Best Womens’ Hiking Thermals for the UK in 2020 (September Update)


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Best Womens’ Hiking Thermals for the UK in 2020 (September Update)

Whether you’re hiking in the back country, climbing mountains, sitting around the campfire, or just walking your dog in winter, keeping warm is critical to your enjoyment and well-being.

The key to getting the right temperature and comfort levels during hiking comes down to correctly layering your clothes.

Regardless of what activity you’re undertaking, layering is the simplest way to protect your body from cold weather.

There are hundreds of options out there to choose from, ranging from cheap and nasty to top-of-the-range performance gear. To get you started, we’ve pulled together some of our favourite options on the market right now.

We looked only at thermals that offer a good degree of sweat-wicking, comfort, freedom of movement for outdoor activities, layering abilities and durability.

Top 3 Best-Sellers

Bestseller No. 1
Vinconie Thermal Underwear Womens Bottom Thermal Underwear Set Ladies, 1 Pack Black, XS-S (6 8 10)
518 Reviews
Vinconie Thermal Underwear Womens Bottom Thermal Underwear Set Ladies, 1 Pack Black, XS-S (6 8 10)
  • Lightweight thermal underwear womens. Ultra Soft, elastic,...
  • Comfy ladies thermals. Thermal leggings and thermal top...
  • Thin womens thermal base layer with roud and low neckline...
  • Slim thermal pajama set for women. Ideal for sleep and daily...
  • Suitable for yoga, gym, skiing, outdoor work, travel,...
Bestseller No. 2
Mountain Warehouse Talus Womens Long Sleeves Baselayer Top - Thermal Underwear, Lightweight Ladies Tee Shirt, Breathable, Easy Care - for Winter Black...
93 Reviews
Mountain Warehouse Talus Womens Long Sleeves Baselayer Top - Thermal Underwear, Lightweight Ladies Tee Shirt, Breathable, Easy Care - for Winter Black...
  • IsoTherm - Heat retention technology ensures you stay warm
  • High Wicking – Actively wicks away moisture from your...
  • Quick Drying – Great for travelling, washing and wearing
  • Breathable – Airy, let’s moisture out of this women’s...
SaleBestseller No. 3
Amazon Brand - Iris & Lilly Women's Long Sleeve Top in Lightweight Thermal, Black, S, Label:S
451 Reviews
  1. Rab Merino+ 160 Long Sleeve with Zip

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Key features:

  • Fabric: Merino wool, Polyester
  • Warmth rating: 2.5/5

Rab has been a leading outdoors clothing manufacturer for years and their thermals are easily on par with their down jackets.

The Rab Women’s Merino+ 160 zip top is a mid-weight base layer that is optimised for warmth, temperature regulation, staying dry and multi-day use.

The long sleeve is made from Merino+ fabric – a mix of Merino wool and polyester with Cocona 37.5 technology.

The Merino regulates your body temperature as your activity level and the outside conditions change.

The polyester combination allows extra elasticity for comfort and enhances the resilience of the fabric, making it easy to look after.

The clever part, however, lies in the Cocona 37.5 technology. Activated carbon fibres radically increase the surface area of the yarn so that sweat spreads rapidly across the fabric to accelerate evaporation and drying time.

There’s simply no competing with how quickly this base layer dries out. Whether you get caught in a storm or have to use as a towel on your next camping trip, you’ll be able to air it out then put the top straight back on afterwards.

Because it dries out so quickly and has outstanding anti-bacterial properties, it truly is suitable for multi-day adventures in variable conditions.

When tested on the trails for a month with access to only soap and cold water (when it was occasionally available), the fabric remained almost completely odour-free.

Thanks to its quality production and materials the thermal holds together well after extensive use, with no balling or thin, worn patches.

It can be thrown in the wash for easy care and maintains its shape after spinning or wringing (unusual for Merino wool).

The zipped version offers temperature flexibility thanks to the deep venting chest zip, but for those who want something a bit less warm, Rab’s long sleeve crew neck is 40 grams lighter.

Pros
  • All natural
  • Light
  • Zip neck for dumping heat
  • Highly odour- and bacteria-resistant
Cons
  • Expensive
  1. Helly Hansen Lifa Merino Long Sleeve

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Key features:

  • Fabric: Merino, Polypropylene (Lifa)
  • Warmth rating: 3/5

The Helly Hansen Lifa Merino Crew doesn’t come cheap but it’s one of our favourite women’s thermals around right now.

