8 Best Base Layers For Hiking In Australia For 2024

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying many times – ‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing’ – and while I only half believe it, wearing the best thermal base layers for hiking will unquestionably set you on the right track. 

Finding the best base layers for hiking is arguably the most important factor when you’re attempting to stay warm while hiking. If your first layer isn’t doing its job properly, there’s little chance of the remaining layers working to their full potential.

We’ve spent our fair share of time shivering on a mountain top, with insufficient base layers letting us down. But after much testing and research, we’ve acquired a collection of base layers that keep us warm in all situations while hiking and camping.

While choosing base layers for hiking isn’t rocket science, it does require more research than simply grabbing the first one you find. In this post, we will explain the important factors to understand in a thermal base layer before reviewing the best base layers for hiking in Australia for 2024. 

Sun rays gleaming in on the summit of Frenchmans Cap wearing the best base layers for hiking in Tasmania

Don’t Miss Macpac’s Killer Sales!

Our Macpac gear has done nothing but exceed our expectations and the best part is, they’re affordable!

Check out their wide range of trusted base layers for your upcoming mountain adventures.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase of a product we recommend through one of our links, we may make a small commission at no extra cost to you! This helps to support our blog and enables us to continue providing you with helpful tips and exciting adventures, so thank you 🙂

How To Choose The Best Base Layers For Hiking

Base Layers (aka long underwear or thermals) are the layer of clothing that touches your skin. They are the foundation of your layering system and the core ingredient in keeping your body temperature regulated. 

As you would expect, there are a variety of base layers for all kinds of weather conditions. Not only does the right thermal keep you toasty warm in winter, but a lighter base layer can also aid in keeping you cool in summer. 

Thermal Base Layer Fabrics

Blue Layers lining the Western Tasmanian Mountain Range from Lions Head

There are three properties that all the best base layers for hiking should have, which are moisture-wicking, odour-resistance and durability. Each fabric that is used to create base layers will have a varied level of these three elements. 

Merino Wool Base Layer

Merino wool is the bee’s knees when it comes to base layers. The super fine fibres are extremely comfortable with the highest warmth factor and odour-resistant properties. But as you may have guessed, merino wool base layers are also the most expensive option.

The downside to merino wool thermals, other than the price, is their durability. These fabrics rip easier than synthetics but if you care for your garments, you should get a few good years out of them.

  • Moisture-wicking: Good
  • Odour-resistant: Excellent
  • Warmth: Excellent
  • Durability: Not Good

Synthetic Base Layer

Synthetic base layers are commonly made from polyester or a polyester blend. Other fabrics that you may find in synthetic thermals are nylon, rayon and polypropylene. Synthetic base layers are a great sustainable option if you choose ones with recycled fabrics. 

Synthetic fabrics are the top dogs in moisture-wicking and durability, however, their odour resistance and warmth can be lacking compared to merino wool thermals. 

  • Moisture-wicking: Excellent
  • Odour-resistant: Good
  • Warmth: Good
  • Durability: Very Good

Blended Fabrics

Many brands are experimenting with a blend of synthetic fabrics and merino wool to produce the ultimate base layer. In some cases, this has been a success. But in others, one or two attributes have been sacrificed in order to succeed in another.

Some examples of blended base layers are the Patagonia Capilene Air, the Wilderness Wear Merino Fusion and the Mountain Designs Merino Blend

  • Moisture-wicking: Very Good
  • Odour-resistant: Very Good
  • Warmth: Very Good
  • Durability: Good

Weight / Warmth

Hiking to the peak of frechmans cap in a short sleeve thermal base layer

When we’re talking about the weight of a base layer, we’re talking about the thickness and warmth level of the thermal, rather than the actual overall weight. Basically, thermal base layers are categorised into three weights – lightweight, midweight and heavyweight. 

