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Best Women's Base Layer of 2024

Sophie Anderson

Written by Sophie Anderson

A lifelong adventurer, Sophie has treaded every terrain from rocky cliffs to forest trails. She aims to spark a love for the outdoors in every reader.

This post was last updated on March 04, 2024.

Best Women's Base Layer of 2024

When presented with outdoor adventures, one thing we ladies need is a top-grade base layer to keep us comfortable while we're playing hard. More than just chic accessories, these undergarments shield us from the elements and help manage our body temperature no matter the weather, be it snowy or sultry. The best long underwear for women, for instance, ramps up our gear game to ensure that we're on point with every trek, climb, or ride.

Among a plethora of options for women's base layers, there's one piece that consistently shines—the Arc'teryx Rho LT Hoody. This versatile hoody ticks the boxes for moisture-wicking and breathability, boasts an impressive warmth-to-weight ratio, fits well under layers, and showcases durability that can withstand vigorous activity. Its superior material and comfort slides into the top-tier of base layers. Plus, if you're up for some high-altitude action, it's a perfect underpinning to complement the best down pants for women.

But if the Arc'teryx Rho LT Hoody doesn't suit you or if you're still scouting for options that cater more to outdoor activities like resort skiing and snowboarding, or mountaineering during cold weather, or even on a budget, fret not—we're crafting a curated list. And while we're doing the ground work in checking their attributes, you can also get some boot-spiration from the best hiking boots for women for your next outdoor adventure.

Our Top Recommendations

Our Top Pick

Arc'teryx Rho LT Hoody Women's Base Layer
Arc'teryx Rho LT Hoody

The Arc'teryx Rho LT Hoody nabs the top spot due to its high user ratings for superior warmth, comfort and moisture-wicking abilities -- making this pick perfect for active outdoor pursuits.

Runner Up #1

Black Diamond Solution 150 Merino Quarter Zip Women's Base Layer
Black Diamond Solution 150 Merino Quarter Zip

The Black Diamond Solution 150 Merino Quarter Zip is a top pick for its soft yet durable merino blend that users say keeps them warm in even the coldest of conditions, while the quarter zip design offers convenient temperature regulation according to the reviewers.

Runner Up #2

Icebreaker Merino 200 Oasis Women's Base Layer
Icebreaker Merino 200 Oasis

The Icebreaker Merino 200 Oasis is favored by female outdoor enthusiasts due to its comfortable fit, warmth, and popular reputation for excellent odor-resistance, even after multiple days of wear on the trails.

What you should look for

(and what we test for)


Fit is key to comfort and efficiency; make sure to choose a base layer that snugly fits your body (not too tight, not too loose) to enable an efficient wicking of moisture away from the skin and to prevent chafing during your outdoor activities.


The weight of the base layer plays a crucial role depending upon your activity level and the climate, with lighter weight options ideal for moderate to high level activity & warmer conditions, while mid-weight or heavyweight layers are suited to colder conditions and lower intensity activities.


When choosing a women's base layer, it's prime to consider the material - synthetic, wool, or silk - each displaying pros and cons, such as synthetics being breathable and quick drying, wool offering superior warmth and odor resistance, and silk being super soft and lightweight, though less durable and quick to dry.


A key factor to consider is how breathable the base layer is, because no matter how cold it gets, you're still going to sweat while hiking, climbing or camping, and a breathable garment ensures that sweat vapor can escape, keeping you dry and comfortable.

Arc'teryx Rho LT Hoody

The Best Women's Base Layer

Based on our research and testing, we think the Arc'teryx Rho LT Hoody is the best Women's Base Layer on the market right now, for anyone looking to play hard outside.

Arc'teryx Rho LT Hoody Women's Base Layer

Reasons to Buy

  • Great warmth-to-weight ratio
  • Excellent moisture-wicking abilities
  • Feels soft and comfortable
  • Superb layering compatibility

Reasons to Avoid

  • Pricey compared to other base layers
  • Might be too snug for some

The Arc'teryx Rho LT Hoody is a top-notch base layer that is generating rave reviews among ladies who love outdoor activities. It strikes a hard-to-find balance of warmth, comfort and breathability, making it ideal for a wide range of activities - from camping and backpacking to climbing.

