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

REI Co-op Midweight Tights - Women's Review

A super inexpensive synthetic base layer option.
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Price:  $50 List | $49.95 at REI
Pros:  Smooth and silky, good breathability, easy to wear on its own, cute and fitted style, affordable
Cons:  Not super durable, absorbs and holds water, stinky after a month of heavy use.
Manufacturer:   REI
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 20, 2019
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64
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 10
  • Warmth - 30% 4
  • Breathability - 30% 9
  • Comfort and Fit - 30% 6
  • Durability - 10% 7

Our Verdict

If you are seeking a cheap pair of base layers, the REI Co-op Midweight Tights - Women's is a synthetic option to consider. With a retail price that is the lowest in this review, it offers performance on the same level. The thinner materials do good work to breathe with some warmth. Unfortunately, when layered underneath a pair of pants that aren't very breathable, and you being to sweat, these bottoms tend to absorb water and have a harder time drying out. While they are comfortable and can be worn on their own, this isn't our favorite base layer bottom to recommend. However, its low price is pretty attractive, and if you just need a layer for general cold-weather wear, it is functional.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award  
Price $49.95 at REI$95.00 at Amazon
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$40.95 at Backcountry
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Pros Smooth and silky, good breathability, easy to wear on its own, cute and fitted style, affordableAll season wear, breathable, will keep you dry, warm, improved fitFleece lining is comfortable, elastic fit, amazing value, cute style, very durable, power wicking.Amazing breathability, comfortable on the skin, great fit, good warmth, affordable, cute colors and designsDurable, wide range of thermoregulation, comfortable, cute colors.
Cons Not super durable, absorbs and holds water, stinky after a month of heavy use.Lacks durability when worn aloneHigh water absorption.Less durable than previous versionNot super duper warm
Bottom Line A super inexpensive synthetic base layer option.A versatile merino wool bottom for year round use.Our favorite bottom with a fleece-lined interior and versatile performance.A synthetic long underwear bottom with exceptional value and versatile applications.This is one of the most durable merino wool contender out there.
Rating Categories Co-op Midweight Tights Merino 250 Bottoms Rho LT Bottoms Capilene Midweight Bottoms 200 Oasis Leggings
Warmth (30%)
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Breathability (30%)
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Comfort And Fit (30%)
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Durability (10%)
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Specs Co-op Midweight... Merino 250 Bottoms Rho LT Bottoms Capilene Midweight... 200 Oasis Leggings
Material 92% polyester/8% spandex 100% merino Torrent fleece (84% polyester, 16% elastane) 100% recycled polyester 100% merino
Fabric weight (g/m²) & relative level of thickness Midweight 250 g/m² (midweight) 150 g/m² (midweight) Midweight 200 g/m² (lightweight)
Measured Weight 6.4 oz 7.3 oz 5.8 oz 5.6 oz 5.7 oz
Fabric weights availiable Lightweight, Midweight Lightweight (150), midweight (250) Lightweight & Midweight (AR) options Lightweight, Midweight, Thermal Weight Midweight
Cuts avaliable Full length 3/4 length, full length, onsie (full body w/ hood) Full length Full length 3/4 length, full length
Smelly over time? Yes No No Yes No
Odor control fabric n/a Naturally odor resistant Polygiene anti-odor finish HeiQ Fresh Naturally odor resistant

Our Analysis and Test Results

These midweight bottoms are made from 100% synthetic materials and provide a comfortable feel when wearing them. They are stylish enough to wear on their own but lack performance in extreme temperatures. Built for the outdoorswoman that likes to get out in the winter, but doesn't need amazing thermoregulation performance, it offers sufficient cold protection at a very low price.

Performance Comparison


The REI Co-op Midweight provides good comfort on the go. Its thin design promotes great breathability. We are just let down that the fabrics hold moisture  especially underneath another layer.
The REI Co-op Midweight provides good comfort on the go. Its thin design promotes great breathability. We are just let down that the fabrics hold moisture, especially underneath another layer.