As you may have guessed, the heavier the base layer, the higher the warmth factor. But one thing to note here is that the thicker you go, the lower the moisture-wicking properties will be. If you’re like me and are constantly freezing, it’s worth grabbing the heaviest weight option possible. But if you’re better suited to cold conditions, a midweight or lightweight may be enough for you.

Remember that sweating can cause you to freeze when you stop hiking so it’s important to choose the correct hiking base layer for the condition and your body. If you choose the warmest base layer to hedge your bets, it may end up being too warm and counterproductive. 

Remember, the base layer isn’t your only source of warmth. Your mid-layer (fleece is the best) does the most work in keeping you warm while your base layer works primarily on wicking moisture from your body to keep you dry. 

Lightweight Base Layer: A lightweight base layer is the ultimate choice for mild conditions and high-intensity activities. It can also be used as a single layer for summer hiking.

Lightweight merino wool base layer weight – 165gsm – 180gsm

Midweight Base Layer: A midweight base layer is the best option when catering for the widest variety of conditions and activities. 

Midweight merino wool base layer weight – 190gsm – 220gsm

Heavyweight Base Layer: A heavyweight baselayer is ideal for below-freezing temperatures or to wear around camp and while sleeping. These are obviously the least moisture-wicking and not ideal to hike in unless it’s extremely cold. 

Heavyweight merino wool base layer weight – 230gsm – 320gsm

Note: the base layer weights above are based on the majority of information I have found, some brands have their own standards. 

Base Layers For Hiking Vs Camping 

Most often, when you’re searching for a base layer to hike in you’re looking for one that is lightweight, breathable and highly moisture-wicking. 

When you’re looking for a base layer for camping and sleeping in, your main priority is warmth and therefore you’ll be searching for a midweight to heavyweight depending on your hiking conditions. 

Of course, this can change depending on where you’re hiking and what the usual temperatures are. For most scenarios in Tasmania, I hike in a 170 g lightweight merino base layer and sleep in a 260 g heavyweight merino thermal. 

Hiking with two base layer tops is also a good idea for emergency purposes where you may find yourself exposed to harsh conditions.

The Fit

The purpose of a base layer is to wick away sweat from your body. Therefore, it needs to be touching your skin. The fit of a base layer should be snug while still allowing full range of movement.

Hiking the rocky ridgeline to the summit of Mt Farrell Tasmania

Short-Sleeve Vs Long-Sleeve Base Layers

The term base layer relates to the immediate layer that touches your skin. This doesn’t necessarily need to be a winter thermal base layer, but it can also be your t-shirt or long-sleeve top that you choose to hike in throughout summer and winter. 

As we all know, cotton is not our friend on the trails so when you choose your t-shirt to hike in it’s best to pick merino, synthetics or a blend for their moisture-wicking properties. 

A short sleeve base layer is usually reserved for hiking in warm to hot conditions, where there is no need to layer on top.

Half Zip vs Crew Top

Generally, there are two options for style in a thermal top: half zip or crew top. A half-zip is beneficial to regulate your temperature by unzipping it when you get too warm. These also have a collar that can add warmth.

A crew top is arguably more comfortable without a cold zip on your chest but it does limit your temperature-regulating opportunities. 

Personally, I prefer a crew top as I find the collar of most half zip thermals to be rather uncomfortable. Though if I were to purchase one, it would be the Wilderness Wear Merino Fusion 190.

Onesie Or Two Piece

There are onesie thermals out there and they are the ultimate base layers for skiing or snowboarding. However, when it comes to thermal base layers for hiking, a onesie is not ideal due to the fact that you are more likely to overheat and need to change than when on the ski slopes.

A onesie can be a great option as a set of thermals to sleep in while hiking in the snow or in extremely cold environments, but just remember this option will usually be heavier.

Base Layer Tops Vs Bottoms

Most base layers come as a matching set featuring a thermal top and a thermal bottom with each providing very similar characteristics. For simplicity, it is always recommended that you buy a matching set, especially if you intend on using them for the same thing. But there is no actual benefit to this.

