How to Pick the Best Base Layer for Hunting

When the temperatures drop and snow starts to fall, the big game animals come down to the lowlands and the hunters want to be ready for them. It's all about being prepared with the right gear to have an enjoyable, successful experience. Everything matters when you're out in the wilderness and there is no room for error when planning and preparing for a hunting trip. For both safety and comfort, it is important to have the best base layer for hunting.

All hunters know an animal can see you once and hear you twice; but if they smell you they're gone. The best base layer for hunting will provide odor resistance to keep your scent from meeting your prey's nose—even after you've been wearing it for several days and that scent is significant! The best base layer for hunting should also wick moisture from your skin, provide UV protection, provide camouflage protection, and provide warmth. With so many choices available, choosing the best base layer for hunting can be a mind-boggling task.

Best Base Layer for Hunting Comparison Table

Best Base Layer for Hunting Product FAQS

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1. What Is the Best Base Layer for Hunting?

2. What Does the Best Base Layer for Hunting Do?

3. How Does the Best Base Layer for Hunting Work?

4. Where Can You Buy the Best Base Layer for Hunting?

How We Reviewed the Best Base Layer for Hunting 

The following products were reviewed based on the following parameters: Features, Pros & Cons, Price, and Where to Buy.

Overall Price Range of This Product (and Similar Products)

The best base layer for hunting varies widely in price. The best base layer for hunting reviewed in this article range in price from $10 to $95. The more expensive items are typically made of natural fibers such as merino wool while the less expensive items are made from synthetic materials.

What We Reviewed

  • MERIWOOL Men's Merino Wool Midweight Baselayer Crew
  • SmartWool Men's NTS Mid 250 Zip T Top
  • Ibex Merino Wool Men's Woolies 1 Crew Shirt
  • Under Armour Mens UA Base¿ 4.0 Crew
  • MERIWOOL Men's Merino Wool Midweight Baselayer Bottom
  • First Lite - Llano 170g Merino Crew Top
  • Icebreaker Men's Ika Leggings
  • SmartWool NTS Mid 250 Bottom - Men's
  • SITKA Men's Core Bottom
  • EU Men's Compression Tight Pants Base Layer Running Leggings
MERIWOOL Mens Base Layer - 100% Merino Wool Midweight Long Sleeve...
  • Package Includes: 1 - Men’s 250g/m² merino wool thermal crewneck top – Charcoal Gray/XS
  • SUPER SOFT: 100% all natural superfine 18.5-micron Merino wool ensures comfort all day – no itch! EASY CARE:...
  • BREATHABLE: Keeping you cool in summer and warm in winter, 250g/m2 weight interlock-knit Merino wool can be used as a...

Features

This merino wool crewneck top is made of 100% all natural superfine 18.5-micron merino wool and provides itch-free comfort all day. The garment is machine washable and dryable for easy care. The interlock knit merino wool will keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer without weighing you down. The merino wool's natural wicking, odor resistant anti-bacterial properties will keep you dry and comfortable. Merino wool pulls moisture away from the body to keep you dry.

PROS

  • Made from 100% merino wool
  • Wicks moisture away from the body
  • Machine washable and dryable

CONS

  • Shrinks when washed
  • Length is short
  • Head hole is huge
Smartwool Men's NTS Mid 250 Zip T Top Black T-Shirt MD
  • WARM INSULATION: The targeted insulation and ventilation in the Men’s Merino 250 Pattern Base Layer 1/4 Zip will allow...
  • COMFORTABLE FIT: This top is made with an interlock knit for enhanced comfort, breathability, thermoregulation, and odor...
  • DURABLE WEAR: The flatlock seam construction of this top is specially designed to minimize chafing, making this 1/4 zip...

Features

This mid-zip T top has a form-fitting modern cut that follows the contours of the body. The 100% merino wool interlock knit fabric provides UPF 50+ protection. Warmth and protection are extended with the zip through stand collar. The shoulder panels eliminate top shoulder seams and the flatlock seam construction eliminates chafing. The garment is machine washable and dryable.

