A good base layer is essential if you’re to stay warm, dry and comfortable on the slopes – here are Six of the Best.


Burnt Custard long johns £54.99 (men’s and women’s) www.burntcustard.com

Burnt Custard’s meryl microfibre long johns are soft – even softer, says the company ‘than cashmere at the same time as being able to give more durability than Merino wool’.

You can feel the smooth, silky feel of the fabric as soon as you slip them on, and this also comes with four-way stretch, breathability and moisture management and even good protection from UVA and UVB rays (UPF80), meaning you can use them in summer as well as winter if you fancy wandering around in your long johns (we’d prefer if it you didn’t…)


Burnt Custard 2018

The fabric Burnt Custard use in their long johns also offers very good compression, meaning they assist with reducing muscle soreness after exercise, and also help to reduce recovery time.

And being made in Britain means that by buying Burnt Custard you’re giving our economy a wee boost – and given the Brexit fiasco it certainly needs all the wee boosts it can get.

VERDICT A top quality, versatile, British-made base layer

Falke Wool-Tech top £99 www.falke.com

At first glance £99 seems a lot for a lightweight, packable and quite basic top, but the quality is excellent, which you can feel that as soon as you handle the product.

The top features a combination of 55% merino wool (sourced from sheep that haven’t undergone painful mulesing) and ‘performance materials’ (Falke don’t elaborate on this) to create a stylish, form-fitting shape.


Falke Wool-Tech Top

The short front zip and standing collar combine to provide extra warmth and good looks, whilst the merino content allows for excellent odour control and great next-to-skin comfort, and the Wool-Tech is stretch enough to provide great freedom of movement.

There’s a matching pair of 3/4-length Wool-Tech tights which Falke recommend as the perfect complement to the top, but they’ll set you back another £69.

VERDICT You’ll use it for skiing and it looks so cool you’ll probably use it whilst propping up the bar too.

Dare2b Template women’s base layer set £60 www.dare2b.com

This is a good deal – you get both top and bottoms for £60 with this set, and both are pretty nice bits of kit.

They’re feature a jacquard knit and are made from quick drying, soft-feel fabric (55% nylon, 40% polyester, 5% elastane) with plenty of stretch; Dare2b claim that they also feature seamless construction although there were definitely seams in the samples we were sent (not that it made any real difference to the comfort of the product).


Dare2b base layer

The top has a slightly raised collar and half-zip for better temperature control, and elasticated cuffs and hem, whilst the bottoms also have elasticated waist and bottoms.

All in all, you can’t go far wrong with this combo.

VERDICT Good value base layer set that also looks quite stylish.

Icebreaker Descender LS Half-Zip £140.00 www.icebreaker.com

The Icebreaker Descender is about as nice a base/mid-layer as we’ve come across this season, with a design that manages to incorporate all you need and nowt you don’t.

The merino wool is corespun for enhanced durability; and Icebreaker stuff lasts – our tester has one of their mid-layers which is at least ten years old and still looks good, so you shouldn’t be put off by the high price as you’ll get value for money for sure.

fw17mendescenderls half zip

Icebreaker Descender men’s LS Half-Zip

The Descender also incorporates Lycra for better stretch and mobility.

The long zip allows for good temperature regulation and features a chin guard and interior storm flat to prevent chafing, which is also guarded against with offset shoulder seams to prevent backrub from, for instance, your rucksack.

The Descender has quite a loose fit, and we liked the drop tail which gives you that added bit of warmth. How many people will get a lot of use from the zippered chest pocket and its media cord port is debatable, but that’s a very minor quibble about a garment that feels soft, luxurious and ultra-comfy at the same time as looking great.

VERDICT Hard to fault this superb base/midlayer from Icebreaker.

Patagonia Capilene Lightweight Crew £42 www.patagonia.com

This has been one of our ‘go to’ pieces not just during the ski season but throughout the year thanks in large part to its light weight, packability and the fact that it features Polygiene odour control so you can wear it indefinitely without smelling like a wet dog – or worse.

The fabric has a smooth face for easy layering and feels lovely against bare skin, whilst its open-grid pattern provides excellent breathability and moisture-wicking and a fast drying time should it get wet.

Offset shoulder seams eliminate chafing under pack straps and full underarm gussets allow for a range of motion and also help to prevent chafing too, as do flatlock seams, whilst you also get elastic thumb loops for hand coverage if things turn cold.

VERDICT A simple but very effective lightweight base layer.

Patagonia lightweight

Patagonia Capilene lightweight crew

Offset shoulder seams eliminate chafing under pack straps and full underarm gussets allow for a range of motion and also help to prevent chafing too, as do flatlock seams, whilst you also get elastic thumb loops for hand coverage if things turn cold.

VERDICT A simple but very effective lightweight base layer.

Helly Hansen Lifa Merino Half-Zip £75 www.hellyhansen.com

This base layer (which could also be worn as a mid-layer) is super effective at keeping you warm and dry since it features a combination of Helly Hansen’s Lifa fabric which pushes moisture away from your skin (so ideally it should be worn next to the skin) and merino wool for warmth and extra wicking.

Its itch-free (another reason for wearing it next to the skin) and the design features several panels for a better range of movement plus a raised collar for additional warmth along with a half-length zip for temperature control.


Helly Hansen Lifa Merino Half-Zip

The number of different coloured panels gives the garment quite a ‘busy’ look, which may not appeal to everyone, but in terms of effectiveness as a base layer the Lifa and merino combination is hard to beat.

VERDICT A very effective base layer that could even double as a mid-layer.

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