Best Men’s Base Layers of 2024

The best men's base layers: A hiker observing a canyon at sunset

In this post, we'll take a look at:

Discovering the best men’s base layers for hiking can be challenging with the abundance of choices available.

Choosing the appropriate base layer is crucial for maintaining comfort during outdoor adventures.

After exploring numerous options, we’ve evaluated the top ones for men, ensuring you can find the ideal base layer for your hiking requirements.

Let’s dive in.

What Are the Best Men’s Base Layers?

  1. Most Ultralight: Rab Sonic LS Zip (4.58oz/130g)
  2. Best Overall: Black Diamond Alpenglow LS (8.64oz/245g)
  3. Best Value: Patagonia Men’s Long-Sleeved Capilene Cool Daily Shirt (5.39oz/153g)
  4. Warmest Option: Icebreaker Merino 175 Everyday LS (5.99oz/170g)
  5. Thin Option: Montane Men’s Dart Long Sleeve T-Shirt (3.17oz/90g)

1. Most Ultralight
Rab Sonic LS Zip

Rab Sonic LS Zip

Key Specs

Weight: 4.58 ounces (130 grams)
Material: 100% polyester
Price: $$


✅ Ultralight

✅ Dries quick


❌ Not for cold weather

The Rab Sonic LS Zip is a fantastic choice for those who love mountain running and fast hiking. Its lightweight and breathable design, complete with a half-zip and thumb loops, ensures comfort during challenging climbs.

The fabric’s quick-wicking feature keeps you dry even on tough trails. With its versatile use, from cooler days to sun protection, this baselayer is perfect for multi-day adventures.

We like it because it’s good for general travel, offering warmth, quick drying, and a stylish appearance.

2. Best Overall
Black Diamond Alpenglow LS

Black Diamond Alpenglow LS

Key Specs

Weight: 8.64 ounces (245 grams)
Material: 87% polyester, 13% elastane
Price: $$$


✅ Comfortable

✅ Good odor control


❌ A bit heavy

The Black Diamond Alpenglow Crew is a top-notch choice for outdoor enthusiasts. It’s designed with technical expertise and features a protective fabric, making it ideal for various activities like desert climbing and alpine adventures.

The UPF 50+ and technology keep you cool and shielded from the sun’s rays. The pullover design and Polygiene odor control add to its practicality.

The only real downside is that it’s heavier than the competition. However, we particularly appreciate its odor resistance during hot hikes.

If you’re in search of a reliable hiking shirt that performs well and stays fresh, the Alpenglow Crew is a smart pick.

3. Best Value
Patagonia Men’s Long-Sleeved Capilene Cool Daily Shirt

Patagonia Men’s Long-Sleeved Capilene Cool Daily Shirt

Key Specs

Weight: 5.39 ounces (153 grams)
Material: 100% polyester
Price: $


✅ Good fit

✅ Comfortable


❌ Stitches can be a bit scratchy

The Patagonia ultralight hiking baselayer proves to be a versatile and comfortable choice for outdoor adventures. Crafted with recycled polyester, it offers quick-drying abilities, stretch for ease of movement, and HeiQ Pure odor control.

For us, the shirt is incredibly comfortable and remains cool even under the sun. We can praise the fit, comfort, and quality of the shirt, highlighting its perfect sizing and overall appeal. However, some of the stitching around the neck and shoulders can become scratchy and irritating.

Overall, it’s a solid choice.

4. Warmest Option
Icebreaker Merino 175 Everyday LS

Icebreaker Merino 175 Everyday LS

Key Specs

Weight: 5.99 ounces (170 grams)
Material: 100% merino
Price: $$$


✅ 100% merino

✅ No-itch control


❌ Runs small if you have big arms

The Icebreaker 175 Everyday Long Sleeve Crewe is a versatile and comfy base layer choice. Made from soft and breathable 100% merino wool, it’s an all-purpose baselayer that suits various activities.

We can say it’s the ideal lightweight shirt for easy movement while regulating body temperature. The shirt’s athletic fit provides a nice shape without being overly tight. However, we are not a fan of the shoulder seam, which can rub against your backpack.

Overall, it’s a solid pick for those seeking a versatile and comfortable base layer.

5. Thin Option
Montane Men’s Dart Long Sleeve T-Shirt

Montane Men’s Dart Long Sleeve T-Shirt

Key Specs

Weight: 3.17 ounces (90 grams)
Material: 100% polyester
Price: $


✅ Affordable

✅ Comfortable


❌ Not a warm option

The Montane Men’s Dart Lite Long Sleeve T-Shirt stands out as a versatile and efficient base layer for active outdoor pursuits. It’s designed to provide extra protection on cooler days, striking a balance between warmth, moisture-wicking, and breathability—making it perfect for hiking, running, and fastpacking adventures.