PROS

  • 100% merino wool
  • UPF 50+ protection
  • Machine washable and dryable

CONS

  • Fits tightly
  • Zipper fails
Ibex Merino Wool Men's Woolies 1 Crew Shirt
  • Lightweight Merino rib-knit baselayer top
  • Back length from top of shoulder = 29 inch (size L)
  • Flatlock seams, tag free label

Features

This imported crew neck is made of 100% merino wool. It is naturally odor resistant and fits so comfortably, you'll forget you even have it on. The 18.5-micron superfine yarn is warm, snug to the body, and it keeps its shape. The guide-approved ribbed fabric feels luxurious, and it holds up to rigorous conditions. The ribbed fabric provides space for air and allows for stretching. The garment is machine washable for easy care.

PROS

  • Ribbed fabric stretches and insulates
  • 100% merino wool
  • Machine washable

CONS

  • Thin material
  • Itchy
  • Material doesn't wick moisture as well as a synthetic material
Under Armour Men's UA Base 4.0 Crew, Black/Battleship/School Bus, 3XL
  • Raglan Sleeves
  • Flatlock stitching
  • Ergonomic seam placement

Features

This garment is made of machine washable elastane polyester. It features a tagless design for comfort. The material has a soft, brushed negative grid that traps hot air and delivers superior warmth, even in the brutal cold. The fabric has four-way stretch to allow greater mobility and to maintain its shape. The signature moisture transport system wicks moisture away and the quick-dry fabric keeps you dry and comfortable. Anti-odor technology prevents odor-causing microbes from growing. The raglan sleeves and flatlock stitching allow a full range of motion and no chafing. It is machine washable.

PROS

  • Raglan sleeves and flatlock stitching prevent chafing
  • Anti-odor technology
  • Anti-odor technology

CONS

  • Sizing runs extremely small
  • Cuffs are very tight
  • Fabric stings
MERIWOOL Mens Base Layer 100% Merino Wool Thermal Pants
  • Package Includes: 1 - Men’s 250g/m² merino wool thermal leggings – Choose size & color
  • SUPER SOFT: 100% all natural superfine 18.5-micron Merino wool ensures comfort all day long – no itch! EASY CARE: Your...
  • BREATHABLE: Keeping you cool in summer and warm in winter, MERIWOOL’s 250g/m2 weight interlock-knit Merino wool can be...

Features

These leggings are made of 100% natural superfine 18.5-micron merino wool for all day itch-free comfort. They are machine washable and dryable. They will keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The interlock knit merino wool can be used as a base layer or mid layer. They are quick drying and they have a loop to hang dry. Merino wool has natural wicking, anti-bacterial, and odor resistant properties to keep you dry and comfortable in the heat or the cold. Merino wool is the most breathable fabric and it wicks moisture away from your body to keep you dry and comfortable.

PROS

  • Itch-free 100% merino wool
  • Anti-bacterial and odor resistant
  • Machine washable and dryable

CONS

  • Fabric pills at friction points
  • Elastic waistband bunches up
  • Sizing runs small
First Lite - Llano 170g Merino Long Sleeve Crew Top in ASAT MD - ASAT...
  • 100% Pure Merino is naturally odor resistant even after multiple days of use
  • First Lite uses the very finest in 17.5 Micron 100% pure Merino
  • Keeps you comfortable from triple digit heat all of the way down to the coldest of enviroments

Features

Every hunter knows the importance of minimizing human odor because game can hear you twice and see you once, but if they smell you, they're gone. No fabric keeps your odor to a minimum like merino wool. It also absorbs 30% of its weight in moisture which passes through the material and gets released into the air instead of remaining on the skin. This garment is made of 100% pure 17.5-micron merino wool that will keep you comfortable from triple-digit heat to arctic environments. Best of all, this garment can be tossed in the washer and dryer.

