Top 10 Best Merino Wool Base Layer Pants

Best Merino Wool Base Layer Pants

Best Merino Wool Base Layer Pants

Best Merino Wool Base Layer Pants

Whether it is below freezing outside or just extremely cold, nobody like to be cold. Base layers are your first line of defense to capture and hold onto your body heat when Autumn and Winter set in. Unless you snowboard or ski then it is very unlikely that any of the pants in your closet have insulation in them. Not to worry because this list of the best Merino wool base layer pants is your ultimate guide to keeping your legs warm.

For total warmth and comfort, check out our Top 10 Merino Wool Base Layer Tops

Layering up is far more effective than one super warm layer and is also far easier to regulate the temperature by adding and removing layers as you start to warm up. When you are active, you might only need a base layer top and t-shirt to stay warm without overheating. But once you stop moving you will need to put on a coat and this is when your legs start to get cold. Having some of the best merino wool base layer pants on will ensure you stay warm and comfortable while hiking and camping.

What are Base Layers?

Base layers are insulating undergarments designed to be worn next to the skin to retain body heat and wick moisture away. They are typically close fitting and made from stretchy materials that are also lightweight. Synthetic base layers are often cheaper than Merino wool and can be quicker to dry but offer less overall benefits. You can get base layer tops, hats, gloves, socks, and of course pants which are all designed to trap a warm layer of air beneath other layers of perhaps more wind resistant clothing.

What is Merino Wool?

Merino Wool is the natural fiber sheared from the highly prized Merino Sheep. The Merino breed originated in Spain but is now more associated with New Zealand and Australia where they have been domesticated and now thrive. Merino Wool is regarded as having some of the softest and finest wool of any sheep around the world, second only to Cashmere (perhaps!). Surviving in New Zealand means enduring temperatures well below freezing in alpine conditions as well as blazing summer heat. For this reason, Merino wool keeps you both warm when it’s cold and cool when it’s hot.

Why is Merino Wool so good for Base Layers?

As mentioned above, the unique conditions that Merino Sheep live in have given their wool special qualities that transfer very well to base layer clothing. The best Merino wool base layer pants are lightweight, breathable, super soft and stretchy, hypoallergenic, UV protective and machine washable to name just a few reasons. My favorite quality of Merino Wool is the fact that it is very odor-resistant which can be appreciated when you get back to civilization after a few days without a shower. You can read all about the many Benefits of Merino Wool for Outdoor Clothing here.

Top 10 Merino Wool Base Layer Pants


Icebreaker Men’s Everyday Leggings

Icebreaker Men's Everyday Leggings

Material: 100% Merino Wool – 200 g/m²

Weight5.3 oz / 150 g

Women’s: Icebreaker Women’s Everyday Leggings

As the name suggests, the Icebreaker Men’s Everyday Leggings are some of the best merino wool base layer pants for everyday use. Made from lightweight and breathable 100% Merino wool, you can wear these for all kind of outdoor sports as well as just lounging around base camp. A gusset on the crotch and seat allows for total freedom of movement with a functioning fly and no center back seam for a comfortable fit. The natural odor prevention of Merino wool means you can wear these pants day after day without feeling self-conscious. The brushed waistband feels great underneath other layers and the flatlock seams add to the impressive comfort and durability of the Everyday Leggings.

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WoolX Merino Wool Base Layer Pants Midweight

WoolX Merino Wool Base Layer Pants Midweight

Material100% Australian Merino Wool – 230g/m² – 18.5 micron

Weightmed 8.8 oz / 246 g

Women’s: WoolX Women’s Avery Leggings

The WoolX Merino Wool Base Layer Pants are made from 100% Australian Merino Wool and are midweight for a wide range of temperatures and activities. As soft as cashmere but more durable, WoolX merino wool is hypoallergenic and non-itchy for the best next to the skin comfort base layer. The midweight material is ideal for staying warm while active in cold temperatures without overheating. Breathability, odor-resistance, and moisture wicking properties make these base layer pants perfect for hiking.

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Smartwool Men’s NTS Mid 250 Bottom

Smartwool Men's NTS Mid 250 Bottom

Material: 100% Merino Wool – 250 g/m²

Weight: 7.2 oz / 204 g

Women’s: Smartwool Women’s NTS Mid 250 Bottom

The Smartwool Men’s NTS Mid 250 Bottom is for the coldest days when a single layer of trousers just isn’t enough. Machine washable and tumble dryable these merino wool base layer pants are easy to care for and anti-microbial for multi-day use. The fit is slim and has flatlock seams with interlocking knit construction designed for maximum comfort and minimal chafing. Smartwool have been around for over 20 years now and are trusted with many long-distance hikers on the AT and PCT for its warmth to weight ratio. A top performer we can recommend for backpacking, winter warmth, and outdoor activities in the cold.

