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The base layer is the most important of clothing for backpackers, especially during the chilling winters. It’s the first layer of clothing you wear, and it plays a significant role in providing comfort and protection from the weather while you’re out hiking. That’s why you need to choose only the best base layer for backpacking that offers sufficient breathability, wicking, and warmth.

For your convenience, we’ve gone through the online stores to locate five of the best base layers that you need to check out if you are a backpacker. So before planning out your next hike, make sure you have one of these on you.

In a hurry? My favorite is this VAUDE Men’s Smaland Base Layer. See it at Amazon.





Thermajohn base Layer for backpackingThermajohn Men's
Thermal Underwear

- Machine Wash

- 92% Ultra Soft Polyester

- 8% Spandex

- Style: Crew Neck
VAUDE Mens Base Layer for BackpackingVAUDE Men's
Thermal BaseLayer


- 100% Polyester

- Holly Green

- Lightweight Material

- Dries very fast
MERIWOOL Mens Base Layer for BackpackingMERIWOOL Mens
Base Layer


- Size: XS to 3XL

- Charcoal Gray

- Itch-Free Material

- 3 Colors Option
Icebreaker Merino Women's BaseLayerIcebreaker Merino Women's
Base Layer


- Pure Black

- 100% Merino Wool

- Long Sleeve Crew Shirt

- Multi Colors Option
MERIWOOL Womens Base Layer for BackPackingMERIWOOL Women's
Base Layer


- Wicking & Odor Resistance

- 100% Merino Wool

- Soft & Breathable

- Pure Black
Rocky Thermal BaseLayer - Complete SetRocky Thermal
Full BaseLayer


- 8% spandex

- Moisture Wicking

- Premium Grade Fabrics

- Multi Color


Top 6 Best Base Layers for Backpacking


Thermajohn Men’s Ultra Soft Thermal Underwear

Thermajohn Men's Ultra Soft Thermal Underwear

Thermajohn Men’s Ultra Soft Thermal Underwear has a fabric consisting of 92% ultra-soft polyester and 8% spandex. Therefore, you get the perfect blend of breathability, stretchability, comfort, and warmth all in one thermal suit.

Due to these features, this thermal wear is perfect for home, gym, or office. Thermajohn has also kept this Long Johns set free from itchy labels, so you’ll feel comfortable in this one all day long.

• High-quality fabric
• Maximum stretchability, breathability, and comfort
• No itchy labels
• Complete set of Long Johns Fleece Lined thermal wear

• The pants don’t have an opening


VAUDE Men’s Smaland Jacket – Perfect as a Base Layer

VAUDE Men's Smaland Jacket - Perfect as a Base Layer, Lightweight Soft Fleece Jacket for Hiking and Backpacking

The Vaude Men’s Smaland Jacket is a lightweight fleece jacket made from 100% polyester fabric. The material is lightweight, breathable, and warm, making it perfect as a base layer for backpacking and hiking in chilling weather.

The jacket is also quite easy to handle, suitable for machine-wash, and dries fast. Available in six beautiful colors, this one is a must-have if you are an outgoing person.


What Make It Good?

• Top-quality product
• Breathable and warm
• Machine-wash
• Dries fast
• Available in six colors

What’s Not So Good?

• It is designed like a jacket but may not be suitable as an outer layer.


MERIWOOL Men’s Best Base Layer 

MERIWOOL Mens Base Layer, 100% Merino Wool Midweight Long Sleeve Thermal Shirt

MERIWOOL Men’s base layer is one of the best innerwear out there. It is 100% merino wool, which makes it a perfect all-weather base layer. Lightweight merino wool keeps you cool in summer and warm in winter.

It also has supreme wicking and odor resistance, which will keep you fresh throughout the outing.

MERIWOOL provides a hassle-free refund system with this product. You can return it within 30 days of purchase if you are not satisfied with the product, and you will receive a quick refund.


What Makes It Good?

• 100% Merino Wool
• Lower Price Than Most Merino Wool Products
• Keeps you cool in summer and warm in winter
• Machine-washable
• Wicking and Odor resistant
• Hassle-free 100% refund policy
• Available in a wide range of colours

What’s Not Good?

• The neck hole is a little wide.


Icebreaker Merino Women’s 175 Everyday Long Sleeve Thermal Cold Weather Base Layer T-Shirt

Icebreaker Merino Women's Thermal Cold Weather Base Layer, 100% Merino Wool, Machine Wash

The Icebreaker women’s base layer t-shirt is a top-quality product made of 85% merino wool. The material is odor-resistant & warm, making it suitable as an all-weather base layer for backpackers.

