Best Merino Wool Base Layers

Merino Wool Base Layers - Reviews & Guides For 2023

Our Top Merino Wool Base Layers

Need Help Choosing Merino Wool Base Layers?

Merino Wool Base Layer Buyers Guide

Are you looking for a merino wool base layer to enhance your experience? Well, the fun fact is that you can use merino wool year-round! That's right! It depends on the type of merino wool base layer you choose!

That makes it more versatile. However, it becomes equally confusing to now choose the right merino wool base layer. There are countless options available in the market. You don't have to worry! This guide breaks down the complex information to bring you the best tips and right information to get the best merino wool base layer!

If you don't know what merino wool is or what makes it such an excellent choice, we have covered that sector, as well. So buckle up because this is your ultimate guide on how to buy merino wool base layer!

What is the merino wool base layer?

Merino wool is very different from the conventional wool that you see in sweaters and other garments. It doesn't have thick threads and heavy composition. The fibers are refined to be very delicate; the wool feels soft on the skin. Hence, it doesn't cause itch or discomfort in any manner, nor is it rough on the skin, making it excellent sportswear.

That's right! Merino wool is commonly used in sportswear for athletes in places with cold or frigid temperatures to keep them warm. Merino wool has a quality to blend perfectly with other artificial fabrics and materials like synthetics and spandex to provide extra flexibility. Therefore, it is a highly versatile choice.

As far as any woolen fabric is concerned, merino has a better moisture-wicking quality. It is not as great as synthetic fabric for the apparent reason that it is a natural fabric. However, it still has a significantly higher dry rate and moisture-wicking capacity.

Like conventional wool, it can keep you warm in a cold climate without providing any discomfort of weighing you down. Similarly, it is a highly durable fabric choice, way better than other warm materials you can use as a base layer. It is hands-down for the base layer, one of the best options available, unless you're going for a hot climate.

Reasons to buy merino wool base layer.

If you love organic or natural fabric without any artificiality, merino comes from Merino sheep. In many areas, it is a premium-grade material. Therefore merino wool base layer is believed to be an excellent choice. Let's look at some of the benefits of getting merino wool and other reasons:

Great for cold climate

As mentioned above, the merino wool base layer can provide optimum warmth to you. It has crimped fibers that trap warm air. In simple words, it is a great choice to keep yourself warm in winter or cold climate.

Great wicking capacity

For wool, merino has a great moisture-wicking capacity and absorbs around 30% of its weight in moisture. This moisture enables you to maintain a cold temperature without feeling excessive heat that could ruin your performance.

It prevents winds from blowing into the sweat that could make you fall sick, especially in the winter season when cold winds can cause more harm. The drying capacity of merino wool might be slower than other fabrics, but remarkable for wool.

Odor elimination

Merino wool base layer is naturally odor-resistant due to anti-bacterial properties. These properties amplify due to its moisture-wicking qualities. Together, it ensures that you have odorless fabric to wear. This is an excellent choice for high-performing activities like hiking, trekking, climbing, and other endeavors.

You don't have to wash or maintain a merino wool base layer either frequently. Thus, it drastically reduces the cost of upkeep while maintaining integrity. Combined, these aspects make it a cost-effective addition.

Highly-durable choice

Merino is damage-resistant due to its flexibility from keratin, a protein found in our hair. This makes it easy to bend and retain exceptionally elastic capabilities. You can combine merino wool with other synthetic materials for enhanced durability.

Not only that! Merino wool has natural UV resistance. It has a UPF rating of at least 30, generally higher than that. Therefore, it is an excellent choice if you want to protect your skin from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun.

The crimped fabric makes it durable to withstand heavy-duty performance that any camper, climber, or trekker might indulge into. Overall, merino is a very durable and long-lasting fabric for base layer clothing.

Maintain optimum performance

The combined qualities of merino wool base layer make it an excellent choice for tasks that require high performance in a cold climate. For example, you can use it in almost any sport. You wouldn't want to feel uncomfortable by drenching in sweat in colder weather, right? It can lead to sickness and exhaustion if harsh winds manage to brush inside.

The high breathability of the fabric makes it great to use for athletic activities. More importantly, it doesn't drench in sweat easily that even if you sweat profusely, it will manage to remain a great choice. It has excellent drying capacities. Overall, for a base layer, it does a commendable job.

Factors to consider when buying merino wool base layer

Before you get under consideration for the merino wool base layer, it is crucial to understand the concept of layering. For most of the activities, the general rule of thumb is that you should have three layers.

The base layer works as an extra 'skin' for you. Therefore, it has to be highly comfortable with the right breathability and wicking capabilities. For additional features, you can have better temperature maintenance and such.

The second layer works for temperature control. From proper airflow to insulation or warmth, the second layer should be comfortable enough to move freely and is generally a looser fit.

