Best Budget Base Layer: REI Co-op Midweight Base Layer Review

Warm, Stretchy, Durable, and Under $50? Yes, REI base layers provide all of that and more.

Once cold weather hits, base layers are essential. And as much as we love luxurious wool blends and zip or jacket options, sometimes simpler is better. Simplicity is what REI Co-op’s mid-weight base layers offer.

In short: Using a mid-weight fabric ideal for warmth in a variety of conditions, plus a great deal of stretch, REI middle weight top And Bottom base layers Available for both men and women – one of our top picks when it comes to budget-friendly base layers.

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REI . Medium Weight Base Layers

  • Matter: Medium weight 92% polyester, 8% spandex
  • Features: UPF 50 rating, 4-way stretch seams, and flat lock seams
  • Product Weight: 372 grams / 13 oz. (size S/M)
  • fit: next to the skin
  • Sizes: XS-XL (2XL option in men’s sizes)
  • price: $50 each

REI . Midweight Basic Layer Shirt

Rhea Beslayer Top

See, sometimes in the winter you just want to get dressed and keep going. If I have a whole day outside planned, go skiing, or, say, dread walking to work when it snows, I’ll pick up this base layer. This top fits great and provides warmth, stretch and good coverage from my neck to my roots.

For both women and men, the fit is very similar: crew-style around the neck, flat seams to prevent bunching or chafing, good sleeve length, and stitching around the shoulders (with the seams moving forward) so that the layer underneath runs a bundle. For women, it is designed more at the waist, while for men the top is cut straight.

It’s also worth noting that I’ve never really felt too hot in this top – I’ve tested it from minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit. If you feel warm or sweaty, the fabric is easily damaged.

Shop men’s shop shop for women

REI . Medium Weight Base Layer Base

Bottom irrigation

Base classes are for layering – but not just when skiing, snowboarding, or spending time outdoors. We found these base layer bottoms to be a great option for layering under lighter clamshell pants around town, too. If you’re in need of warmth and want a simple, budget-friendly, and durable option, these bottoms are just what you need.

Like any full-length pants, if you’re below average, you may find that the pants run too long. Bonus: For women, bottoms come in small sizes for this very reason! But other than that, many of our employees (of different heights and sizes) liked the fit of these bottoms. The waist has a fair amount of elastic, so you can wear it on your hips or higher depending on your preference.

Shop men’s shop shop for women

Woman sitting on green truck bed in Kari Traa baselayers and beanie wearing pants and smiling
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Final notes: durability and style

All of the medium-weight base layers in the REI Co-op feature a striped or mottled pattern – which I love. Both men’s and women’s come in a few color options, and the lighter style gives the base layers a nicer look (unlike some solid color combinations I own, which are a much more straightforward long style). Basically, if you need to dress up for changing layers or something, I’m proud to rock these layers.

In the few years I’ve owned it, I’ve probably washed it more than 50 times. (I don’t wash after every wear, but I do wear them often, so it’s safe to say I lost count.) I never noticed any thinning spots, snags, or loose strands. Anyway, after several years, these base layers are still going strong, probably thanks to their synthetic fabric.

And we can’t leave without talking about the price. REI’s Medium Weight Base Layer Kit will get you up to $100—a pretty good deal for two large base layers.

GearJunkie editor wears a rei baselayer set from neck to lower legs

Writer Carrie Tra tested the foundation while snowshoeing, wearing a pink half-zip with black strappy snow pants and a beanie.
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