A nice pair of thermal underwear can keep you warm if you work outside, run in the early morning cold, camp in the backcountry, or hit the slopes. A good pair of thermal underwear is essential for anyone living in a cold-dominated area.
The best thermal underwear for skiing must protect and keep you warm in all circumstances, even though some selections are designed for certain temperatures and activities.
There are other terms for these long skivvies, including base layers and thermal underwear. The main purpose of each pair, though, stays the same: to draw moisture away from your skin and keep you dry and warm.
It goes without saying a great winter coat and gloves are still required, as these are the primary components in keeping your body warm. Thermals used to be knitted from cotton in a waffle pattern, but they are now made from various materials, such as wool and polyester blends.
Related: Best Snowboards For Buttering
- What Is Thermal Clothing?
- Who Should Buy Thermal Underwear?
- 1 . Carhartt Force Midweight Classic – Best Durable Thermal Underwear
- 2 . TSLA Men’s Thermal Underwear – Best Affordable Thermal Underwear
- 3 . Ortovox 185 Rock’n’Wool – Best Lightweight
- 4 . Fruit of the Loom Premium Waffle – Best Budget-Friendly
- 5 . Arc’teryx Rho AR Bottom Men’s – Best Performance
- 6 . Icebreaker Men’s Everyday Thermal Underwear – Best Wool
- 7 . Smartwool Merino 150 – Best Warm Underwear
- Things to Consider Before Buying Thermal Underwear
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Thoughts
What Is Thermal Clothing?
The phrase “thermal clothing” has been used in the industry for a few years. The word “thermal” applies to a variety of garments. This refers to apparel that, when worn, feels warm in cool weather. The thickness, air permeability, and wicking abilities of that apparel determine its basic characteristics.
Wool and wool-mixture fabrics are thicker because wool fibers naturally wrinkle, and there is more room for air in the fabric, which makes them feel more comfortable to wear. Cotton and cotton-mixture fabrics are thin; also, cotton fibers stay flat within the fabric, increasing the surface area in contact with the body.
Consequently, wearing cotton clothing feels chilly. PVC fiber is used to make thin fabrics with greater internal air space and less surface area for touch. So when worn, they feel warm. Since PVC blended fabrics have more air gaps, they keep you cool in hotter weather. Additionally, PVC fibers do not hold water molecules; therefore, they do not become wet.
Also read: Should Skis Be Taller Than You? [Ski Size Chart]
Who Should Buy Thermal Underwear?
Long thermal underwear is ideal for individuals who dislike feeling cold when skiing. Sometimes skiing on a mountain might last hours, and it can be freezing hanging out outside in the snow for so long.
You can add a layer of resistance against the cold and wetness with great, high-quality thermal underwear. You can use these for several outdoor activities, such as sledding, skating, and snow walking. If your heater breaks down, you may even wear them around the home!
Many excellent choices are available, but I will limit my selection to simply the best thermal underwear for skiing in 2023. Irrespective of your particular skiing style or where you choose to ski, I think these options should work well with just about anyone!
1 . Carhartt Force Midweight Classic – Best Durable Thermal Underwear
The Carhartt Force Midweight Classic is a pair of thermal underwear that is very durable and will perform well in many different circumstances. You won’t need to be concerned about them tearing or wearing out because they are made to withstand almost anything. This is made possible by rugged flex technology, which also guarantees that these can travel in any direction you want.
The waffle knit design and naturally odor-resistant nature of the polyester material make them excellent at wicking sweat away, which is another benefit for active skiers. Although they aren’t the warmest option available and sometimes run a lot, they are useful in different circumstances.
On the coldest day, I put these Carhartt thermals to the test. These stayed warm as I split and piled firewood and shoveled heaps of snow. They are warm and comfy to wear, and they make a great midweight base layer.
They may not be as warm as merino wool due to their 100% polyester construction, but they are extremely flexible and made to be worn constantly. However, they don’t wick moisture as efficiently as other alternatives on this list. Nonetheless, they work properly. Nevertheless, if you’re not jogging, these thermals are great for chilly days spent outside.
- Material: 100 percent polyester
- Washing: Machine Wash
- Weight: 8.8 ounces
Why Is Carhartt Force Midweight Classic The Best Thermal Underwear For Skiing In 2023
My choice for the best long thermal underwear for skiing this year is the Carhartt Force Midweight Classic. This highly cozy choice will provide reliable performance on those chilly days when you most need it. On top of that, they are durable and robust as well.
