layer is available in two colors black and white and you can get it in all sizes. This product is suitable for cold to very cold weather.

The air is trapped between the layers of the fabric which keeps you warm in the cold weather. The fabric is extremely comfortable and feels soft on the skin. The price range is between $10 and $20, depending on where you buy it from.

The fitting of the base layer is accurate to make you comfortable and it’s breathable. You can totally rely on this base layer to keep you warm and comfortable during cold weather. The base layer is specifically designed for a women’s frame so that it fits perfectly.

Overall, this product has some great features and feedbacks so you should definitely check this out. It will serve you well for as long as possible.

PROS:

  • The polyester and combined ring spun cotton materials form a very strong fabric that does not wear down easily.
  • The layer is available in numerous size options for your preference, and it is also available in two colors.
  • This layer features Thermachoice system, which will suit your application accordingly.
  • The ColdPruf FigurFit technology guarantees you a perfect feminine outfit that will define you better.

CONS:

  • This is a snug fit base layer, but it is only available in two colors.

Related: This product should be bought together with the ColdPruf Platinum Layer Bottom. The top and bottom layers from the same brand will offer you unmatched outfit and insulation.

Check the price on Amazon

Patagonia Capilene LayerPatagonia Capilene Crew

Price: $30 – $50

Weight: 0.33 lb

Material: Polartec power grid fabric

Specific features: Breathable, moisture wicking, internal neck tape, binding collar, locker loop

Best use: Mountaineering, hiking

Description: The Patagonia Capilene Layer is made of polyester. The base layer is available in 4 amazing colors black, green, purple and gray. This base layer provides you versatility with its breathable and lightweight fabric. It will provide insulation during cold weather and will keep you dry during hiking or climbing.

The base layer has smooth layering and it the grid is for moisture wicking to keep you warm. The polyester used is 93% recycled and it’s treated for permanent odor control. The base layer features a rib knit collar that has internal neck tape to provide comfort and underarm gussets for unrestricted shoulder movement.

Elastic thumb loops are there to provide a secure hand grip. The drop tale is to give you extra coverage and the flat lock seams to lessen the chaffing. The price is quite reasonable with all the features that it offers.

This base layer is lightweight, comfortable and versatile, making it a good choice.

PROS:

  • The Polartec power grid along with the polyester material form a smooth, easy layering for a comfortable wear.
  • The fabric is brushed next to your skin to maximize moisture-wicking, breathability, and warmth.
  • The layer is incorporated with a locker loop to assist with hang drying, and an internal neck tape for superior comfort.
  • The available sizing chart has three options (X-Small, Small, and medium) for your convenience and preference.

CONS:

  • This women’s layer is available in limited color options.

Related: Consider buying the Patagonia Capilene Bottom, which completes the outfit to offer you maximum insulation, warmth, comfort, and durability.

Check the price on Amazon

TASC Performance Hybrid Teetasc Performance Women's Hybrid Fitted Long Sleeve Tee

Price: $20 – $50

Weight: 0.45 lb

Material: 52% cotton, 43% viscose, and 5% lycra spandex

Specific features: Lightweight, imported, moisture wicking, odorless, UPF protected, thumb holes

Best use: Winter hiking, camping, mountaineering, skiing

Description: The TASC Performance Hybrid Tee is made of 52% cotton, 43% viscose from bamboo and 5% spandex. This product is available in two very beautiful colors. You can get this in any size you want. This base layer is moisture-wicking that means it will keep you warm during cold weather by getting rid of sweat from your skin.

The product also has anti odor coverage, which is a huge plus because all that sweating can make you smell really bad and you can wash it regularly in outdoors. Additionally, it has UPF protections means it will protect your skin from harmful sun rays.

This base layer also features a higher crew neck and thumb holes that provide safe hand coverage. The price range of this product is between $40 and $50, depending on where you buy it from. All in all, this product offers some great features and can be a good investment choice.

PROS:

  • The combination of cotton, viscose, and Lycra spandex forms a fabric that is 4-way stretch and very durable.
  • This long sleeve tee is available in three distinct color options that give you a unique appearance.
  • The top has a unique design at the hand that is fitted with a hole for the thumb to pass through, ensuring that no cold gets in through your hands.
  • Comes with a UPF rating of 50+ that ensures UV light exposure is not a problem to you.

CONS:

  • This women’s layer provides a good fit for athletic bodies and not women with chubbier bodies.

Related: TASC also provides you with the Nola Legging, which will form a complete outfit when worn together with the long sleeve tee.

Check the price on Amazon

Duofold Thermatrix ShirtDuofold  Thermatrix

Price: $10 – $70

Weight: 1 lb

Material: 8% spandex, 92% polyester

Specific features: Thermatrix technology, 3D textured matrix fabric, super soft stitching, raglan sleeves, thumb holes, excellent moisture management, and machine washable

Best use: Backpacking, camping, hiking during the cold months

Description: The Duofold Thermatrix Shirt is made of polyester and spandex. It’s available in all sizes and 7 different vibrant colors. The fitting is very accurate and the price is quite reasonable as it ranges from $10 to $40.