If you have a limited budget, you’re only looking to purchase one for testing, or any other purpose, it is always best to start with a thermal top. Applying a base layer to your core will improve overall warmth better than a pair of thermal leggings. 

Sitting on a deck in lightweight base layers while hiking Frenchmans Cap

Sustainability

Sustainability is a profoundly important factor in our opinion and one we ensure we’re researching before purchasing or reviewing any gear. 

For thermal base layers, the two factors to look for are responsibly sourced merino wool and the use of recycled synthetic material. In the list below, each merino wool base layer has been certified as a responsibly sourced item and each synthetic or blend option has been created using recycled fabrics. 

Base layer Features

It is important to note that some thermal base layers can come with an array of different features. These features include half zips, small chest or hip pockets, thumb loops and SPF ratings.

Most of these features can be quite important if you plan on wearing your base layer as an outer layer but for a majority of the time, this may not be the case.

I find simplicity is best. I generally wear my base layer under other clothing which makes extra pockets or zippers redundant, and only affects the warmth and comfort levels negatively. 

Watching a sunrise inversion from Frechmans Cap summit in my thermal base layers

Base Layers For Hiking In a Nutshell

A Great Base Layer For Hiking

  • Lightweight to midweight fabric – depending on your environment
  • Merino is best for warmth and odour-resistance
  • Synthetic is best for durability and moisture-wicking properties
  • 170 g is a good weight for hiking in warm to cool climates
  • 200 g – 230 g is a good weight for hiking in cold to extremely cold climates
  • Sustainably made

A Great Base Layer For Camping

  • Midweight to heavyweight fabric – depending on your body and environment
  • Merino is best for warmth and odour-resistance
  • Synthetic is best for durability
  • 230 g – 260 g is a good weight for cool to cold climates
  • 260 g + ideal for extremely cold climates
  • Sustainably made

8 Best Base Layers For Hiking In Australia

Now that we’ve covered the factors that need to be considered before choosing the type of base layer for your adventure style, let’s dig into the best base layers for hiking in Australia! 

Thermal Base Layer Top Comparison Table

Base LayerPriceMaterialFabric WeightWeightSustainable
Icebreaker 200 Oasis$130Merino Wool200gsm300gYes
Icebreaker 260 Tech$140Merino Wool260gsm380gYes
XTM Merino 230$100Merino Wool230gsmYes
Wilderness Wear
Merino Max
$150Merino Wool300gsmYes
Wilderness Wear
Merino Light
$130Merino Wool170gsmYes
Patagonia Capilene
Air
$200Merino Wool /
Recycled Polyester
Mid – Heavy147gYes
Patagonia Capilene
Midweight
$115Recycled PolyesterMidweight153gYes
Ktena Merino Skins
Thermal Base Layer
$70Merino Wool230gsmYes

1. Icebreaker 200 Oasis Long Sleeve Crewe

The Icebreaker 200 Oasis Thermal Long Sleeve Crewe is a midweight base layer that’s made from 100% merino wool. 

Icebreaker are the pioneers in merino base layers and have been a trusted brand amongst adventurers for many years. While they are on the pricier side, their products, commitment to our planet and fair trade are worth it. 

Features

  • Flatlock seams to prevent chafing
  • Shoulder seams are offset to avoid rubbing from backpacks
  • A gusseted underarm allows unrestricted movement and breathability
  • Mid-weight fabric for moderate to cool conditions
  • Drop tail hem for extra coverage
  • Highly odour-resistant

Price: $130 AUD
Size: Women’s: XS- XL | Men’s: S – 2XL
Material: 100% merino wool
Weight: 300g
Fabric Weight: 200g midweight
Colours: Women’s: black, grape, sage, navy, bronze, black/white stripe and grey | Men’s: black, navy, bronze, light blue, brown, dark green and grey
Style: Crewneck (available in scoop neck or v-neck for women)
Sustainable: Sustainably sourced merino

Positives

  • Long-standing reputation for quality products
  • Sustainable
  • Long back for extra protection
  • True to size

Negatives

  • More expensive than other brands

Icebreaker 200 Oasis Leggings

The Icebreaker 200 Oasis Leggings are a midweight merino base layer for year-round layering. They’re the perfect weight for layering under rain pants in cold conditions or sleeping in for mild conditions.