The unique two-in-one long sleeve combines 100% Merino wool with Lifa Stay Warm Technology in a two-layer construction.

The Merino in the fabric delivers all the benefits of woolen fibres but with the unexpected bonuses of technical Lifa fibre properties.

Lifa is Helly Hansen’s registered trademark for its own Polypropylene fabric composition that wicks moisture away at a rate greater than any other Polyester-based fabric on the market today.

Light-weight and super-soft Lifa fibres sit closest to the skin, constantly moving moisture away to avoid that clammy feeling or chills as the temperature drops.

The Merino wool exterior provides insulation, further breathability and maintains warmth.

Thanks to this combination, Lifa Merino is the company’s warmest base layer, ideal for those who want to get outdoors in the winter.

Alongside the two-layer construction, flatlock seams reduce rubbing and the long sleeves make sure your wrists don’t get left exposed.

The thermal fits well, is warm and breathable whilst still looking good. So even if you have to strip down to your base layer whilst out and about, you won’t be too embarrassed to do so.

Lots of base layers are only partially opaque but this could easily be worn by itself in mild weather.

The fibres next to the skin are soft and non-itch, ensuring a comfortable experience.

The only thing they could have done to make it the perfect thermal would be finding a way to make it seam-free on the sides and shoulders.

Lifa tops wash well in the machine and stand up to regular wear. All in all, this thermal will keep you warm and dry in a variety of different conditions year-round.

Pros
  • Two-layer warmth
  • Lifa provides ultimate moisture-wicking
  • Functional yet flattering
Cons
  • Pricey
  • Fitted shape won’t work for all sizes
  1. Venture Heat Women’s Heated Shirt Thermal

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Key features:

  • Fabric: Polyester and Spandex
  • Warmth rating: 5/5

In the quest for the ultimate climate control and warmth, Venture Heat has gone above and beyond. For anyone that really suffers in cold weather, this is the answer.

The heated long-sleeve features core front heating, shoulder heating and lumber heating using built-in carbon fibre elements.

Small fibres run through three heating zones to provide quick warmth to your key regions. The customised slim battery has a 5V 5000 MAH capacity and tucks smoothly into your shirt pocket without weighing you down.

The accessible button control is found on the left sleeve and with one quick press the top starts to warm up.

Using the same button you can increase or decrease the amount of heat being released. What is most impressive is that the heating elements are designed to move as you do with a four-way flex and can be machine washed.

The battery pack has a life of over six hours when the infrared system is on low or two hours when running on high. It can be recharged from any portable power bank or mains plug and even has a USB port to charge your phone as you go!

For most people, this will be far more heat then they need whilst out hiking or climbing, but it is perfect for when you’re back in camp or sitting around and getting cold.

For moderately cold environments the base layer is a great thermal without even switching on the built-in fibres. A waterproofed quarter-zip collar, thumb holes and moisture-wicking fabric are all designed to keep heat in and moisture out.

Although it might be a little tough on the wallet, this Venture Heat base layer is the ultimate investment in thermal-wear technology.

Pros
  • Ultimate warmth
  • Collar and thumb holes
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Surplus to most users’ requirements
  1. Merino & More Wool Base Layer

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Key features:

  • Fabric: 56% Merino wool, 30% Polycolon, 14% Polyamide
  • Warmth rating: 3/5

Merino & More is a young Austrian company, and if anyone knows how to stay warm in the winter, it’s them.

This thermal is a step up from some of the others on our list and pricey, but we think it’s a great example of how spending a little more can really pay off.

Probably the biggest selling point is the dual-layer system. The Merino & More team have combined super-fine Merino wool with hydrophobic, high-performance polypropylene fibres to create a comfortable yet incredibly practical top.

Polycolon, a type of polypropylene, is a functional fibre that is lightweight, breathable, sweat-repellent and easy to care for.

The polycolon yarn wicks perspiration to the outside to keep the body dry and warm, whilst the antibacterial properties of the Merino wool neutralise odour and regulate heat.

Another major bonus is the seamless knitting technology not seen in most other brands. These base layers are created without any shoulder or side seams, eliminating chafe and increasing the longevity of the top.

Made in Europe and developed in collaboration with high-performance athletes, this is an investment you won’t regret.