The product has quick drying vapor technology that enables it to vaporize moisture quickly. The moisture wicking technology works very efficiently and keeps you warm and cozy. The stitching of this base layer is very soft to make you feel comfortable and avoid any irritation.

This product also features 3d textured matrix for moisture wicking and it makes small air pockets to retain body heat. This base layer also has thumb holes, to keep your sleeves from riding up. This product is perfectly suitable for hiking and skiing.

The fabric is durable and dries faster so if you get wet, then you can dry it quickly and save time. It’s stretchable so moving around wearing this is very convenient. It’s got some really good feedback so you must check it out.

PROS:

  • The layer’s fabric is made of spandex and polyester materials, making the fabric strong, stretch-free, and high performing.
  • This women’s layer is available in seven different colors for preference and convenience.
  • The layer is equipped with thumbholes that provide you with better hand insulation and convenience.
  • You will never be irritated with this layer, thanks to the soft stitching and raglan sleeves.

CONS:

  • This is a tight layer for athletic bodies, thus not convenient for chubby ladies.

Related: Duofold also provides you with the Thermatrix Performance Thermal Leggings. The leggings complete the outfit and provide you with full body insulation.

Check the price on Amazon

Hot Chillys LayerHot Chillys Women's Lamont Zip-T Base Layer Top

Price: $40 – $80

Weight: 1 lb

Material: 100% polyester

Specific features: Moisture wicking, ultraviolet protection, odor blocking, machine wash

Best use: Hiking, camping, mountaineering

Description: The Hot Chillys Layer is made of 100% polyester. The product is available in all sizes and black color. The price range of this amazing base layer top goes from $50 to $80, depending on where you buy it from.

This base layer offers some really great features like moisture wicking, odor blocking, and UV protection. Moisture wicking will keep you warm during cold weather and odor blocking will keep the smell of sweat away.

Ultraviolet protection means that it will protect against the harmful sun rays. It’s a perfect choice for mountaineering and cold weather. The design is made for cold weather and chilly beach night use. It’s lightweight, durable and comfortable and can be washed in machine easily.

The fitting of this base layer is very comfortable and if you buy the right size it will fit like a glove. Overall, it’s a good choice if you are planning to hike in cold weather.

PROS:

  • The 100% polyester material is tough, stretch-free, and very reliable in cold weather.
  • The fabric has a 40+ UV protection that keeps you comfortable when exposed to UV light.
  • The polyester fabric is highly breathable and odor-free, it wicks moisture to keep your skin sweat-free and dry.
  • This is a highly versatile women’s layer that is machine washable for convenience.

CONS:

  • This exceptionally designed base layer is available in limited color options.

Related: Hot Chillys also sells the Lamont Bottom that you can conveniently buy along with the base layer. The bottom will complete the outfit, and provide you with maximum insulation.

Check the price on Amazon

Helly Hansen Base LayerHelly Hansen Women's HH Warm Ice Longsleeve Base Layer

Price: $20 – $100

Weight: 1 lb

Material: 43% polypropylene, 57% merino wool

Specific features: Non-itch, two layer design, flat lock stitching, LIFA stay dry technology

Best use: Hiking, backpacking, camping

Description: The Helly Hansen Base Layer is available in so many different colors and prints, which give you a lot to choose from. The product is made of merino wool fabric and polypropylene. It’s non-itchy and it’s perfect to keep you dry, warm and cozy during in cold weather.

This base layer has a unique two layer design with LIFA fiber inner layer and soft merino wool outer layer. This base layer also has LIFA stay dry technology to make it dry quickly. It has a snug fit, flat lock stitching, and low bulk cuffs all to keep you comfortably warm and dry.

The price of this product is extremely reasonable considering all that it offers. If you want something in wool, then you should definitely take a look at this product. Also, the color prints are a big plus. This base offers a reliable fit of about 82%, which is quite convenient.

PROS:

  • The combination of polypropylene and merino wool forms a strong, moisture-wicking, and highly insulating fabric material.
  • If you are a lady with a wide-ranging preference, then this is the base layer for you because it is available in numerous color options.
  • This base layer offers a near perfect fit of about 82%, which makes it a popular choice for most athletic bodies.
  • This is a resourceful and versatile base layer that features LIFA stay dry technology, low-bulk cuffs, and flat-lock stitching.

CONS:

  • The available fit is not convenient for average or chubby body ladies.

Related: You should complete the hiking outfit by purchasing the Helly Hansen Base Layer Pants. The design and color of the base layer pants will match with all the color options of the shirt.

Check the price on Amazon

Icebreaker Oasis Crewe TopIcebreaker  Oasis Crewe Top

Price: Approx. $90

Weight: 0.56 lb

Material: 100% merino wool

Specific features: Lightweight, slim, odor resistant, offset shoulder sleeves, elliptical hem

Best use: Mountaineering, hiking, snow camping

Description: The Icebreaker Oasis Crewe Top is available in several colors and made of merino wool. This product is available in all sizes and fits like a glove. The layer is lightweight, durable and comfortable. It’s perfect for outdoor activities like hiking, backpacking, camping, and mountaineering.

