Sizes: S to XXL; fits a 36-inch to 51-inch chest I tested the Odlo Blackcomb Pro on off-trail mountain summits in the Wellsville range of Utah during much of the spring. When combined, you end up with a material that maximizes the pros and minimizes the cons of each fabric. Here’s what we recommend for staying warm in a cold office. Leasing an icebreaker, while technically feasible, would be similar to the Navy leasing a submarine or aircraft carrier. Other Products like Odlo Merino Warm Base Layer Top - Men's. Utilizing base layers will help you worry less about keeping warm (or staying cool) and allow you to focus on your outdoor or physical activity goals. The Odlo Blackcomb Pro base layer is designed with ventilation panels positioned on what tends to be the sweatiest parts of the body for improved breathability. The hood on the Smartwool 150 is ideal for situations when you want some more warmth or neck sun protection but don’t want to stop to put it on. Our men’s tester used both the men's Cool-Lite Zip Up (now discontinued) and the Cool-Lite crew neck long sleeve and they're his go-to running layers in the winter because he likes the coolness of the mesh back panel. We sifted through dozens of women's ski pants on the market to find the best options, from budget picks to the most technical. If it’s warm, a lightweight layer might be the only layer you wear. These pieces are for high-intensity activities, comparable to the Icebreaker BodyFitZone line, but overall both the men and women on our testing panel liked the fit of the Icebreaker crew-neck (and zip-neck) pieces better. The men’s and women’s Nørrona Wool Round Neck is a next-to-skin, merino wool base layer made of 89% merino wool and 11% polyamide to add some durability. But when the Nørrona Wool Round Neck has the same sizing issues and the same price point, why wasn’t the Smartwool 150 Hood the top pick? The material is made of 68% polyester, 27% polyamide, 5% elastane, and is incredibly stretchy. Still, if you’re gentler on your base layers than I am, or if you intend to wear it as one part of a layering system, you might get more use out of it. The author in the Icebreaker Tech Lite in the desert. Here are some questions to help point you in the direction of the base layer of your dreams: We’d like to have the best of the best all the time, but realistically, price is a practical concern for most people. Sign up with your email address to receive news and updates. That can be an advantage in the summer, if you need to stay cool and protected from the sun, but a lot of testers (both men and women) were concerned that their nipples were somewhat visible. As a merino wool base layer, the Nørrona Round Neck is naturally antimicrobial, which makes it naturally odor-resistant. They even have kids’ sizes if you want the whole family to match! Photo by Matt Williams. You're going to start this first session with a beautifully simple icebreaker, one that is almost guaranteed to help the group: physically relax, gain motivation, bond together, and; participate in learning. More info here. A looser fit is better for recreating in warmer or hot weather. Thankfully that doesn't have to be the case. Still, we always recommend trying before you buy, if you can. Even our testers who own dozens of base layers commented on how comfortable the Nørrona Wool Neck is. Even while you’re moving, the cut and construction contribute to a wearing experience like none other. The shirts are also tagless for comfort. You might think: why not cotton? The base of the hood especially is fantastic: it covers your chin and mouth, and you can even pull it up over your nose. Similar to the men’s shirt, but in a more tapered cut. Roast Your Own Culinary Skills . Flaws but not dealbreakers: We wish Ridge had some big and tall sizes. Those materials cost a lot less than merino. Get this if: You want a shirt that occupies the middle ground. The goal is to make a garment that can keep you both warm and cool through a greater range of body-temperature fluctuation than usual. Helly Hansen Lifa Stripe Crew ($40) Material: 100% polypropylene. The author testing the Kari Traa baselayer on a snowy run. In the title of this guide, we call these layers “thermal underwear” because that’s what most people search for when they’re looking for something to be active in. This will determine if you’ll be better off with a heavy, midweight, or lightweight base layer (see our section above on choosing between these weights). What kind of environmental footprint does the company leave? While the Cool-Lite series keeps you cool—even in hot and humid climates—it’s also designed for year-round performance. Icebreaker addresses other comfort issues, too: The shirt has offset shoulder seams, no tag, and a long torso to cover the back. A third tester mentioned that his leggings turned his legs black. In fact, they’re as comfortable for use at home or doing chores as they are for technical outdoor pursuits. While synthetic material is superior to wool when it comes to durability, wool is superior to synthetic in that it doesn’t retain odors. Plan on paying anywhere from $75 to $110+ for a good wool or wool-blend layer. And the cut of the 32 Degrees shirts is longer than, for instance, that of the shirts in the Uniqlo Heattech Collection, so they’ll cover your back if you bend over. Ultimately, if summer is your primary season for outdoor fun and you’d like a base layer that works year-round, the Smartwool Merino 150 hoody is a great choice. The Icebreaker Cool-Lite series comes in S to XL, which we wish was more size-inclusive. We researched 58 lightweight and midweight men’s and women’s base layer tops and tested a dozen of the most promising models for six months. Why they’re great: The 32 Degrees Lightweight Baselayer Crew Top and Legging are inexpensive base layers made of varying mixes of polyester, acrylic, rayon, and spandex that are extremely comfortable. Wool is nature’s moisture-wicking technology. It’s resilient, which in the language of fabric nerds means that it holds its shape well. One tester put his foot through a pair of leggings on the second wearing. The reason is that moisture next to your body will chill you when you stop moving. The same shirt as the men’s version, in a more tapered cut. We’ve dismissed almost every pair of leggings we’ve tested because they pull or grab in all the wrong places. We found that the high proportion of rayon caused it to dry slower than other synthetic pieces when we washed it and hung it up, so it would remain wet for too long to keep you warm. The author running in the Patagonia Capilene midweight baselayer. REI Co-op. This type of Icebreaker is meant to involve more people while still having fun. Synthetic fabrics are often more durable than wool layers. However, after looking at hundreds of garments, we have definitely identified a discernible difference, and that’s in how you use them. Without the need to wick away moisture, a cotton or synthetic thermal is an okay choice—think of the classic army-issue waffle thermal. (At the time of our interview, Noland did not represent any of the companies we considered.) Over the course of six months, we did our best to wear these models everywhere. If you’re on snow or water (or at elevation or on the equator), sun protection is twice as important because in such situations you have either rays reflecting off the ground and bouncing back up at you or less atmosphere to protect you. 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