Best Thermal Base Layers Reviewed & Rated for Quality

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
ColdPruf Basic
Test Winner: ColdPruf Basic
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Thermal base layers provide you with plenty of benefits which are useful when working in cold or windy environments. They keep you warm and protected in such conditions. There are more than enough examples of where dressing in layers is advantageous. Working outdoors is one such example because the weather can fluctuate which means that sometimes we are too cold and other times we are too hot. Dressing in layers helps us deal with the changes in the temperatures because we can add and remove layers as needed. This can be really useful when we work physically also because our body temperatures change as we work hard and then fall when we are resting. To help you find the right pair for your needs, we've compiled a list of the best on the market for your convenience!

Standout Picks

ColdPruf Basic
This brand of a base thermal layer is designed to keep you warm in both cold and extremely cold weather. It is extra soft because it is made out of ring spun yarn. The yarn itself is a blend of cotton and polyester so that it stays both soft and durable. You will also benefit from the flat seams which reduce chafing and scratch.
Amazon Link
$22.93
Telsa Wintergear Compression
This base layer is a high-performance base layer that is designed with active people completely in mind. It has features that regulate body heat so that you do not feel too hot or cold. The base layers are constructed out of micro-fleece so that it feels soft and comfortable while providing maximum moisture wicking. It has a compression fit that helps promote blood flow and oxygen circulation.
Amazon Link
Carhartt Base Force
Carhartt brand products are known for high performance in the coldest conditions. This base layer is made completely out of cotton so that it feels warm and is moisture wicking. This allows you to feel great while you work hard. The cotton has a soft feel on the skin yet it traps heat and removes moisture away from your skin so that you won't feel cold or sweaty.
Amazon Link
Duofold Double Layer Union
This base layer is a coverall style that encloses your entire body in a warm base layer. It features dual layers of fabrics so that you feel both warm and comfortable. The suit buttons up from the crotch to your neck and it has full pant legs and sleeves so that your body is completely covered and protected. You wash this suit in the washing machine when it is soiled.
Amazon Link
$44.84
Hanes Red Label
These thermals are a great choice for general usage. They are made out of a waffle fabric that is extra soft and feels great. It naturally wicks away moisture so that you won't feel cold and sweaty while wearing it. The seams are flat and have no-rub stitching so that you won't get chaffed at the seams. You can also wear these for a long time since they resist shrinking.
Amazon Link
Ekouaer
This base layer set allows you to feel warm and comfortable while you are enjoying the cool or cold outdoor weather. It is made out of soft cotton fabric and is lined with fleece which feels great on your skin. The material is nice and warm and even wicks away moisture so that you feel completely and totally comfortable and pampered while you are wearing this laying set underneath your winter clothes.
Amazon Link
Minus33 Merino Wool Kancamagus
This base layer is an excellent choice if you are going to be in extremely cold weather. It is made completely out of Merino wool, which is one of the best natural materials for insulating against the cold weather. This base layer is naturally moisture wicking, has a tagless design, and flatlock seams. These features make it comfortable to wear because you won't feel sweaty or getting scratched by tags or seams.
Amazon Link
$89.99
Fitextreme FX MaxHeat
If you are someone who enjoys looking your best, then you will want to check out this compression fit base layer. It is made from a stretch fabric which shapes your body so that you have the absolute best look. The thermal layer is great for outdoor activity since it retains heat while wicking away any moisture that you may develop while you are active.
Amazon Link
$13.95
Moet Fashion Long Johns
If you are planning on being active while outdoors, then you may want to consider these thermal long johns. They are made out of a blend of polyester and spandex so that they fit great while providing plenty of moisture wicking. The inner layer features a fleece lining so that it feels great against your skin and makes it a pleasure to wear.
Amazon Link
$20.99
Fruit of the Loom Classics
These thermals are meant for general usage and will keep you warm in a variety of cooler and cold environments. The material is highly breathable so that you will benefit from moisture wicking. The fabric is a blend of polyester and cotton and has a waffle construction so that they feel soft and warm. You can wash these thermal in the washing machine when they get soiled and dry them in the dryer.
Amazon Link
$22.99

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Materials

There are two main factors that determine how warm a thermal base layer will feel. One factor is the material used to make the clothing and the other factor is the thickness of your base layer. Some materials are better suited for keeping you warm in cool weather. You should expect that thermal base layers that are mostly made from synthetic materials are meant for cool weather. This includes materials such as spandex, nylon, or polyester, or any other polymer based fabric.

