7 Best Long Thermal Underwear for Skiing

There are many ways to stay warm while you’re skiing, but I always like to take an inside-out approach for optimal performance. This means that your base layers are super important. And long thermal underwear is a great starting point. 

I’ve been skiing for decades, and I’ve learned a lot about how to stay warm and comfortable in every type of condition along the way. I know what to look for in the best long underwear, and I’m going to share that with you here. 

The Ortovox 185 Rock’n’Wool is my top pick for the best long thermal underwear for skiing of the season. This is an awesome option that features a Merino wool construction, comfortable fit, and excellent cold-weather performance. 

There are a number of other solid options available, and I’ll narrow it down to only the best models in this post. I want to make sure you are comfortable and cozy, no matter what type of skier you are or where you like to ski. 

Let’s jump in. 

Who Should Get This

Long thermal underwear is perfect for those who hate being cold while skiing. A day on the slopes can sometimes last hours, and being out in the snow for that long can be frigid. 

A nice, high-quality pair of thermal underwear will give you an extra layer of protection from moisture and cold.

These can also be worn for several other outdoor activities, like walking in the snow, sledding, skating, or anything else. They can even be worn around the house if your furnace breaks down!

If you don’t get overly cold when you ski, you may not need to purchase thermal underwear, especially if you don’t think you’ll use them.

Best Long Thermal Underwear for Skiing: Top Picks

Here are all of my top picks for the best long thermal underwear for skiing. All of the bottoms you see here will give you exceptional warmth and comfort. 

1. Ortovox 185 Rock’n’Wool

  • Best for: Overall 
  • Key features: Comfortable, warm, durable, lightweight, dries quickly, insulating 
  • Materials: Merino wool 
  • Fit: Slim 
  • Cost: $$$ 

The Ortovox 185 Rock’n’Wool is my pick for the best long thermal underwear for skiing of the season. These are a great option all-around and will deliver everything you want and need out of a good base layer bottom. 

They are made with a 100% Merino wool construction, which is pretty amazing. This gives you exceptional comfort and a lot of insulation as well. And they manage to stay pretty slim despite not having any synthetic materials for an excellent fit. 

These thermals are lightweight and durable and can be used in any skiing situation you can imagine. Whether you want to stay prepared for the worst weather conditions or just need some extra comfort, these get the job done. 

The 185 Rock’n’Wool also has a slim fit that won’t ride up or bunch underneath your ski pants – another great feature for very active skiers. 

These are expensive, but I think they are definitely worth it. 

==> You can also get it on Backcountry.

2. Smartwool Intraknit Merino 250 Thermal Bottoms

  • Best for: Warmth 
  • Key features: Very warm, comfortable, knit construction, durable, breathable 
  • Materials: Merino wool, polyamide, elastane 
  • Fit: Regular 
  • Cost: $$$

If you are searching for a very warm set of thermals, the Smartwool Intraknit Merino 250 Thermal Bottoms are my recommended choice. 

These are another set that features nearly a complete Merino wool construction. That means you get great warmth and plenty of comfort to go along with it. They are also built with a bit of polyamide and elastane for extra stretch. 

You also get exceptional breathability to ensure you don’t overheat, thanks to mesh ventilation in the crotch area. They also have ribbed knees to increase durability if you take a bad fall. 

As with most Smartwool products, these are expensive. But they will surely keep you warm. 

==> You can also get it on Outdoor Gear Exchange or EMS or Backcountry.

3. Smartwool Merino 250 3/4 Bottom 

  • Best for: Women 
  • Key features: Women’s fit, ¾ bottom, warm, comfortable, lightweight 
  • Materials: Merino wool, polyamide, elastane 
  • Fit: Slim 
  • Cost: $$$

The Smartwool Merino 250 3/4 Bottom is a solid option for a women’s specific long thermal underwear. 

These have the same reliable construction made out of Smartwool and minimal synthetic fabric. This gives you exceptional warmth while providing a solid fit that is easy to wear all day long. 

They also feature a 3/4 design, which I think is very effective for skiing purposes. You can hike your ski socks up high without worrying about bunching them over your long johns. 

That same design feature might not be for everyone, especially if you want to wear these in situations where you aren’t wearing ski boots. 

==> You can also get it on Smartwool or Outdoor Gear Exchange or Evo.

4. Carhartt Force Midweight Classic 

  • Best for: Durability 
  • Key features: Durable, rugged flex tech, odor-resistant, comfortable, flatlock seams 
  • Materials: Polyester 
  • Fit: Slim 
  • Cost: $

The Carhartt Force Midweight Classic is a very durable pair of thermal underwear that will deliver exceptional performance in a range of different conditions. 

These are built to handle just about anything, and you won’t need to worry about them wearing out or tearing. Rugged flex technology allows for this while also ensuring these will move in any direction you want to go. 

They also do an exceptional job at wicking moisture away because of the waffle knit design, and the polyester material is naturally odor-resistant – a good consideration for active skiers. 

These can run a little large, and they aren’t the warmest option around, but they are effective in all sorts of situations. 

==> You can also get it on Carhartt or Walmart or DICK’S.

