Patagonia Capilene Midweight Bottoms - Women's Review
Cons: Less durable than previous version
Compare to Similar Products
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Midweight Capilene built by Patagonia is historically known as a workhorse synthetic that can truly take a beating. Winning our Best Buy Award for its stellar all-around performance and a great price, it'll keep you cool when it's hot and warm when it's cold. These comfortable bottoms are great for all types of adventures. Wear them on their own or under a pair of pants.
We tested this bottom during a snowstorm in Colorado, early season, worn on their own and under a pair of pants. The material feels quite thin, but it is constructed of two layers of polyester. The upper layer is smooth to the touch and layers easily under other layers. The layer that sits next to the skin is new and redesigned. Instead of "power grid" fleece squares that it used to have, the interior fabric is now outfitted with hexagonal shapes that aren't fleecy, but still quite warm.
This bottom is rated at a midweight level, so it is quite versatile. It's not as thick as the 'thermal weight' bottom option, which offers more warmth overall, but it's also not super lightweight. We found this pant perfect for layering underneath insulated snow pants on a super cold day. Or you can wear it under a non-insulated pant on a warmer winter day.
We also appreciate that the pant is warm enough to wear easily to bed on camping trips, but not so hot that you can't hike in it. In fact, given its reasonable amount of warmth, it's a lovely option to wear on its own on a run, hike, or climbing adventure.
We absolutely love how breathable this fabric is. Made up of 100% recycled polyester, the fibers are more rigid and do an excellent job of wicking and drying. The material in the newest update of this pant is thinner than the previous version, making it even more breathable than before.
We tested this pant while skinning uphill with a pair of snow pants, while hiking, and running. In all situations, the temperatures started just under freezing and sometimes moved up to the fifties. When layered and not layered, this bottom did a great job of moving moisture away from the body, to keep us dry. When we opened the vents on our pants, our skin remained nice and dry throughout the day.
The fabric itself, being composed of synthetic material, doesn't hold moisture for long periods of time, especially when it's exposed to the open air. The material isn't so tightly knit that the moisture gets caught in the fabric. Instead, it dries out very quickly. This was confirmed by a few objective drying speed and in-field tests we conducted. Overall, you can assume great breathability with this pant. It's a wonderful option for cold mountain running (worn on its own) or for wear under a pair of snow pants.
Comfort and Fit
We appreciate the super cozy and thinner design of these pants. While they aren't as cozy as other merino wool contenders, of the synthetic options out there, it is the most comfortable we've had the pleasure of testing. The newer design is thinner and feels softer against the skin than before. The sizing is true to fit, and the pant retains its shape, even after running, sitting, playing, and exploring all day long.
While synthetic fabrics aren't nearly as comfortable or cozy as merino wool, Patagonia did good work making their trademark long underwear bottom soft and comfortable for all-day wear. Even though the synthetic fabrics cool much faster than merino wool options and aren't the most comfortable thing to pull on if they've been sitting out on a cool morning, we appreciate the cozy warmth they retain when worn. Unfortunately, even though the fabric is treated to prevent odors, this pant does not do that. If you sweat heavily, you'll find these pants stinking after a day or two of heavy use. So be sure you can wash them.
We wore these pants all-day while hiking, running, working, and sleeping — all in the same day! During all these activities, the fabrics retained their performance to keep us comfortable. To the touch, the fabrics aren't as soft as merino wool and feel a touch bit scratchier, but even when sweating, we didn't notice the rougher fabrics being a problem. The thinner design offers better layering capabilities.
The fit is true to size, while the elastic band around the waist isn't too tight or loose. It's also pretty comfortable against the skin. The pant retains its shape throughout the day (not as well as its predecessor) and is okay for wear on its own given its cute patterns and color options. Overall, this pant is comfortable and fits well, but it's not the coziest long underwear bottom out there.
We really love how durable this pant is. We've tested it while hiking, skiing, and running, and it still looks new out of the box. The polyester fibers are more durable to abrasion, stretch, and wear, which makes these pants suitable for wear on its own. In comparison to the last iteration, the fabrics seem a little softer and are more prone to snags, given the thinner face design.
While we haven't had the opportunity to test this pant for very long, only time will tell. The previous version lasted us the entire year and still looked almost unworn. Upon first inspection, this new version seems a little less durable than the previous version, however, it still offers great durability in comparison to the rest of the products out there. We will continue testing and report back if we find anything different than what we write now.
Given the good durability, decent price, and balanced all-around performance of this synthetic contender, we award it with our Best Buy Award. If you're seeking a base layer that'll last and perform for a good price this is it. Its midweight design is quite versatile, offering year-round use to wear on its own or underneath a soft or snow pant. Its thinner design is also okay to wear underneath a pair of jeans or work pants when the temperatures really begin to dip into the negatives. We just don't love that the fabric gets smelly - quickly - especially if you glow heavily.
The Patagonia Capilene Midweight Bottoms - Women's is a synthetic base layer bottom and a super popular option on the market. This is primarily because of its well-crafted design that is comfortable to wear all day while offering a nice balance of warmth and breathability that you need all wear around. Its high performance and great price win our Best Buy Award.
— Amber King