editor Mary Murphy wearing the REI baselayers putting on ski socks at the car

The Best Budget Base Layers: REI Co-op Midweight Base Layer Review

Warm, stretchy, durable, and under 50 bucks? Yes, these REI base layers deliver all of that and more.

As soon as colder weather hits, base layers are essential. And as much as we love fancy wool blends, and zip or hoodie options, sometimes simpler is better. And simplicity is just what REI Co-op’s Midweight base layers offer.

In short: Using a midweight fabric perfect for warmth in a variety of conditions, plus a great amount of stretch, REI’s Midweight top and bottom base layers — available for men and women — are one of our top choices when it comes to budget-friendly base layers.

REI Midweight Base Layer Review: The Best Bang for Your Buck

editor Mary Murphy wearing the REI baselayer set putting on a bib at the car

REI Midweight Base Layers

  • Material: Midweight 92% polyester, 8% spandex
  • Features: UPF 50 rating, 4-way stretch, flatlock seams
  • Product weight: 372 g/13 oz. (size S/M)
  • Fit: Next-to-skin
  • Sizes: XS-XL (2XL option in men’s sizing)
  • Price: $50 each


REI Midweight Base Layer Crew Top

rei baselayer top

Look, sometimes in winter you just want to get dressed and get on with it. If I have a full day outside planned, am going skiing, or, say, dreading my walk to work when it’s snowing, I’ll grab this base layer top. This top fits great and offers warmth, stretch, and good coverage from my neck down to my core.

For both women and men, the fit is very similar: a crew style around the neck, flatlock seams to prevent bunching up or chafing, a good sleeve length, and tailoring around the shoulders (with the seams moved forward) so this layer works underneath a pack.  For women, it’s tailored more at the waist, while for men the top is cut straight.

It’s also worth noting I’ve never been too hot in this top — and I’ve tested it from below zero up to 30-ish degrees Fahrenheit. If you do get warm or sweat, the fabric does wick pretty easily.

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REI Midweight Base Layer Bottom

rei baselayer bottom

Base layers are meant for layering — but not just when you’re skiing, snowboarding, or spending time outdoors. We found these base layer bottoms a great option for layering underneath a light shell pant around town too. If you’re in need of warmth and want a simple, budget-friendly, durable option, these bottoms are it.

Like any full-length pant, if you’re below average height, you may find the pants run long. Bonus: For women, the bottoms come in petite sizes for just that reason! But otherwise, several of our staff (of different heights and sizes) liked the fit of these bottoms. And the waist does have a fair amount of elastic stretch, so you can wear it on your hips or higher up depending on your preference.

Shop Men’sShop Women’s

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Final Notes: Durability and Style

All of REI Co-op’s Midweight base layers have a striated or heathered pattern — which I love. Both men’s and women’s come in a few color options, and the light pattern gives the base layers a nicer look (as opposed to some solid color sets I have, which are a much plainer long-john style). In essence, if I needed to strip down to change out layers or anything else, I’m proud to rock these.

In the few years I’ve owned these, I’ve probably washed them upwards of 50 times. (I don’t wash after every wear, but I also wear these a lot, so it’s safe to say I’ve lost count.) I’ve never noticed any points of thinning, snags, or unraveling threads. Anyways, after several years, these base layers are still going strong, probably thanks to their synthetic fabric.

And we can’t leave without talking about price. The total REI Midweight base layer set will ring you $100 — a pretty good deal for two great base layers.

a GearJunkie editor wearing the rei baselayer set from the neck down to the legs

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Mary Murphy

Mary is the Managing Editor of GearJunkie and is based in GearJunkie's Denver, Colo. office. She has a degree in English and journalism, and has a background in both newspaper and magazine writing. Her outdoor interests span from running to sport climbing, from landscape photography to skiing to pack-paddleboarding. If she's not writing, you can most likely find her at the top of a fourteener, or in a local bakery.