Top 5 Ultralight Hiking Baselayers for Men (2023)

Hiking Baselayers: Sitting hiker in the mountains on rocky ground wearing an ultralight hiking baselayer

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

When picking an ultralight hiking baselayer, remember to focus on things like how well it keeps you dry, insulation for warmth, comfort, fit, the material’s quality, and if it can be used for different activities. These factors really matter for staying comfy and dry while hiking.

But be cautious, because if you choose the wrong one, it might cause discomfort, not keep you warm enough, or make you sweaty.

Don’t worry, though – our guide is here to help you choose the right one and avoid these issues.

Top Ultralight Hiking Baselayer Picks

  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

Ultralight Hiking Baselayers for Men: 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

Ultralight Hiking Baselayers for Men: 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

Ultralight Hiking Baselayers for Men: 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

Ultralight Hiking Baselayers for Men: 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

Ultralight Hiking Baselayers for Men: 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 Buy the Right Ultralight Hiking Baselayer

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.

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