Best Base Layers For Hunting – 2021 Guide

| Last Updated July 7, 2021

Hunting is a sport that requires everything, including gear, location, and skills, to be perfect. If you don't have these, your target may escape easily. For this reason, true hunting enthusiasts or professional hunters never compromise on their equipment. But amid all this, they sometimes overlook the importance of the appropriate garment.

In summers, a camouflage t-shirt would work. But in winter, you’ll need adequate warmth and comfort to survive the freezing temperatures. This is where base layers come in. 

Base layers are not hard to find. Instead, a wide variety of options are available on the market. From all those products, we have picked the best ones that are suitable for hunting and many other sports as well.

Comparison of the Best Base Layers For Hunting 

  • 100 percent wool is used with this shirt
  • The material is odor resistant
  • Comes with a natural wicking capability
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  • Shirt can be machine washed
  • Use pull on closure for better fit
  • Made from high-quality materials
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  • Best for the Money
  • Comes in a complete set of shirt, pants, and head cover
  • Conductive carbon is used in woven in the material
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  • Best Base Layer For Cold Weather Hunting
  • Can be tumble dried and machine washed
  • Made from strong and durable material
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  • Best Wool Base Layer For Hunting
  • 100 percent wool is used with shirt
  • It is available in many colors
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  • Best Under Armour Base Layer For Hunting
  • Makes with a soft interior for heat trapping
  • Comes with the wicking feature included
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What is a Base Layer and What Does it Do?

A base layer is a garment comprising a shirt and/or a pair of bottoms. It is generally made from a lightweight and warm material like wool, cotton, synthetic, or silk.

A base layer's job is to control and minimize the intrusion of coldness and retain heat from the body so that a person feels warm. It can be used alone as a warm suit, but most commonly, it is used as an undershirt and underpants.

Hunting, hiking, camping, and trekking are instances where people are exposed to harsh weather conditions. So, wearing base layers beneath the primary outerwear can allow the hunter to conveniently carry out their activities while staying safe from the weather.

What Makes a Base Layer Great For Hunting?

There are some essential considerations to make when buying a weather-protection garment. Here are a few of those:


These garments are manufactured from high-quality fabrics that resist temperature changes. Silk, wool, synthetic, cotton, and sometimes, a combination of these materials, are used for making a base layer. These materials are highly favorable for winters and keep the user comfortable and warm.

Moisture-Wicking and Odor-Resistant Properties

Since a hunter moves place to place, warm clothing overly heats the body, leading to sweating. Sweat not only irritates the wearer but also creates an unpleasant odor. Base layers instantly solve this problem. They feature a moisture-absorbent material that is present on the inner side of the garment and helps diminish the smell.

Moderate Fit

During hunting, hiking, and other activities that require physical movement, people prefer clothes that don't sway unnecessarily. Owing to this fact, the sizing of a base layer is done so that the garment fits close to the skin. However, it should be tight-fitted, as that may make movement awkward and uncomfortable.

Review of the Best Base Layers For Hunting

Here are the reviews of some of the best protective garments on the market. Read on to find one that meets your needs the best.  

Best Overall:
 Meriwool Men's Base Layer

MERIWOOL Mens Base Layer - 100% Merino Wool Midweight Long Sleeve Thermal Shirt Black


  • Safe for machine washing
  • Dries within a few minutes
  • Can also be cleaned in a dryer
  • Includes 100% pure Merino wool
  • Satisfactory odor retention reported by users


  • Sleeves might be too long for some people

What Recent Buyers Report

People were delighted with the product and reported it to be of great quality that ensured warmth and comfort. Some professional-level hikers also used this base layer and experienced no issues. Reports also tell us that the garment is pretty lightweight, which made traveling with it much easier.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The finest quality, high-grade Merino wool is used to manufacture this outstanding garment. The fabric used is of 18.5 microns and allows incredible insulation. The noteworthy characteristics of this fabric include high-temperature resistance. So extreme winters will not stop you from your recreational activities.

Apart from this, the sweat-wicking and odor-trapping abilities of the garment are excellent. Hence, hunters won’t feel uncomfortable or experience bad body odor, no matter how long they wear it.