People who bought this product say it fits like a second skin, giving them that desired snug fit without feeling overly tight or restrictive. On the other hand, some people weren't ecstatic about the fit, claiming the sleeves were too long or the cut wasn't flattering.

The Rho LT Hoody is made of soft, brushed fabric (polyester-elastane blend), which according to user reviews, feels amazing against the skin. They love how effective it is at providing warmth whilst lending lightweight ease which is so essential for winding trails and tough ascents.

Something else that buyers applaud is the hoody's moisture-wicking capability. It kept them dry even during rigorous activities by efficiently pulling sweat away from skin and promoting fast evaporation. A few purchasers, however, wished for even better moisture management.

User reviews also commend the versatility of this hoody's use. Its sleek design and muted colors mean it doesn't look out of place when worn casually or layered under other clothing. There were some minor gripes about the lack of color options, though.

Known for its durability, users have also praised the hoody for withstanding heavy-duty use and frequent washing without losing shape, color or performance. But, there were a handful of reports about the garment pilling after some time.

One unique feature that's been getting a lot of kudos from the ladies is the balaclava-style hood, providing extra coverage on chilly climbs, and the easy-to-zip, deep front zipper for ventilation adjustment.

As for value for money, most buyers agree that the Arc'teryx Rho LT Hoody is worth the investment for those who regularly embrace the outdoors. Some however felt that this product was on the steeper end of the price scale.

Black Diamond Solution 150 Merino Quarter Zip

Runner Up

Based on our research and testing, we think the Black Diamond Solution 150 Merino Quarter Zip is a great choice if you're looking for a women's base layer to go play hard outside with, if our top pick isn't quite what you're looking for.

Black Diamond Solution 150 Merino Quarter Zip Women's Base Layer

Reasons to Buy

  • Highly efficient moisture-wicking and breathability
  • Comfortable and soft against the skin
  • Impressive warmth-to-weight ratio

Reasons to Avoid

  • Slightly on the pricier side
  • Fit might not suit everyone

The Black Diamond Solution 150 Merino Quarter Zip has clearly established itself as an essential piece in a camper's, hiker's, or climber's wardrobe. Women who have tried this product rave about its breakthrough design that blends the warmth and breathability of merino wool with the durability and quick-drying nature of polyester.

When it comes to comfort, this base layer is rated top notch. The needle-punched wool is cozy on the skin, while the snug fitting style stays close without being restrictive. Many users appreciate the longer sleeves and body length, providing extra coverage and warmth during outdoor activities.

Avid outdoor enthusiasts are impressed with the Black Diamond's resilience. This base layer doesn't seem to wear out easily, even when subjected to strenuous activities and countless washing cycles. This long-lasting performance makes it a practical choice for frequent adventurers.

Its quarter-zip design makes it versatile for varying weather conditions. Users can zip up for increased warmth or open it for ventilation during more demanding hikes or climbs.

However, some users noted a few snags. While the Black Diamond Solution 150 is lightweight and easy to pack, it may not provide enough warmth for extremely cold environments on its own. A couple of purchases mentioned that the sizing is a bit on the larger side, thus it might be wise to consider ordering a size down if you're going for a more fitted look.

Additionally, the cost might give some buyers a pause. It is pricier compared to other base layers in the market. However, most users agree that with the blend of excellent craftsmanship and high-quality materials, it ultimately proves itself to be a worthwhile investment for outdoor enthusiasts.

Overall, the Black Diamond Solution 150 Merino Quarter Zip is a dependable choice for a base layer. Women who've bought this rave about its comfort, durability, and adaptability, making it a reliable companion for those seeking outdoor adventures.

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Icebreaker Merino 200 Oasis

Runner Up

Based on our research and testing, we think the Icebreaker Merino 200 Oasis is a great choice if you're looking for a women's base layer to go play hard outside with, if our top pick isn't quite what you're looking for.

Icebreaker Merino 200 Oasis Women's Base Layer

Reasons to Buy

  • Comfortable and soft on the skin
  • Effective at regulating body temperature
  • Highly durable, can withstand extended outdoor use
  • Retains warmth even when wet

Reasons to Avoid

  • Can be slightly pricier than other base layers
  • Some find the fit slightly looser than preferred

Meet the Icebreaker Merino 200 Oasis - a base layer that doesn't keep you warm; it turns you into a walking oven. Crafted from ethically sourced merino wool, this garment is perfect for all your cold-weather adventures. It's one of those rare pieces of gear that doesn't shy away from hiking, climbing, or even a lazy Sunday walk in the park.

