Materials: Merino wool, Capilene fiber.Buy Here
I know I've found a good pair of long underwear when I'm still wearing them hours after I've finished skiing—donning them at the dinner table, lounging in them on the couch by the woodstove, and snuggling up in them while reading a book with a whiskey, by which point in the evening, I realize my base layers would make a great pair of pajamas, too.
This winter, I am living in the Patagonia merino baselayers, made with wool sourced from sheep with love in Patagonia, South America. The company combines the Merino with its proprietary Capilene recycled polyester. The garments are thin to the touch and light on the body, with the slightest bit of stretch for a comfortable fit. Merino wool works its magic, regulating body temperature, and the Capilene assists by wicking away moisture. I've always been a fan of Patagonia's baselayers, though the capilene-only garments have a reputation for a smell that forces a one-wear-and-done situation—not a fan. The Merino, I am relieved to say, keeps the odor at bay several wears on.
I am finicky when it comes to body temperature. Too hot, and I feel claustrophobic and will likely take my chances and stash a favorite layer in the trees. Too cold, and I call it a day at 10 a.m. I pair the midweight Merino baselayers with a synthetic mid-layer and a Gore-Tex shell, and I feel like I've tapped into the nirvana of layering, no matter the conditions. Storm days I stay warm and dry. Sunny days, the system ventilates on hot laps and boot packs.
The best part is that I know I'll wear these long johns long after the ski season wraps up. They will be perfect for crisp mornings on a camping trip, for long drives on a summer road trip, for surf trips to Baja, and hikes in the Eastern Sierra.
Skiing Hot: I love the stripes so much, I’m tempted to be one of those people who wears their baselayer leggings in the grocery store and even to the bar.
Skiing Not: The only thing about the Patagonia Merino baselayers that requires some debating is whether or not you’re willing to spend $230 (plus tax) on a bottom-and-top set.