There are few things more important on the ski slopes than staying warm. If you are freezing cold up there, it will be tough to ski your best and have a fun time doing so. To achieve optimal warmth and comfort, you should be wearing some sort of a base layer. The Patagonia Capilene Midweight bottoms are a popular choice as they offer the right mix of warmth, comfort and breathability.
- Where to buy: Patagonia, Dicks Sporting Goods, REI
- Best for: Skiers and outdoor adventurers who want warm base layer bottoms that aren’t too heavy or restricting.
- Pros: Great warmth, light enough for use all year and is quite comfortable and breathable.
- Cons: Their durability is questionable, and some don’t like the way they fit as they can be quite baggy.
- Alternatives: Carhartt Men’s Force Midweight Base Layer, David Archy 2 Pack Ultra Soft Base Layer, LAPASA Men’s 100% Merino Wool Thermal Pants
Why Trust Me
Living in Western Canada all my life, I am no stranger to the cold weather and the need to bundle up. A good quality base layer can make all the difference in staying warm in sub-zero temperatures – so I have worn my fair share of options. I have searched throughout the internet to gain insight on these bottoms and have looked over recommendations of many individuals who have purchased and used them.
One of the most important parts of any base layer item is its warmth. They need to help you stay dry and warm on a long day of skiing. Thankfully, this is an area where the Patagonia Capilene Midweight shines. They are among the warmest options out there, certainly capable of giving you that little bit of extra heat when you need it most. These bottoms are made out of 100% recycled polyester.
In addition to being warm, these midweight bottoms do it without being overly heavy. They remain relatively light and are suitable to wear all year, not only in the harsh cold. Their unique knitting pattern helps to trap body heat in the pants and keep us warmer, for longer.
Luxurious Comfort But an Interesting Fit
From the legs to the waistband, these bottoms are quite comfortable. In addition to wearing them while skiing or on outdoor winter adventures, you may even be tempted to wear them to lounge around in your home. They provide a lot of legroom, aren’t too tight, and are very soft and comfortable for the skin.
You have a lot of freedom of movement when you are wearing these bottoms, and they will not impede you at all. While the comfort is great, the fit can leave a lot to be desired. These bottoms are a little bit looser than some would like, especially in the rear.
They are still good for layering, but might not quite be as easy to layer as bottoms that were a little tighter. They are still great under some snow pants, but certainly aren’t the choice if you want something tight and form-fitting.
In addition to being warm and comfortable, you also want your bottoms to be breathable. These bottoms are made with a relatively thin material that helps them to be incredibly breathable without being too cold.
The relatively loose and relaxed fit can help with allowing better airflow, and they are also great for wicking away sweat. You may be shocked with the results, as many midweight bottoms are a little less breathable, so that is a pleasant surprise.
The durability of any piece of ski or cold-weather clothing is something to think about. It needs to last you a while, and deal with conditions like wind, ice, snow and plenty of falls. Unfortunately, these bottoms will begin to show wear pretty quickly after a period of extensive use. They can easily pill and become visually worn sooner than many would like. This can be concerning for those who want items that can last them years and years.
While the bottoms’ outer layer may not hold up too well, the fabric on the inside doesn’t seem to share that issue. In terms of how it functions, these pants will hold up for a long time. But if you are worried about how they look and their cosmetics, you might be a little bit disappointed.
What I Like
One of the best things I like about these bottoms is how warm they can help you stay while skiing. Being cold can make skiing your best difficult and limit the amount of time you can stay out in the mountains. These bottoms are made of a double knit fabric that is designed to help retain your body heat and wick any sweat away.
Another thing that is worthy of praise is just how comfortable these bottoms are. You will be tempted to not only wear it while skiing, but also while lounging at home. While it’s not merino wool, the recycled polyester fabric is more than comfortable enough for most. The inside feels a little like fleece and is soft to the touch so shouldn’t irritate your skin at all.
While you might expect a bottom with a lot of warmth and comfort to be a little stuffy and restricting, this is not the case with these bottoms. They are able to maintain a solid level of breathability throughout the day. They aren’t too tight, allow for easy flexibility and movement, and will not restrict you in any way. These also contain odor control, to ensure they can stay fresh for much longer.
What I Dislike
Of course, these bottoms aren’t perfect and there are certainly some potential drawbacks. The first is how they fit. These bottoms are quite a bit more loose and baggy than some other base layers, which certainly has the potential to turn some people off.
While some might like a base layer that is a little more loose, many do not. It can make layering a little more challenging and uncomfortable, and the pants are far from flattering. If they are hidden this might not be a concern, but wearing them under shorts may not look as sleek as some other options.
Another thing that is subpar about these bottoms is their exterior durability. While they continue to function well after repeated use, they begin to show signs of wear on the outside quicker than I’d like. Pilling and other damage may begin to show up in as little as a few days, especially if you are putting them through the ringer.
While many will love these Patagonia Capilene Midweight bottoms, there are also those who may want something a little different. Thankfully, there are several different options on the market to choose from. Here are a couple alternatives you can consider.
- Carhartt Men’s Force Midweight Base Layer – The waffle-knit fabric of these bottoms provides an ample amount of warmth and comfort. The smooth seams and tagless label also help them feel great on the skin. They are incredibly easy to move in, keep you very dry and come in many sizes, including as large as 4XL.
- David Archy 2 Pack Ultra Soft Base Layer – These slim base layer bottoms are made of a rayon, acrylic, and nylon blend designed to keep you not only comfortable, but very warm as well. They are incredibly soft, built with durability as priority and the close-fitting style helps prevent your body heat from escaping. This also comes with two pairs, so you always have a fresh one ready to wear.
- LAPASA Men’s 100% Merino Wool Thermal Pants – Made of 100% merino wool, these base layer thermal pants are designed with comfort and softness in mind. The fabric is not only soft, but also insulating while still allowing for ample amounts of breathability. They are light, easy to layer with and help deal with any odors that may present themselves.
Are these suitable for other winter activities?
Yes, in addition to skiing, these are warm and comfortable enough to be used during other activities. Sledding, going for a winter walk, and mountaineering are other great times to wear these bottoms. Many people may also use them for other activities like sleeping, camping or simply relaxing at home.
Does the fabric stretch?
Yes, the polyester fabric used within these bottoms allows for a lot of stretch if you need it. This is especially true for the leg and the cuffs on the ankle. However, the bottoms are already quite loose, so you may not need the stretch in order to feel comfortable.
Are they created in an environmentally friendly manner?
Yes, these are created with a 100% recycled polyester and Patagonia goes above and beyond to reduce CO2 emissions during production. They are also made in fair trade facilities and use the bluesign system to reduce harmful impact to the environment.
The Patagonia Capilene Midweight Bottoms are a smart choice for those looking for a good combination of warmth, comfort and breathability. If you can get by the somewhat baggy look and the potential durability concerns, these are a solid choice to consider in your search for good base layer bottoms.