In the market for base layers (long johns) Recommendations please

NH Hunter

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What I need is a decent pair of long johns that aren't too thick, not scratchy or uncomfortable to wear, keep me warm, and don't give me back damp like old school cotton long johns.

I have work until July, but unfortunately most if not all of that work is outside. We are completing two boat houses, and building a new home with garage right on the water. All three job sites are out on points as well. The wind really picks up speed there. I've heard a lot of guys say good things about Merino wool. I'll listen to any and all suggestions as to what I should be looking at. I don't mind spending some money on these if they are going to keep me warm. Thanks in advance.
 

lester2

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I find wool long underwear too hot unless I’m sitting absolutely still, so for what you’re doing I’d expect the same. I work outside from February thru April for a maple producer. I wear a thin pair of military surplus polypropylene long Johns under a pair of Labonville logging pants on the bottom, and the same weight poly under a wool shirt with a sweatshirt and a carhartt vest on top. This gets me thru about 95% of the time.
 

802-603hunter

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I switched to merino base layers a handful of years ago. I tried a set of 150 weight from Midway because they were the lightest I could find. They were also happened to be pretty cheap, maybe $85 for the set. I liked them but I ended up with wearing in a run from the crotch down the leg, I bought a pair of First Lite 200 weight bottoms to replace those and ran them this past season, no complaints as of yet. I think they were around $90. Hard to say if either made me too hot because I also had a new pair of woolies at the time that were considerably thicker than my thread bare pair I had been wearing. I found my old pair for this year (still unpacking a little from the move and house build) and wore those any day I figured I would be on the move covering ground.
 

lester2

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I find wool long underwear too hot unless I’m sitting absolutely still, so for what you’re doing I’d expect the same. I work outside from February thru April for a maple producer. I wear a thin pair of military surplus polypropylene long Johns under a pair of Labonville logging pants on the bottom, and the same weight poly under a wool shirt with a sweatshirt and a carhartt vest on top. This gets me thru about 95% of the time.
I just looked and the brand is Polartec, great stuff.
 

shawn_in_MA

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MERINO WOOL is the way to go. I am very happy with merino bottoms I have gotten from Amazon (Wool-X) brand and more recently the stuff from Black Ovis isvery good can find that on Camofire quite often or right on Black Ovis website. Have also heard good things about the First Lite too
 

sneaky_pete000

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I'm one of the lucky ones that rarely gets cold, so the pair I have might not apply, but they're from EMS. I got them as a gift 13yrs ago. I wear them every time I turkey hunt (even when its hot, to keep the ticks off), and all of deer season. Then I put them on when I ice fish and start sugaring (ever weekend in the winter) and I'm active when I'm wearing them. They're pretty lightweight, and synthetic. Its going to break my heart when I have to trash them, and the fat lady is singing...I just noticed after rabbit hunting in them this weekend the crotch has some ventilation...The tag is worn off, so I can't 'see a model but they are EMS brand and they look just like these:

 

kevin in nh

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This year I bought new base layers starting with Pnuma heated vest and heated pants long with 2 pair of Smart wool merino 250 base 1/4 zip top and bottoms. The older I get along with blood pressure meds I get cold faster every year. The heated vest and pants with the smart wool allowed me to sit in 20 degree weather for 4 hours comfortable. I sweat and the smart wool Merino wicks the sweat and dries really good.
I am sold on the merino wool.
 

lester2

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I'm one of the lucky ones that rarely gets cold, so the pair I have might not apply, but they're from EMS. I got them as a gift 13yrs ago. I wear them every time I turkey hunt (even when its hot, to keep the ticks off), and all of deer season. Then I put them on when I ice fish and start sugaring (ever weekend in the winter) and I'm active when I'm wearing them. They're pretty lightweight, and synthetic. Its going to break my heart when I have to trash them, and the fat lady is singing...I just noticed after rabbit hunting in them this weekend the crotch has some ventilation...The tag is worn off, so I can't 'see a model but they are EMS brand and they look just like these:

Very similar to the Polartec base layer I use...
 

Meatseeker

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Agree with all who suggest have merino wool base layers. I have used merino base layers from Ice Breaker, KUIU, and First Lite. They are all excellent. Can't beat the warmth, breathability, moisture wicking and natural scent reducing properties.
 