Natural fibers tend to do a much better job of keeping you warm as opposed to synthetic fibers. The reason is that natural fibers have long strands that can trap more air than shorter strand synthetic fibers. They also retain moisture and use moisture as a way to block airflow and insulate your body better. The most popular natural fiber used in thermal base layer clothing is cotton because cotton insulates well and feels soft against your skin. It is also possible that you may see wool used in this type of clothing as well because wool insulates better as it gets wet.

However, the material isn’t the factor that determines how warm a thermal base layer will feel. You will also need to consider how thick the material is as well. Some thermal base layers are made from thin materials which are better suited for cooler but not cold weather.

Fit

When you are picking out a thermal base layer, you should make sure that it fits correctly. There are a few different trouble areas that you will need to check when you are trying on a pair of long johns. You should check the sleeves, legs, waistband, shirt, and how tight the base layer is on your body.

The base layer should maintain a proper fit throughout the entire day so it should not stretch out as you move around in it. A base layer that does not fit properly can become distracting and annoying which will cause you to feel dissatisfied with your purchase. The better your base layer fits on your body, the happier you will be with the base layer and the more likely you will want to wear it.

Many people struggle to find a base layer that fits them properly. When you are looking for a set of thermal base layers, you will need to check that both the pants and the shirt fit properly. The shirt should feel snug on your body but it should not feel constricting either. You should be able to move freely while you are wearing the shirt without having it feel as if you are going to bust out of it.

The same rules hold true for the pants. Once again, you want to make sure that the pants are not too loose or too tight. The pants should allow you to move your legs freely without feeling as if the seems are going to break. You will want to make sure that you can bend your knees and touch your toes without the pants falling down and exposing a plumber’s crack. The leg sleeves on the pants should be long enough to reach your ankles when you are standing up straight and when you are sitting down.

Comfort

When you have found the right pair of thermal base layer clothing, you should feel as if you are not wearing the base layer in the first place. That means that comfort should be a high priority when you are shopping for the best pair of a thermal base layer. Your base layer should feel great against your skin.

It should not itch, scratch, or give you a rash. There should be no chafing as you are moving around nor should you feel as if it is pulling your body hair out of your body. Thermal base layers should feel cozy and comfortable and the better job you do at making sure of this, the better you will feel while you are wearing a pair of long johns.

Breathability

Wearing a thermal base layer with your clothing should not make you feel hot and sweaty. You should instead feel warm, cozy, and dry which means that your base layer should be able to breathe and wick away moisture. The last thing you want is to feel as if you are inside of a sauna or a steam room while you have your long johns on. The better job a thermal base layer does with keeping you dry, the more comfortable you will feel while you are wearing it. Therefore, moisture wicking is an important factor when you are picking out a pair of a thermal base layer.

Durability

You should check that is made from a material that can resist tearing and abrasions from both wearing the base layer and washing it. The stitching should also be strong enough so that you do not end up popping seams as you use the clothing. You should also expect that it can maintain its elasticity throughout its life so that it continues to fit properly as you wear the base layer and take it off. Higher quality thermal base layers tend to be a better value since you do not need to replace them as often as an inferior product.

BEST THERMAL BASE LAYERS REVIEWED & RATED FOR QUALITY

1. ColdPruf Basic

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$22.93
ColdPruf Basic
Amazon Link

This brand of a base thermal layer is designed to keep you warm in both cold and extremely cold weather. It is extra soft because it is made out of ring spun yarn. The yarn itself is a blend of cotton and polyester so that it stays both soft and durable. You will also benefit from the flat seams which reduce chafing and scratch.

Accurate Fit

Many brands of thermals do not fit accurately which frustrates many consumers. This brand of thermal features True Sizing so that the size you purchase will fit the way that you expect it too.

Ring Spun Yarn

You should expect the product to feel great while you wear it because it is made out of a ring spun yarn. The fabric is a blend of 60% ring spun cotton that is combed followed by 40% polyester.

Cost and Value

You should expect to pay a price that is below average for this product. It gets its value by having a low cost combined with a durable blend of cotton and polyester.