The third layer is all about jackets and other similar additions to the layering. These are to protect you from external elements, mostly rain or frigid temperatures. You don't need to have them in a hot climate.

Once you understand the layering, we can focus on what's essential for the base layer.

Base layer considerations

A base layer's job is to provide you utmost comfort and keep your performance intact. It will help you eliminate excessive sweat through its wicking capabilities. Most of the time, they dry fast and have delicate fabric to feel comfortable on the skin.

Similarly, the base layer might have different qualities like weather protection or waterproof to provide more leisure to the wearer. Some of these qualities can work together to be suitable for other activities such as climbing, hiking, and trekking.

However, these are explained below about the merino wool base layer. Right now, we are going to focus on some factors that are indispensable for a base layer.

Fitting options

People might prefer to wear loose-fitting or something that tightly grasps their bodies. You can experiment with fitting regarding other layers. However, your base layer should feel like an extra skin. Therefore, it should have a perfect fitting which shouldn't be too tight or restrictive at all.

Correlatively, it shouldn't be loose either. It should wrap about your body firmly to hold it. To test the base layer, put it on, and try moving in it. If there is even a speck of restriction or discomfort, try a size one scale bigger. That should do the trick. You can try stretching in the base layer to find the best fitting.


If the seams are too tight or rough, they can rub against your skin and inflict scratches, even cuts. Some seams may be so uncomfortable that they will end up producing boils and blisters. Ergo, it is paramount for you to consider the seams and their fitting, especially when you're moving or performing a maneuver.


It might seem silly, but the weight of the layers (clothes) can make a significant difference. The heavier it is, the more strain it will put on your body. Not only that, but the weight should be under the consideration of moisture absorption.

For instance, a standard wool base layer would grow heavy as it absorbs more sweat and retains it. It can double or even triple down in weight. However, merino wool has an excellent wicking capacity not to withhold the moisture. Thereby making it a lighter fabric. So, you have to consider the material and the overall weight.

How can you impact this weight to reduce it may also play a vital role. Therefore, you might have to conduct some calculations regarding the weight. This is especially important if you're performing mountain climbing or backpacking for a long distance.

Purpose of the base layer

As you begin understanding merino wool, you must determine its purpose to decide the right merino wool base layer. What do you plan on using the base layer for?

For athletic performance

If you plan on using the merino wool layer for athletic and sports endeavors, you might want a blend of synthetic fabric in it. This would enable the layer to be more flexible. For example, if the sports require you to run, then a combination of merino wool with spandex would be a better choice.

When you think about athletic performance, it is related to the activities that require extreme physical performance. Similarly, breathability would be the second most crucial factor. Wicking capacity should be on-point but can be neglected if the performance is short-term.

For the long term, more wicking property would be better. Synthetic fiber with merino wool would have the best wicking than a 100% merino wool base layer.

For camping and similar activities

Camping, trekking, and hiking require you to travel a long distance. It might not be physically as exhaustive as athletic performance, but you still need a breathable base layer. These activities are generally long-term, and if you sweat, then wicking capacity should be the primary requirement.

You can settle for a slower drying capacity as long as it can use your body heat to dry down. Similarly, warmth management should be optimum but not a necessity. For camping, trekking, and hiking, weight reduction is essential. Therefore, a lightweight merino wool base could be a better choice.

For regular wear

A regular wear merino wool base layer would depend on personal preference—the climate and what you plan on using it for. Therefore, everyday or personal use might require you to choose from lightweight to heavyweight.

Since it is for casual wear, you can compromise on wicking and drying capacity as much as you'd like. Even if you sweat, it has apt moisture absorption and wicking. More importantly, odorless performance would be an admirable choice for winters.

The weight classification

A merino wool base layer is commonly classified into weight. There are four weight categories: ultralight, lightweight, medium or middleweight, and heavyweight.

They have a specific rating in weight (150g, 250g, and so on). What do these numbers mean? Each of these categories is good for a particular use and climate. Let's take a better look:

Ultralight (150g or lower)

Modern technology has made it possible to have merino wool for hot days. That's right! The ultralight variation of merino wool makes it possible for you to wear it during the hot summer days. What's the point, then?

Well, you have the quality of the organic fabric that is great to maintain temperature. It still has excellent moisture wicking capacity and optimum performance support. It feels like any other fabric but more durable with odorless and anti-UV properties. That's what makes it a worthy investment.

Lightweight (150 to 190g)

If you're looking for a base layer that you can wear year-round, then this is the right choice. Lightweight merino wool is a versatile choice that maintains optimum temperature. It makes for a great base layer to sleep in for the utmost comfort.

While these are suitable for warm temperatures, you can wear them if the temperate starts getting cold. Ergo, you can put on a jacket, and the merino wool base layer will begin insulation for better temperature regulations.