Warmth


This synthetic base layer bottom is built with midweight comfort but offers very little in the way of warmth. While the fabric knit isn't as well-spaced apart as other synthetic contenders that breathe a little better, its knit tightly together. While this offers warmth underneath a layer, the thinness of the fabric leaves little for insulation. Wear it with a pair of insulated pants on a cool day in the mountains. Just know that this layer is specific for wicking and breathing. While it's called a 'midweight' option, it seems more lightweight when we wear it.

Testing out this base layer on a snowy hike in the mountains of Colorado.
Testing out this base layer on a snowy hike in the mountains of Colorado.

Breathability


The fabric allows a nice amount of airflow when wearing them on their own. Under another pair of pants, they also offer great wicking potential. The downfall of this base layer bottom is when the upper layer that it is layered under doesn't ventilate. Unfortunately, it is constructed with the same fabric through the width of the fabric.

A look at the thinner fabrics of the REI Midweight base layer bottom.
A look at the thinner fabrics of the REI Midweight base layer bottom.

This means there is no buffering fleece layer or additional knit layer that the moisture can sit in, away from the skin. When the layer can't breathe, it will hold moisture, which inevitably can lead to cooling. While it breathes well on its own, the knit construction takes more time to dry out than other synthetic layers. As a result, we'd leave this at home for days where it's especially cold. That said, it's great to wear as a running bottom in the winter, or layered underneath a more breathable top layer.

Early morning runs are a great place for this bottom. While it has trouble breathing under other layers  it does exceptionally on its own.
Early morning runs are a great place for this bottom. While it has trouble breathing under other layers, it does exceptionally on its own.

Comfort & Fit


The fabric to the touch is super silky smooth and comfortable. When you slide it on, it feels really, really good on the skin. It's one of the most comfortable synthetic base layers that we've had the pleasure of testing. However, it only earns an average score in this category because it's not plush or super cozy wither. The waistband is a simple elastic with a seam that isn't completely flat, but not uncomfortable to wear either.

A look at the relative fit on a 5"6  145 lbs woman.
A look at the relative fit on a 5"6, 145 lbs woman.

Given the fabric construct that holds moisture, it gets cold after you slow down in it. So, wearing it form the hill inside is totally possible, but not the coziest base layer to do so with. In addition, the fabric holds stench after heavy use that is hard to rinse out in the washing machine.

A look at the thinner waistband that is comfortable against the skin.
A look at the thinner waistband that is comfortable against the skin.

It offers a fitted design and works nicely under a skirt or on its own. We love that the appearance isn't too technical and can even be worn out amongst friends with its cute pattern. Fit is true to size, and the stretchiness of the fabric provides versatility for all shapes and sizes. Overall, it's comfortable with silky-like fabrics, but not a top performer in this category.

The stretchy fabrics make for a great fit for most.
The stretchy fabrics make for a great fit for most.

Durability


While made of synthetic materials, the fabric does pill after just a few washes. The stitching looks solid, but not nearly as durable looking as other synthetic contenders tested. Given that it holds stench, its devalued as well.

A look at the face fabrics of the REI synthetic midweight.
A look at the face fabrics of the REI synthetic midweight.

Value


You simply can't beat the price on this one. We considered it as the Best Buy winner but decided on giving that to a bottom that offers better performance. While it's not the best out there, it's not the worst either. If you seek an inexpensive base layer, this is a good option to consider.

Running it out in cold mountains is a great place for an ultra-breathable long underwear layer like the REI Midweight  made of synthetic fibers.
Running it out in cold mountains is a great place for an ultra-breathable long underwear layer like the REI Midweight, made of synthetic fibers.

Conclusion


The REI Midweight Bottoms is a synthetic base layer bottom that is silky smooth to the touch. While they don't have the same performance as other high performing merino wool contenders or synthetics, they are thin and offer cool comforts. They stand out for their ultra-low price, even though the value isn't as high as our Best Buy Award winner. These are best for those seeking the lowest price with decent performance across the board.


Amber King