Pros
  • Robust
  • Comfortable/stretchy
  • Low maintenance
Cons
  • No tail
  • Expensive
  1. LAPASA 100% Merino Base Layer

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Key features:

  • Fabric: 100% Merino
  • Warmth rating: 2/5

This LAPASA thermal is made with 100% Australian Merino wool and offers great insulation and warmth when the temperature drops.

The highly breathable wool fabric lets moisture out to keep you dry throughout your hike or climb.

Its all-natural design and moisture-wicking fabric resists odour and bacterial build-up to spare you having to regularly handwash it whilst on the road.

What’s more, Merino is lightweight and perfect for layering. This base layer is a little thicker than a long t-shirt but thinner than a sweater, meaning it can be worn alone for autumn weather or is the perfect first layer in winter conditions.

The clever thing about a light Merino long sleeve is that it keeps you warm in cool conditions and cool in hot ones. As a result, this men’s merino wool base layer is the perfect companion for year-round outdoor performance from trekking and hiking, to camping or skiing.

This LAPASA thermal also comes in varying weights and with the option of adding in bottoms.

It is certainly thinner than other base layers on the market, which doesn’t massively detract from how warm it is but will decrease its longevity. Some users noticed holes starting to form after a few wears and washes, though this could be avoided through careful washing and drying.

In terms of a light weight base layer, this 100% Merino LAPASA model serves the purpose well and is tough to beat on price.

Pros
  • Lightweight and non-bulky
  • Soft and all-natural
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Not durable
  1. SmartWool Merino 150 Long Sleeve

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Key features:

  • Fabric: 87% Merino wool, 13% Nylon
  • Warmth rating: 2/5

This Merino 150 long sleeve from SmartWool makes it into our top contenders list for its thin yet durable construction.

Unlike so many other thin base layers, you could happily wear this top over and over again without worrying about snagging it or discovering holes post-wash.

The Merino-Nylon blend is light, comfortable and breathable for all-day wear. That said, it’s definitely not the warmest, so if you plan on sitting round camp at night or riding the chair lift around ski fields then you’d be better off opting for a heavier base layer.

Its primary purpose is to wick away moisture, without added insulation, and it does this very well. Its reduced weight makes it versatile for use throughout the year. If you run hot or tend to work up a sweat on your winter hikes, then this lightweight contender is for you.

By integrating Nylon into its Merino wool construction, the durability is massively boosted and you can tear it on and off with just the right amount of stretch and give.

SmartWool also treats all of their wool in a way that makes it itch-free and shrink-resistant. It is naturally moisture wicking, anti-microbial and anti-odour, allowing it to perform well in a range of temperatures.

For anyone that wants a bit of extra warmth, SmartWool also manufactures this top in a heavier 250 model.

What you gain in thermal insulation, you lose in breathability and drying speed – a worthy trade off for winter conditions but making it less versatile in shoulder seasons.

Pros
  • Powerful wicking and fast-drying
  • Easy to layer
  • Durable
Cons
  • Not warm
  1. Icebreaker 175 Half Zip Long Sleeve

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Key features:

  • Fabric: 100% Merino wool
  • Warmth rating: 4/5

If you’re able to spend a little bit more money and splash out on your thermals then Icebreaker should be a top consideration.

They’re well-made, warm, easy to care for and made using Icebreakers’s ethical and sustainable methods. Even after repeated washing, everything remains in shape.

Icebreaker, as the name suggests, was built around cold mountain expeditions and snow sports. This lightweight base layer would be our go to for active adventures as it is light, quick-drying, breathable and warm.

The comfort and mobility offered by the top means you have full range of motion and the functioning fly and gusset mean that although tight-fitting there’s a feeling of roominess.

Rib fabric provides stretch and comfort though it isn’t quite as opaque as we’d like, meaning that if you strip down to your base layer only it is slightly see through.

The half-zip neck is ideal for those who tend to run hot and want to be able to cool down quickly. Sleeves come all the way down to the base of the thumb, keeping your wrists covered and allowing them to be tucked into gloves. That said, they are roomy enough to be rolled up when you get too hot.

The Merino provides all-natural breathability and odour-resistance, whilst providing warmth without weight and bulk. Its slim fit means that it can be worn under any top, jumper or shell without bunching up or getting in the way.

The 175 Everyday Long Sleeve Half Zip really is as versatile as it is comfortable. Wear it alone on warm-weather hikes or as a base layer in the winter.

Layer this with an Icebreaker zip sweatshirt and you’ll be set for anything the weather can throw at you.