The company offers a one-year warranty for the material and also introduces a wide range of sizes. The cuts and fittings are also keenly stitched.

Bottom Line

People can count on the quality of this product by Meriwool, which is highly breathable and hygienic to wear even for a long duration. It is also resistant to extreme weather conditions. So, all you have to do is wear this garment on every hiking, hunting, camping, or trekking session and enjoy the excursion to the fullest.

Helly Hansen Baselayer Top

Helly Hansen Men's Stripe Crew,Black, Medium


  • Comes with long sleeves
  • Good for many outdoor activities
  • LIFA fibers boast a top-notch gauge
  • Evaporates moisture at a faster rate
  • Impressive breathability allows good comfort and air circulation


  • Not tear-resistant like other units

What Recent Buyers Report

Customers reported this product to be an astounding way of staying warm in severely cold weather. The garment made freezing temperatures bearable for users. They also really enjoyed the breathable and hygienic nature of the fabric.

Why it Stands Out to Us

A beautiful blend of LIFA fibers and polyester has been used to make this innerwear. Before the product reaches its buyers, it undergoes several tests that examine whether or not the garment is up to the mark.

The resulting high-quality fabric won’t budge from its place even if you put the garment in a washing machine or a dryer.

The breathability of this unit is also outstanding. While providing good insulation, it also pushes hot flushes outward and absorbs sweat from the body. It is very stretchable and lightweight, allowing the wearer to move around easily. The best thing is that all of this is available at an affordable price.

Bottom Line

Overall, this Helly Hansen base layer will go a long way with you and beats many high-end garments that cost a lot more. It can absorb sweat, enhance breathability, inhibit heat transfer, and maintain good comfort in extreme cold.

Besides hunting, it is recommended for on and off-shore sailing, trekking, hiking, and camping.

Best for the Money:
HECS Energy Concealing Base Layer

HECS Hunting 3-Piece HECStyle High Performance Base Layer - Outdoor Hunter's Clothing, Moisture Wicking Underwear for Men and Women - Hunting Gear - X-Large


  • No cumbersome weight
  • Good for both summers and winters
  • Can be washed in washing machines
  • Equipped with energy-controlling design
  • Long underwear and a headcover are also included in the package


  • Fabric is shiny and prominent, not good for out in the wild

What Recent Buyers Report

All the buyers were satisfied with the range of sizes available. They report the size guide to be accurate and found the garment to fit well. Some people did not like the fabric's shiny texture, but it was all about personal preferences as other buyers liked it. The energy-blocking design of this unit also impressed most buyers.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Firstly, the product comes with other accessories as well that add great value to our money. It comes with a good-quality top, a pair of bottoms, and a headcover. All these extra things come at a rather reasonable price, making it an ideal pick for people who are on a budget.

The fabric has a unique feature with which it traps the energy generated by the rigorous movement of muscles. This aids the hunter by reducing the intensity of human waves that notify a targeted animal of the person's presence. Consequently, the hunter remains undetected even when he is very close to the animal.

Bottom Line

By far, this budget-friendly yet highly advanced base layer is one of the best products on the market. The energy blocking feature is unique and impressive. The garment's design has a quarter-zip on the neckline, which can be unzipped when the user feels hot. This is an all-in-one product.

Best Base Layer For Cold Weather Hunting:
Smartwool Merino 250 Wool Active

SmartWool Men's NTS Mid 250 Zip T Top Black T-Shirt MD


  • Very comfortable to wear
  • Does not stay wet for long
  • Made with high-quality wool
  • Insulates heat to a huge degree
  • Comes with improved breathability


  • Fabric ruffles if washed frequently

What Recent Buyers Report

Some of the buyers of this product were professional hunters who traveled rigorously wearing this garment. They report highly satisfactory performance and suggest other hunters go for this product too. Customers also reported the unit comes with good customer service and therefore made things a lot easier for them.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This garment is made with Merino 250 pattern wool, known as a high-density fabric. The advantage of using this fabric is that it reduces heat loss and forms a barrier between the body and the outside temperature. At the same time, it maintains good air circulation and proves to be a breathable garment.

The tiny fibers hold the moisture and odor well. Anybody who sweats excessively can try and test the product. Furthermore, the quarter-zip works great to get more air inside if you get tired or the temperature changes slightly.

