The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

REI Co-op Merino Midweight Bottoms Review

A simple and comfortable merino option
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $80 List | $79.50 at REI
Pros:  Comfy, warm, simple, breathable
Cons:  Not very durable, tend to stretch
Manufacturer:   REI Co-op
By Roland Mott ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 20, 2018
  • Share this article:
66
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 6
  • Warmth - 30% 6
  • Breathability - 30% 7
  • Comfort and Fit - 30% 7
  • Durability - 10% 6

Our Verdict

Made with 200 grams of fine 100% merino wool, the REI Co-op Midweight Merino Bottoms are soft against the skin and offer all of the benefits of merino wool - great thermoregulation, breathability, wicking ability, and all day comfort. These bottoms didn't stand out above the other merino layers but offer quality and straightforward bottoms for the everyday user.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award   
Price $79.50 at REI$61.73 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$100.00 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$89.00 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$75.00 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
100
0
66
100
0
75
100
0
74
100
0
72
100
0
68
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Comfy, warm, simple, breathableWarm, lightweight, great breathability, versatile, quick to dry, anti-odor, great fitExtremely warm, super cozy, terrific temp regulation, breathableWarm, super comfy, durable, great fit, versatile, don’t stretch outWarm, lightweight, breathable, versatile, comfortable, great thermoregulation
Cons Not very durable, tend to stretchNot super durable, not for super coldStretches out, soggy crotch, slow to dry, expensivePriceyNot very durable
Bottom Line A simple and comfortable merino optionA go-to, do-it-all merino base layer that provides superb insulation, incredible breathability, and a dialed-in fit for high performance in any situation you can dream up.An extremely warm and breathable pair of bottoms built to keep you warm in the coldest conditions but versatile enough to carry into seasons outside of winter.An outstanding synthetic bottom that offers great warmth, extreme comfort, a stellar fit, and durability to last; built for cold conditions these cozy bottoms are perfect for everything from winter trail running to cold resort skiing.A fantastic pair of lightweight merino bottoms that provide impressive warmth without being too hot, breathe extremely well and are very comfortable.
Rating Categories Merino Midweight Bottoms Alpine Onset Bottoms SmartWool Merino 250 Bottoms Arc'teryx Rho LT Bottoms SmartWool Merino 150 Bottoms
Warmth (30%)
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
6
Breathability (30%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
5
10
0
8
Comfort And Fit (30%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
7
Durability (10%)
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
5
Specs Merino Midweight... Alpine Onset Bottoms SmartWool Merino... Arc'teryx Rho LT... SmartWool Merino...
Material Ultra-fine 200g merino wool 83% merino wool, 12% nylon, 5% spandex 100% merino Torrent (84% polyester, 16% elastane) 87% Merino Wool, 13% Nylon Core
Weight (size S) 5.93 oz 4.80 oz 7.55 oz 5.57 oz 4.94 oz
Fabric Weight 200g Not listed 250g Not listed 150g
Fabric weights and other versions available Midweight Lightweight Lightweight, midweight Boot-cut 150, 250
Fly? Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Dryer safe? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

The REI Co-op Midweight Merino is a comfortable and quality pair of 100% merino wool bottoms that do well in cool to cold conditions.

Performance Comparison


A great simple midweight merino layer
A great simple midweight merino layer

Warmth


These bottoms are a typical midweight bottom in every way. They can keep you warm in frigid temps when paired with an insulated pair of bottoms or serve you well alone on a warm summer evening in the backcountry. They do a good job of regulating body temps through varying temperatures and levels of activity, and the naturally hydrophobic merino fibers do a great job at wicking sweat and keeping you dry so that you can stay warm once you stop moving.

For those cold desert bivies  the Midweight Merino is a solid companion.
For those cold desert bivies, the Midweight Merino is a solid companion.

Breathability


Like any quality merino wool, these are going to breathe well, dumping heat on the uphill battles and wicking sweat so that when you start the downhill cruise, you're not putting wet bottoms into a freezing wind tunnel. These bottoms did a great job of keeping us dry when we were a hot sweaty mess trail running or skinning under blue skies.

Searching for goods  the REI Co-op Merino Midweight bottom is great for cold and cool outings alike.
Searching for goods, the REI Co-op Merino Midweight bottom is great for cold and cool outings alike.

Comfort & Fit


These bottoms generally fit really well, and the merino is super cozy next to skin, not itchy at all. They have nice long legs, a simple seam pattern that stays out of the way and a crotch that has a little sag but nothing too offensive. The stretchy merino wool fits all types and thickness. If you have skinny legs, the legs run a little loose, not skin tight like the SmartWool Merino but not baggy. Still snug enough to layer under a pair of jeans without them bunching up badly. The waistband is sewn on and doesn't have any features to make it extra comfortable like the SmartWool Merino 250 but it isn't uncomfortable. The tag in the bag of the waistband is itchy if worn next to the skin. Like most merino layers, these bottoms do tend to stretch out during use, especially anything active. They regain their original dimensions after a wash.

Thawing out after a long day of fun in the snow. A snug and comfortable fit.
Thawing out after a long day of fun in the snow. A snug and comfortable fit.

Durability


Merino isn't known for its durability, and these are 100% merino. They stretch out after active use, and they don't hold up to abrasion well. Our abrasion test burnt a hole through these pretty easily. That isn't to say that if you take care of them and don't drag them across pavement and granite like we did, these bottoms can last you a good long while. These bottoms aren't going to be as durable as their synthetic counterparts. While they're not the most fragile, they are far from the most durable.

The abrasion test results.
The abrasion test results.

Best Applications


A great weight to carry you through all four seasons of adventures. Summer backpacking trips, winter hut trips, fall canoe trips, these are a great pair of bottoms for about anything. Layer accordingly and you're good in freezing cold and cool spring evenings.

Good versatility breathing well on the uphill and keeping you warm on the downhill  midweight merino is a great all-around layer.
Good versatility breathing well on the uphill and keeping you warm on the downhill, midweight merino is a great all-around layer.

Value


At $80 these are about $10 less than the Editors' Choice Winner Outdoor Research Alpine Onset and $5 more than the SmartWool Merino 150. Both of which are stellar bottoms that perform at the top of the line and score high marks across the board.

Conclusion


A great weight and a simple and comfortable bottom that works well across a spectrum of activities and temperatures. 100% merino wool allows for great thermoregulation and breathability. Not the most impressive of the bunch but a quality pair of blue-collar bottoms.


Roland Mott