PROS

  • Pure 17.5-micron merino wool
  • Minimizes human odor
  • Machine washable and dryable

CONS

  • Material wears out
Icebreaker Men's Ika Leggings, Real Tree Max/Black, 3X-Large
  • Hunters and fishers, take note: the IKA Leggings are an ideal base layer
  • Functioning Fly
  • Flat lock seams

Features

These thermal leggings are made from lightweight 200gm merino wool. They keep you warm, naturally odor free, and the camouflage pattern keeps you hidden. They have a functional fly, a snug fit to help regulate temperature, flatlock seams to prevent chafing, and a gusset for freedom of movement. Merino wool is one of the softest, most comfortable materials available and provides natural odor resistance and UV protection.

PROS

  • Lightweight 200gm merino wool
  • Camouflage pattern
  • Functional fly

CONS

  • Expensive
Smartwool Men’s Base Layer Bottom - Merino 250 Wool Active Pants...
  • WARM INSULATION: The targeted insulation and ventilation in the Men’s Merino 250 Base Layer Bottoms allow you to stay...
  • COMFORTABLE FIT: These bottoms are made with an interlock knit for enhanced comfort, breathability, thermoregulation,...
  • DURABLE WEAR: The flatlock seam construction of these bottoms is specially designed to minimize chafing, making these...

Features

These leggings are made from 100% merino wool, one of nature's most advanced fibers which makes it an ideal choice for performance clothing. It has a natural ability to breathe, wick moisture, and resist odors. These leggings have an elastic closure and a covered elastic waistband with a traditional fly design. They have a slim fit and a mid rise. The flatlock seams are designed to eliminate chafing.

PROS

  • Flatlock seams prevent chafing
  • Covered elastic waistband
  • Slim fit

CONS

  • Waistband folds over
  • Not as durable as synthetic materials
SITKA Men's Core Bottom, Optifade Open Country, Small
  • Anti-Microbial Polygiene Technology
  • Gusseted crotch
  • Tapered fit

Features

This base layer series is designed for moisture wicking and comfort. Core garments are crucial for keeping you dry by literally pulling moisture off the surface of your skin. This base layer is made of 100% polyester bi-component technology that wicks moisture away from the skin. The core fabric uses silver encapsulated technology to kill bacteria that cause odors. These base layer bottoms feature a gusseted crotch, a tapered fit, and a seamless waistband.

PROS

  • 100% polyester bi-component technology
  • Gusseted crotch
  • Silver encapsulated technology reduces odor

CONS

  • Fit runs small
  • Not warm enough for extreme conditions
EU Men's Compression Tight Pants Base Layer Running Leggings Black...
  • Find your size in our size chart before you order
  • Elastic waistband, flexible to accommodate your movements
  • Flat lock seams stitching, without chafing or skin irritation

Features

These compression leggings are made of breathable, quick drying, lightweight elastic. The material is high quality and will retain its shape and elasticity after multiple washings. The compression promotes blood flow which allows muscles to warm up faster and reduces muscle soreness after working out. The fabric allows flexibility and does not chafe or irritate skin. The compression promotes blood circulation and helps reduce swelling during strenuous activities.

PROS

  • Promotes blood circulation and reduces swelling
  • Lightweight elastic fabric
  • Will retain shape after multiple washings

CONS

  • Sizing runs small
  • No insulation—not for cold weather
  • Material is sheer

The Verdict

Based on our research we believe the best base layer for hunting is the MERIWOOL Men's Merino Wool Midweight Baselayer Crewneck paired with the MERIWOOL Men's Merino Wool Midweight Baselayer Bottom. These high-quality garments are made from 100% superfine 18.5-micron merino wool. They provide superior wicking and dry quickly for maximum warmth. The merino wool's natural odor resistance will keep your scent invisible to animals, allowing you to get up close to your target. The only problem with the best base layer for hunting is that it might leave you being the only one warm enough to set up camp!

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