This winter and spring, one of the items I’ve tested more than any other item is the Smartwool Merino 150 Baselayer. It’s been a daily companion as a baselayer on colder days, and it makes a great merino wool top that you can wear solo on a warmer spring day.
The Smartwool Merino 150 I’ve been testing is the women’s version, obviously. Having not tried the men’s option, I don’t know if it performs the same, but one thing I can tell all you female readers is that this baselayer feels good! The merino wool is soft as expected, but the piece also hangs nicely. That’s particularly nice when you wear it out on its own. The Smartwool Merino 150 has retained its shape after weekly washings for several months and still looks fine. The neckline is slightly wider than a crew neck, but it is not too wide. The slightly wider neck makes it easier to pull on and off.
If you’ve owned Smartwool clothing, you know the itchy days of wool are over. Merino in general is very soft, and it’s seen a great resurgence as a baselayer. I would equate the feel of the Smartwool Merino 150 to a light pajama top. It’s not thick, like flannel, but it’s equally soft. All the seams are also flat-locked to avoid scratchy parts. One of the greatest things is that it provides warmth without bulk. You can layer without feeling like a marshmallow.
This piece is also a great addition because of its warmth. It’s not heavy enough to keep you warm on its own in the snow, but it works great underneath your sweater or fleece. Once you stumble into the lodge after a day of skiing, it would be suitable to wear by itself. I found on most winter days that the Smartwool Merino 150 and one outer layer kept me comfortably warm.
Another benefit of wool is the way it wicks moisture away and doesn’t hold odors. I have often worn this shirt hiking and have stayed comfortable. Afterwards I’ve also done the dreaded sniff-test to see how it handles odors. It does a great job. Where cotton holds moisture and smells, wool naturally repels them. I have been able to wear this merino wool shirt most days of the week and then throw it into the wash on Friday without noticing any odors.
I remember when Smartwool came out, the novelty of their wool products was that you could throw them into the washing machine with everything else. The Merino 150 baselayer is no exception. I have literally washed this shirt every week for the past two months with all our other clothing, and it still looks great. There was no shrinkage at all, and it continues to feel very soft.
I have also been impressed with its durability. I often get holes in the fronts of my shirts, and when I received this shirt, my main concern was that I would quickly get holes in it as well. Because I’ve been reviewing it, I’ve worn this more than I usually wear other shirts. It’s proven incredibly durable, and there are no holes or signs of wear.
All told, I would highly recommend the Smartwool Merino 150 baselayer to outdoors-y women. For that matter, I’d recommend it to even homebodies. My only regret with this piece is that I don’t have a few more in other colors. It has become one of my favorite pieces of clothing to wear on most days, and I can’t wait to bring it back out when the transition begins from summer to fall.
Smartwool Merino 150 Baselayer
- Incredibly comfortable
- Retains its shape after months of washing
- Great insulation as well as heat-regulation
- Can be worn on its own in shoulder seasons
- At $80, it's not an inexpensive baselayer
- Big neckline can be a con at times