Best Base Layer For Cold Weather Hunting in 2020 [Our Reviews & Comparisons]

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Winter is a fine time for hunting, with snow to highlight tracks and make blending in a breeze. For some games, it’s the only time advisable.

As enjoyable as it is, though, winter hunting means combining preparations for two demanding outdoor conditions. The chilly conditions and the challenges of hunting conditions both need to be addressed before you are ready to go.

The generally accepted method for dealing with this weather is to dress in layers, wearing several garments on both the upper and lower body. This allows the hunter to add or remove clothing as necessary to modulate their body heat and perspiration.

Outer layers tend to be bulky and focus on insulation and storage capacity. Inner clothing will be tighter fitting and aerated, engineered to wick moisture and dry quickly.

Here are five of the best base layers to wear when going hunting in the cold. Although recommended for hunting, other winter sports may find these useful as well. For example, skiing or snowshoeing enthusiasts face many challenges similar to hunters, so they can prepare in a similar fashion.

Related Article: Best Waterproof Hunting Boots

Comparison Table

ProductFeaturesLatest Price

1. Smartwool Men’s NTS

  • Natural wool
  • Breathable
  • Sturdy zipper
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2. Icebreaker Oasis

  • Merino wool
  • Neutralizes body odor
  • Durable in the wash
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3. Ibex Woolies

  • Ribbed and fitted
  • Machine washable
  • Blended materials
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4. First Lite Chama

  • Integrated pocket
  • Highly durable
  • Neutralizes odors
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5. Helly Hansen HH Dry Stripe

  • Synthetic material
  • Flatlock seams
  • Breathable fit
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Our Best Best Base Layer For Cold Weather Hunting Reviews and Comparisons

1. Smartwool Men’s NTS

Product Highlights

This shirt makes an exceptional base layer thanks to 100% wool content and a seam layout that eliminates the risk of chafing.

Features

  • Made of Merino wool in Vietnam
  • Shoulder panels mean no top seam
  • Breathable enough to be worn indoors as well

What We Like About Smartwool Men’s NTS

This shirt eliminates chafing, among the most serious problems for those dressing for an extended stay outdoors.

What We Don’t Like About Smartwool Men’s NTS

Wool threads are not as resilient as synthetic and can fray after only a few months of relatively gentle use.

PROS

  • Excellent seam construction
  • Natural wool
  • Breathable
  • Controls perspiration easily
  • Sturdy zipper

CONS

  • Wool can fray quickly
  • Exceptional insulation action can lead to overheating

2. Icebreaker Oasis

Product Highlights

Made to be naturally odor-resistant, this shirt can keep you feeling fresh for longer outdoor adventures

Features

  • Seams are positioned to avoid pack rub
  • Weighs 200 grams
  • Useable in a range of temperatures

What We Like About Icebreaker Oasis

Antibacterial qualities introduced during the manufacturing process keep this shirt fresh during long stalks or campouts.

What We Don’t Like About Icebreaker Oasis

This garment is so closely fitted that it can be hard to judge what size you need, especially if shopping online

PROS

  • Flat locked seams avoid chafing
  • Merino wool
  • Offset shoulder seams
  • Neutralizes body odor
  • Durable in the wash

CONS

  • Sizes can be hard to judge correctly
  • Nearly double the cost of similar products

3. Ibex Woolies

Product Highlights

This shirt is a blend of natural and synthetic fibers that has won accolades from many professional wilderness guides for comfort and durability.

Features

  • Roughly 15% synthetic
  • No tag for the label
  • Ribbed for comfort and fit

What We Like About Ibex Woolies

With flat-locked seams and a tagless label, this shirt takes even the minor details into account for your comfort.

What We Don’t Like About Ibex Woolie

Due to its synthetic elements, this shirt does not repel moisture quite as well as other options.

PROS

  • No tag
  • Ribbed and fitted
  • Machine washable for easy maintenance
  • Slim fit prevents bunching
  • Blended materials

CONS

  • Inferior moisture control
  • Wool scratches more than similar products

4. First Lite Chama

Product Highlights

This shirt breaks away from the trend of skin-tight base layers to give the wearer a little more breathing space and flexibility.

Features

  • Loose fit to accommodate multiple body forms
  • 100% Merino wool
  • 18.5 micron yarn
  • Knit is useable in casual situations as well

What We Like About First Lite Chama

This base layer’s relaxed shape and construction make it as comfortable and stylish to wear as an ordinary T-shirt.

What We Don’t Like About First Lite Chama

This is somewhat bulkier than most base layers and can become bunched up under an outer coat if you are not careful.

PROS

  • Useable as a casual shirt
  • Integrated pocket
  • Loose fit is more forgiving of body shape
  • Highly durable
  • Neutralizes odors

CONS

  • Heavier than similar shirts
  • Wool fabric does not wick moisture well

5. Helly Hansen HH Dry Stripe

Product Highlights

A base layer for the hunter on a budget, this shirt does everything you like in a base layer for less.

Features

  • Synthetic material
  • Flatlock seams
  • Loose and breathable fit
  • Exceptional moisture control

What We Like About Helly Hansen HH Dry Stripe

This base layer is all about perspiration, wicking sweat away from your skin and drying out again with impressive speed.

What We Don’t Like About Helly Hansen HH Dry Stripe

The fully synthetic material used in this shirt can deform more easily than wool and are more likely to cause skin irritation from overextended stays outdoors.

PROS

  • Fits many body shapes
  • Durable compared to wool
  • Good moisture control
  • Lighter than similar shirts
  • Affordable

CONS

  • Can bunch up under an outer layer
  • Synthetic composition is more likely to irritate the user tha natural wool

Final Verdict

The base layer is more important than it might seem. After all, with the larger and tougher hunting greatcoats that many opt for, what use is such a thin garment?

In reality, the base layer can be the single thing to wear in warm weather or to keep troublesome perspiration at bay under a larger coat. Many of these shirts are so warm and well fitted that they can be worn casually as well, like an ordinary T-shirt.

Considering all the sporting applications available nowadays, these shirts are truly the all-purpose choice for the winter months.

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