The use of recycled materials in its fabric, combined with POLYGEINE permanent odor control, allows for extended wear and reduced washing, ensuring freshness even during multi-day activities.

Whether worn alone or layered, this baselayer proves its worth as a reliable choice from Montane’s range of tops, earning praise for its functionality and design.

How to Choose the Best Base Layer for Hiking

Selecting the perfect base layer for your outdoor adventures is the first step in creating a comfortable clothing system. This layer is the one that touches your skin and plays a crucial role in ensuring your overall comfort. When you’re deciding on a base layer, keep these three important factors in mind:

  1. Material Matters: The type of fabric you choose is vital because it needs to be good at moving sweat away from your skin, whether it’s a synthetic or a natural material.
  2. Weighty Decisions: Base layers come in different thicknesses, like “lightweight,” “midweight,” or “heavyweight.” Your choice should depend on the weather and how active you’ll be.
  3. Fit Factors: It’s important for your base layer to fit snugly to effectively wick away sweat. A close fit ensures the fabric makes good contact with your skin.

There are various fabric options for base layers, each with its unique qualities:

  • Synthetics: Materials like polyester, nylon, polypropylene, or blends with spandex are great at wicking moisture and can resist odors.
  • Merino Wool: Merino wool is soft and environmentally friendly. It wicks moisture, keeps you cool in warm weather, and naturally resists odors.
  • Silk: Silk is smooth and works well for less intense activities. However, it requires more frequent washing because it doesn’t wick moisture as effectively and lacks odor resistance.
  • Ceramic/Wool: This newer technology blends wool with ceramic particles to keep you cool in hot weather.

The weight of your base layer should match your metabolism and the level of activity: “lightweight” for moderate to cool temperatures, “midweight” for cold temperatures, and “heavyweight” for freezing conditions.

Remember that the primary source of warmth in your clothing system comes from your insulating midlayer, not your base layer. If you want to become an expert in selecting the right midlayer, you can check out our in-depth guide here.


How to choose the best men’s base layers?

When selecting the best men’s base layers for outdoor adventures, prioritize thermal insulation, performance, and effective layering for optimal comfort. The choice of material is crucial, whether synthetic or natural, to efficiently wick sweat away from the skin. Consider the weight of the base layer—lightweight for moderate conditions, midweight for cold weather, and heavyweight for freezing temperatures. Ensure a snug fit to enhance moisture-wicking capabilities. Synthetic fabrics like polyester or nylon are ideal for moisture management and odor resistance, while merino wool offers softness, breathability, and eco-friendliness. Silk is suitable for less strenuous activities but may require more frequent washing. For innovative options, explore ceramic/wool blends designed to regulate temperature in various climates.

What is the best material for men’s base layers?

The best material for men’s base layers can vary based on what you like and what you’re doing. Merino wool and synthetic fabrics like polyester or nylon are popular options. Merino wool is naturally breathable, wicks away sweat, and resists odors, so it works well in different temperatures and activities. Synthetic fabrics are great at managing moisture, drying quickly, and lasting a long time, making them perfect for activities where you sweat a lot.

What are the benefits of wearing a base layer?

Wearing a base layer offers numerous benefits, especially during activities like skiing, snowboarding, or other winter sports. Base layers, particularly bottoms like leggings, provide crucial thermal insulation, keeping the body warm by trapping heat close to the skin while efficiently wicking away moisture to maintain dryness and comfort. Additionally, they offer a comfortable, close fit that minimizes friction and chafing during dynamic movements, enhancing overall performance and mobility on the slopes or during vigorous activities.

Spread the word →

Why you should trust us

At Hikinglite, we're all about helping you hit the trails with lightweight and ultralight outdoor gear that won't weigh you down. Our crew of content creators? Real outdoor enthusiasts who've logged countless miles on the trails.

Leading the pack is our editor-in-chief, Alex Jardine – an ultralight evangelist who's hiked over 10,000 trail miles across the globe. He's basically a walking outdoor encyclopedia. This dude loves testing out the latest and greatest products, so you can trust his recommendations are always well-informed and reliable.

We treat all our suggestions like advice from close trail buddies. No fluff, just real insights from folks who live and breathe the outdoor life.

Have any questions?

More Insights

Suscribe to Our Newsletter

Stay smartly informed with our weekly newsletter

Follow us

hikinglite logo white
© 2024 Hikinglite - All rights reserved

Subscribe to our newsletter

Subscribe now to stay ahead of the pack with the most up-to-date outdoor content.