Bottom Line

Be it about tackling the sweat, maintaining air regulation, or controlling odor, this product by Smartwool is an expert in providing utmost comfort to the wearer. There is no need to compromise on your convenience anymore since the Smart Merino is all set to upgrade your hunting experience.

Best Wool Base Layer For Hunting:
Icebreaker Merino Men’s Oasis

Icebreaker Merino Men's Oasis Long Sleeve Crewe Top, Black, Small


  • Absorbs moisture quickly
  • Made with 100% pure wool
  • Best for consistently cold environments
  • Odor-free performance reported by users
  • Long-lasting material ensures good value for the money


  • Sleeves are short and do not reach the wrists

What Recent Buyers Report

Among all customer reviews, one thing being praised consistently was the odor-resistant material. People shared their experience of using it and reported that it kept drying the moisture released from their body. They also report that the garment has a long-lasting life and can be used rigorously for years.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The fabric used in this base layer is none other than merino wool, a standard material for thermal insulation purposes. Even at ice-freezing temperatures, this unit acts as a protective layer for the wearer.

Another quality of this unit is efficient moisture absorption. It is a close-fitted innerwear that, on contact with skin, wicks the sweat before it builds up. As far as temperature regulation is concerned, the garment ensures optimum airflow without letting coldness enter the layer. Also, it is super-lightweight, which is a bonus for everyone.

Bottom Line

From fabric to design, everything about this product is phenomenal. If you include this base layer in your hunting essentials, winters will no longer stop you from your recreational activities.

Best Under Armour Base Layer For Hunting:
Under Armour Men's Packaged Base

Under Armour Men's Packaged Base 4.0 Crew T-Shirt , Black (001)/Pitch Gray , X-Large


  • Skin-friendly material
  • Includes a thumbhole
  • UA scent technology traps odor
  • Fully stretchable and allows for a good fitting
  • Sweat and odor absorption performance is up to the mark


  • Pricier than most other models

What Recent Buyers Report

According to users, the product had all the features they required for good protection. The integration of UA scent technology impressed buyers the most and also proved to perform well. Many people with sensitive skin also reported this garment to be safe and healthy.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Introducing an all-new UA scent technology in this product, Under Armour has truly impressed all users. This technology makes the product stand out, as it is remarkably efficient in getting rid of the bad smells. You can wear the base layer for many days with no fear of bad odor, leading to minimal maintenance requirements.

At the edges of the sleeves, you’ll find a thumbhole that keeps the fabric in place. The fabric is quite soft and itch-free. It not only wicks sweat but also dries it in a few minutes. Furthermore, it is four-way stretchable, ensuring a good fitting for all body types. The stretchable nature of the fabric will also allow easy and comfortable movement.

Bottom Line

The thumbhole feature does stand out to us, as it guarantees convenience for the wearer and is also unique from other products. Apart from this, the extraordinary scent-fighting technology gets rid of odor and sweat instantly.

When Should I Use a Base Layer?

Base layers are very opportunistic and act as a second skin. Besides, wearing it on hunting or any outdoor occasion in winter provides extra comfort. This is why people don’t go hunting without this piece of garment.

Some uses of base layers include:

When it’s Extremely Cold

In winters, when sweaters or outwear alone fail to keep you warm, base layers come into action and resolve the problem. They retain the temperature and do not let you feel the cold.

When The Weather is Unpredictable

Suppose, it’s freezing cold outside in the morning, but as noon approaches, the weather becomes a little hot. So at times when you are unsure about the weather, wearing a base layer would be the best decision.

It soaks the moisture from your body, in case you start sweating. Consequently, your skin stays dry all the time and is not exposed to any bacterial or fungal infections.

When You Don't Want to Cover With a Heavy Coat

Style-conscious people look for something that can keep the cold away from them and not come in the way of their style. These garments work well in such cases, where you can dress up fancily and remain warm without having to cover your outfit.

Comparison Overview

Base layers are not the only garments used to keep warm during hunting expeditions. There are other clothes available too. So what makes base layers different and should you go for these or are you better off with an alternative? Let's find out! 

