Choose Your Base Layers Carefully (The Truth About Base Layer Marketing)

Affiliate Disclosure:When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.

You need clothes to keep your warm camping, but choose your base layers carefully! This video is sponsored by Use code PLAYINGWITHSTICKS to save 15% off your first purchase at (Exclusions may apply)

Links to Gear Mentioned in Video
Smartwool Merino 250 Baselayer 1/4-Zip – Women’s
Smartwool Merino 250 Baselayer Bottom – Women’s
Smartwool Trekking Heavy Crew Sock
Patagonia Capilene Air Crew Top – Men’s
Smartwool Merino 250 Bottom – Men’s
Smartwool Merino 250 Baselayer 1/4-Zip – Men’s
Burton 1st Layer Set – Toddler Boys’
Our other favorite gear we currently use from Backcountry can be found near the bottom of the description if you are interested.

Want to see all the gear we currently take out camping? Link below.

We do get a small kickback from amazon for any purchases you make using these affiliate links. By purchasing items through them there is no additional cost to you. Our family does receive a small percentage from items you purchase.

Choosing a base layer sounds simple. But it really isn’t a one size fits all approach. We are breaking down our favorite base layers from merino wool to our favorite synthetic base layer blends. Our goal is to help you recognize that base layers for cold weather are an absolute must. But, this doesn’t mean you have to spend an arm and a leg to get quality base layers. You just need to know what you want.

0:00 Beginning
1:43 Base layer properties
2:15 Base layer fit
2:58 Base layer weights
3:05 Lightweight base layers
3:14 Midweight base layers
3:31 Heavyweight base layer
4:10 Types of base layers
4:47 Merino wool base layers
8:00 Synthetic base layers
9:51 Silk base layers
10:15 Patagonia Capilene Air Base Layer
12:04 Base layer performance
14:19 Kids base layers

*Our other favorite winter gear we use from Backcountry*
Atlas Snowshoes Montane Snowshoe – Men’s
Atlas Snowshoes Mini Snowshoe
Atlas Snowshoes Spark Snowshoe – Kids’
Stoic Groundwork Double Sleeping Bag: 20 Degree
Backcountry Silver Fork 750 Hooded Jacket – Men’s
Snow Peak Mini Flame Lantern
BioLite Light Diffusing Stuffsack
BioLite Base Lantern
Smartwool Popcorn Cable Sock – Women’s
Patagonia Trucker Hat – Kids’
Baffin Cush Slipper – Men’s

Want more tips on how to stay warm when camping? Check out our videos

3 Best Electric Heaters for Teardrop Trailers (Plus Thermostat)

Our Favorite Electric Blankets (Put Head to Head)

3 Ultimate Mr Heater Hacks (Simple Buddy Heater Modifications)

Choose Your Base Layers Carefully (The Truth About Base Layer Marketing)
Choose Your Base Layers Carefully (The Truth About Base Layer Marketing)
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  1. Don't be shy. What are you all wearing for base layers? Or do you wear base layers? There is nothing wrong with saying you wear a pair of long underwear handed down from your Great Great Grandfather 🙂

  2. Had me all the way up until the "new normal" bs. There is no "new normal " ! Everything is the same as it was before. No one is continuing to let the big lie continue and we won't be controlled by authoritarianism.

  3. What would you recommend for a winter time kayaker? My legs tend to get wet when kayaking, and maybe a few drops of water elsewhere, a base and exterior layer to keep from getting wet, and still be safe to swim in…. If worst case scenario happens.

  4. Reply
    MADCTY Middle Aged Dad Clinging To Youth January 24, 2022 at 11:26 pm

    Love the description of "clammy" when I started wearing synthetics cross country skiing I was questioning if they were wicking… you describe the feeling perfectly

  5. Watched the entire video to finnally find out he didnt teach anything that everyone already knew. Lost 10 precious minutes I will never get back

  6. Do you go commando under your bottom layer or wearing underwear?

  7. Im just gonna post this here because im at my wits end. I do ALOT of waterfowl hunting. Our late season hover between 20- 10 degrees. I HAVE NOT been able to find anything to work for me. I just ordered my first pair of smartwool base layers and im honestly praying they do well because this weekend will be around -9 with 30mph winds. Im honestly about to just: put wool layer on cabelas ecws heavyweight 1/4 zip, then my sitka gradient/ duck oven on top

  8. ⛸❄🍦That's some proper cred – education & swimming with ice bergs. THX for the info❗❗❗

  9. The prices are ridiculous. Could you make a video explaining how people conquer mountains during the winter before 1950. I dont think native alaskans have this technology or the money to pay for it, and they survive. I just wonder how much of this is just first world people getting weaker. If you are going to be exposed to the cold, you need to adapt to the cold. Going on trips with the perfect clothing and heating gloves,, jackets and all that, will just get you killed when you run out of batteries and dont have the mental fortitude to survive.

