Trying to decide what’s the warmest long underwear for women? During Travel Fashion Talk on Facebook Live this week one viewer asked: What’s the best fabric for thermals? Find out how to choose the best one and discover our favorite brands!
Warmest Long Underwear for Women
Traveling in cold weather is always a challenge. The key to staying warm and packing light is to layer your clothing and use a set of thermals underneath.
Start by reading these packing tips for winter travel to learn more:
- Capsule Wardrobe for Winter
- How to Pack for Cold Weather
- How to Stay Warm in Cold Weather (without the bulk)
- The Best Travel Shoes for Winter
Why are Thermals Necessary?
Thermal underwear for women is the smart traveler’s secret to packing light. You can wear them underneath your regular clothing when traveling to cold weather destinations and they help you stay warm.
They’ll also minimize the overall amount of layers you’ll need to wear on top consequently saving you suitcase space.
Some thermals can be re-worn repeatedly without the need to be washed, which means that you only need to pack one pair for a 1-2 week vacation.
Learn more about this packing tactic and how to keep clothes fresh on the go!
Choosing the Right Fabric
To enjoy the benefit of being able to wear your thermals repeatedly without washing you have to choose one with a specific fabric: merino wool.
Merino wool is a super fabric. It offers the warmest long underwear for women keeping you warm in the cold and comfortable in the heat. It works efficiently by repelling moisture from your skin, which keeps you dry – this is important in retaining your heat in the cold.
You never want to use cotton thermals because cotton absorbs moisture instead of wicking it away. Find out if cotton is or isn’t a good fabric for travel.
As you sightseeing (even in the cold) you tend to warm up from being active, which produces sweat.
If you’re wearing cotton thermals underneath your clothing then instead of keeping you warm, the cotton will soak up the sweat, which will then them make you cold and uncomfortable, too!
You can use fabrics such as merino wool or synthetics to avoid this from happening. In addition, other natural fabrics such as cashmere and silk are excellent for thermals because they have the same properties as merino wool.
Read about how to choose the best fabrics for travel!
Silk is particularly an awesome option for travelers since it takes up even less space than merino wool. For the perfect combination in an arctic cold climate, you could even wear silk thermals underneath your merino wool for optimal warmth.
Cold Weather Travel Tips
When you’re choosing your travel outfits for the cold you should plan to layer your clothing like this:
- Coat/waterproof jacket
Depending on how cold it is you can either wear the third and fourth item alone or together. You don’t need to have technical clothing to layer properly unless you’re headed outdoors.
For city travel, regular clothes will work just fine (but they’ll work even better if you choose the warmest long underwear for women)!
Watch my Facebook Live video where I show you the basics of this layering strategy with regular clothes (plus merino wool thermals).
Read these articles for more tips on packing for cold weather:
- How to Pack for Cold Weather Like a Boss
- How to Layer: Why Thicker Isn’t Always Better
- How to Stay Warm (Without Looking Like a Snowman)
- Best Waterproof Boots for Winter
The Best Women’s Thermals
As mentioned before, merino wool is a traveler’s preferred fabric but with so many options, how do you choose Personally, I’m a big fan of the Ibex brand. In particular, I love the Woolies 220 Top and Bottoms.
The main reason why I prefer them to other popular brands is that the Woolies 220 top has a versatile design that allows you to also wear it alone as a regular long sleeve top.
It doesn’t necessarily look like a “thermal” and the best part is that it has a discreet logo that doesn’t scream “outdoor” clothing.
Note: Ibex has now replaced the 220 thermals with the Woolies 2 shown below. I haven’t tried them out yet but they’re on their way!
I live in this one set of thermals just about every single day in the winter in England. I should probably get another one!
Despite my frequent use of these items the fabric hasn’t piled, which is shocking considering I put them in the machine wash (on delicate) then hang them dry.
I throw all my “tech” clothes in the machine because if they can’t handle a basic wash then they can’t handle traveling with me.
When I did that to another brand it got ruined right away and the fabric looked horrible. This is why I prefer to stick with the Ibex brand; I know the clothing can stand the test of time.
I’m also in love with the travel dresses by Ibex. Take a look at the one I took to Paris!
Is there a cheaper option?
Price is the biggest reason why you might shy away from silk or merino wool thermals. The fabric is expensive but trust me, it’s a worthy investment. Most travelers agree!
To get the most bang for your buck, shop the sales and look at discount outdoor retailers like Sierra Trading Post. They have an amazing selection at affordable prices!
I also shop on Amazon and even got one of the most popular merino wool travel dresses for $40 when it’s normally twice the price.
If you’re not ready to commit to merino wool, you can also find a wide array of thermals available in synthetic fabrics. These are much cheaper, and while not top quality, they also offer similar results.
For a full list of our favorite thermals including synthetic and merino wool fabrics, take a look at this post on the best thermal underwear for women!
What do you think are the warmest long underwear for women? Comment and share!
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For more ideas on cold weather clothing please read:
- Best Winter Fashion: Stylish Pieces for Under $100
- Layering for Cold Weather: Best Outdoor Jackets
- The Onion Layering Strategy for Winter Weather
- Womens Waterproof Leather Boots