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The Best Base Layers for Kids to Wear on Cold Days

The Best Base Layers for Kids to Wear on Cold Days

As winter approaches, keeping kids warm and comfortable during outdoor activities becomes increasingly important. One of the best ways to do this is by layering their clothing, with a quality base layer being the foundation for warmth and insulation.

In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of quality base layers for kids and provide a guide to choosing the best ones for your children. From material types to fit and sizing considerations, we’ll cover everything you need to know to make an informed purchase. We’ll also provide top recommendations for the best base layers on the market and offer tips for caring for your kids base layers.

Benefits of Quality Base Layers for Kids

Quality base layers play a crucial role in keeping children warm, comfortable and protected in cold temperatures. They act as a second skin and regulate body temperature to help children stay cozy during outdoor activities. This section delves into the benefits of wool baselayers and the key factors to consider when choosing the perfect base layers for your little ones.

Warmth and Insulation

Merino wool baselayers offer excellent warmth and insulation for kids in cold weather conditions. The finely woven fibers trap small pockets of air, providing reliable insulation even when wet. Compared to synthetic baselayers, merino wool base layers are more effective at maintaining body temperature during physical activities in cold temperatures, such as skiing or snowboarding.

Wool base layers are also ideal for everyday wear, especially during chilly seasons, as they keep the body warm and resist odor build-up.

Moisture and Sweat Management

One of the main advantages of wool baselayers is their ability to wick moisture away from the skin. When it comes to physical activities kids love such as hiking or playing in the snow, it's easy for clothes to get wet. A good moisture-wicking material is crucial for preventing chills caused by cold, damp clothing.

Comfort and Flexibility

Comfort is paramount when selecting base layers for kids. Merino pieces are inherently soft and itch-free, making them perfect for sensitive skin. These wool garments are not only comfortable, but they are also stretchy and resilient, allowing children to move freely without any discomfort or restrictions.

Synthetic baselayers are lightweight and often engineered to offer excellent stretch and flexibility, which provides your kids with the freedom to enjoy their outdoor pursuits comfortably.

Key Features to Consider When Choosing Base Layers

Now that you understand the benefits of quality base layers, it's crucial to know how to choose the perfect ones for your child. This process involves looking at several factors, including material types, fit and sizing and price and durability.

Material Types

The fabric of your child's base layer will significantly influence its performance. There are three main categories of materials: synthetic fibers, natural fibers and mixed blends.

Synthetic Fibers

Synthetic baselayers are made from materials like polyester, nylon and polypropylene. These fibers provide excellent moisture-wicking properties, as well as durability and a lighter feel. Synthetic fabrics tend to dry faster as well. They are typically priced lower than wool base layers, making them an affordable option for children who grow out of their clothes quickly.

One disadvantage of synthetics is their tendency to retain odors, so regular washing is necessary for these base layers.

Natural Fibers

Merino wool base layers are the most common type of natural fiber. They offer a plethora of advantages, including superior insulation, warmth, moisture-wicking properties and odor resistance. Additionally, merino wool is a sustainable and renewable resource, contributing to its appeal for eco-conscious families. Kids will also love its super soft feel and smooth texture.

The only downside to merino wool baselayers is their higher price point compared to synthetic options. However, many parents find the benefits of merino wool to be well worth the investment in their kids base layers.

Fiber Blends

Many base layers are constructed from a mixed blend of synthetic and wool fibers. This ensures your child gets the benefits of both, combining superior moisture-wicking capabilities, comfort, odor control and warmth with increased durability and faster drying speeds.

Fit and Sizing

A well-fitted base layer is essential for optimum warmth and comfort. Select a size that hugs your child's body without being too tight or uncomfortable. Most kids base layers are designed to be gender neutral, so you don't have to worry about finding specific styles for boys or girls. Look for features like elastic waistbands and cuffs, as well as flatlock seams to prevent chafing.

Price and Durability

Price is always a consideration when purchasing clothing for children. While merino wool base layers tend to be more expensive than synthetic ones, they generally last longer, making them a cost-effective choice in the long run.

If you're shopping on a budget, look for sales, deals and discount codes to score high-quality base layers at more affordable prices. You might also consider investing in a couple of versatile kids base layers that can be worn under various clothing items, such as snow pants or hoodies, for better value and long-lasting enjoyment.

Top Recommendations for Best Base Layers

Synthetic baselayers and wool base layers are both great options for insulating kids against cold temperatures. Choosing the right kids base layer is important in ensuring they stay warm and dry while engaging in outdoor activities or mountain adventures. Here are some of our top recommendations:


Stio is an outdoor parent-approved brand that offers some of the best merino wool and synthetic base layers for active families. With options for both gender neutral and gender-specific designs, our base layers provide a balance of insulation and moisture-wicking properties in a lightweight garment. Our merino base layer collection includes kids base layers made from a premium-quality blend of merino wool and polyester, which effectively regulates temperature, offers breathability and wicks away moisture. They're highly durable and long-lasting, meaning they can easily stand up to the roughest and rowdiest adventures.

Stio's merino wool and synthetic base layers come in various styles to accommodate different levels of activity. Whether your child is in need of a base layer with exceptional insulation and softness or greater flexibility and a quick-drying material, our knit poly/wool blends are a versatile solution. The Kids' Basis Power Wool™ Crew and Basis Power Wool Tight are perfect for both leisurely outdoor pursuits and high-energy aerobic activities.

Kids' Basis Power Wool Crew

The Kids' Basis Power Wool Crew is a versatile and performance-driven base layer designed specifically for active children. Crafted with a blend of merino wool and polyester, this crew offers the perfect balance of warmth, breathability and moisture-wicking capabilities. The merino wool provides natural temperature regulation, odor resistance and softness, while the polyester adds durability and quick-drying properties. With its flatlock seams and stretch fabric, the crew ensures maximum comfort and unrestricted movement for all-day outdoor adventures. Whether worn on its own or layered under additional clothing, the Kids' Basis Power Wool Crew is a reliable choice for young outdoor enthusiasts seeking comfort and performance.