Pros
  • Half-zip neck for dumping heat
  • Quality and durable construction
  • All natural and highly breathable
  • Versatile and year-round useage
Cons
  • Thin for the price
  1. Mons Royal Cornice Base Layer

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Key features:

  • Fabric: 100% Merino wool
  • Warmth rating: 3/5

This Mons Royale thermal allows you to look great whilst staying warm and dry. The woven fabric is super soft, supple and easy to move around in.

It is a medium-weight base layer, that is suited to all sorts of conditions – whether that is hiking or skiing.

Mons Royale creates long sleeves with a long torso, which is ideal for tall individuals or those who hate tops riding up.

The Cornice collar comes up higher than many other base layers, almost serving as a neck warmer. If you start to overheat the half-zip provides a nice option of a bit more ventilation on warmer hikes.

This long sleeve is warm and slim fitting, allowing it to be worn on its own in moderate weather rather than only as an underlayer.

This sort of versatility, along with its durable design, justifies the slightly elevated price.

As it is 100% Merino, it has excellent abilities to dry quickly and won’t smell – even after wearing repeatedly in between washes.

The soft wool is breathable, to keep you both ventilated and warm during exercise.

A relaxed, athletic fit keeps the wool fibres from clinging to the body and its slim design allows layers to be added underneath or on top.

Having a high collar integrated into the shirt is amazing for keeping heat in and protecting the neck and throat from cold wind chills.

If you’re easily itched by thick wooly jumpers, it also serves as a protection from all that scratching as you heat up.

However it doesn’t come up so high that the rain will get to it past your jacket in a downpour.

The integrated thumbholes are handy for trapping in extra warmth and stopping the sleeves riding up whilst on the move, though perhaps a little too thick to wear comfortably under gloves or mittens.

Stylish, warm, simple to wash and care for, this Mons Royal is generally an excellent all-round base layer.

Pros
  • High neck conserves heat
  • Half zip for letting off heat
  • Long body avoids cold spots
Cons
  • Pricey
  • Too long for short torsos

What to look for when buying thermals

Fabric

Your first consideration (outside of price) will probably be what your base layer is made of.

Wool thermals are typically made from natural merino fibres that balance your body temperature whilst providing great moisture management.

On top of this, wool is naturally anti-bacterial, meaning it will be able to go longer between washes. Just be sure to wash it once before your first use to avoid any itching.

Good synthetics are designed for extreme cold conditions but by themselves can get damp quickly.

Polyester, nylon and lycra are often combined with natural fibres to provide the right amount of moisture wicking and heat retention.

If you want to travel light bear in mind that the warmth to weight ratio of synthetic fabrics like acrylic and polyester are four to eight times higher than knitted or woven fabrics like wool or cotton.

The downside? Acrylics need to be washed after every wear to avoid smelling.

Silk is a lightweight option for activities in moderately cool weather though it is not very durable or as good at wicking away sweat droplets.

Cotton base layers are the most affordable but retain perspiration and should be avoided.

Warmth

This seems obvious – you’re buying a thermal because you want to stay warm.

However, just as being too cold is an issue, being too hot make for a terrible hiking experience.

The weight of the fabric determines the level of warmth provided by the underwear so look out for numbers that usually range between 100 and 300.

If you’re not taking on icy conditions, something towards the lower end of this will work perfectly.

Alongside the outdoor temperatures you should consider your own metabolism.

Do you get hot quickly when on the move or do you tend to stay cold even during exercise?

Combining a thin base layer with a warm insulating layer will give you the best wicking and warmth combination in moderate to cool temperatures.

Comfort

Again, it goes without saying that you want to be comfortable.

Because your base layer will be in direct contact with your skin you need it to be soft with no scratching seams, labels or stray fibres.

Thermals with flat lock seams and no zips will vastly reduce chafing.

Your comfort will also be dependent on your base being able to breathe well so that your skin is kept warm and dry.

Mobility

Also influencing comfort will be how closely the garments fits.

Thermals should be neither too tight (which will hinder movement out on the trail) nor too loose (which will lead to material bunching and rubbing).

For maximum mobility, choose a fabric with a good four-way stretch.

Some tops come with an extended tail to help keep the shirt from riding up and keep your lower back covered.

Crew or zipper neck

A crew cut is the most comfortable and also easier to layer but provides less coverage of your neck area, leaving your throat exposed to the cold.

Having an incorporated zipper makes it easy to dump heat in a hurry without having to take any layers off – ideal when you’ve finally reached the summit of your hike.