Browseline

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I worked outside many winters doing what you do now. I tried a few different combinations of clothes but ended up the last 10 years of my working outside days in the winter with wool pants and 100% polypropylene underwear. This kept my legs warm even on windy days. A heavy, insulated, flexible cotton jacket with a hood and balaclava worked for my upper body. I used to buy brown cotton gloves in packages of a dozen and go through 5 or 6 pairs a day as they were cold when damp, drying them in the evenings and using them the next day. I couldn't pick up little things, use a pencil or do much else very easily with heavy gloves so my hands were never really warm. I should say that we didn't work outside on days when the temperature was below -20 in the morning. I didn't mind the cold much until I hit 50 years old. It went downhill from there and when I hit 62 I had had enough of outside work in the winter.
 

mowbizz

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This year I bought new base layers starting with Pnuma heated vest and heated pants long with 2 pair of Smart wool merino 250 base 1/4 zip top and bottoms. The older I get along with blood pressure meds I get cold faster every year. The heated vest and pants with the smart wool allowed me to sit in 20 degree weather for 4 hours comfortable. I sweat and the smart wool Merino wicks the sweat and dries really good.
I am sold on the merino wool.
Kevin, my doc started me on blood pressure meds this year. I get cold really fast when sitting. I didn’t realize the meds might be he reason.
I am going to look into those heated base layers...thanks for posting this!
Haha...I have some heated gloves arriving today from Amazon for snow blowing and plowing with my open tractor...hands are the first to freeze. Damn...getting old sucks.
 

NH Hunter

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I worked outside many winters doing what you do now. I tried a few different combinations of clothes but ended up the last 10 years of my working outside days in the winter with wool pants and 100% polypropylene underwear. This kept my legs warm even on windy days. A heavy, insulated, flexible cotton jacket with a hood and balaclava worked for my upper body. I used to buy brown cotton gloves in packages of a dozen and go through 5 or 6 pairs a day as they were cold when damp, drying them in the evenings and using them the next day. I couldn't pick up little things, use a pencil or do much else very easily with heavy gloves so my hands were never really warm. I should say that we didn't work outside on days when the temperature was below -20 in the morning. I didn't mind the cold much until I hit 50 years old. It went downhill from there and when I hit 62 I had had enough of outside work in the winter.

I use the same gloves with the same routine. Picked up two or the 5 packs last week. Cedar clapboards eat them up quick, but I don't care when I get a hole or primer on them. Thanks for all the feedback guys. I'm going to try the wool first as I have a couple pairs of the poly long johns now.
 

groundtender

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I have never tried the Merino wool, but am considering it now. For the last thirty years I have used silk turtleneck uppers and really like it. Never wore lowers, just wool pants, in my younger days. Now wear the same wool pants with another pair big enough to fit over them, as I am a sitter now.
 

Mainewoods

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Like 802-603 said, those Midway USA lightweight merino wool sets are the way to go. Light, warm, breathable and you don’t still don’t stink after many days of use like you do with poly. I just got another set for Christmas and you usually get the tops and bottoms for around $80.
Seriously, give them a try.
 

Huntermc6

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I'm not a sponsor or have any affiliation to this company but Minus 33 makes merino wool base layers that I would assume are on par with all the other companies that make them. The owner was on the Big Buck Registry Podcast a while back and is a hunter as well as the company is based out of NH. If you are looking to support a local company that one might be worth looking into. I do believe they are on the more expensive end of the base layer pricing though.
 

NH Mountains

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I'm not a sponsor or have any affiliation to this company but Minus 33 makes merino wool base layers that I would assume are on par with all the other companies that make them. The owner was on the Big Buck Registry Podcast a while back and is a hunter as well as the company is based out of NH. If you are looking to support a local company that one might be worth looking into. I do believe they are on the more expensive end of the base layer pricing though.
I like the Minus33 wool as well but, have been getting the Cresta brands from LL Bean when they’re on sale. Usually in the $50 range. Merino wool is awesome. LL Bean even has a camo base layer now. They’re pricey at full price though.
 

Pine-lock

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I like the Minus33 wool as well but, have been getting the Cresta brands from LL Bean when they’re on sale. Usually in the $50 range. Merino wool is awesome. LL Bean even has a camo base layer now. They’re pricey at full price though.
I like the cresta tops but find the bottoms too baggy. Even after a mistaken trip through the dryer.
 




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