Kids' Basis Power Wool Tight

Our Kids' Basis Power Wool Tight is an essential piece of clothing to keep children warm and comfortable during winter activities. Made from a blend of merino wool and synthetic materials, these tights offer excellent thermal regulation, moisture-wicking properties and odor resistance. The fabric is soft against the skin, ensuring all-day comfort, while the stretchy material allows for unrestricted movement. The flatlock seams prevent chafing and irritation, making these tights perfect for outdoor adventures. With a wide waistband and a form-fitting design, these tights provide a secure and comfortable fit. Whether skiing on the slopes or playing in the snow, your little adventurer can move freely and comfortably in this base layer.

Shop kids' baselayers at Stio.

Age and Gender Specific Choices

When shopping for kids base layers, it's crucial to consider their age and the activities they'll be participating in. Younger children may prefer a merino wool base layer because of its soft, itch-free feel, while older, more active kids might opt for synthetic base layers that dry faster. Gender-specific designs can provide a better fit for older kids, but gender-neutral options are excellent for families with several kids who could benefit from hand-me-down garments, without sacrificing style or comfort.

Caring for Kids Base Layers

Proper care is essential to extending the life of your kids base layers. Regular washing and drying will not only help maintain their performance but also ensure your child's comfort and health. Follow these easy washing and drying tips and long-lasting wear strategies for keeping your child's base layers fresh and functional.

Washing and Drying Tips

When washing merino wool baselayers, it is essential to follow the care instructions on the label closely. Gentle detergents work best on delicate fibers like wool. Avoid using fabric softeners that can cause a buildup of residue on the material, as well as bleach, which can damage the material and its moisture-wicking capabilities. Machine washing in cold water on a delicate cycle and laying flat to dry or tumble drying on low heat will help extend the lifespan of your child's merino wool garments.

Synthetic base layers can usually withstand regular machine washing and drying. However, it's crucial to keep your synthetics separate from garments with zippers, Velcro and other hard and sharp clothing pieces that may cause snags or pilling. Additionally, turning the synthetic base layers inside out will help reduce friction during the cleaning process.

Ensuring a Long-Lasting Wear

By investing in high-quality kids base layers and practicing proper care, you can significantly extend the life of these garments. When choosing a base layer for your child, prioritize materials that are easy to clean, durable and resistant to wear. Choose merino wool or high-quality synthetics from reliable brands like Stio to ensure that your child's base layers will endure many adventures and seasons to come. Happy exploring!

FAQs About Base Layers for Kids

What are base layers?

Base layers are the first layer of clothing worn next to the skin and are designed to manage moisture and regulate body temperature. You wear base layers below the mid layer (or insulating layer) and outer layer (or shell layer). Base layers are often available in merino wool, synthetic and blended materials. A high-quality kids base layer is essential for cold temperatures, and it should be breathable, moisture-wicking and quick-drying.

What are the benefits of wool base layers for kids?

Merino wool base layers are a popular choice for kids for several reasons. First, they provide excellent insulation, meaning they can keep children warm in colder conditions. Additionally, merino wool base layers regulate body temperature by wicking away moisture from the skin. Many parents find that their active kids benefit from wearing wool baselayers, as they reduce odor and are more breathable than regular clothing. Furthermore, merino wool is hypoallergenic and gentle on sensitive skin, making these a great choice for little ones who may be prone to irritation from other materials.

What should I look for in children's base layers?

When shopping for children's base layers, consider the following factors: material, fit, comfort and design. Material-wise, wool base layers, particularly merino pieces, are an excellent choice for their warmth and moisture-wicking properties. Additionally, make sure the base layer fits snugly, as a proper fit will help to retain body heat and wick away moisture. Comfort is essential, so look for base layers that are soft, breathable and non-itchy. Finally, consider the design: kids might be more likely to wear base layers if they feature their favorite colors or patterns.

Can girls wear boys base layers?

Yes, girls can wear boys base layers, as there is typically no significant difference in functionality or materials between boys and girls' options. Look for gender-neutral designs and sizing if you plan to have siblings share base layers. Additionally, there is a growing market for gender-neutral base layers that cater to both boys and girls, making it easier to find suitable options for all kids.

How do I care for kids base layers?

Proper care for kids base layers is essential to prolong their life and maintain their performance. Always follow the manufacturer's care instructions, but generally, it's best to wash wool baselayers in cold water on a gentle cycle and lay them flat to dry. Synthetics can typically be machine washed and tumble dried on low heat settings. Avoid using fabric softeners, harsh detergents and bleach, as these can compromise the base layer's moisture-wicking properties.

How do I layer children's clothing for outdoor activities in cold temperatures?

Layering is crucial for keeping your children warm and dry during outdoor activities in cold temperatures. Start with a high-quality kids base layer, like merino wool base layers. Next, add an insulating mid-layer, such as a fleece jacket or down vest, to trap body heat. Lastly, a waterproof and windproof outer layer, like a winter coat, snow pants and boots, will protect against the elements. Don't forget warm accessories like hats, gloves and neck gaiters to complete the ensemble.

How can I save on kids base layers?

There are several ways to save on the best base layers for kids. First, consider purchasing during end-of-season sales, when retailers offer substantial discounts on their winter inventory. Second, watch for holiday sales and promotions, like Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, that can provide big savings on kids' clothing. Finally, sign up for your favorite brands' newsletters or follow them on social media to receive exclusive offers, discount codes and sale notifications.

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