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The 7 Best Ski & Snowboard Base Layers of 2021-2022

Baselayers are the unsung heroes of skiing and riding apparel. It’s rare you ever see them out in public, or even really think of them unless they’re not doing their job. Instead, they work undercover, providing the first layer of protection for your body from the trials of winter. But, even though their job is often understated, it’s hard to emphasize how much of a difference the best men’s base layers can make for you. The primary job of a base layer is to provide comfort, and they do that in three main ways. They need to fit well so that your body can move comfortably, they need to be made out of a soft, comfortable material that doesn’t irritate your skin, and they need to be able to wick moisture away from your skin so it can evaporate instead of making you feel wet and clammy.

And, on top of all that, base layers often need to be able to stand up to multiple days of skiing or riding in a row, without being washed, so some sort of antimicrobial coating or anti-stink technology makes a big difference. We’ve rounded up this list of the best base layers that fit all of those parameters. Every layer on this list will help keep you warm, dry, comfortable, and smelling good out on the hill. But, each one of these pieces goes about achieving that in slightly different ways. And it’s up to you, as the end-user, to figure out what specific goals you want your base layers to accomplish. So we’ve broken down the strengths and weaknesses of the best men’s ski and snowboard base layers of 2022, along with a handy chart that details the material they’re made of, as well as the thickness of each so that you can find something that helps you ski or ride in comfort all winter long.


Airblaster Classic Ninja Suit

The best ski & snowboard base layers of 2021-2022
 

Airblaster takes an all-in approach with their Classic Ninja Suit. It’s like if a pair of your grandparent’s long underwear was optimized for modern mountain use. The Polyester/Lycra blend wicks moisture away from your skin and stretches to allow the suit to move comfortably with your body, and the midweight fabric strikes a nice balance that will be comfortable in many climates. The Ninja Suit covers literally your entire body. It goes from your ankles to the top of your head without any gaps for cold air or snow to get in. It’s even got thumb loops for the sleeves. That means you never need to worry about the dreaded “plumber’s butt” being exposed to the snow. The downside is that you are committed to wearing the whole suit, and you can’t mix and match tops and bottoms. Luckily Airblaster’s waist zipper system is easy to open when nature calls.

If you’re looking for the ultimate in coverage and style, the Airblaster Classic Ninja Suit has you covered, literally they’re long johns, covering all of you, making it one of the best thermal long johns for skiing.

MaterialWeight Original Price
94% Brushed Polyester / 6% LycraMidweight$119.95

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Smartwool Merino 250

The best ski & snowboard base layers of 2021-2022
 

Smartwool has been doing Merino baselayers and thermal underwear for many years, and they have everything from fit to materials and features dialed. The Merino 250 is a great do-it-all baselayer bottom. They’re designed to provide the right amount of insulation for most days skiing or snowboarding. The 100% Merino wool construction means the 250 wicks moisture away from your skin very efficiently, and is naturally resistant to odors, you can ski in them for weeks without them stinking. But they don’t have the scratchy feel against your skin that some wool materials suffer from, instead, they’re soft and comfortable.

The Smartwool Merino 250 is one of the best wool base layers. It’s a simple, high-end baselayer bottom that will keep your legs warm and dry no matter what the snow report says.

MaterialWeight Original Price
100% Merino WoolMidweight$100

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BlackStrap Skyliner Pants

The best ski & snowboard base layers of 2021-2022
 

Blackstrap might be a relative newcomer to the baselayer market, but their Skyliner Pants are a hefty contender, and have quickly shot them to the top of the list for best ski base layers. They use a synthetic stretch fabric that’s milled in the US and has an antimicrobial coating. The stretch material means they’ll fit comfortably with no weird bagging or folds in the material. And the antimicrobial coating means they ward off funk longer than most other synthetic layers. The Skyliner is a simple, straightforward base layer. They get the job done and look good doing it.

If you’re in the market for a stretchy, synthetic base layer, the Blackstrap Skyliner pant is a great choice, and it doesn't hurt that it’s fully made in the USA. 

MaterialWeight Original Price
Synthetic 4-Way Stretch FabricMidweight$69.99

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Patagonia Capilene Midweight Bottoms

The best ski & snowboard base layers of 2021-2022

Patagonia’s Capilene baselayers are are some of the best snowboard base layers for good reason. They’ve been providing a first layer of protection for many years, and this current generation is better than ever before. They’re made of 100% recycled synthetic materials which means they’re easy on the planet and soft against your skin. And Patagonia sweats the details so you don’t have to, with soft waistbands, a functional fly, and a nice slim fit so your mid layers don’t bunch up. The added ingredient for this year’s Capilene is the HeiQ Fresh odor control coating. This treatment does a great job of cutting any unwanted odors and keeps your baselayers smelling fresh day after day on the hill.

The Patagonia Capilene is a proven contender, if you want the weight of decades of legacy behind your baselayer purchase, you won’t be disappointed by the Capilene.

MaterialWeight Original Price
Recycled Polyester Diamond Grid Double KnitMidweight$69

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Burton Midweight Crew

The best ski & snowboard base layers of 2021-2022

Burton’s Midweight Crew top is practical, no-nonsense thermal clothing. It’s designed to be very adaptable. It’s thick enough for frigid days on the hill, but also wicks moisture really well, and has a UPF 50+ rating, so it also protects your skin from the sun on hot spring days. The flatlock seams ride comfortably on your skin with no chafing, and the longer cut and thumb loops keep the sleeves and waist from riding up.

If you’re looking for the best thermal base layers, the Midweight Crew is a simple, affordable baselayer top, and Burton gets the job done in style.
 

MaterialWeight Original Price
DRYRIDE UltrawickMidweight$59.95

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Patagonia Capilene Air Hoodie

The best ski & snowboard baselayers of 2021-2022
 

The Capilene Air Hoodie is a bit of an outlier. By the numbers, it’s an average mid-weight merino baselayer. But out on the hill, it punches far above its weight landing it a spot in the best base layers for skiing. That’s because its unique weave traps air pockets and provides significantly more insulation than other similarly thick baselayers. That means you stay warmer without having to wear a bulkier base layer. Patagonia has also managed to eliminate seams throughout the Capilene Air Hoodie so there’s no extra bulk to chafe. The form-fitting hood locks in warm air and the knit cuffs and hem are durable and comfortable. The Merino/synthetic blend is soft and comfortable and resists stink well.

If you’re looking for the warmth of a heavyweight base layer, with the comfort and thickness of a lighter one, the Patagonia Capilene delivers exceptional performance in a small package.

MaterialWeight Original Price
51% Merino Wool / 49% Recycled PolyesterMidweight$149

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Arc'teryx Rho LT Hoodie

The best ski & snowboard base layers of 2021-2022

The Arc’teryx Rho LT is a lightweight top with a more robust feature set than most. The thinner, polyester, and elastane mix fabric makes it very versatile, it’s light enough to make a good base layer during the summer months too. And the Polygiene anti-odor treatment does its job well, fighting off any funky smells that threaten to invade the hoodie. But, even though it’s got a lighter weight construction, the Rho LT still has more features than most of the other layers on this list. These include the versatile hood that works as a neck warmer, or a form-fitting hood under a helmet, and the chest pocket that allows you to carry a phone close to your body where it will stay warm. The Rho is cut a little slimmer than tops like the Burton Crew, so keep that in mind when you’re sizing.

If you’re looking for a lightweight base layer with a strong feature set and comfortable material, the Arc’teryx Rho LT gets the job done year-round.

MaterialWeight Original Price
84% Polyester / 16% ElastaneLightweight$135

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