Base layers aren’t as exciting as a new tent, a stove or a pack.
Base layers seem prosaic and boring.
But, base layers are arguably one of the keys to enjoying the outdoors.
If they do not fit right or function correctly, you can be too hot or cold, chafing can happen and blisters may form.
Such a simple class of clothing can have large impact upon a person’s enjoyment of the outdoors.
Yesterday I look at the “new classic” of merino wool base layers. They are warm, breathe well but are fragile I find.
Something, for me, won’t stand the test of time for hard and fairly consistent use when I am paying for the clothing out of my own pocket.
On the other hand, there is a simple wool layer that HAS stood the test of time. Something I’ve used a lot in the past few years: Lands End ragg wool socks.
Ragg wool, of course, is the more coarse and thick grade of wool that has fallen out of favor for most outdoor use.
I specify Lands End socks as I had no idea who made these socks for them.
They are tick, warm and durable. I had two pairs, but I lost a sock on one New Years trip. 🙁 I believe each pair was $10 or so ea. Quite the affordable bargain.
After several years of hard use, they are still going strong. Not packed out, no serious worn spots and still warm. When I have to swap in another pair, be it from Woolrich, Wigwam or military issued Danner socks, I find they do not work quite as well as these ones from Lands End.
Why a thick wool sock? Because the heavy leather boots I use for ski touring, a thicker sock (coupled with a liner sock) is just right.
Lands End ragg wool socks…something simple and effective. They work.