With such a wide variety of technical base layers out there, deciding which long underwear bottoms to buy can be challenging. Most options on the market perform the basic task of keeping the body warm and dry in cold temperatures while exercising. For me, it comes down to finding the piece that has the additional benefits of comfort and minimal odor retention. After a few weeks of hard skiing in Jackson Hole this winter, I’ve found the Helly Hansen Wool Pant to an excellent selection.
The Helly Hansen Wool Pant is very comfortable. When I was a young tele skier in Colorado in the 90s I went through a phase of wearing my dad’s thick old green army surplus wool pants skiing. I was attracted to the idea that wool is a natural fiber and practical in cold weather. I couldn’t keep this practice up for long because the wool pants were just too damn scratchy! In stark contrast to those old pants the new merino wool Helly Hansen Wool Pant feels soft against my skin. Last week I spent a morning skiing at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and an afternoon in the backcountry on Teton Pass. My Helly Hansen Wool Pants kept me happy the entire day. I love the fact that wool has come back into my life in the form of merino wool long underwear, and that I can wear a super cozy layer made from a natural fiber in the backcountry. The pant keeps me warm in cold weather and breathes when I work up a sweat.
I wore my Helly Hansen Wool Pant for a six hour tour with a friend in Grand Teton National Park in early January. Valley temperatures were around 5 degrees F while the sunny tops of the peaks were in the mid 20′, a classic Jackson Hole temperature inversion. We began our four hour ski in a frigid parking lot and ended the 4,500 foot ascent in the intense sunshine looking into a long, steep couloir. After skiing the pitch (yep, lots of powder turns) we slogged through brush and over frozen lakes for another hour in the lengthening shadows and low temps. A day like that involves a lot of hard work and sweat. The Helly Hansen Wool Pant kept me warm through several cycles of heavy sweat followed by intense cold temperatures. I was very impressed by this garment’s resistance to odor, and noticed during the drive home that my friend was by far the smellier skier!
I’m 6’1”, weight 190 pounds and wear a size large. I found them Helly Hansen Wool Pant to fit a little small; a size XL would also work for me. The Wool Pant is available in sizes S-XXL, and in colors Evening Blue and Ebony.
Bottom Line: The Helly Hansen Wool Pant performs well as a technical base layer, with minimal odor retention.
$49- $90 at Amazon