Buyers online have been raving about the Oasis' warmth to weight ratio. Not only is this thing feather-light, but it also boasts a crazy level of insulation. Some even swear it rivals their heaviest jackets, which is no mean feat. If you're someone who puts packability as a top priority, this base layer should tickle your fancy.

The Icebreaker Merino 200 Oasis also gets a gold star for its breathability. The merino wool fabric naturally wicks moisture and regulates body temperature, ensuring that you don't turn into a sweaty mess when you're conquering hills.

As brilliant as the 200 Oasis is, it's not perfect. Critics argue about its durability - a few buyers have expressed concerns that the material can wear thin over time or get easily snagged. It may not be the best option for anyone planning grueling trails or trips where gear will be put through the wringer.

Another hiccup would be the fit - it seems that Icebreaker's size chart isn't truly representative for everyone. Some customers found the arms and body a bit long, while others had issues with the neck area. We'd suggest trying on a couple of sizes before making the final call. The upside? Its body-hugging design does make for an excellent, non-bulky layering piece.

But let's not forget about comfort. Ladies, rejoice! The 200 Oasis isn't just effective; it's also pleasantly soft and non-itchy, so it's one of those pieces you wouldn't mind wearing straight from the trail and onto a casual evening out.

Buyers also laud its odor-resistance, a function of the merino wool. Even after laborious treks and missed laundry days, the 200 Oasis doesn't go sour, easing the stress of washing while on the move.

REI Co-op Lightweight Base Layer Crew Top Long Sleeve

Best Budget Women's Base Layer

Based on our research and testing, we think the REI Co-op Lightweight Base Layer Crew Top Long Sleeve is a great pick if you're looking for a women's base layer that is more budget friendly, without sacrificing too much in quality.

REI Co-op Lightweight Base Layer Crew Top Long Sleeve Women's Base Layer

Reasons to Buy

  • Superior breathability
  • Ideal for layering
  • Good value for money
  • Comfortable for all day wear

Reasons to Avoid

  • Might be too thin for extremely cold weather
  • Color and size options are a bit limited

The REI Co-op Lightweight Base Layer Crew Top Long Sleeve is a great option for budget-conscious adventurers who aren't willing to compromise on quality or comfort. As part of REI's own line of outdoor gear, you can trust that it was designed and crafted with firsthand knowledge of what outdoors enthusiasts really need.

This base layer top is lightweight, making it an outstanding option for physical activities and layering in various weather conditions. The wearers appreciate the snug yet non-restrictive fit that moves with them, and many have commended its ability to wick sweat quickly, keeping them dry during intensive hikes and climbs.

Customers have also mentioned that they are particularly impressed with the longevity of this base layer. Despite being priced at the budget end, it can withstand frequent use and washing without losing its shape or comfort, a hallmark of far more expensive alternatives.

One of its standout features, according to users, is the fabric. It uses a polyester blend that is not only warm and moisture-wicking, but also surprisingly soft and comfortable against the skin.

Amid the praises, there have been some minor gripes. A handful of users have noted that the sizing runs slightly small, suggesting you may wish to consider sizing up for a more relaxed fit or if you plan to layer extensively. Few wearers also commented on its simplicity, expressing-a wish for additional features like thumbholes or a zip neck for added versatility.

Despite these slight downsides, the overwhelming consensus among online reviews is that the REI Co-op Lightweight Base Layer Crew Top Long Sleeve delivers excellent value for its price point. It is praised for its performance, durability, and comfort that stand up to activities as strenuous as a full day's hike or a weekend backpacking trip.

Arc'teryx Rho Heavyweight Zip Neck

Best Women's Base Layer for Mountaineering and Cold Weather

Based on our research and testing, we think the Arc'teryx Rho Heavyweight Zip Neck is a solid choice if you want a women's base layer that's really well suited to Mountaineering and Cold Weather.