Amazon Link
$22.93

2. Telsa Wintergear Compression

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Telsa Wintergear Compression
Amazon Link

This base layer is a high-performance base layer that is designed with active people completely in mind. It has features that regulate body heat so that you do not feel too hot or cold. The base layers are constructed out of micro-fleece so that it feels soft and comfortable while providing maximum moisture wicking. It has a compression fit that helps promote blood flow and oxygen circulation.

UPF 50+

The base layer is designed to provide you with protection against the sun. This is especially important if we outside on a cold yet highly sunny day. Layers of snow can also reflect the sun which leads to sunburns.

Moisture Wicking

The base layer is designed to provide you with the maximum amount of moisture wicking. It is mostly made out of polyester and it has a microfleece layer on the inner lining that keeps you warm and draws moisture out.

Cost and Value

You will see this layer priced below the average price which turns it into an excellent value. This base layer is highly technology focused and offers lots of features that help you maintain optimal body temperature while outdoors.

Amazon Link

3. Carhartt Base Force

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Carhartt Base Force
Amazon Link

Carhartt brand products are known for high performance in the coldest conditions. This base layer is made completely out of cotton so that it feels warm and is moisture wicking. This allows you to feel great while you work hard. The cotton has a soft feel on the skin yet it traps heat and removes moisture away from your skin so that you won't feel cold or sweaty.

Durable

The garment is made out of high quality and thick cotton that is ring spun. The seams are reinforced so that it won't tear around the seams. The 9.5-ounce cotton resists tears and abrasions caused by hard work.

Stain Breaker

This base layer will continue to look new for a long time thanks to its stain breaker technology. Sweat and other liquids can stain your base layer which can make it look old and worn out but that won't be the case with this product.

Cost and Value

You should expect to pay a price that is well above the average for this thermal base layer. The product gets its value by being made out of thick and heavy-duty cotton that is long lasting and resists tearing.

Amazon Link

4. Duofold Double Layer Union

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$44.84
Duofold Double Layer Union
Amazon Link

This base layer is a coverall style that encloses your entire body in a warm base layer. It features dual layers of fabrics so that you feel both warm and comfortable. The suit buttons up from the crotch to your neck and it has full pant legs and sleeves so that your body is completely covered and protected. You wash this suit in the washing machine when it is soiled.

Merino Wool

Merino sheep are an animal that is native to New Zealand and is known for their extremely warm wool. The wool can insulate up to -20 degree Fahrenheit. This suit is made from a fabric blend that includes 25 percent, Merino Wool.

Cotton Layer

The inner layer of the suit is made entirely out of cotton. The cotton fabric serves the dual purpose of insulating your body and feeling soft. The softness of cotton makes this suit extremely comfortable to wear.

Cost and Value

This suit has a price that is higher than average but it is an excellent value because it covers your entire body. It is made out of high-quality materials such as Merino wool and cotton and offers full body protection.

Amazon Link
$44.84

5. Hanes Red Label

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Hanes Red Label
Amazon Link

These thermals are a great choice for general usage. They are made out of a waffle fabric that is extra soft and feels great. It naturally wicks away moisture so that you won't feel cold and sweaty while wearing it. The seams are flat and have no-rub stitching so that you won't get chaffed at the seams. You can also wear these for a long time since they resist shrinking.

Shrinkage Controlled

Many brands of thermals end up shrinking after they have been worn and washed a few times. This brand of thermals addresses that problem by offering shrinkage control which helps them maintain their size after many washes and wears.

Waffel Fabric

You will find this garment to be really comfortable to wear thanks to the waffle fabric. The fabric has a snug fit so that it won't get caught against other items while you wear this base layer.

Cost and Value

The product has a price that is below the average when compared to the other thermal base layers. It has an excellent value because it is low cost and yet is still warm and comfortable.

Amazon Link

6. Ekouaer

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Ekouaer
Amazon Link

This base layer set allows you to feel warm and comfortable while you are enjoying the cool or cold outdoor weather. It is made out of soft cotton fabric and is lined with fleece which feels great on your skin. The material is nice and warm and even wicks away moisture so that you feel completely and totally comfortable and pampered while you are wearing this laying set underneath your winter clothes.

Soft

This brand of the thermal base layer is doubled layers and is made from 95% cotton fabric. Cotton has an extra soft feel on your skin and when combined with the fleece lining found on the legs, you will feel great.

