Best Base Layers For The 2020 Hunting Season

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The base layer consists of a single, T-shirt, or shirt with long sleeves that fit tightly around your body. It should be made of elastic material that fits well without restricting your freedom of movement. Actually like a second skin.

Baselayers are made to keep you dry and to bring sweat to the surface. You have synthetic and wool base layers, but also a combination of both. A lot of people wear a cotton shirt as a base layer. This is not recommended. Cotton dries very longitudinally, which can cause the body to become hypothermic.

What does a base layer for clothing do?

The base layer is the first step in your layer system. The layer is meant to absorb and drain the moisture that is created on your body. It is therefore important that this base layer fits closely to your body and is made of an absorbent, quick-drying, and breathable material. A base layer is sensible at temperatures below 10 °C.

Base layer buyers guide – what to consider

Of course, many brands work hard to develop the best clothing for every season and weather. Yet you are the end-user and everyone’s body is different. That’s why you’ll have to test different layers to know exactly what works best for you and what doesn’t. There is also a big price difference in the different materials. Merino wool is very expensive and that is reflected in the price. It is best to go for quality. It is better to have two very good base layers from Merino than five base layers from a piece of cheap synthetic fabric. You can clearly feel and smell the difference.

5 best top base layers to buy for the 2020 hunting season

1. Best overall – Merino 150 Wool Active Long Sleeve

Long Sleeve

The 150 merino long sleeve is fantastic and overall the best base later on the market in 2020. Lighter and much warmer than any other material. Washes easily in warm water without shrinking. The 150 is sharp looking too, with a slight sheen.

By comparison, the 250 I also bought looks slightly nubbier, about halfway to looking like a wool sweater, which is not bad, but I point this out to emphasize that the 150 looks very sharp.

Pros

  • Merino 150 wool
  • Excellent temperature regulation
  • Comfy feel, very warm, breathable,
  • doesn’t hold odor

Cons

  • Expensive
  • heavy when wet

2. Best Bang for the BuckIcebreaker Merino 175 Wool Long Sleeve

 Long Sleeve T-Shirt.

I always choose my Icebreaker items by looking for the maximum amount of Merino. I love the excellent warmth of wool, the Merino feels good, and, most importantly it doesn’t stink up. It washes up well too. I have had trouble with inconsistent Icebreaker sizing but this was the right size (L).

The shirt is a perfect fit for everyday use in moderate climates, and as it gets colder, it has made a great base layer for other clothing items It is very comfortable and moves well as I move during my hunting trips. It fits like a second skin. My only complaint would be that it stretches out easily.

Pros

  • 100% Merino wool
  • Comfortable
  • Great temp regulation, breathable
  • Soft next to skin feel
  • good price

Cons

  • Not durable
  • Stretch out easily

3. First Lite – Llano 170g Merino Crew Top

Merino Crew Top

First Lite Men’s Llano 170g Merino Crew Long Sleeve TopMeet the shirt that started it all. As the basis of the First Lite layering system, the Men’s Llano 170g Merino Long Sleeve is an integral part of your hunting gear.

Inspired by the whitetail hunts in Texas hill country, this top provides superior comfort and versatility in the coldest or hottest of days. The lightweight, interlock fabric of the Llano crew is made from top-of-the-line merino wool. Its superfine micron construction will help you stay concealed with its odor-resistant properties.

Pros

  • 100% Merino wool
  • Excellent temperature regulation
  • Super warm
  • Machine washed
  • Decent price

Cons

  • Not true to size

4. Smartwool Men’s Merino 250 long sleeve

Merino 250 baselayer top

This base layer is amazing. It provides excellent warmth and is as light as any LS tee. I’ve hunted in single-digit temps with a wind-chill of zero in nothing but this and a paper-thin windbreaker and was warm enough while I was moving.

A major benefit of synthetic fabric is that this does not get smelly. I had a synthetic tee on underneath that usually reeked honestly, but this shirt never did. But this shirt is incredibly versatile. It’s so comfy that even after weeks of intense outdoor activities it still looks new and is in fact so stylish that I could easily pull off wearing this to work with a collared shirt and tie underneath.

Pros

  • Cozy, cush feel
  • Regulates temperature well
  • Extremely warm
  • Versatile style, with little stink-factor

Cons

  • Heavy when wet
  • Not super durable
  • Sizing runs a bit large

5.Best budget – ColdPruf Platinum II Long Sleeve

Platinum II Performance Base Layer Long Sleeve Crew Neck Top

This base layer is nice and warm. Bought it for road bike riding but is almost too warm for above 55′ unless you wear a thin long sleeve jersey over. When not riding – I wear it a lot under a thin long sleeve t-shirt in fairly chilly weather. It kind of opens up your wardrobe.