These leggings provide unrestricted movement and are known to last. 

Features

  • Gusseted crotch for comfort and mobility
  • Flatlock seams to prevent chafing
  • Brushed elastic waistband
  • Highly odour-resistant
  • Midweight fabric for moderate to cool conditions

Price: $110 AUD
Size: Women’s: XS – XL | Men’s: S – 2XL
Material: 100% merino wool
ProductWeight: 200 g
Fabric Weight: 200 midweight
Colours: Women’s: black | Men’s: black
Style: mid-waist
Sustainable: Sustainably sourced merino

Icebreaker 200 Oasis Thermal Tights

Positives

  • Long-standing reputation for high-quality products
  • Sustainably made
  • Gusseted crotch for extra comfort and mobility

Negatives

  • A little more expensive
  • Some prefer high-waist over mid-waist leggings

2. Icebreaker 260 Tech Thermal Crew Top Baselayer

The Icebreaker 260 Tech Thermal Crew is a step up from their Oasis 200 and a great heavyweight base layer for cold conditions. 

This is the base layer that I own and love. I’ve worn it for a full season of winter hiking in Tasmania and it kept me toasty warm while sleeping and at camp. As expected, it’s too warm to wear as a base layer while hiking but a great merino thermal base layer for camp.

Features

  • Gusseted underarms for comfort and mobility
  • Flatlock seams to prevent chafing
  • Forward side seams for comfort
  • Drop-tail hem for added coverage
  • Off-shoulder seam to prevent friction with a backpack
  • Highly odour-resistant
  • Heavyweight fabric for layering in cold conditions

Price: $140 AUD
Size: Women’s: XS – XL | Men’s: S – 2XL
Material: 100% merino wool
Product Weight: 380g
Fabric Weight: 260 heavyweight
Colours: Women’s: black, navy, brown and sage | Men’s: black, navy, grey, brown and dark green
Style: Crewneck (comes in half-zip style for an added $10)
Sustainable: Sustainably sourced merino wool

Icebreaker 260 Tech Thermal Top Base Layer for hiking

Positives

  • Long-standing reputation for high-quality products
  • Sustainably made
  • Warm and durable for winter hiking

Negatives

  • A little more expensive
  • Very form-fitting to allow better heat retention, but can feel too tight

Icebreaker 260 Tech Leggings

The Icebreaker 260 Tech Leggings are the perfect thermal base layer for camp and sleeping in cold conditions. You may even want to wear them hiking in below-freezing temperatures, however, they could be overkill for hiking in warmer conditions.

Similarly to the 260 Tech Crew Top, I would suggest these thermal tights be reserved for camp in most Australian scenarios.

Features

  • Gusseted crotch for comfort and mobility
  • Flatlock seams to prevent chafing
  • Mid-waist brushed elastic waistband
  • Highly odour-resistant
  • Heavyweight fabric for layering in cold conditions

Price: $140 AUD
Size: Women’s: XS – XL | Men’s: S – 2XL
Material: 100% merino wool
Product Weight: 250 g
Fabric Weight: 260 heavyweight
Colours: Women’s: black and navy | Men’s: black
Style: mid-waist
Sustainable: Sustainably sourced merino

Icebreaker 260 Tech Leggings, perfect base layer for keeping warm at camp

Positives

  • Long-standing reputation for high-quality products
  • Sustainably made
  • Warm for sleeping in cold conditions

Negatives

  • A little more expensive
  • Mid-waist can be annoying

3. XTM Merino 230 Wool Long Sleeve Thermal Top

XTM is an Australian brand with a focus on winter sports and caring for the environment. Their 230 Merino Thermal top is Dylan’s favourite and has kept him warm on many sunrise missions, though proved to be overkill for any prolonged periods of intense hiking. 