Moisture Wicking

The base layer is made from a material that is naturally moisture wicking material. This allows any perspiration from your skin to evaporate naturally away from your body so that you do not end up feeling sweaty while wearing this base layer.

Cost and Value

You should plan on spending a price that is slightly higher than the average price for thermal base layers. The extra price comes from the fact that this base layer is extra soft, doubled layers, and extra warm for the winter.

Amazon Link

7. Minus33 Merino Wool Kancamagus

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$89.99
Minus33 Merino Wool Kancamagus
Amazon Link

This base layer is an excellent choice if you are going to be in extremely cold weather. It is made completely out of Merino wool, which is one of the best natural materials for insulating against the cold weather. This base layer is naturally moisture wicking, has a tagless design, and flatlock seams. These features make it comfortable to wear because you won't feel sweaty or getting scratched by tags or seams.

Merino Wool

The product is made completely out of merino wool. The wool has many features such as being a great cold weather insulator. It is also naturally wicking and it resists fires. This makes it a great material for a base layer.

Anti-Microbial

The base layer is anti-microbial which helps it stay clean. The material naturally resists odors and fungus which prevents it from smelling bad. This makes it a great base layer to wear if you are engaging in physical activity.

Cost and Value

You should expect to pay a high price for this premium product. The price comes from the fact that the base layer is made completely out of Merino wool. Most other base layers use a wool blend to keep the price down.

Amazon Link
$89.99

8. Fitextreme FX MaxHeat

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$13.95
Fitextreme FX MaxHeat
Amazon Link

If you are someone who enjoys looking your best, then you will want to check out this compression fit base layer. It is made from a stretch fabric which shapes your body so that you have the absolute best look. The thermal layer is great for outdoor activity since it retains heat while wicking away any moisture that you may develop while you are active.

Compression Fit

This base layer is made from a compression fit fabric that stretches in four different directions. Many athletes love compression fit because it promotes additional blood flow throughout your body and allows for better performance while you are active.

Polyester and Polyurethane Blend

The material used to make this base layer is a blend of 93 percent polyester and 7 percent polyurethane. This allows the base layer to breath well, wick away moisture, while it retains your body heat and keeps you warm.

Cost and Value

You should plan on seeing this base layer sold at a price that is higher than the average price for a thermal base layer. The higher cost is reflected by the higher quality materials which shape, stretch, and keep you warm.

Amazon Link
$13.95

9. Moet Fashion Long Johns

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$20.99
Moet Fashion Long Johns
Amazon Link

If you are planning on being active while outdoors, then you may want to consider these thermal long johns. They are made out of a blend of polyester and spandex so that they fit great while providing plenty of moisture wicking. The inner layer features a fleece lining so that it feels great against your skin and makes it a pleasure to wear.

Polyester and Spandex

The thermal is designed to feel ultra soft because it is made out of a blend of 92% polyester with 8% spandex. The material also has the benefit of being long lasting and holding its shape.

Fleece Lining

The inside of the thermal features a fleece lining. It has the benefit of feeling soft and wicking moisture. You will continue to feel both dry and warm while wearing this thermal layer.

Cost and Value

You should expect to see these long johns sold at an average price. They have a great value because they are extra soft and will make you feel extremely comfortable. They fit great and are extra comfortable.

Amazon Link
$20.99

10. Fruit of the Loom Classics

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$22.99
Fruit of the Loom Classics
Amazon Link

These thermals are meant for general usage and will keep you warm in a variety of cooler and cold environments. The material is highly breathable so that you will benefit from moisture wicking. The fabric is a blend of polyester and cotton and has a waffle construction so that they feel soft and warm. You can wash these thermal in the washing machine when they get soiled and dry them in the dryer.

Waffle Fabric

These thermals feature a waffle fabric that is a blend of polyester and cotton. The result is a thermal base layer that fits snugly against your body while keeping you both warm and dry.

Durable Construction

The polyester helps the thermals resist forming holes, tearing, and shrinking. The seams have a flatlock construction that is smooth and will resist tearing or ripping. This results in a long lasting pair of thermals.

Cost and Value

You can purchase these thermals at a rock bottom price which makes them a great value. They are priced low enough that you can easily purchase enough pairs to have one for every day of the week.

Amazon Link
$22.99

Sources

  1. Wes Siler, Gizmodo, Lifestyle Site
  2. Editorial Team, REI, Outdoor Site