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Patagonia Capilene Thermal Weight Bottoms - Women's Review

The warmest synthetic base layer we've tested
Patagonia Capilene Thermal Weight Bottoms - Women's
Photo: REI Co-op
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Price:  $90 List | $48.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Super durable, wicks and breathes well, good warmth
Cons:  Not as cozy as merino wool, uncomfortable waist band
Manufacturer:   Patagonia
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 20, 2019
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75
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 10
  • Warmth - 30% 9
  • Breathability - 30% 7
  • Comfort and Fit - 30% 6
  • Durability - 10% 9

Our Verdict

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.

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Super durable, wicks and breathes well, good warmthAll season wear, breathable, will keep you dry, warm, improved fitFleece lining is comfortable, elastic fit, amazing value, cute style, very durable, wicking abilityDurable, wide range of thermoregulation, comfortable, cute colorsAmazing breathability, comfortable on the skin, great fit, good warmth, affordable, cute colors and designs
Cons Not as cozy as merino wool, uncomfortable waist bandLacks durability when worn aloneHigh water absorptionNot super duper warmLess durable than previous version
Bottom Line A super warm synthetic base layer with exceptionally breathabilityA top performer offering comfort and breathability for all activitiesVersatile performance and cozy design, we can't stop reaching for this modelGreat durability and great performance all the way aroundA favorite synthetic base layer bottom for its amazing value and performance
Rating Categories Capilene Thermal Weight Bott... Merino 250 Bottoms Rho LT Bottoms 200 Oasis Leggings Capilene Midweight Bottoms
Warmth (30%)
9
9
8
8
8
Breathability (30%)
7
7
7
8
8
Comfort And Fit (30%)
6
9
9
8
7
Durability (10%)
9
7
9
8
9
Specs Capilene Thermal... Merino 250 Bottoms Rho LT Bottoms 200 Oasis Leggings Capilene Midweight...
Material 92% recycled polyester/8% spandex 100% merino wool Torrent fleece (84% polyester/16% elastane) 100% merino wool 100% recycled polyester
Fabric weight (g/m²) 129 g/m² 250 g/m² 150 g/m² 200 g/m² N/A
Our weight class assessment Heavyweight Midweight Midweight Light to midweight Midweight
Measured Weight (size medium) 5.8 oz 7.3 oz 5.8 oz 5.7 oz 5.6 oz
Cuts avaliable Full length, boot length 3/4 length, full length, onsie (full body w/ hood) Full length 3/4 length, full length Full length
Smelly over time? Yes No No No Yes
Odor control fabric HeiQ Fresh Naturally odor resistant Polygiene anti-odor finish Naturally odor resistant HeiQ Fresh

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.

Performance Comparison


The Patagonia Thermal Weight Capilene is a wonderful synthetic...
The Patagonia Thermal Weight Capilene is a wonderful synthetic companion for colder days through the year.
Photo: Edward Kemper

Warmth


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.

The Patagonia Capilene Thermals keeps us warm while we scream down...
The Patagonia Capilene Thermals keeps us warm while we scream down these snowy hills in California.
Photo: Amber King

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.

Walks in the winter are highly recommended with this base layer pant.
Walks in the winter are highly recommended with this base layer pant.
Photo: Edward Kemper

Breathability


Even though its construction is thicker, it breathes very well. The interior fabric is constructed with a grid pattern.

A look at the interior fabric that is both comfortable and...
A look at the interior fabric that is both comfortable and exceptionally breathable.
Photo: Edward Kemper

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.

Testing it while running. Even though the material got wet from...
Testing it while running. Even though the material got wet from snow, it dried out quickly. It also kept us warm enough on this cold day, but dry enough to stay warm when we took breaks along the trail.
Photo: Amber King

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.

We take some time to make breakfast while wearing the Capilene...
We take some time to make breakfast while wearing the Capilene Thermal Pants with the Capilene Midweight top. It's cozy enough for around the house wear.
Photo: Amber King

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.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
A look at the overall fit of this great synthetic base layer.
A look at the overall fit of this great synthetic base layer.
Photo: Edward Kemper

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.

The cuffs are stretchy with a longer fit.
The cuffs are stretchy with a longer fit.
Photo: Edward Kemper

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.

We only wish the waistband had flat seams at the elastic, which it...
We only wish the waistband had flat seams at the elastic, which it doesn't.
Photo: Edward Kemper

Durability


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.

When layering it under a pant, or wearing it on its own, this pant...
When layering it under a pant, or wearing it on its own, this pant retains its shape and doesn't abrade easily. It's durable and will last for years. Here, we set up a tarp shelter while camping in the mountains on a cooler Fall day.
Photo: Amber King

Value


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 Thermal Weight bottoms are versatile. Use them on...
The Patagonia Thermal Weight bottoms are versatile. Use them on their own or in a layered system. They'll provide the warmth you need while you tackle trails and take time to rest.
Photo: Amber King

Conclusion


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