5. Thermajohn Ultra Soft 

  • Best for: Set 
  • Key features: Comes with top, lightweight, stretchable, moisture-wicking, odor-resistant 
  • Materials: Polyester, Spandex 
  • Fit: Slim 
  • Cost: $

If you are looking for thermal bottoms and a top, the Thermajohn Ultra Soft will give you a set of base layers that will keep you warm and comfortable all season long. 

This is another lightweight option that is easy to pair with any other ski gear you already own, and it has a stretchable design that maximizes comfort along the way. 

A polyester and spandex construction is very soft and also serves to help reduce odor for those long days on the mountain when you are working hard. 

These aren’t quite as durable as some other options here, but I still don’t think they’ll wear out quickly at all. 

==> You can also get it on Sears.

6. Arc’Teryx Rho AR 

  • Best for: Moisture-Wicking 
  • Key features: Excellent moisture-wicking capabilities, comfortable, warm, stretch fabric 
  • Materials: Synthetic 
  • Fit: Slim 
  • Cost: $$$

The Arc’teryx Rho AR is another great thermal underwear option and can be especially useful for backcountry skiers who need extra moisture-wicking when they are going hard. 

These are a form-fitting option that will give you exceptional performance in a wide range of on-mountain situations. They are extremely thermally efficient, meaning they will keep you warm and dry almost all of the time. 

I also like how stretchy they are. The Rho AR won’t limit your movements, and you’ll barely notice that you are wearing them. 

The only downside with these is that they are pretty expensive. If you aren’t an active or aggressive skier, I’d recommend something more affordable. 

==> You can also get it on Arc’teryx or Walmart.

7. Fruit of the Loom Premium Waffle

  • Best for: Budget Option 
  • Key features: Affordable, comfortable, easy to wash, soft fabric
  • Materials: Cotton, polyester 
  • Fit: Regular 
  • Cost: $

If you are looking for a simple and affordable option, check out the Fruit of the Loom Premium Waffle thermal underwear bottoms. 

These have a very low price and are a classic design that many people use for all sorts of cold weather situations. 

They are made with a very soft and comfortable blend of cotton and polyester, making them easy to wear under the rest of your ski gear. 

They aren’t the warmest option around, so I wouldn’t recommend them and extremely cold ski days. 

==> You can also get it on Walmart.

How to Choose Long Thermal Underwear for Skiing

This section will provide you with some essential things to consider when choosing long thermal underwear for skiing. 


A huge consideration that you should make when looking for thermal underwear is how they’re made. The quality of underwear will directly relate to how they are made, stitched, and put together. The materials they are made with are also important to note.

Even though long thermal underwear is a cheaper piece of skiing gear, you still don’t want it to wear out too quickly. Every model you see here is top-quality and made to last. These won’t rip or tear unless you really put them through the wringer. 


When evaluating your choices of thermal underwear, be sure you get the right size. If they are too large, they could be bulky and not wick moisture as effectively. This could also lead them to get bundled and bunched up in places, which can be annoying. 

And if they are too tight, they could affect your ability to ski well. You never want to be uncomfortable when skiing, and if your base layer is too tight, you’ll struggle all day long. Be sure to get an option that fits you just right. 


Of course, comfort is critical as well. If you go skiing, there is a good chance you will be out for a few hours, if not longer. As a result, you need to wear things you can be comfortable in for long periods. 

Sizing, materials, build quality, and design can all go into how comfortable a pair of thermal underwear is. Fit is another key aspect of comfort. Since these items will be directly touching your skin, you want to make sure they are very comfortable at all times. 


Long thermal underwear can be made out of many different materials. There are effective options made out of different fabrics, and the choice comes down to what you are looking for in terms of comfort and performance. 

Synthetic materials are the most common type of fabric you’ll see. These are nice because they are easy to wash and are typically very breathable and moisture-wicking. They just aren’t always the warmest. 

Natural fibers such as wool or even cotton are another option you can go with. I like a nice thin wool bottom because it’s very comfortable and gives you exceptional warmth. Some options will blend natural and synthetic fibers. 

Useful Tips & Resources 

Before you purchase thermal underwear, be sure you know how to shop for them. They should fit well, offer the properties and characteristics you want, and be comfortable and well-made. 

Thermal underwear might seem like something you’d forget easily, but buying the wrong kind could leave you freezing on the hill.

As with any clothing you wear, be sure to wash them frequently and keep them in good shape. It is good to hang them up after use and store them in a dry place afterward. 

Depending on what type of material you go with, there will be different ways to wash your long underwear. Check out these tips for washing wool garments. The article deals with socks, but the same advice applies to your wool long underwear. 

I typically don’t wear long underwear unless it’s really cold outside. But I always have a set of them around, just in case. If you want some good tips on how to layer appropriately for your skiing adventures, check out the video below. 

Final Verdict

The Ortovox 185 Rock’n’Wool is my pick for the best overall long thermal underwear for skiing this year. This is a very comfortable option that will give you lasting performance on those cold days when you need it most. They are also rugged and built to last. 

Even if you don’t wear long underwear all of the time, it’s a good idea to have a good set around when the conditions get cold. You can’t find any better options than the ones you see in this post. So get yourself a pair and get out there and have fun!

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