Cold Weather Undershirts Options – The Winner Is…

As I was poking around the internet recently, I came across a Science Fiction Author’s blog where he wrote a series of articles about his quest for cold weather undershirts that would keep him warm during the mid-west cold weather months.

Cold Weather Undershirts Options

So, Tobias reached out to his friends on Twitter, asking for recommendations of undershirts that would keep him warm.

In addition to the recommendations, some folks pointed him over here to some articles I had written about winter undershirts and underwear.

This is what he wrote me back after I reached out to him about his quest and evaluation:

Your site was one of the references my readers sent me when I asked for help on twitter for resources to help fight my constant freezing in winter.

I’m slowly working my way through what I figured are the options based on some of your articles and some other online research, as well as the suggestions people sent my way.

So far I’ve written posts on silk, wool, and tomorrow was planning to report on my Patagonia Capilene 2 short sleeve shirt (so far the warmest) as part one of my ‘synthetics’ test.

Here are some snippets from three different undershirt review articles he wrote about his experience with Silk Undershirts, Wool Undershirts, and Synthetic (Polyester) Undershirts.

Silk Winter Undershirts

Undershirt tested: Land’s End. Price: $50. Purchased from

Note: I could not locate the item he purchased.

In 29 degree weather. I pulled on a polo and my leather jacket and went out for a walk.

Normally a polo and my leather jacket is too chilly for me, I opt for the down ski jacket.

But again, I felt cooled instead of frozen (my face and arms were able to let me know that there was a huge difference, as they were biting cold).

With some gloves added to the mix and a fleece balaclava I was actually comfortable.

Also, no sweatiness building up like in the heavy down full jacket with a shirt where I would overheat.

The silk seemed to regulate.

…I found silk cold weather undershirts to be refreshingly comfortable and light to wear under anything.

I can only find heavy silk in a long sleeve variety, however.

My dislike of long sleeves limits options somewhat.

Read the full article: Learning to be warm: silk undershirts

Wool Undershirts

Undershirts tested: Icebreaker Merino Wool (150 weight), Smartwool (200 weight). Price range: $60 – $80.

While not as scratchy as those horrible old wool sweaters you may have once been forced to wear, it was still noticeable.

It built up for me, slowly, throughout the day, until by the end of it I wanted to use pliers to pull the skin off my bones.

Which is just not a fun sensation.

A suggestion was made that I wear a silk undershirt, with a wool shirt on top of that.

Which is, frankly, getting comedic. Not the best cold weather undershirts, not for me at least.

It’s okay, not every solution works for every person.

Silk vs wool… for me silk won hands down. Now we know.

Read the full article: Learning to be warm: wool undershirts

Synthetic Undershirts

Undershirt tested: Patagonia Capilene undershirt. Price: $39

However, the Capilene #2 shirt was, hands down, the warmest base layer I’ve used yet.

In fact, it wore well this weekend in multiple environs, from warm room parties to going out in the 30 degree weather under my polo to get something from the car.

I was chilled, but not dangerously so.

I pulled it out again on Tuesday due to the single digit temps so I could go outside.

This could be a go-to shirt, though I’m curious to see what will happen come warmer temperatures.

I’m looking for something very versatile, so we’ll see. But this is so far my favorite of the shirts.

Read the full article: Learning to be warm: synthetic undershirts

Cold Weather Undershirts: The Winner Is…

Based on the feedback so far, it looks like the Synthetic (Polyester) Undershirt is Tobias’ favorite.

But, that might not last too long.

Why? Read on.

What’s Next?

For my regular readers, you won’t be surprised that in my email exchange with Tobias, I highly recommended the Uniqlo Heattech undershirts.

Man, I love Uniqlo and the acrylic fibers used in the Heattech undershirts really keeps me toasty in colder weather.

So, it looks like he’s going to be doing two more tests:

  1. Uniqlo Heattech Undershirts
  2. Ordering a long-sleeve silk undershirt and having it tailored to make it short-sleeve

I’ll try to keep an eye out for Tobias’ review articles and update this one with his results!

6 thoughts on “Cold Weather Undershirts Options – The Winner Is…”

  1. Hey Tug, I got to let you know that I have tried the Uniqlo HeatTech vneck gray undershirts mostly all winter along with a vneck merino wool undershirt and I have to say that the HeatTech won hands down also for me.

    The merino wool one I wore did a good job do not get me wrong, but it was a little short in the length and pulled up to easily. It did not bother me in the feel too much either, but I preferred the HeatTech and here is why.

    The HeatTech shirt was definitely smoother to the feel and had ample long tails to tuck in and washed in the machine better and did not shrink on me. The warmth was also on par with the merino wool without any sort of discomfort and it seemed to wick very well also.

    Also noticed a couple of small holes develop within the first 4 or so washes on the merino wool, but none on the HeatTech and I washed the HeatTech probably 3 times as much and it is still looking new.

    It will be HeatTech for sure in the winter for me from now on.

    Last, but not least was the price. The wool ones cost way more which could be expected I guess because it is wool, but the Heat Tech did the same thing for one third the price and just felt better to me and won the battle for me hands down.

    Just my two cents, Chris.

    • heya chris — great to hear back from you and thanks for the update!

      you know, i agree with you 100% on this. i recently got the opportunity to try out a merino wool undershirt, made with superfine merino wool from new zealand.

      while the undershirt itself is well designed, and fit really well, i found the superfine merino to actually be itchier than many other undershirts i’ve tried, and regularly wear. in fact, i don’t know of a situation where i would actually wear it in place of another undershirt.

      i too find the price of wool undershirts on the high side, but i also appreciate that consumers create affinities with brands and certain products, and price is mostly subjective in nature.

      for those consumers that love wool, and the principles behind using wool over synthetics and other fabrics, i’m glad there are eco-good/friendly companies making products for them.

      from my point of view, i much prefer the feel & price of uniqlo heattech undershirt over the merino wool undershirt i tried.

      i’m sure i’ll get the opportunity to try other merino wool undershirts, so i’ll wait to reserve judgement on them overall.

  2. seems that your comment about uniqlo is outdated. It is now in San Francisco, ( maybe other places to?) I also think they do e purchases. Teir stuff is frat and warm, especially good for San Francisco. Love your web site.

    • heya don — just do a quick search on “uniqlo”, and you’ll see i wrote about the san francisco store opening as well as the uniqlo u.s. based ecommerce site launch.

      it’s not so easy to keep old articles up-to-date since things change so often (:

      thanks for stopping by though!!


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