The 230 Merino Wool Long Sleeve thermal is a mid to heavyweight base layer that offers great mobility and comfort, making it a great merino wool base layer for cold weather.

Features

  • Raglan sleeves for comfort and mobility
  • Flatlock seams to prevent chafing
  • SPF 50+ protection
  • Thumb gussets to keep your hands warm
  • Interlock knit so that the product doesn’t stretch out of shape
  • Highly odour-resistant
  • Heavyweight fabric for layering in cold conditions

Price: $100 AUD
Size: Women’s: 8 – 18 | Men’s: S – 3XL
Material: 100% merino wool
Product Weight: Not specified
Fabric Weight: 230 heavyweight
Colours: Women’s: black, light grey, grey, light blue and burgundy | Men’s: black, navy, grey, light grey, ivy green and dark green
Style: Crewneck (comes in half-zip for an added $10)
Sustainable: Sustainably sourced merino and carbon neutral product

XTM Merino 230 Wool long sleeve thermal top, a great heavyweight base layer for Australia

Positives

  • Australian company
  • Sustainably made
  • Carbon neutral product
  • Great mobility and warmth

Negatives

  • Can be a little tight around the armpits
  • On the lighter side of heavyweight and not as warm as the Icebreaker 260

XTM Merino 230 Wool Thermal Pants

The XTM Merino 230 Wool Thermal Pants are super comfortable and warm. We both have a pair and love the softness against the skin. 

They’re a mid-waist pair of mid to heavyweight leggings that are great to layer underneath rain pants in cold weather or to sleep in when the weather is mild to cold. They aren’t as warm as some others on this list and may not be enough for sleeping in below zero conditions for most.

Features

  • Flatlock seams to prevent chafing
  • SPF 50+ protection
  • Interlock knit so that the product doesn’t stretch out of shape
  • Highly odour-resistant
  • Heavyweight fabric for layering in cold conditions
  • Mid-waist fit

Price: $100 AUD
Size: Women’s: 8 – 18 | Men’s: S – 3XL
Material: 100% merino wool
Product Weight: Not specified
Fabric Weight: 230 heavyweight
Colours: Women’s: black, light grey, grey, pink and burgundy | Men’s: black
Style: Mid-waist fit
Sustainable: Sustainably sourced merino and carbon neutral product

XTM Merino 230 Wool Thermal Pants, a great heavyweight base layer for Australia

Positives

  • Australian company
  • Sustainably made
  • Carbon neutral product
  • Great mobility and warmth

Negatives

  • The seam unstitched itself on my pair, however, Dylan’s pair has been perfectly durable

4. Wilderness Wear Merino Max Long Sleeve Crew Neck Top

Wilderness Wear is another Australian company that even has its products made in Australia! 

Their Merino Max base layer is a heavyweight thermal base layer with a fabric weight of 300g. This base layer is ideal for cold conditions and will keep you warm at camp and while sleeping during an Australian winter. 

Features

  • Raglan sleeves for comfort and mobility
  • Double sewn flat seams for extra comfort and to avoid irritation
  • Gusset panels for increased mobility
  • Highly odour-resistant
  • Heavyweight fabric for layering in cold conditions
  • Australian made

Price: $150 AUD
Size: Women’s: 8 – 16 | Men’s: XS – 2XL
Material: 100% merino wool
Product Weight: Not specified
Fabric Weight: 300 heavyweight
Colours: Women’s: black | Men’s: black and navy
Style: Crewneck
Sustainable: Sustainably sourced merino

Wilderness Wear Merino Max Long Sleeve Thermal Top, heavyweight base layer suited for cold climate

Positives

  • Australian made
  • Sustainably made
  • Great mobility and warmth

Negatives

  • Becoming expensive

Wilderness Wear Merino Max Leggings

The Wilderness Wear Merino Max Leggings are a heavyweight base layer with a fabric weight of 300g. Their leggings are waist high and offer supreme comfort for those cold nights in your tent! 

