Gear Guide 2012: Duofold Champion Varitherm

These baselayers deliver great moisture management and a skin-tight fit.

[baselayers : midweight]

Even merino snobs were impressed with the Duofold by Champion Varitherm Mid-Weight Long-Sleeve Crewneck and Ankle-Length Bottoms. This synthetic combo (96 percent polyester and four percent spandex) has a cottony feel. Plus, these affordable baselayers deliver excellent performance for all but the sweatiest endeavors: Testers who wore them backpacking and skiing report that moisture management is good (they’re slower to dry than spendier synthetics, but faster-wicking than wool).

“I never felt clammy when I wore these beneath a hardshell,” reports one wearer, who hiked up Colorado’s Hahns Peak in them. The superstretchy fabric delivers a skin-tight fit, and after months of wear and tear from backpacks and washing machines, both pieces retain a like-new plushness. Tradeoff? Fit sags after a full day’s wear. $28 each; 6 oz. (w’s M crew); duofold.com