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

Patagonia Capilene Midweight Crew - Women's Review

This very breathable top is quick to dry and a perfect option for aerobic or sweaty endeavors.
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Price:  $59 List | $43.99 at MooseJaw
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Versatile, great temperature regulation, quick to dry, lightweight, inexpensive
Cons:  Boxy fit, not very warm
Manufacturer:   Patagonia
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 14, 2018
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68
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 10
  • Warmth - 20% 4
  • Breathability - 20% 9
  • Comfort and Fit - 20% 5
  • Layering Ability - 15% 6
  • Drying Speed - 15% 10
  • Durability - 10% 8

Our Verdict

If you plan on breaking a sweat, the Patagonia Capilene Midweight Crew will keep you cool. This 100% polyester crew-collared base layer features a wind-resistant face fabric and cozy inner fleecy layer that quickly and efficiently wicks away moisture. While this layer isn't as warm as other Merino options like the Smartwool Merino 250 1/4 Zip (our Editors' Choice Award winner), it's better built for warm to cool weather.

In the past, this layer won our Best Buy award for its great performance and durability for a low price of just $59. However, it lost its award this year to the warmer and better fitted REI Co-op Midweight Crew (costing only $50). While the Patagonia Capilene Midweight is a little more wind-resistant then the REI Midweight, our testers didn't like its boxy fit and scratchier fabrics. While the boxy fit allows one to wear a tank top or t-shirt underneath comfortably, we didn't find it was easy to layer with sticky mid layers in comparison to other options. That said, it works fine for its purpose. It's quite durable for gritty adventures like backpacking, climbing, rafting, and hiking.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

As a tried and true synthetic base layer, the Patagonia Capilene Midweight Crew is a very breathable baselayer top for its excellent temperature regulation throughout all four seasons.

Performance Comparison


The Patagonia Capilene Midweight Crew is an ultra-breathable base layer that does an amazing job wicking and providing good warmth. It comes at a decent price too.
The Patagonia Capilene Midweight Crew is an ultra-breathable base layer that does an amazing job wicking and providing good warmth. It comes at a decent price too.

Warmth


The Patagonia Capilene Crew provides decent warmth during the coldest seasons in all capacities. The 100% polyester construct generates heat while on the move while the tightly woven-face fabric has the affinity to cut a steady warm breeze. As a stand-alone top, it provides great warmth in temperatures up to 65 degrees. The face fabric provides a level of wind resistance that adds to the warmth rating. However, the super porous fabric in the pattern of a brick does allow air flow (adding to better breathability). On its own, its great for active wear, but not the warmest option.

The fabric is thin and not the warmest out there as it allows ample airflow.
The fabric is thin and not the warmest out there as it allows ample airflow.

In a layered system, it is sufficient to keep you warm in a layered system when polar sub-zero temperatures are encountered. While this base layer provides decent (and average) warmth for a mid layer, it only scores a four out of ten because it comparatively wasn't as warm as other Merino wool and synthetic competitors. This was a favorite for aerobic activities in the cool to warm weather, but not our first choice on the coldest days of the season. This top is perfect for those seeking a base layer perfect for active wear in the Fall, Spring, and Winter, but is not the best option for standing around in cold weather.

The Patagonia Capilene Thermal Weight is a great option if you plan on spending your time in sub-zero temperatures.

Breathability


The Patagonia Capilene Crew is a Queen of breathability and wicking power. While taking it running on winter mornings, and backcountry skiing on warm spring days, the fleece lined interior wicked away sweat readily. The fabric stayed relatively dry, even when breaking a sweat. The only time we noticed it holding moisture was when it was layered underneath several layers when moisture was unable to escape. Since it has a boxier (and looser) fit, a tank top can be layered underneath.

While it is fantastic at shedding heat and venting unwanted moisture, it doesn't have a substantial range of thermoregulation. The polyester is cooler in general and this top is best for aerobic activities in the winter or cooler Fall days.