  10. I nearly gave you a thumbs down, despite an excellent video, because you used the elite depopulation agenda term: ‘new normal’. Please don’t support psychopaths!

  11. dude, body odour from a days activity isnt offensive, we can shower and put the base layer in a wash bag…only stale, unwashed sweat gets offensive..

  12. Definitely thumbs down’ed.
    It takes him 4 minutes & 45 seconds to be done with his way-too-long intro about what the video will entail. Then he makes a minute+ advertisement for the sponsor.

    I’m 6:32, nearly 40% into the video time and it’s finally about to begin.

    V. poorly executed video direction and narrative structure.
    Better luck next time 👋🏼

  13. What would you suggest for winter running?

  14. I tried a lot of different baselayers for backcountry skiing over the years. Polyester, merino wool, polypropylen…By far the best is a super tight polyester baselayer made for road cycling. Don`t know why but I don`t run hot like I do with other polyester baselayers and it handles moisture exceptional. After i bought one (for about €15) i was so stoked i bought 3 more of it. Hope they last for ever.

  15. I use to purchase Patagonia for my family, unfortunately they went a little too political for my taste. Like entertainment, just stay in your lane.

  16. at 14:16 in the video did I hear the word "Silk". By the way, a great video.

  17. Awesome Video. Thanks for taking the time to go through all the optionss, pros, and cons.

  18. Reply
    Rim Country Outfitters February 2, 2022 at 5:24 pm

    A "new normal" is a political construct. Stay free my friends!

  19. Mid weight merino base layers. Once temps hit 40 F/4.4C, they start getting used at night and outdoors. I’m okay with small amounts of synthetics in socks, and I have it from earlier in my baselayer journey. I’d rather have polys as water resistance in outerwear.

  20. For the base layer, I use my body hairs

  21. Great information for someone living in South Florida and clueless about layering clothes. Let me help you with clothes if you come to South Fl. Hat, shorts, sunscreen, flip flops.

  22. Reply
    Greg Morton Outdoors February 11, 2022 at 2:01 pm

    Uniqlo heattech baselayer. Never felt clamy but did stay warm and dry.

  23. This was a great video. Very informative and dispelled a lot of misinformation and misconceptions. Being ex-military, I'm kind of biased towards synthetic polypropylene (know as polypro for military folks). It was part of our ECW (extreme cold weather) issue. 100% polypropylene top and bottom. From my experience, it's pretty hard to beat in terms of being fully comprehensive; it pretty much does everything. Also, from a price point standpoint, it's very economical and affordable; about $50 for a top/bottom combo. It won't look pretty and fancy like the name brand stuff, yet it does the job. Happy outdoors-ing to everyone! 😁

  24. Please do not support multi billion $ Nature Conservancy! Union of Concerned Scientists actually supports real scientists doing actual climate science not all the lies, bullshit and land grabbing of TNC

  25. what's brand and model of backpack in this video?

  26. Rbx makes great and cheap base layers

  27. burton is an innovator

  28. Very interesting and thank you….! I use £3 (4$) to £25 (35$) base layers and tbh I see very little difference, apart from the logo….!!! Admittedly my hikes are usually 10 – 25 miles. I walked the Camino Frances in 2019 and took 2 t shirts – a Montane and a budget, they both did the job and I didn't notice much difference apart from the Montane dried quicker. I had a week solid of rain (temperatures between +5c and +20C) and even under a waterproof jacket they both seemed to wick equally well. Body odour was irrelevant – when you are hiking 500 miles everybody stinks….🤣

  29. I feel that tight fitting base layers make me feel cold. But that might be because I'm really hairy and carrying extra weight. I find that a 100% cotton t-shirt a nice fit but not too baggy. Thick fleece or wool middle layers. Then I have large Karrimoor weathertite jackets. I can be out in really cold weather and feel really toastie.

  30. This was a VERY helpful video! As an Aussie from the subtropics I always feel like a babe in the woods when it comes to using base layers effectively, and as you say, with all the misinformation out there it's been confusing for me (I LOVE the snow but never even saw any till my mid-thirties).
    So thankyou for correcting a lot of my misapprehensions.

  31. What is recommended if your not moving to get sweaty. If I ice fish for 6 hours while sitting still would the heavyweight be best?

  32. Great video! thank yuou

  33. The reason the "stinkiness" comes back is armpit deodorant. Usually a good amount of deodorant residue stays on the shirt. The smell from it "activates" as soon as you sweat again. The best way to combat this is to spray stain remover on the inside of the armpits on the shirt 5 minutes before washing it. That will get rid of some of the deodorant residue

  34. Intraknit from Smartwool is pretty much top tier right now. Blended with the added knee/elbow articulation. Pretty rad.

