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Backpacker Magazine – Online Exclusive
Contain your body heat with with these skin-hugging baselayers: the 180s Quantum Dry Base Layer crew and pant, Icebreaker 180 GT Chase 1/4 Zip, Patagonia Wool 2 long sleeve crew and bottoms, and White Sierra Bamboo Crew.
Patagonia Wool 2 long sleeve crew and bottoms (Photo 3 & 4 above)
From a spring expedition in Alaska to winter backpacking in southern Utah, we never took the Wool 2 baselayer off. The super fine, lightweight merino top and bottom with flatlock seams and silky feel were a favorite among testers for comfort and wicking in temperatures ranging from the single digits to 60 degrees F. And these undies have an amazing ability to not stink. "I wore the top for eight days straight while working up a sweat under my shell and there was zero BO stench," said one tester who used the Wool 2 as her next to skin layer throughout her week-long Alaskan trip. The wide thermo-regulating range offered by this lightweight wool baselayer makes it ideal for any three-season trip as well as for aerobic winter activities. Also comes in long sleeve zip turtleneck ($88) and short sleeve crew ($80).
$82 top; $82 bottoms; men's XS-XL , women's XS-XL; 5 oz. (w's M top). (800) 638-6464; patagonia.com.
White Sierra Bamboo Crew
This technical tee soaks up sweat like a sponge and dries almost instantly. "It was wicking so well I forgot I was even wearing a shirt," said one tester of the crew's performance when he was climbing in 90 degree temps in El Portrero Chico, Mexico. Made from White Sierra's proprietary fabric called BamBam Weave comprised of 45 % bamboo charcoal and 55 % polyester, this top proved to have outstanding moisture management in moderate to hot conditions. It felt super soft against the skin and worked equally well as a summer hiking tee or layered under a shell in cooler temperatures. We also appreciated the fabric's UPF 30 sun protection and natural anti-microbial attributes. After wearing the short-sleeve top for five days straight on a super sweaty June hike in southern Utah, our tester reported "absolutely no funk." A long-sleeve crew is also available ($40).
$30 (women's version is Malindi Tee); men's M-XXL, women's S-XL; 6 oz. (m's M). (800) 980-8688; whitesierra.com