2 . TSLA Men’s Thermal Underwear – Best Affordable Thermal Underwear
The pricing of this top men’s thermal underwear is tough to beat. I was surprised by how much warmth this inexpensive thermal underwear gave; typically, they are either ineffective at keeping you warm, run too large, or need to wick moisture more effectively.
In addition, they are cozy to wear all day because of the elasticity and microfleece lining. While I was running in them, they performed an adequate job of wicking away moisture, but there may be better choices for lengthy runs.
Predicting that the TSLAs won’t be the warmest in the test at this price range is reasonable. These ran a little small, as opposed to the other options I tested, and I would advise sizing up, particularly if you have strong or thick legs.
Nevertheless, these are fantastic daily usage options, and the price won’t make you cry.
Microfiber won’t keep you the warmest outside, but obtaining a set that can function in various settings at an affordable price is a win and a great addition to your cold-weather layering arsenal.
This long sleeve shirt and legging combo is fleece-lined, moisture-wicking, and offered in 12 different colors. This set has outstanding stretch, making it a fantastic option for folks who work outside all year long and require an additional layer.
There is a women’s version of this set as well. Furthermore, this synthetic thermal suit can keep you warm on a budget of under $30, and its slim, relaxed fit makes it feel like a bargain.
3 . Ortovox 185 Rock’n’Wool – Best Lightweight
My choice for the best long thermal underwear for skiing this season is the Ortovox 185 Rock’n’Wool. This fantastic option will give you everything you need and want in a top-tier base layer bottom.
The Rock’N’Wool top from Orotvox was designed for outdoor performance thanks to its odor-resistant merino wool and excellent temperature control.
You’ve found the perfect thermal underwear for skiing if you want to choose a piece with different colors. In contrast to most thermal underwear’s constant neutral color scheme, this lightweight choice is available in three striking patterns and hues. A women’s version of this thermal top is also available.
It’s very striking that they are constructed of 100% Merino wool. This provides you with a great deal of insulation and superb comfort. They also maintain their sleek shape while lacking synthetic fabrics for a perfect fit.
You can use these thermals in any skiing circumstance because they are lightweight and strong. These are effective if you wish to be ready for the toughest weather or need a little extra comfort.
For highly active skiers, the 185 Rock’n’Wool also boasts a slim fit that won’t ride up or clump under your ski trousers. Although they are pricey, they are worth it.
Even if the material is great, the three-quarter cut keeps the pants from bunching up in the boots, a common problem for skiers. According to a tester, “These three-quarter pants have altered my life on the hill. No more pant leg, no more issues.” The cut is quite cozy, and Ortovox consistently wins on the wool front.
4 . Fruit of the Loom Premium Waffle – Best Budget-Friendly
Check out these thermal underwear bottoms if you’re looking for a simple, low-cost solution. Many people use these because they are inexpensive, have a timeless appearance, and can use them in several cold weather scenarios.
They are manufactured with a soft, cozy cotton and polyester combination, making them simple to wear underneath the rest of your ski clothing. I wouldn’t suggest them during particularly cold ski days because they aren’t the warmest option available.
This underwear will give you fundamental warmth, lighter performance, or both. This base layer for men works well, keeps you safe, and gives you the most comfort when you’re active outside in chilly to temperately cold weather. It is made from recycled polyester and cotton from U.S. sources.
Cotton is naturally breathable, which helps you stay dry and naturally stretchy, so it is comfortable and doesn’t get in the way of your movements. Furthermore, the waffle weave of the fabric makes tiny air pockets that keep heat close to the body, and the ribbed cuffs at the ankles keep even more heat in.
Additional features, including a soft elastic waistband, a front fly opening, and flat seams, reduce chafing and improve comfort. You need to have this Fruit of the Loom Premium Men’s Thermal Bottom in your winter outfit, especially if you love skiing.
The traditional full-length pants are made from recycled polyester and cotton from the United States. It has a delicate mini-waffle weave. The ribbed ankle cuffs and reinforced flat-seam construction keep the legs in place and prevent chafing. Customers do advise going down a size because the waistline tends to be on the large side.
- Color(s): Black, Natural, Navy, Greystone Heather
- Materials: Cotton-polyester blend
- Sizes: S-5XL
5 . Arc’teryx Rho AR Bottom Men’s – Best Performance
The Arc’teryx Rho’s are thin leggings that fool you into thinking they’re warm. When worn under another piece of clothing, they are great for hiking or climbing in the summer and skiing or snowboarding in the winter.