Base Layer vs. Thermal

Both the base layer and thermals are well-known. By understanding their similarities and differences, we can decide which of the two best suits our needs.


Base layers and thermals are the same in the following ways.


The fabrics used for making base layers are also used in thermals. Both products include materials like silk, cotton, wool, and polyester.


Both resist and minimize the loss of heat from the body, thereby keeping the user warm. Besides this, they absorb sweat and cut down the odor.


The differences between the two are as follows.


A thermal is thicker than a base layer. Consequently, the former retains a greater amount of heat.

Wool vs. Synthetic

Base layers can be made from both wool and synthetic. Let's see how the two materials compare. 


Below are the similarities between wool and synthetic materials.


Wrinkles or creases are not found on any of the two products, despite long-term use.

Wicks Moisture

Both are equally amazing at absorbing moisture.


Both materials have different properties and characteristics. These include:

Shrinking Properties

Synthetic garments don’t show any difference in size after washing. On the contrary, woolen ones shrink a little after the first wash.

Drying Capability

A wet synthetic base layer would take less time to dry up than a wool one.

What to Look For When Buying a Base Layer For Hunting

There are some essential features and factors you must consider before buying base layers. If your chosen models don't have the following, you won't get the use you expected out of them. 


The unit you choose should be durable enough to sustain heavy and rigorous use. It should not be made from fragile fabric that is prone to wear and tear. Rather, it should be able to serve you for years.


Since you have to wear another layer of garment above it, select a lightweight product, so you are fully comfortable and not overburdened by your clothing. A heavy base layer, coupled with additional outerwear, will make you feel uneasy.


Picking the correct size is very important. Make sure that it is not over-tight or extra loose for your physique. A base layer for hunting purposes is supposed to stay in contact with your skin without wrapping tightly around your body such that it hinders movement.  


The material of the garment also needs your attention. Go through the nature of each material and then pick the one whose properties go well with your comfort. Don't choose a fabric that might irritate your skin or one that does not provide good insulation.


Base layers are made from sweat-absorbent and comfortable materials. On top of that, they possess odor-retaining properties, which help get rid of sweat, thus making sure you stay comfortable. 

The products we have reviewed in the article are equipped with extraordinary features such as scent-absorbing technology. You can also take this article as a guide to shop for a high-quality product that best matches your needs.

People Also Ask

We came across some commonly asked questions about base layers, asked by hunters, trekkers, hikers, and sailing enthusiasts. So, we have answered these queries in this section for your ease.

Should a Base Layer Be Tight or Loose?

The garment should provide a good fit, meaning that it should not wrap tightly around your skin but it should be in slight contact with it. In this way, the garment can come in contact with your sweat and absorb it instantly. Moreover, a tight base layer can be painful to wear for long hours.

Can You Wear a Base Layer on its Own?

Well, base layers are used as inner wears and only provide insulation and sweat absorption. They do not, or cannot replace thick clothing on the outside. These are not to be worn alone. But in activities like work-out, racing, and trekking, a person is expected to sweat and does not need extra warmth. So, a base layer can be used on its own in such cases.

Can You Wear Two Base Layers?

Yes, you can wear two together. However, make sure you opt for the right sizes as layering two of these can be slightly tighter than wearing just one. 

What’s the Best Base Layer Weight For Hunting?

There is no specific or ideal weight. As a reference, you can consider some aspects and then decide on the weight. First of all, it should be lightweight enough that you don’t feel any sort of heaviness on the body. Secondly, it should not be too heavy to carry in your bag or suitcases.

Also, keep in mind that the fabric will gain a little weight when it absorbs sweat.

What to Wear Over Base Layer

It solely depends on the weather condition. If the temperature is extremely chilled, and you think one base layer won’t be enough, add one thermal or base. Otherwise, just pair up the innerwear with your favorite shirt or jacket.

My name is Jeff and I have been hunting and fishing for over 40 years. I am an avid archery lover, bass fisherman, and all-around outdoorsman. Currently, I'm obsessed with elk hunting but I'm sure I'll move onto a different favorite soon. You gotta love hunting for that reason :) If you have any questions, or just want chat about your latest hunting score or big catch, you can reach me at Read more about Big Game Logic.