A look at the fabric construct of the Patagonia Capilene that offers great breathability and ample air flow...it just doesn't wick as well as the Patagonia Capilene Air.
A look at the fabric construct of the Patagonia Capilene that offers great breathability and ample air flow...it just doesn't wick as well as the Patagonia Capilene Air.

Comfort & Fit


This breathable top features comfortable synthetic fibers that feel good on the skin. In addition, it is constructed of flat seam stitching (found in all base layers) that prevents chafing or discomfort while wearing all day long. The fit is boxier and looser than other base layers tested and is not "tight" by any means.

The fit is a little boxier and looser than other base layers in this review.
The fit is a little boxier and looser than other base layers in this review.

It's easy to wear layers underneath, making it more versatile for warm weather. The torso and arms seem to be long enough for women of all different shapes and sizes, though we wished that the fabric was a touch stretchier. While this top is comfortable, it's not nearly as cozy as our Merino wool competitors. Overall, it is a nice synthetic option that can be worn for all day comfort, either under another layer or on its own.

The thumb loops are a feature only found with the Patagonia Capilene Midweight Crew. A great extra for pulling on layers and keeping the layer in place.
The thumb loops are a feature only found with the Patagonia Capilene Midweight Crew. A great extra for pulling on layers and keeping the layer in place.

Layering Ability


Layering with the Capilene Midweight Crew isn't so bad. The smooth face fabric creates a frictionless surface that can be put underneath other grabby mid-layers. Putting it underneath a tighter-fitting mid layer is not ideal as the fabric around the torso bunches and twists, riding up while on the move. The upside of this boxier and less fitted design is that a t-shirt or tank top can easily be layered underneath (unlike most baselayers tested). Plus, the hidden thumb loops can be worn while putting on additional layers, a bonus that no other base layer features.

Here the Arc'teryx Rho LT layers nicely underneath the Capilene Crew for additional warmth.
Here the Arc'teryx Rho LT layers nicely underneath the Capilene Crew for additional warmth.

Drying Speed


Wowza! This quick to dry top also absorbs very little water. Drying in only 40 minutes, the Patagonia Capilene is exceptionally quick to dry making it a great wet weather option. This was verified in our field tests. After sweating, we took it off, and within ten minutes of sitting in the sun, it was dry as a bone. As a result, this is the best option if you seek a quick-to-dry baselayer!

Durability


The author has owned a Patagonia Capilene Midweight layer for over seven years, and it's still holding up! She's tested it while shimmying and grunting up fat off-widths and while boating down raging rivers. Despite some face fabric pilling and a couple of thread fly aways, we can vouch for its great durability. While its fabrics properties are durable, the fabric gets stinky (like most synthetics) over time.

This layer will last for many years. While it does get smelly, use a tech-wash to preserve the fabrics and rinse out nasty odors.

Best Applications


Take the Patagonia Capilene Midweight Crew on your next vacation or mission to the mountains. It can be used for a diversity of outdoor recreation, ranging from cold morning runs to rafting down the Grand Canyon. Because of its decent and fairly high scores over most categories, it is versatile and ready for anything that you throw at it. For ultra-cold weather, we would recommend the Patagonia Thermal Weight Hoody. This is a heavier and more versatile option suited for sub-zero temperatures.

Taking a little afternoon jog with the Patagonia Capilene Midweight Crew.
Taking a little afternoon jog with the Patagonia Capilene Midweight Crew.

Value


The Patagonia Capilene Midweight is a tried and tested piece that has seen multiple mountain summits, trail runs, and riverside views over the course of the last few years. It's a bomber shirt for a bomber price.

Conclusion


The Patagonia Capilene Midweight Crew is a top that hosts excellent breathability and wicking power. The fabric provides ample airflow and decent thermoregulation in cold weather. This classic synthetic base layer is go-to for aerobic winter recreation and performs well as a stand-alone piece in the winter.


Amber King