  35. This information was very helpful, thank you for the deep dive! I'm a female who lives in Dallas, but travels often, so I like merino wool for every day, all-season wear (not just as base layers). I mostly own (and have had the longest) Smartwool socks, short sleeve T-shirts, and 1/4 zip pullovers in a mix of 100% merino and merino + synthetics. I love and will only wear Smartwool socks, all year 'round (own knee-high, mid-calve, ankle, low-show, and no-show styles). It's expensive, but high quality, plus they have the best color & size options and free shipping & returns. Meriwool's beanies and short sleeve T-shirts are great (style, colors, quality, comfort). I recently discovered and love my Minus33 short sleeve T-shirts, 1/4 zips, and full zip in a mix of 100% merino and their Woolverino [merino + synthetic] fabrics. Woolx, Merino Protect, and are also recent finds and I own at least 2 items from each. Most of these brands have stores on Amazon, so free shipping & returns for Prime members.

  36. Great video thanks. Polyester isn't 100% hydrophobic and retains sweat. It's this that perhaps causes the clammy feeling? Polpropylene is more hydrophobic and I have found garments made from this (eg Helly Hansen) perform slightly better but still retain that clammy feeling after a few hours cycling. What I don't understand about these garments is that when rinsed in warm water and hand wrung dry (fortunately they retain their shape well), they can almost double their weight and though quick, still take time to dry.

  37. Smart wool or Marino wool every time.. even when its warm.
    Why on earth would anyone wrap themselves up in a plastic base layer?

  38. Thank you for this informative video. Boy, was I not understanding how it works. So I have concerns about how responsibly sourced the wool is and the same thing with silk. Peta would have one believe that there is no wool which can be had that an animal didn’t suffer for. Admittedly, Industrial agriculture is grim. At the same time, trying to hike in the winter without wool socks…

    Any possibility you could address this in one of your posts? I really want that purple Patagonia waffle weave top.

    I know what you mean about the clammy factor with synthetics. Natural fibers breathe.

  39. Base layer for wicking. Midlayer to taste, which if it's really dry can be your outer layer. Shell if you need wind/wet protection. Big mistake people make these days is a down mid or outer layer if you're sweaty or wet. I prefer a wool or synthetic midlayer. West coast alpine skiing – super thin baselayer and my go to midlayer is Patagonia better sweater, typically, with a goretex shell.

  40. Great informative video, loved the toddler section at the end.

  41. Are cotton socks and cotton pajamas a good material to keep you warm ????

  42. Long johns all day

  43. Watched all of it

  44. Silk is actually as bad as cotton or worse when it comes to wicking. Weird how he mentioned it at the end.

  45. Unfortunately a number of people have wool allergies, which can restrict options. And yes, that includes Merino wool. Smelly Hellies are famous for needing to stay upwind of anyone wearing it. And in the field you start to need to stay upwind of subjects when setting up an OP.

    Combat medic training talked a lot about having to pull melted synthetic materials out of wounds following fire / gunshot / explosion exposure. Hopefully not an issue in recreational stuff, but please stay clear of fires!

    That clammy feeling when cooling down from an activity sucks but passes.

  46. Unfortunately a number of people have wool allergies, which can restrict options. And yes, that includes Merino wool. Smelly Hellies are famous for needing to stay upwind of anyone wearing it. And in the field you start to need to stay downwind of subjects when setting up an OP.

    Combat medic training talked a lot about having to pull melted synthetic materials out of wounds following fire / gunshot / explosion exposure. Hopefully not an issue in recreational stuff, but please stay clear of fires!

    That clammy feeling when cooling down from an activity sucks but passes.

  47. They stink because of the rayon, which is very similar to cotton (it’s made from wood fibers). They probably added that for extra breathability. That being said. This is not a good example of high quality synthetic clothing.

  48. Bought my first Merino baselayers last year for hunting. I was shocked at how well it performed compared to my usual Under Armor, etc, synthetics. I still use synthetics for work and workouts for their durability but for hunting, camping, hiking, it's Merino for me from now on.

  49. I have used old school cotton long under wear for decades. I hate the synthetic stuff. Yet I have been warm. So much for the "stay away from cotton". If you can afford good wool get it. Wool works very well and retains insulators ability when wet. Synthetics don't. Wool is also save around fire. Synthetics aren't. If you do something like cross country races use the Synthetics. If you are sweating enough to get your layers wet then you didn't use your brain and strip enough layers. Rule number one in winter…. Do NOT get wet.

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