I originally ordered large but they were too lose fitting for under a snug bike jersey (even more so with the bottoms). Sent back for medium – fit tight – perfect for under road bike jersey (and pants). If you go the smaller size you might consider getting the long-tail version.

Pros

  • Silvadur technology
  • Extra length
  • Super warm
  • Machine washed
  • Rapid drying
  • Dual-layer insulation system

Cons

  • Not true to size

5 best bottom base layers to buy for the 2020 hunting season

1. Best overall legging: Smartwool Merino 150 Base layer Bottom

Smartwool Merino 150 Baselayer Bottom

Smartwool makes quality items these are no exception. Yes, they are more expensive, but you get what you pay for in quality and comfort. Think of these as more of a geared investment if you are serious about staying warm during the chillier months.

The thermal underwear sits tight against your skin and ensures that when you sweat, it is well-drained. Thermo underwear (made of wool, such as merino wool) doesn’t get wet and feels nice and soft at the same time. This heavier, soft, 100% Merino wool fabric offers breathable warmth, moves sweat away from the body, odor control, thermoregulation, and provides next-to-skin comfort in colder weather conditions.

These bottoms are made with an interlock knit for thermoregulation, and odor resistance with a Merino-covered waistband and fly design, allowing you to wear them all day long without any discomfort.

The flatlock seam construction of these bottoms is specially designed to minimize chafing, making these pants perfect to wear underneath snow pants during a long day of hunting!

Pros

  • High-quality material
  • Natural fabric
  • Warm and comfortable
  • Warranty
  • Perfect fit

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not quick to dry

2. Under Armour Mens UA Base 4.0 Legging

Under-Armou-Legging

This base Lauer works as advertised. I’ve ridden my motorcycle wearing the base 4.0 dress pants and riding pants at <7°C at >100 km. I was actually a little warm. This is more active than suggested but I get cold easily and found the gear warm, open jacket and jeans made it perfect. Wicking ability was great as I could feel the sweat as I went up hills and once the effort dropped I was back to warm and dry.

That’s good. So the bad is fit, which is a little off of the usual UA fit. Though not compression it is as tight as my compression cold/heat gear but doesn’t give like compression gear. They are also short in the inseam, the inseam is as described (+/- 1/2″ per size),

Pros

  • Good material combination
  • Stretch construction
  • Dries pretty fast
  • Machine washable
  • Retains shape

Cons

  • Cons
  • Lacks temperature regulation
  • Not true to size

3. Robinson Scent Blocker 8th Layer Long Sleeve Polyester Pant with S3 Silver

Scent Blocker 8th Layer Long Sleeve Polyester Pant with S3 Silver

Very happy with these scent blocker pants. They are base layers and you will need to wear other clothing because they are thin. I originally bought them to wear by themselves while I was bow hunting in Southeast Texas but they are to thin for that. They are very breathable and wearable.

Pros

  • Carbon alloy scent absorption
  • 100% polyester
  • Dries quickly
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Wick moisture

Cons

  • Relatively expensive
  • Limited use under warm weather

4. Legendary Whitetails Mens HuntGuard Nanotec Base Layer Pants

Mens HuntGuard Nanotec Base Layer Pants

These are an excellent base layer at a great price. Comfortable, lightweight, and thin material. They fit well under outer layers without feeling bulky. This is the first product I have purchased from Legendary Whitetails and will definitely be giving the products more consideration in the future.

Pros

  • Good material combination
  • Stretch construction
  • Dries pretty fast
  • Machine washable
  • Retains shape

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not quick to dry

5. ColdPruf Men’s Platinum II Pant

Men’s Platinum II Pant

The ColdPruf Performance Base Layer really came through during my last few hunting trips. The area that we were in was experiencing and Arctic cold front producing temperatures down to about -28 Celcius. The ColdPruf base layer kept me warm and dry by wicking away any moisture that I produced.

The pants are a bit tight around the ankles and require a bit of tugging to get it over the heal but I prefer it that way rather than it is to lose. I would recommend this product to anyone that is looking into a great performance base layer.

Pros

  • Strong and durable
  • ColdPruf and Silvadur technology
  • Tagless labelling for comfort
  • Gussets for extra durability
  • Machine wash

Cons

  • Not true to size

Here you can read more on the The classic 3-layer system and how to dress for Hunting and survival in 2020.

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