These are even cozier and soft thanks to an integrated brushed lining. For cold days, these leggings are strong enough to wear alone without a top layer.
Another reason I choose this thermal underwear is because it benefits backcountry skiers who require more moisture-wicking when working hard.
This slimming alternative will give you outstanding performance in various on-mountain circumstances. Due to their high thermal efficiency, you will remain dry and warm.
They are elastic, which I also appreciate. You won’t experience any restrictions as you move around. Interestingly, you won’t notice you are putting on thermal underwear. However, one drawback I find with this underwear is the price. It is costly. I suggest something more reasonably priced if you don’t ski frequently or aggressively.
The Polartec Power Stretch fabric has a nylon front and brushed, silky polyester interior, and is exceptionally durable. Also, it gets rid of sweat quickly, keeping you dry and comfortable even when you’re working hard. The slim cut makes it simple to layer beneath jeans or ski pants, and the integrated zip pocket at the thigh keeps tiny necessities safe.
6 . Icebreaker Men’s Everyday Thermal Underwear – Best Wool
Finding thermals that don’t feel like they’re choking off circulation on my thick, stocky legs are frequently difficult. However, the Icebreaker was a comfortable fit, and I didn’t feel any restrictions when moving.
On the coldest days, these thermals made entirely of merino wool kept me warm and breathable. For milder temperatures or extremely active outings, the Icebreakers are definitely too warm, even though they perform excellently for extremely cold days.
The men’s long underwear and men’s thermals are ideal whether you’re backpacking on a chilly summer night or taking part in a cold winter excursion because they are made with a slim, curved fit to help give smooth cold-weather layering! Men’s winter leggings and underwear made of Merino wool have ribbed material for stretch and convenience, a brushed elastic drawstring for a comfortable fit, and stitch seams to lessen chafing for reliability throughout the day.
These wool leggings are the perfect foundation layer for winter sports lovers because they are form-fitting and snug at the ankle. Although they can be worn casually, they perform best when put to the test on a trek, the slopes, or with some alpine climbing. The men’s style has a functional fly for ease and few seams, which helps prevent chafing.
In general, Icebreaker’s merino wool base layers are made to keep you cozy in even the worst weather. Since merino wool wicks away moisture and breathes very well, these base layers are great for all your activities, like jogging, mountain ski tours, mountain biking, or even cold winter days in the city.
7 . Smartwool Merino 150 – Best Warm Underwear
The last best thermal underwear for skiing in 2023 is the Smartwool Merino 150. The brand is recognized for its dependable fundamentals. There is less chance of chafing because the flat-lock seam on the midweight Merino 150 Base Layer was developed. The leggings have a traditional fly that is both useful and classic.
They are also made of merino wool, which has many benefits, such as regulating temperature, keeping smells at bay, and being soft.
The 150 range is just another example of how tough and amazingly comfortable their products are. I nearly forgot I was wearing the shirts and bottoms once I put them on. Moreover, it doesn’t bother me to wear these all day.
These Merino layers are excellent at controlling body temperature and draining away moisture. They are excellent in shaping your body and keeping you warm; I’ve used them when snowboarding, hiking, and camping in cold weather. If you pair these with some of the best hiking pants, you’ll be ready for even the coldest weather outside.
As a result, you also receive excellent warmth and comfort. They are also constructed with a small amount of polyamide and elastane for a further stretch.
You also have great breathability thanks to the holes in the groin area. This makes sure you don’t get too hot. They also have ribbed knees to boost resilience if you fall badly. These are pricey, as are the majority of Smartwool items. However, they’ll undoubtedly keep you toasty.
Things to Consider Before Buying Thermal Underwear
Businesses often use wool, synthetic fibers, or a combination of the two in thermal underwear. Additionally, some may be more appropriate than others for particular outdoor adventures, depending on your activities.
For outdoor activities in the cold, the most important thing you can buy may not be the best hiking shoes but rather a good pair of thermal underwear.
Men’s thermal underwear is available in various fabrics, from cotton to synthetics. Pure cotton shouldn’t be worn for vigorous exercise since it quickly absorbs sweat. However, a cotton-polyester blend can provide you with the required comfort qualities.