Without a gusseted crotch, these leggings may be a little uncomfortable to hike in and may be best left for camp. 

Features

  • Elasticised waist for a perfect fit
  • Double sewn flat seams for extra comfort and to avoid irritation
  • Highly odour-resistant
  • Heavyweight fabric for layering in cold conditions
  • Australian made

Price: $150 AUD
Size: Women’s: 8 – 16 | Men’s: XS – 3XL
Material: 100% merino wool
Product Weight: Not specified
Fabric Weight: 300g heavyweight
Colours: Women’s: dark grey | Men’s: black and navy
Style: High waist
Sustainable: Sustainably sourced merino

Wilderness Wear Merino Max Thermal Tights, Great heavyweight base layer for camping in Australia

Positives

  • Australian made
  • Sustainably made
  • Great mobility and warmth

Negatives

  • Becoming expensive
  • No gusseted crotch

5. Wilderness Wear Merino Light Thermal Baselayer Top

The Wilderness Wear Merino Light Thermal Top is the lightest of the three weights they offer. The lightweight merino base layer has a fabric weight of 160g which will keep your body temperature regulated in warm and cool conditions. 

This merino wool thermal is the best base layer for hiking, either as a single layer or underneath a fleece jacket or down jacket. However, it’s not designed to keep you warm at camp in cold conditions.

Features

  • Raglan sleeves for extra mobility and comfort
  • Double sewn flat seams for extra comfort and to avoid irritation
  • Highly odour-resistant
  • Lightweight fabric for temperature control while hiking in warm to cool conditions
  • Gusset panels for increased mobility
  • Slim fit for increased temperature control
  • Australian made

Price: $130 AUD
Size: Women’s: 8 – 16 | Men’s: XS – 3XL
Material: 100% merino wool
Product Weight: Not specified
Fabric Weight: 160g lightweight
Colours: Women’s: black | Men’s: black
Style: Crewneck
Sustainable: Sustainably sourced merino

Wilderness Wear Merino Light Thermal Top, a great base layer for hiking in Australia

Positives

  • Australian made
  • Sustainably made
  • Great mobility and temperature control

Negatives

  • Becoming expensive
  • The slim fit might be a little too hot for warmer hiking conditions

Wilderness Wear Merino Light Thermal Base layer Leggings

The Wilderness Wear Merino Light Leggings are ideal to wear under your rain pants for temperature control and comfort while you’re hiking in cool and rainy conditions.

These lightweight thermal hiking tights have a fabric weight of 170g and are ideal for warm to cool conditions. They won’t keep you the warmest when you’re layering up at camp on a cold night, but they will be super comfortable to hike in when you need a layer between your rain pants. 

Features

  • Elasticised waist for a perfect fit
  • Double sewn flat seams for extra comfort and to avoid irritation
  • Highly odour-resistant
  • Lightweight fabric for temperature control while hiking in warm to cool conditions
  • High waisted
  • Australian made

Price: $130 AUD
Size: Women’s: 8 – 16 | Men’s: XS – 3XL
Material: 100% merino wool
Product Weight: Not specified
Fabric Weight: 170 lightweight
Colours: Women’s: black | Men’s: black
Style: High waisted
Sustainable: Sustainably sourced merino

Wilderness Wear Merino Light Base Layer Leggings, perfect for layering in warmer conditions

Positives

  • Australian made
  • Sustainably made
  • Great mobility and temperature control

Negatives

  • Becoming expensive
  • No gusseted crotch could be irritating to hike in

6. Patagonia Capilene Air Crew Base Layer Top

Patagonia is at the forefront of the innovation of outdoor clothing using sustainable practices. And their Capilene base layer range is a great example of this innovation. 

The Capilene Air Crew top is made from a blend of merino wool and recycled polyester to provide a base layer that has excellent moisture-wicking, odour control and durability. But perhaps the most impressive feature of this product is how light it is compared to the warmth it produces. 