It makes these base layers ideal for the climate with warm days and cold evenings or nights. Therefore, if you don't want to pack too much or switch your clothes often, an ultralight merino wool base layer is a great choice to have for hot summer days.

Middleweight (190 to 250g)

This is where the league of merino wool base layers completely changes from a colder climate to winters. The Middleweight merino wool layer is excellent for the winter season, especially if you're looking for skiing and snowboarding. These are indeed physically taxing sports but have more to do with motion and less to do with physical endeavors.

Middleweight merino wool is optimum for regular winter wear. Overall, if you're camping or trekking in a cold climate, middleweight is what you need.

Heavyweight (250g and above)

This is where you have a heavy-duty merino wool base layer that works excellently in the frigid climate. Anything that's sub zero or below, this weight range becomes indispensable. It still provides you apt flexibility, breathability, and comfort.

You have reduced the extra layers' requirement, and you can enjoy fishing, hunting, or camping easily with these layers.

Look at the material composition.

As mentioned before, merino wool is highly compatible with other fabrics, mostly artificial. Countless integrations make merino wool more affordable, easily accessible, and performance-oriented. If we look past all of that, let's consider the perks and drawbacks of different blends available.

Now, as a general rule of thumb, you shouldn't go with anything that has less than 80% merino wool unless you have substantial performance requirements. So here you will find a distinction between 100% and 80% merino wool composition, as well as some highlight on the best blends with merino wool:

100% merino wool

A 100% merino wool base layer would be way too costly. It quickly increases your budget by a hundred bucks, give or take. Not just that! A 100% merino wool might have all the qualities and features, but it is more delicate.

That's right! You can't expect it to be durable, and it will require you to pay strong consideration to the wash style. It is still odorless, UV resistant, and wicking, but it requires more gentle care. A 100% merino wool will also break down faster.

Unless you're a person who prefers luxury over longevity, this is not the right choice for you.

80% merino wool

80% merino wool blend is a perfect choice that brings you all the essential qualities of merino wool with reinforced fabric durability. You drastically cut down the price, as well. It enables you to have a better choice, and you can decide what the other artificial material should be.

There's nylon with its remarkable wicking qualities, polyester and polyamide that could be better for temperature maintenance or insulation, and so on. In an 80% merino wool layer, the other fabric works as a core layer of cloth to retain the merino's integrity.

The best blends

To be honest, the best blend depends on personal preference. However, a core-spun combination can easily surpass the 'blend style' you're looking for. It enables you to have more durability and a longer-lasting base layer.

The core fabric of nylon or polyester works as a base for durability while the outer layer of wool provides the utmost warmth and other qualities of the merino wool. So you should certainly check out whether the base layer has a core-spun blend or not.

Extra features to consider

There isn't much to consider for the extra feature for a base layer. Remember that it should fit right, and it's better to choose a full-sleeved base layer instead of half or no-sleeve. Similarly, you shouldn't have buttons, zippers, or even pockets for the base layers.

You can very-well replace undergarments with the base layer and even eliminate the need to have nightwear to conserve storage space.

Wash and maintenance

The most important consideration you can make for 'extra-feature' is how easy it is to wash and maintain the merino wool base layer. Some might require you to hand wash. Others could do with the gentle machine wash.

Some even show you how many uses or how many hours you can wear merino wool before it becomes dirty for you to wash.

FAQs: Best Merino Wool Base Layer

Q: What is the wicking quality of the fabric?

A: Wicking is the fabric's quality that determines how well it can drain excess moisture and sweat from your body. That's why people prefer high wicking capacity for the base layer. It can help you remain dry and comfortable for prolonged hours.

Some clothes combine wicking with better breathability, the high dry power of artificial fabric, and waterproof qualities to provide an unparalleled comfortable and dry experience.

Q: How to wash merino wool?

A: You should wash merino wool in cold or warm water. Avoid hot water because that could damage the fabric and reduce its softness. You don't have to use fabric softener on merino wool. Don't use too harsh of soap or detergent because that could damage the quality of merino wool.

Stick to mild soap strength as merino wool is easy to maintain and clean. Gently wash them, don't go for a hard wash.

Q: Should I get buttons or a zipper for the base layer?

A: Neither. A base layer should be like an undergarment that is easy to put on and take off. There's no need for it to have buttons or a zipper, which could cause discomfort as it will be under your skin's contact.


There you have it! Your ultimate one-stop guide to merino wool base layer. Now, you can always find the right fit and correct type of base layer according to your requirement. Merino wool is very versatile, and it could be a stylish choice for everyday wear.

It is a premium-grade material that works remarkably well and feels soft on the skin. If you want that silky touch and delicacy without excessive heat, fiction or discomfort, merino wool is a perfect choice. Hopefully, the answers to some questions and compelling reasons elaborate on how excellent merino wool is for a base layer. / - © Copyright 2020