If warmth with a synthetic layer is what you seek, the Patagonia Capilene Thermal Weight truly delivers. Constructed with an ample amount of polyester insulation, it offers more warmth than its lighter cousins. Built to breathe, it will keep you warm and dry while you hike uphill, and, when you take a break. The synthetic fibers are soft on the skin, while the cute colors and style make it easy to wear on its own. While it has a thicker construction, the smooth face fabric is easy to layer underneath a pair of looser jeans. We also appreciate its workhorse-like durability, with it looking like new, even after a few months of heavy use. This high-value synthetic is best for women who are looking for a synthetic base layer that'll insulate and breathe.
Patagonia Capilene Thermal Weight Bottoms - Women's Review
Cons: Not as cozy as merino wool, uncomfortable waist band
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Capilene Thermal Weight is a step-up from the midweight Capilene with more insulation and great breathability. This base layer is perfect to wear on its own or under a pair of snow pants.
As a super warm synthetic layer, this is one to wear during the coldest days of the year. If you plan on sitting around in cold weather or need a little additional insulation, it will deliver.
While the synthetic fibers are not as insulative as merino wool, we felt warm while running, hiking, and sitting on cold surfaces when it was layered appropriately under another layer. If you're a woman that runs cold and likes a super warm base layer, this is a suitable option. When worn on its own, the face fabric actually cuts the wind a little bit, giving it versatility and warmth to wear on its own in cold weather.
Even though its construction is thicker, it breathes very well. The interior fabric is constructed with a grid pattern.
The little motes around the islands of fabric offer airflow channels while the interior fabric grabs and wicks away moisture efficiently. When wearing it under other layers and on its own, it kept us exceptionally dry. It offers the same level of breathability as its thinner cousin, but more warmth. Therefore, it provides a much wider range for thermoregulation. Wear it while hanging out at the ski resort, working the chair lifts, or hiking your next trail in cold weather.
Comfort & Fit
Built with 92% recycled polyester fibers and 8% spandex, this pant stretches with a nice fit on the body. Given that the fabrics are a little thicker, we found it to be less comfortable than other thinner synthetic options, especially around the waistband.
While the exterior of the waist looks like a nice, thick, layer, the band material sits right against the skin, which makes for a little discomfort, especially while running. The band is quite elastic and pinches in without a seamless construction. While the rest of the pants offer this seamless construction, we wish a little more thought was put into this area of the pant.
The length is nice and long, with cuffs that offer lots of room for those with thinner or thicker calves. We have worn them plenty of times while running. While the materials aren't as cozy as merino wool, we found it appropriate to wear from the trail back into the house. The materials aren't too rigid and offer decent all-around comfort.
Overall, it's not as cozy and comfortable as merino wool, but we do appreciate it's look and style that makes it easier to wear on its own. Given it's close to body fit, it's also easy to layer underneath a pair of loosely fitted pants. The face fabric isn't grabby and also works nicely under a pair of jeans too.
The synthetic construction with a heavier weight offers great durability. We haven't observed any pilling, wear or tear, or thread fly-aways after a few months of heavy use. This baselayer bottom will last you for many years. Women who have had the luxury of owning this in the past years have touted its ability to really get worked over and perform. The fibers are durable and stiff, offering great performance for the cold season.
With great durability and a reputation for performing well, this high-value synthetic base layer is indeed worth the price. Women that prefer a thicker base layer, planning on going to cold places, will find the most value in it.
The Patagonia Capilene Thermal Weight base layer is warm and durable. It dries quickly and offers great performance in cold weather. Wear it on its own or underneath another pair of pants when the winds really start to blow hard. It's built for women that prefer synthetics to merino wool and are looking for a bottom that'll last for many years.
— Amber King