Features

  • Seamless 3-D construction eliminates chafe
  • Highly durable
  • Good odour-resistant qualities
  • Light fabric that offers the warmth of a heavyweight merino baselayer
  • Blended material for extra durability and quick dry time
  • Sustainably made

Price: $200 AUD
Size: Women’s: 2XS – 2XL | Men’s: 2XS – 2XL
Material: 190 g 51% RWS-certified merino wool / 49% recycled polyester seamless zigzag knit comprised of 18.5-micron-gauge lofted wool
Product Weight: 147 g
Fabric Weight: Mid – Heavyweight equivalent
Colours: Women’s: black and light grey | Men’s: black and maroon/dark green striped
Style: Crewneck
Sustainable: Yes

Patagonia Capiline Air Crew Base Layer

Positives

  • Sustainably made
  • Great mobility and warmth
  • Lightweight compared to its warmth
  • Quick-drying

Negatives

  • Very Expensive

Patagonia Capilene Air Base Layer Leggings

The Patagonia Capilene Air base layer leggings are light yet offer superb warmth. I own a pair of these and they have kept me warm during many cold nights in a tent. 

The blended material offers excellent comfort and stretch, making these the ideal pair of thermal leggings to layer with at camp or sleep in. I have worn them a couple of times hiking in the snow underneath my rain pants and they have kept my temperature sufficiently regulated. 

Features

  • Seamless 3-D construction eliminates chafe
  • Highly durable
  • Good odour-resistant qualities
  • Light fabric that offers the warmth of a heavyweight merino baselayer
  • Blended material for extra durability and quick dry time
  • Sustainably made

Price: $200 AUD
Size: Women’s: 2XS – 2XL | Men’s: 2XS – 2XL
Material: 190 g 51% RWS-certified merino wool / 49% recycled polyester seamless zigzag knit comprised of 18.5-micron-gauge lofted wool
Product Weight: 130 g
Fabric Weight: Mid – Heavyweight equivalent
Colours: Women’s: black | Men’s: black
Style: High waisted
Sustainable: Yes

Patagonia Capilene Air base layer leggings, perfect all-round thermal pants for extreme comfort

Positives

  • Sustainably made
  • Great mobility and warmth
  • Lightweight compared to its warmth
  • Quick-drying

Negatives

  • Expensive

7. Patagonia Capilene Midweight Crew Top

The Patagonia Capilene Midweight Crew is made entirely from recycled polyester and offers similar warmth to a midweight merino base layer that’s on the higher end of the warmth scale. 

This is a great option if you would rather avoid wool base layers altogether. The midweight crew will keep you warm when layering at camp and while sleeping in cool conditions. The extra stretch and moisture-wicking properties also make it an ideal base layer while hiking. 

Features

  • Highly durable
  • High breathability properties
  • Elastic thumb loops for secure hand coverage
  • Gusseted underarm for full range of motion and no chafing
  • Odour-control properties added to the fabric
  • Flatlock seam construction
  • Sustainably made

Price: $115 AUD
Size: Women’s: 2XS – 2XL | Men’s: XS – 3XL
Material: 147 g 100% recycled polyester diamond-grid double knit with miDori™ bioSoft for added wicking and softness, and HeiQ® Pure odour control
Product Weight: 153 g
Fabric Weight: Midweight
Colours: Women’s: black and green | Men’s: black and grey/blue
Style: Crewneck
Sustainable: Yes

Patagonia Capilene Midweight crew top base layer, a great all-round thermal

Positives

  • Sustainably made
  • Great mobility and warmth
  • Lightweight compared to its warmth
  • Quick-drying
  • Durable

Negatives

  • Not as soft on the skin 

Patagonia Capilene Midweight Leggings

The Patagonia Capilene Midweight leggings are made from 100% recycled polyester and offer superior quick-drying and moisture-wicking properties. The warmth of these leggings is equivalent to a midweight merino base layer yet is much cheaper and lighter. 