The fabric is breathable and moisture wicking, so it will keep you dry, warm and comfortable. To avoid pack rub it has off shoulder sleeves, and elliptical hem, which will provide extra coverage, thus providing you with additional comfort.

The layer’s design is quite unique compared to competing models. The available sizes offer a near perfect fit of approximately 94%, which is quite resourceful and convenient for most women with athletic bodies.

The anti-chaff stitching which is also flat lock will feel soft and comfortable. The price range is quite moderate too. It has some really good feedback so you can check it out if it fits with all your requirements. Overall, it can prove to be a good buying decision.

PROS:

  • The top is made of 100% merino wool; therefore, it is the best for cold weather conditions.
  • Apart from being lightweight for backpacking, the top is integrated with elliptical hem for coverage.
  • The available sizes that range from X-Small to X-Large offer a near perfect fit of about 94% for women with athletic bodies.
  • You will not experience pack rub or uncomfortable scent, because the fabric is fitted with offset shoulder sleeves and it is odor-resistant and breathable.

CONS:

  • The top is available in limited color options and the fit is not convenient for chubby women.

Related: You should consider buying the Icebreaker Oasis Leggings to complete the hiking/camping/mountaineering outfit. The full outfit will keep you well-insulated from the cold.

Check the price on Amazon

32 Degrees Base Layer32 Degrees Heat Womens Medium Weight Base Layer Shirt

Price: Approx. $30

Weight: 1 lb

Material: 6% spandex, 16% acrylic, 78% polyester

Specific features: Retain body warmth, anti-odor agents, moisture wicking, stretch comfort

Best use: Backpacking, hiking, showshoeing

Description: The 32 Degrees Base Layer is available in 5 colors. This product is made of polyester, acrylic, and spandex. The price is really cheap, and the range is convenient for a lady with a tight budget. You don’t need to settle for pricey base layers to get the best performance.

The base layer wicks moisture away and retains body heat to keep you warm in cold weather. The stretch comfort enables you to move around comfortably. This base layer is also odor resistant and anti-static. You can machine wash this base layer.

It’s light weight, warm and feels soft against your skin. This product is made for cold weather as it will retain your body and wick away any moisture. Additionally, its breathable and light weight, which will make it extremely comfortable for you to do all the outdoor activities you want to do.

Overall, this women’s layer top provides you with a 91% fit that is ideal for women with athletic bodies.

PROS:

  • The shirt is made of quality fabric that is stretch-resistant and does not wear out faster.
  • The layer shirt is available in five color options for preference and convenience.
  • The fabric is anti-odor, stretch comfortable, moisture-wicking, and machine washable.
  • The available colors and patterns are quite unique, and offer you a nice appearance.
  • It offers you a reliable and near perfect fit of 91%, especially for women with athletic bodies.

CONS:

  • The available size options are limited for preference and convenience.

Related: The shirt manufacturer also produces several women’s pants that match with the shirt, but we recommend the 32 Degrees Heat Medium Pants. A complete outfit from the same manufacturer offers unmatched insulation from the cold.

Check the price on Amazon

The Wrap Up

To wrap it all up, the choice is ultimately going to be yours. We have given you plenty to choose from. Now you have to decide which product suits you the best. When you are outdoors a comfortable base layer is really important to cover you up, especially in cold weather.

picture of a woman skiing

It protects you from cold and provides you with warmth and comfort. We have described in detail all the important things you need to look for in a base layer to help you in choosing the right product. This includes the best material, UPF rating, and durability among others.

Remember, the best base layer is not always defined by the color or the patterns inscribed on the fabric. You must ascertain that the layer will protect you from the cold.

Did we miss out any important base layers? Was the information helpful? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.  

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rebecca J. Crawford
Rebecca J. Crawford

Rebecca lives in USA, but loves hiking all over the world. Her favourite is Everest Base Camp Trek in Nepal. It usually takes 16 days, but she likes to slow down, enjoy mountains, company of other adventurers and take more pictures, so it took her 28 days last time. Another passion of Rebecca is ocean, so all short and long hikes along the ocean shore bring a lot of joy.

  • Steve Dangle

    I’m going to get the icebreaker oasis for my wife. It seems like a great base layer, but in the cold, sometimes I need more than just a base layer. What should be over the base layer?

  • Rebecca J. Crawford

    You should have an outer layer. This can consist of a shell jacket or a warm jacket for winter use. This should block the wind and keep you warmer.

  • Dimithri Lenov

    My partner is looking for a similar product. We just went through this article and would like to know what product is more comfortable for the body? I am not thinking about the money. Just need the best.

  • Rebecca J. Crawford

    Comfort is relative. You have to try them out for yourself.

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