On the night of December 28, 2015 I was clearing my driveway while a raging blizzard was occurring. I was wearing my usual baselayer and for outerwear a pair of thin pants, a hoodie, and a heavy flannel shirt over the top. In addition I wore a cap, gloves, and pulled my hoodie hood over my head. My baselayer performed to perfection and this is my Smartwool baselayer review.
To be honest, the bottoms of my base were Smartwool and the top was another brand. Still, it was the bottom that stood out as it had the least amount of outwear to block the wind and the cold, still the baselayer bottom performed incredibly well.
Smartwool Baselayer Review — Review Disclosure
I have not been paid by anyone or organization to write this review and the item I am reviewing I purchased with my own funds at a local retail shop. I affiliate with dealers who sell Smartwool but I have no direct contact with those organizations. If you follow said link and buy from that Ecomm site I get a small percentage of the sale.
In short you are getting an opinion based on my opinion of the product’s performance.
Smartwool Baselayer Review — The Conditions
- Temperature: 25° F
- Winds: East at 24 mph with gusts up to 34 mph
The blizzard dumped a bit over 1 foot of snow (nearly 31 cm) on us from about 1:00 pm through I don’t know when.
It was not the coldest out there but the combination of no sun, the wind, and my less than full-on winter dress threw a good challenge down to my Smartwool bottom.
Smartwool Baselayer Review — The Baselayer
For a few years now I have made it regular practice to wear a baselayer during the winter. Makes walking to and from the car easy and helps keep the chill at bay in cold offices and my cold home. I take it off when at home and the fireplace has the chill thoroughly chased out or at other homes that are kept at very warm temperatures.
In fact, I had got home from work, had dinner, and chilled in our basement for a bit when I decided I had to at least get our vehicles turned around (much easier to punch through snow face first) and in the process got our car stuck, so I had to dig it out. At this point I got our snowblower going and my wife had tossed out my Solitude hoodie and my quilted flannel jacket. Now I usually grab my ski bibs and wear those to help me keep the wind and wet snow off of my legs, but I just did not want to invest the time so aside from the usual footwear (I have a pair of slip on shoes that resemble a pair of cutoff swampers) I had only my baselayer and my thin pair of work slacks on. Mind you, the slack material is even thinner than most work slacks.
The baselayer was completely adequate and at no point did my legs feel cold or moist. If had bothered to obtain and don my ski bibs there is a chance I would have had a great test of moisture wicking as I am quite sure I would have overheated. I was comfortable and able to focus on getting my driveway cleared (enough) to call the job complete (until I woke up the next morning).
Smartwool Baselayer Review — Other Considerations
This baselayer is also quite comfortable to wear. They never itch or are too constrictive. Smartwool is made from merino wool and that is a 100% renewable fiber and this writeup goes into detail on why the merino wool is the best stuff for base layers (and Smartwool in particular).
Wool has always been known to be a great cold weather material, cotton is a fair insulator but once it gets wet it loses its ability to keep you separated from the cold (in fact it promotes chilling). Wool on the other hand does not lose its insulating properties when wet. This is very important because when we are skiing we will sweat and we need that base layer to keep working even when wet. Better yet, why not just have the material pull that perspiration away rather than trap it and that is what Smartwool does.
Of course wool has one problem and that it is itchy next to the skin. So usually wool items serve as a middle or outer layers. However, Smartwool uses merino wool and has some of its own magic that makes its garments fit for wearing next to the skin. I have two pieces of smartwool (not counting socks) medium weight top and bottom base layers and both are comfortable, in fact, based on comfort alone I prefer to wear them over choices of another popular brand I own.
Smartwool Baselayer Review — Summary and Recommendation
In short I am extremely happy with my Smartwool baselayer items, this is across the board in terms of insulation, comfort, and yes looks, I often wear the shirt by itself or throw another shirt over the top of that.
I would not hesitate recommending Smartwool products to others. The pricing is competitive with other choices and provides in my estimation great value. Do not be afraid to choose Smartwool as your winter baselayer.