Zipper options are normally either quarter or half length.

Another good way of trapping in heat is by looking for a thermal with thumb loops, keeping your wrists warm on the move.

Summary

Bear in mind that no single layer of clothing will protect you from all conditions.

When you’re out hiking you need to stay dry and warm and should have four key layers: a base layer that wicks moisture and keeps you warm, a wind proof layer, an insulation layer to keep heat in and cold out, and a hardshell layer that keeps the rain out.

For this all to work well you need the best base layer as your foundation.

Note that the words base layer, thermal underwear and thermals are used interchangeably and refer to exactly the same thing.

The perfect thermal will keep you warm whilst wicking away sweat.

Good base layers are formfitting, shouldn’t hold any odour and should layer well under other garments.

Because you won’t be taking off this layer it needs to remain comfortable throughout the day.

By opting for something cheap you’ll suffer that wet, clammy feeling beneath next to your skin.

Although natural, 100% cotton t-shirts trap all the moisture in, making for an uncomfortable experience.

Choosing between different base layers comes down to your primary use.

Consider which fabric type is best-suited to your needs out of synthetic and wool, as well as the fabric weight.

The garment’s thickness will have a significant impact on how warm it’s going to keep you.

Womens’ Thermals – Best-Sellers

Bestseller No. 1
Heat Holders - Ladies Extra Soft Fluffy Non Slip Thermal Low Cut Ankle Slipper Lounge Bed Socks with Grips (HHL19), Hhl19, 4-8 uk, 37-42 eur
119 Reviews
Heat Holders - Ladies Extra Soft Fluffy Non Slip Thermal Low Cut Ankle Slipper Lounge Bed Socks with Grips (HHL19), Hhl19, 4-8 uk, 37-42 eur
  • 🔥 Heat Holders Lounge Socks - A another version of Heat...
  • 🔥 Heat Holders Loops - Innovative knitting technology...
  • 🔥 Heat Holders Brushing - Finally, our expert brushing...
  • 🔥 Heat Holders Tog rating - These socks are...
  • 🔥 Heat Holders Yarn - Our Specially developed thermal...
Bestseller No. 2
Mountain Warehouse Talus Womens Long Sleeves Baselayer Top - Thermal Underwear, Lightweight Ladies Tee Shirt, Breathable, Easy Care - for Winter Black...
93 Reviews
Mountain Warehouse Talus Womens Long Sleeves Baselayer Top - Thermal Underwear, Lightweight Ladies Tee Shirt, Breathable, Easy Care - for Winter Black...
  • IsoTherm - Heat retention technology ensures you stay warm
  • High Wicking – Actively wicks away moisture from your...
  • Quick Drying – Great for travelling, washing and wearing
  • Breathable – Airy, let’s moisture out of this women’s...
Bestseller No. 3
Vinconie Thermal Underwear Womens Bottom Thermal Underwear Set Ladies, 1 Pack Black, XS-S (6 8 10)
518 Reviews
Vinconie Thermal Underwear Womens Bottom Thermal Underwear Set Ladies, 1 Pack Black, XS-S (6 8 10)
  • Lightweight thermal underwear womens. Ultra Soft, elastic,...
  • Comfy ladies thermals. Thermal leggings and thermal top...
  • Thin womens thermal base layer with roud and low neckline...
  • Slim thermal pajama set for women. Ideal for sleep and daily...
  • Suitable for yoga, gym, skiing, outdoor work, travel,...
Bestseller No. 4
MEETYOO Women's Thermal Underwear Set, Ultra Soft Base Layer for Ladies, Fleece Lined Long Johns Sport Top&Leggings Set for Running Skiing Cycling...
311 Reviews
MEETYOO Women's Thermal Underwear Set, Ultra Soft Base Layer for Ladies, Fleece Lined Long Johns Sport Top&Leggings Set for Running Skiing Cycling...
  • 1.Warm & Non-Bulky: This thermal base layer comes with...
  • 2.Second Skin: Good to wear at home or as a women's thermal...
  • 3.Excellent Flexibility For Any Movement: The women thermal...
  • 4.Instantly Absorbing Sweat In Exercise: The thermal...
  • 5.Customer Satisfaction Promise: Please feel free to contact...
SaleBestseller No. 5
Amazon Brand - Iris & Lilly Women's Long Sleeve Top in Lightweight Thermal, Black, S, Label:S
451 Reviews

Last update on 2020-09-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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