REI Co-op Midweight Bottoms Review
Cons: Slightly short inseam, fabric could be stretchier
Manufacturer: REI Co-op
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REI Co-op Midweight Bottoms
$34.93 at REI
|$110 List||$48.30 at Backcountry|
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$39.95 at REI
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|Pros||Great value, warm but still breathable, very comfortable for a synthetic||Soft next-to-skin, super warm for its weight, durable and all-natural||100% recycled polyester, light fabric weight, impressive loft and warmth||Unbeatable price, breathable, quick drying, functional||Affordable, lightweight, warm for weight|
|Cons||Slightly short inseam, fabric could be stretchier||A touch heavy for fabric weight, slow to dry after washing||Questionable durability, saggy bottom||Short cut legs, average comfort and warmth||Instant fabric tear, baggy fit, sticky exterior gridded fleece|
|Bottom Line||For cold weather trips on a budget, this pair of synthetics are hard to beat||Undeniably comfortable, warm, and breathable, this rough-and-tumble pair of 100% merino long underwear has it all||Warmer than most, lighter than the rest, this pair of long underwear re-defines what is possible from a synthetic base layer||Slender and breathable, these are everything we expect out of a lightweight pair of long underwear||A warmer lightweight option that has a lot of potential to improve upon design|
|Rating Categories||REI Co-op Midweight...||Ortovox 185 Rock'N'...||Patagonia Capilene...||REI Co-op Lightweig...||Carhartt Base Force...|
|Comfort and Fit (30%)|
|Specs||REI Co-op Midweight...||Ortovox 185 Rock'N'...||Patagonia Capilene...||REI Co-op Lightweig...||Carhartt Base Force...|
|Material||100% polyester||100% Merino wool||100% recycled polyester with HeiQ Fresh||92% polyester, 8% spandex||100% raised mini-grid polyester|
|Fabric Weight||N/A||185 g/m²||147 g/m²||N/A||N/A|
|Weight (size M)||7.62 oz||6.4 oz||5.88 oz||5.46 oz||5.2 oz|
|3/4 Boot-Cut Available?||No||Yes||No||No||No|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Plenty warm and quite burly, the REI Midweight Bottoms will protect you from the freezing temps of any wintry adventure in the mountains or when you're simply lounging around the hotel waiting for the ski lifts to open in the morning. We are most impressed with this pant's durability — it's tough enough to be worn alone, which you may be tempted to do if you need to jump outside quickly to chop some wood. The two-sided synthetic material is one of our favorite details and features a brushed interior that works to trap heat and a silky smooth exterior that slides over whatever top layer you pair these with. But the best part of these long underwear is what they lack: a high price tag! As a budget-friendly option, this pair of long underwear is hard to beat for the price.
The Midweight Bottoms pull their weight in warmth, being just as toasty — if not more so — than other comparable options. It's best to utilize these on frigid winter days or while sleeping outside on cold summer nights. Despite being so warm, breathability is impressive enough to be comfortable temperature-wise on everything but very active pursuits.
We wore these underneath our jeans on a warm Spring day bike ride across town and finished the trip to the coffee shop relatively comfortable and dry. For backpacking mornings that start out frigid before the sun finally makes an appearance, we anticipate you won't mind keeping these on well into your lunchtime break without overheating.
Breathability is important in long underwear as it's difficult to continuously adjust bottom layers while out adventuring, as it inevitably means taking off shoes and a top layer. The Midweight Bottoms stay breathable, and we credit this to the next-to-skin fit and wicking qualities of the polyester fabric. The fabric's soft, brushed interior surface will trap heat while pulling moisture away from your skin.
This pair doesn't include any additional anti-odor treatment, but our drying time test revealed they dry quickly compared to similarly weighted long underwear, so you're not out a pair of comfy bottoms for long when waiting for them to air dry. The spandex top waistband retains some moisture, as do some other hotspots, like the crotch. But we're quite pleased with the performance of these even though they can't compare to lighter-weight pairs of underwear.
Comfort and Fit
Overall, the fit of the Midweight Bottoms is tight without being too constricting, allowing heat to be trapped between your body and the garment while also facilitating moisture to wick away from the skin. Keeping dry aids in keeping comfy — nothing is worse than clammy bottoms.
The waistband has enough give to accommodate an appropriate spectrum of waist sizes without squeezing too tightly. In a medium, we measured an inseam length of 31", which matches the manufacturer's specs. This is a little shorter than our 32" reviewer would have liked, but REI does offer a "long" version of the same underwear. The total length from the top of the waistband is 41". The waistband itself is 1¼" thick. Sizing for this style goes from XS to XXL.
The four-way stretch fabric is more stretchy widthwise than lengthwise, and all the stretch is accomplished from the fabric weave alone — no elastic material, save for in the waistband, is present. This stretch allows for freedom of movement without bunching up. The ankle cuff is doubled over for added durability and a nice finish to the garment.
The fabric features a smooth, silky exterior, which will move over anything you're wearing on top without catching. The interior has a softer, fleece-like hand, helping to trap heat and wick away moisture while also just being nice and comfy against the skin. All seams are flatlock seams, which reduce bulk and have no sharp edges that could catch and irritate your skin.
These underwear have a fly with an adequate opening in case you don't want to undo all your layers for mid-travel alleviation. They are also gusseted, providing an extra amount of freedom of movement. Moving the seam away from the center of the crotch makes an activity like riding a bike or anything else you're straddling your seat more pleasant.
Surprising to us, the Midweight Bottoms look just as new now as the day we received them, which we credit to a few design choices. First, there are strong and flexible flatlock seams found throughout the garment. These seams lay flat against the fabric and also increase the comfort of the underwear. Next is the dual texture fabric choice: the smooth exterior resists catching on your top layer, allowing the softer interior layer to keep you warm and wick away moisture. The fabric is also 100% polyester — an already durable material — and doesn't include any elastic material to degrade over time. All the stretch you find is from the weave of the fabric itself.
Lastly, the no-frills design, save for the gusseted crotch that we absolutely adore, keeps things simple. Less seams, means fewer weak points to bust.
These long underwear scored very high in our tough abrasion tests, mostly due to the burlier weight of the fabric, which could be one reason to go for a warmer, heavier pair of long underwear, rather than a lighter.
Proper care can influence long-term durability for the better. Being made from synthetic fabric, the Midweight Bottoms should be a little easier to care for than woolies, but we still suggest hanging these to dry after washing. Manufacturer's instructions also say that drying them on low will do the trick.
While testing and reviewing the Midweight Bottoms, we needed to do a double-take on the price. For what you receive, we found these long underwear a great value and something you should seriously look into, no matter if you're on a budget or not. They're warm, durable, and breathable.
A simple, budget-friendly, and durable option for those looking for a warm synthetic pair of long underwear sums up the The REI Co-op Midweight Bottoms succinctly. What this pair of long underwear doesn't forget to bring to the table is a great value. Pick these up when the mercury dips down, and your winter stoke hits an all-time high.
— Justin Simoni
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