Polyester and other synthetic materials remove moisture from the body while keeping the heat in. This keeps you dry and warm. Just be aware that they can develop unpleasant odors, which can be challenging to remove. Although the priciest, Merino wool is regarded as the greatest base layer due to its inherent qualities like heat retention, odor control, and moisture wicking.
The fabric texture will also affect your ability to stay warm. For example, if a set of thermal underwear is labeled “brushed,” it signifies the fabric has indeed been “brushed,” raising the fibers for improved warmth-trapping and softening.
If you require anything that is very light but still keeps you warm, wool can be heavier than synthetic materials, which are usually lighter. Moreover, lighter materials are probably better if you’re in the backcountry and trying to save weight.
Most of the time, you give up warmth for weight. However, for most trips outside, the slight difference in weight between materials probably doesn’t matter that much, specifically if you’re not keeping track of ounces. Check to see which thermal underwear might very well work best for you based on what you do.
To keep you warm, thermal underwear should fit like a second skin. Consider brands of thermal underwear that have a slim fit instead of a loose fit. The fit must be comfortable without being too big. If your thermals don’t fit tight enough, they won’t keep as much air out or keep you as warm as they would if they did.
Remember, there are several sizes that will determine how the underwear fits your body. You can opt for a smaller size if you usually wear middle size clothes.
Some thermal underwear brands say that a certain style is “for high output” or “for mixed output.” This just means that the wearer is very active or not very active. Consider your intended activities when making your thermal underwear selection.
Choose a lightweight pair if you want to stay dry while engaging in an activity that causes you to build up a sweat, such as cross-country skiing. It can evaporate sweat from the skin more rapidly if it has a slim profile. However, if you’d rather read or drink tea while relaxing in a classic waffle-knit sweater made from a cotton blend, that’s fine too!
I quickly discovered that most low-cost thermal underwear doesn’t perform when it counts. There is nothing worse than being on a camping trip and shivering to death because you didn’t bring enough thermals, and they are making you colder rather than warmer.
In addition, if you think that high-end thermal underwear and cheap thermal underwear from the dollar store are the same, you’re in for a nasty shock. I’m a firm believer that you get what you pay for.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t exceptions, but most of the time, warm thermals that wick away sweat don’t come cheap. Nevertheless, they will pay for themselves if you face the situation and get snow in your face and on your chest 40 minutes into your ski day.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Thermal Underwear Is The Warmest?
The warmest thermal underwear is often made of merino wool or a combination of merino wool. Moreover, unlike synthetic mixes or other choices, their moisture-wicking properties will keep you warm while in active or rainy environments. I tested several pairs of thermal underwear, and the Icebreaker 260s was the warmest.
What Distinguishes Thermals From Base Layers?
Any object that produces warmth close to your skin is considered a foundation layer. Theoretically, a base layer may be a t-shirt or a pair of panties. Thermals are often skin-tight base layers composed of wool or synthetic materials that transfer body heat to the wearer to keep them warm.
Normal t-shirts and underwear are normally composed of cotton, but thermals are thicker and can wick away moisture. Although base layers are frequently worn alone, most thermals are designed to be worn underneath your clothing, especially near the skin.
Do You Put On Underwear Over Warm Underwear?
Underwear should be worn underneath your thermal bottoms to avoid chafing or itching. It’s acceptable for some people only to wear the bottoms of their thermal underwear. Still, I think it’s better to have an additional layer to reduce chafing and keep out extra moisture.
What Kind Of Base Layer Material Is The Warmest?
Merino wool is by far the warmest material for a base layer. One of the greatest textiles for wicking sweat is wool, which is available in several weights and textures. Fine wools typically have less itching and are preferable for thermal underwear.
Which Are Better, Tight Or Loose Thermals?
Since they draw sweat away from your skin and disperse it throughout the fabric, thermal underwear should fit snugly.
This method helps you stay warm and keeps you from losing heat while keeping you dry. Air can’t get between your skin and thermal underwear if they don’t fit tightly.
For outdoor activities in the cold, thermal underwear is essential. Period. I cannot emphasize enough how important this is. Since I spend a lot of time outdoors in cold weather, working, hiking, camping, and skiing, I only wear the best thermal underwear to stay dry, comfortable, and warm.
They won’t just keep you warm; they’ll also enable you to spend more time outdoors, allowing you to continue participating in your favorite recreational activity even as the temperature drops.
Even if you don’t often wear long underwear, it’s a good idea to keep a decent set on hand when the weather is chilly. This post offers the best solutions available. So purchase a pair, go outside, and enjoy yourself!