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Icebreaker Men’s Apex Leggings

Icebreaker Men's Apex Leggings

Material100% Merino Wool – 260 g/m²

Weight: Medium = 10.3 oz / 292 g

Women’s: Icebreaker Women’s Vertex Leggings

The Icebreaker Men’s Apex Leggings are luxuriously soft and warm base layer pant for active pursuits and just generally keeping your legs warm and your body temperature up. The Apex Base Layer Top is our top pick for the upper half and it is hard not to award the same result for these pants. They are midweight and thicker than most merino base layers without being too warm for things like hiking. The fit is slim and stretchy wit functioning fly and gusset for comfort and mobility, these really are a great option for your kit bag.

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Minus33 Merino Wool Men’s Kancamagus Midweight Bottom

Minus33 Merino Wool Men's Kancamagus Midweight Bottom

Material100% Merino Wool – 230 g/m² – 18.5 micron

Weight: Large = 9.6 oz / 272 g

Women’s: Minus33 Merino Wool Women’s Franconia Midweight Bottom

The Minus33 Merino Wool Men’s Kancamagus Midweight Bottoms are made from 100% Merino wool which traps a layer of warm air next to the skin. Available in many color choices including camo, you can blend into your surroundings or stand out from the crowd. A classic midweight base layer bottom you can wear day after day that wicks moisture and is odor resistant. Amongst other features, these pants have a UV rating of UPF 50+, flatlock seams, stretch cuffs, tagless labeling and are fire resistant. Popular with hunters and outdoorsmen around the world, you won’t be disappointed with these long johns.

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Merino 365 Men’s Slim Baselayer Pants

Merino 365 Men's Slim Baselayer Pants

Material100% New Zealand Merino Wool

Weight: 8.2 oz / 232.5 g

Women’s: Minus33 Merino Wool Women’s Franconia Midweight Bottom

The Merino 365 Men’s Slim Baselayer Pants are just like your favorite pair of comfy joggers apart from being super lightweight and slimmer. While these pants are by no means baggy, they do fit slightly looser than other baselayers if that is something you are looking for. The Merino 365 brand is well known for making quality baselayers from the best materials and you can definitely trust the quality. These are great for wearing on cold daytime adventures and if you don’t have the warmest sleeping bag then wearing these on a night will keep your legs nice and warm for sure.

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Ibex Merino Woolies 1 Bottom

Ibex Merino Woolies 1 Bottom

Material: 86% New Zealand Merino Wool, 14% Nylon – 170g/m² – 18.5 micron

Weight: 9 oz / 255 g

Women’s: Ibex Merino Wool Women’s Woolies 1 Bottom

The Ibex Merino Woolies 1 are a lightweight high Merino wool content rib-knit base layer bottom for all-day comfort. With a nylon core wrap for extra durability, you get all the benefits of Merino wool and some of the benefits of synthetic materials like faster drying times. The 1 one and a quarter inch waistband is comfy and robust allowing for a double panel construction and fly opening. The fit is very good and the ankle cuffs are long to tuck inside your socks which makes them great for skiing/snowboarding.

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Icebreaker Merino Men’s Winter Zone Leggings

Icebreaker Merino Men's Winter Zone Leggings

Material: Body: 97% Merino Wool, 3% LYCRA® Panels: 78% Merino Wool, 22% Polyester

Weight: Medium = 6.45 oz / 183 g

Women’s: Icebreaker Winter Zone Legging – Women’s

The Icebreaker Merino Men’s Winter Zone Leggings are made from 260 g/m² midweight fabric with optimized venting panels for added breathability. The technical panels on the inner thigh and around the knees support the most intense outdoor pursuits where you may be wearing waterproof layers on top. Made from a blend of Merino wool and synthetic fibers you get a really soft and stretchy finish that wicks moisture and dries out very fast which is what you want when you are in the thick of it. Don’t let the low weight and breathable panels fool you though, these base layer pants will help to keep you warm in very cold conditions.

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ColdPruf Classic Base Layer Pants

ColdPruf Classic Base Layer Pants

Material100% Merino Wool – 170g/m² – 17.5 micron

Women’s: ColdPruf  Women’s Classic Base Layer Pants

The ColdPruf Classic Base Layer Pants are made from a single layer of 100% Merino wool with a Jersey knit. They are snug fitting but incredibly stretchy to provide the most effective base layer under your other clothes. The waistband is comfortable and sits smoothly under belts and doesn’t slip down, holding them up very well. There are gussets around the crotch to prevent chafing during active pursuits and the contours work well to allow total freedom of movement. I really like these to wear underneath another base layer as they fit so snugly and stretch so well but they also work well on their own.

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Helly Hansen Men’s HH Wool Base Layer Pants

Helly Hansen Men's HH Wool Base Layer Pants

Material100% Merino Wool

Women’s: Helly Hansen Women’s HH Wool Base Layer Pant

The Helly Hansen Men’s HH Wool Base Layer Pants are their only 100% Merino wool baselayer pants and are classed as midweight. All other Helly Hanson Merino base layers are made with a lifa blend which has its benefits but overall I would much rather have these. With flatlock seams on the inside there is no rubbing or chafing and the fabric feels very light. They are available with or without a fly opening at the front and the legs are nice and long for taller people. Maybe not my first choice for the best merino wool base layer pants but you can’t go wrong with a pair of these.

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