As all woodsmen know, perhaps the most ubiquitous hunting-camp breakfast topic is: “Are you wearing long underwear today?” And it’s not a decision to take lightly. Sweating too much on a morning hike will inevitably lead to being cold all day; while on the flip side, not wearing enough layers might have you chilled to the bone before noon.
This year, however, with the Sitka Core Merino 220 Bottom, I abstained from the conversations altogether. I threw on this versatile layer every morning, and never pulled 'em off until I crawled back into my sleeping bag at night—whether highs were in the teens or the fifties. Deemed a "midweight layer," they breathe well when hiking, meaning I had no qualms wearing them on pre-dawn slogs up the mountain. With sweat actively evaporating, they felt loose and dry while on the move—a rarity among long underwear. Once atop the mountain, however, the merino wool fabric trapped my body warmth, making it easy to sit and glass for hours on end without ever catching a chill.
The durability of these skivvies also shines. Reinforced with nylon, they can stand up to abrasions, scratches, and most importantly, the washing machine. The Merino 220 Bottom is my new go-to for the entirety of the five-week hunting season here in Montana—even on the coldest days. They’ll also serve as my skiing baselayer this winter. Heck, I have ’em on right now in the O/B office—they’re that cozy. Try these babies on for yourself at the Sitka Depot in Bozeman. Also available online at sitka.com; $130.