This is a great option if you want to avoid wool thermals altogether. The midweight leggings are ideal to layer up on a cool to cold evening camping or as a first layer when hiking with rain pants.  

Features

  • Brushed elastic waist for added comfort and quick dry
  • Highly durable
  • High breathability properties
  • Gusseted crotch for full range of motion and no chafing
  • Odour-control properties added to the fabric
  • Sustainably made

Price: $115 AUD
Size: Women’s: 2XS – 2XL | Men’s: XS – 3XL
Material: 147 g 100% recycled polyester diamond-grid double knit with miDori™ bioSoft for added wicking and softness, and HeiQ® Pure odour control
Product Weight: 156 g
Fabric Weight: Midweight
Colours: Women’s: black | Men’s: black
Style: Mid waist, above ankle length for women
Sustainable: Yes

Patagonia Capilene Midweight Thermal tights, a great all-round pair of themeral tights

Positives

  • Sustainably made
  • Great mobility and warmth
  • Lightweight compared to its warmth
  • Quick-drying
  • Durable

Negatives

  • Not as soft on the skin 
  • The above ankle length isn’t ideal for warmth

8. Ktena Merino Skins Thermal Crew Top

Ktena is a small Australian company that has been creating sustainable, durable and comfortable thermals for over 40 years. The Merino Skins Thermal Crew Top is midweight base layer made from 100% fine Australian merino wool.

The long cut merino thermal top has a fabric weight of 230 gsm, making this a great option for sleeping in cold conditions. But the best part is, these thermals are super affordable, especially compared to their durability and warmth.

Features

  • Double knit interlock fabric
  • Flatlock shoulder seams
  • Superior moisture wicking abilities
  • High odour control properties
  • High level of UV protection built into the thermal
  • Australian made
  • Sustainably made

Price: $70 AUD
Size: Unisex: XS – 3XL
Material: 230 g 100% Australian fine merino wool
Product Weight: Not specified
Fabric Weight: 230 g Midweight
Colours: Black and White
Style: Crewneck
Sustainable: Yes

Ktena Merino Skin Thermal Crew Top

Positives

  • Sustainably made
  • Great durability and warmth
  • Quick-drying
  • Australian made
  • Cheapest option

Negatives

  • Quite heavy

Ktena Merino Skins Thermal Leggings

The Ktena Merino Skins Thermal Leggings are the ideal option when warmth is the biggest factor. These leggings have a fabric weight of 230 g and are highly durable, allowing you to sit outside your tent without worry of ripping a hole in the bottoms.

The only downside to these 100% fine australian merino wool leggings is the weight, but being the most affordable option may just override this downfall.

Features

  • Thick waist for comfort
  • Highly durable
  • High breathability properties
  • Double knit interlock fabric
  • High level of odour control
  • High Level of inbuilt UV Protection
  • Australian made
  • Sustainably made

Price: $70 AUD
Size: Unisex: XS – 3XL
Material: 100% fine Australian merino wool
Product Weight: Not specified
Fabric Weight: 230 g Midweight
Colours: Black and White
Style: Mid waist, above ankle length
Sustainable: Yes

Ktena Merino Skins Thermal Leggings

Positives

  • Sustainably made
  • Great durability and warmth
  • Australian made
  • Cheapest option

Negatives

  • No gusseted crotch
  • Quite heavy

There are plenty more options for base layers of all levels of warmth, but these are some great varied products from a few of our favourite brands that we know and trust. The key takeaway from this post is to first decide how much warmth you need and then choose the product that suits your needs the most.

Personally, I believe the best combination of hiking thermals is a lightweight merino wool top to hike in and a heavyweight base layer set for around camp and sleeping. This not only ensures you have the perfect hiking thermal for all conditions but also leaves you with a spare set for an emergency.

What is your favourite base layer? We’d love to hear your opinions in the comments below!

Last Updated: 31/12/2023

Climbing over fallen trees on the Hannels Spur Trail as we make our way up to Mount Kosciuszko