The fitting on this one is superb, and you can also use it as everyday innerwear for work during the winters. Icebreaker has made this product available in six attractive colors, so you can now have base layers to match every dress.


What Makes It Good?

• 85% Merino Wool
• Breathable, odor-resistant & warm
• Well-finished fitting
• Available in six colors
• Suitable for everyday use
• Machine wash

What’s Not Good?

• The product is very thin and can get stretched out if not handled correctly.


MERIWOOL Women’s Base Layer

MERIWOOL Womens Base Layer, Lightweight Form Fit Top Thermal Shirt

Just like the men’s product, MERIWOOL women’s base layer is also an equally top-class product made from 100% merino wool.

The natural wicking, weather-adaptability, and odor-resistant properties of merino wool make it the most chosen backpacking base layer material worldwide.

The MERIWOOL Women’s Base Layer is lightweight and machine-washable, making it perfect as an everyday base layer for work and night-outs.


What Makes It Good?

• 100% Merino Wool
• Superior wicking and odor resistance
• Weather-Adaptable material
• Perfect fitting
• Machine Washable

What’s Not Good?

• This product is only available in black color.


Rocky Thermal Underwear for Men – Base Layer Long John Set

Rocky Thermal Underwear for Men, Fleece Lined Thermals Base Layer

Rocky Thermal Underwear for Men is a fleece-lined 2-piece base layer for backpacking, hiking, and everyday use. It is a budget-friendly and durable product that offers sufficient and warmth and breathability.

The moisture-wicking microfibers present in this underwear will keep you dry even during physical activities like jogging, biking, or backpacking.

This base layer is available in three weight/warmth categories, the lightweight version is made of 55% Cotton and 45% Ultra-Soft Polyester, the mid-weight versions are 92% Ultra-Soft Polyester and 8% Spandex, and the heavy-weight is 90% Ultra-Soft Polyester and 10% Spandex.


What Makes It Good?

• Budget-Friendly Product
• 2-piece set
• Suitable for backpacking and everyday use
• Available in a wide range of materials and sizes to suit various preferences
• It has moisture-wicking microfibers that keep you fresh even during peak physical activity

What’s Not Good?

• The sizes run small, so make sure you get a size or two large if you want some room.


How to Buy the Right Base Layer?


As evident from our list, there are several types of products designed that suit various individual needs. For best results, you need to make sure that you get the product suitable for your needs. Here a few tips that’ll help.




You must take special care that the product you choose fits your needs. If you are looking for a base layer exclusively for backpacking, ensure that the product is lightweight and has maximum wicking, order resistance, and breathability. Contrarily, if you want a base layer for work and night-outs, go for a thin material that’s warm and fits well.




The Next step is to check the material and whether it suits you. Merino wool is one of the best materials out there as it keeps you cool in hot summers and warm in chilling winters. However, it can be delicate and difficult to handle. If you want a more durable material for rough use every day, polyester and cotton combinations would be a better choice. But still, merino wool is pure class.




The final step is to check the price. Go through all the products and get the product that offers maximum quality at affordable rates. Watch out for other benefits like a refund and return policies that can be helpful if you aren’t satisfied with the product.


Frequently Asked Questions


Can I use a backpacking base layer for other activities?


Yes, of course. All the products mentioned in this article are suitable for different activities like jogging, biking, hiking, skiing, camping, etc. The main factors are breathability, warmth, wicking, and odor resistance, making them suitable for all sorts of physical activities.


Do I have to buy a large size?


It usually depends on the manufacturer. However, the base layers are inner wears designed to be a perfect fit on our skin. In case you need extra room, you can choose to buy a size larger for your comfortability.


What Is Merino Wool?


Merino wool comes from the merino breed of sheep known for its exceptional quality of wool. The merino wool is unique due to its superior odor resistance and climate adaptability. The typical merino wool will keep you cool during summers and warm during winters.




So, what are you waiting for now? Just get yourself the best base layer for backpacking and start planning the trip. The products mentioned in this list are all manufactured by highly experienced brands in the industry. Therefore, you got nothing to worry about in terms of the quality and effectiveness of these products.

All you need to do now is buy one from this list, and you’re all set for the chilling winters ahead.

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Author Name: Jack Graves

Jack Graves is simply a hardcore hiker. He has been hiking for over a decade and has covered all sorts of terrains during the course of time. Due to his experience, Jake has a lot of knowledge about hiking products and their use.

And he uses this knowledge to educate people about how to plan a safe hiking trip. Jake writes informative articles and provides transparent reviews on various hiking products to give readers a quick guide on hiking and safety. Apart from hiking, Jake also writes on sports, technology, and entertainment niches.