Arc'teryx Rho Heavyweight Zip Neck Women's Base Layer

Reasons to Buy

  • Highly warm and cozy
  • Versatile with layering options
  • Quality material and construction
  • One of the best for cold weather activities
  • Good breathability

Reasons to Avoid

  • High-end price tag
  • Might feel tight for some users
  • Not the lightest available on the market
  • Limited color choices

The Arc'teryx Rho Heavyweight Zip Neck base layer for women has been a real standout in the mountaineering and cold weather gear category. It's made from a thick, plush material that keeps you toasty even when the temperatures drop. The exterior of the layer is smooth, making it easy to slide on additional layers without any snagging. Yet, the interior has this lovely soft touch that feels great against your skin. And let's talk about the zip neck - it's a thoughtful feature that allows for instant ventilation when you're working up a sweat but it also traps heat in when it's zipped all the way up.

One thing that many buyers love about this base layer is its long durability. This base layer is made to withstand harsh conditions and it does so without faltering, even after repeated washes. The craftsmanship that Arc'teryx puts into their products is clearly evident here. Its solid construction really shines through and you can feel it in the materials. The resilience of the fabric helps it maintain its shape and structure, providing a great fit and consistent comfort levels throughout its life span.

Although it seems perfect for cold weather conditions, some users have mentioned that it might not be the best for high-intensity activities in warmer conditions. The material, while breathable, is quite heavy and could lead to overheating if you're hiking in spring or fall conditions. That's something to consider, mostly if you're someone who tends to run hot or if you're planning on using it during diverse climate conditions.

Most buyers appreciate the attention to detail that's apparent in this product. The zip-neck design not only provides temperature control but features a comfortable lining that prevents any itching or scratching at the neck - a pet peeve for many when it comes to high-necked clothing. Additionally, the long, slim tailoring of the layer means it stays tucked into your pants, keeping cold drafts at bay. This fit also ensures that there is minimal bunching when layering, giving you comfortable, chafe-free movement.

In terms of fit, it has been generally praised for true-to-size fit, but if you're in between sizes, most reviews suggest its best to size down to ensure the base layer makes close contact with your skin for optimal insulation. Another minor gripe by a few users was with the price. As a higher-end garment, the Arc'teryx Rho comes with a higher price tag, but many argue that the performance and durability justify the expenditure.

SmartWool Merino 250 Base Layer Crew

Best Women's Base Layer for Resort Skiing and Snowboarding

Based on our research and testing, we think the SmartWool Merino 250 Base Layer Crew is a solid choice if you want a women's base layer that's really well suited to Resort Skiing and Snowboarding.

SmartWool Merino 250 Base Layer Crew Women's Base Layer

Reasons to Buy

  • Excellent warmth and comfort
  • Great fit
  • High-quality merino wool
  • Top-notch breathability
  • Effective moisture-wicking property

Reasons to Avoid

  • A tad bit pricey
  • Not highly durable
  • Can be prone to pilling after several uses

Soft, snuggly, and oh-so-practical, the SmartWool Merino 250 Base Layer Crew is a gift that keeps on giving on icy slopes and frosty chairlifts. Made with 100% Merino wool, it's extremely cozy and warm, making it the perfect ally in combatting cold weather. Customers might find it a touch heavier than most base layers, but that's one of the potent weapons in its arsenal to provide the kind of warmth it does.

What sets the SmartWool Merino 250 apart too, is its ability to manage moisture effectively. Multiple buyers have reported that despite them sweating bullets during their skiing or snowboarding sessions, this base layer didn't get soggy or uncomfortable. Instead, it wicked away moisture, keeping them dry and comfortable.

Users have also praised the fabric's softness against the skin, highlighting that even after a long day on the slopes, they experienced zero itching or discomfort, unlike other woolen garments they had tried previously. Of course, being a wool product, it requires a bit of extra care during washings - cold wash and lay flat to dry.

Coming to the fit, the overwhelming response is that the SmartWool Merino 250 hugs the body without being constrictive. It has plenty of stretch, so it moves with you, whether you're carving down powder or sipping hot cocoa in the lodge.

A common gripe however, is that the product is a bit pricey. But this was generally followed up by the acknowledgment that the quality of the product makes it worth every penny, and it has the longevity to prove its value. Another minor issue bronzed by a few customers was that it tends to collect fuzz or pills after several washes.

While the product isn't perfect, real-life user reviews firmly place the SmartWool Merino 250 Base Layer Crew as a valuable companion for any woman planning to hit the ski or snowboarding resorts this season.

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