8 Best Ski Base Layers for Kids: Keep Your Little Ones Warm & Comfortable

by Alaina Johnson | Updated: July 20th, 2023 |  Recommended Gear

When it comes to being outdoors in extreme temperatures, everybody should invest in a good set of base layers. For children, this is especially important.

Base layers keep your child warm, comfortable, and moisture-free all day long as they're skiing. Merino wool is a popular choice, as it keeps the wearer insulated. Socks, long underwear, undershirts, and lightweight pants are all base layer options for skiing and snowboarding.

Winter Kid

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Best Materials for Base Layers

Tip: Merino wool and polyester are common materials used in base layers, with Merino wool being the tried and true option for diehard skiers and winter outdoor enthusiasts.

When choosing the optimal base layers for your child, you'll want to gravitate toward moisture-wicking and insulating options.

For children, you'll want the material to be soft and breathable. Once a child gets uncomfortable with scratchy undergarments, you'll have a difficult time keeping them occupied on the slopes. Cotton should be avoided, as it doesn't dry well and your child may end up feeling colder after they start sweating.

Some brands include odor-eliminating technology in their materials, which helps keep underlayers clean and fresh. Depending on the activity, you may want midweight layers versus lightweight. Lightweight layers don't add extra bulk and can easily be paired with several other layers, such as sweaters and coats.

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Top 8 Base Layers for Kids Who Ski and Snowboard

These are some of the best base layers on the market for kids who enjoy skiing and snowboarding. There are various styles, fits, and designs depending on the activity. Some children prefer a one-piece, such as infants who will remain more comfortable in a zip-up option.

1. Smartwool Merino 250 Baselayer

With these base layer bottoms made of 100% Merino wool, your child will never complain of being cold again. The warmth stays breathable and the wool has moisture-wicking qualities, allowing children to remain dry after long days in the snow.

These bottoms range in size from XXS to XL, allowing your child to find the best fit for them. This base layer comes in two styles and colors, though they'll be under a snowsuit while on the slopes. The slim fit design allows the bottoms to stay snug under exterior layers, such as snow bibs. The elastic waistband keeps the bottoms from sagging down, even after hours of high-exertion activity.

2. THE NORTH FACE Baby Waffle Baselayer

This base layer was created specifically with infants in mind. Its one-piece design makes it convenient to dress infants in this warm layer, as well as take them out of it at the end of the day. The material is moisture-wicking, which keeps babies warm, dry, and comfy. There is an easy on-and-off snap closure, which makes diaper changes a breeze.

Polyester is the main material in this one-piece, which is lightweight and ideal for base layers. It's recommended to combine this layer with thicker exterior layers, such as snow jackets and pants.

3. Icebreaker 200 Oasis Leggings

These leggings come in three colors: orange, black, and gray. Made from Merino wool jerseys, these are one of the softest materials on the market. The renewable fiber stays dry while keeping the wearer insulated from cold temperatures.

Friction is a common concern when heading to the slopes with a new set of gear but these leggings keep your kid from chafing. There's nothing worse than returning to the lodge after a fun day to uncover painful areas of chafing.

Icebreaker provides these leggings from a size 5 to a size 12, which provides your kid with many years of wear. You may want to grab a couple if your family enjoys frequent ski trips.

4. Smartwool Merino 250 Baselayer

This cozy base layer top keeps your little one from being cold on the slopes. The material feels smooth and oftentimes, children don't even notice it underneath their ski suits. This layer also works for casual days around town, making it versatile and worth the investment.

This crew top is made from 100% Merino wool, which is known for its warmth and insulation. The wool is made with an interlocking knit pattern, making it highly breathable and enhancing overall comfort. Designed with a flat lock seam construction, this crew top virtually eliminates chafing. The weight class is midweight, which is a level up from lightweight.

5. Rocky Thermal Underwear

This base layer includes a long-sleeve shirt and a pair of insulated pants. Available in several color options, this set is perfect for skiing and managing extreme temperatures. The material is fleece, which is considered warm and easy to wash.

There is no additional bulk to this thermal underwear, allowing your child to build external layers without becoming too heavy. The seams are elastic, allowing the waistband to stay securely in place. Rocky's moisture-wicking fibers ensure that your little one stays dry all day, regardless of the extortion they put out while skiing. There also won't be any unpleasant odors after being washed.

6. REI Co-op Merino Midweight Base Layer

These bottoms are sold from size 4 to size 18, which makes them perfect for all the kids in your family. The Merino wool is soft to the touch, with no annoying scratchiness that would serve as a distraction for your child.

There is a UPF rating of 30 on these bottoms, which provides adequate protection from the sun. The Merino wool allows these bottom layers to dry quickly, which helps alleviate sweat and any tumbles into the snow. Made in a Fair Trade Certified factory, consumers can feel good about purchasing these bottoms. They are sustainably made and they were crafted following animal welfare standards.

7. Patagonia Capilene Midweight Bottoms

Available in five different colors and six separate sizes, these bottoms from Patagonia make the perfect underlayer for a day spent skiing or snowboarding. They wick sweat and keep your child toasty for cold-weather adventures.

Your child may be tempted to wear these as pajamas since they're so comfortable. Not quite as form-fitting as other options, these are a great option for children who enjoy a bit more room to breathe. They aren't bulky either.

Odor elimination technology prevents the bottoms from smelling of sweat after hours of wear. They're easily washable and will hold up for several seasons without showing signs of distress.

8. Icebreaker 200 Oasis

Similar to the Icebreaker leggings, the crew top base layer is made from a soft Merino wool jersey. This keeps children comfortable for extended periods while providing a warm layer to place underneath their snowsuits.

The Merino wool helps the top to resist any lingering odors and allows the body to regulate temperature. You won't need to worry about your children chafing while skiing, as the flatlock seams, helps to prevent friction.

Classified as a midweight layer, this top is ideally suited for long hours outdoors in freezing temperatures. You may even find that your child wears this layer out and about on days spent in town because it's so soft.

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Photo by Ski Leavenworth under CC BY-ND 2.0

Winter Warmer: Keep Your Kids Toasty

Base layers are a necessity for days spent out in the snow. If your child has shown an interest in skiing, snowboarding, or simply enjoying the time outdoors — you'll want to invest in a quality set (or two!) of base layers.

Nobody wants to listen to their kid complain that they're freezing and they want to head back to the lodge. Dressing them in a base layer of insulating Merino wool can be the difference between a fun-filled day on the slopes and one where you head back early.

Some base layers provide sun protection as well, which can be a bonus when out in the sun all day. Base layers are easier to size up than other ski gear, so you can grab a set that your child can grow into over the next couple of years.