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

Smartwool Merino 150 Base Layer Bottoms - Women's Review

This lightweight option features a merino wool blend that pulls together many great pros.
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Price:  $80 List | $79.95 at MooseJaw
Compare prices at 4 resellers
Pros:  Durable, strong wicking power, comfortable features, cute color options
Cons:  Not very warm
Manufacturer:   Smartwool
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 19, 2018
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70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 8
  • Warmth - 30% 6
  • Comfort & Fit - 30% 7
  • Breathability & Drying Speed - 30% 8
  • Durability - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The Smartwood Merino 150 Bottom offers lightweight performance in cool or cold weather. Looking for a base layer that will thermoregulate in brisk weather while you log miles on the trails? This might be the one! Constructed of 87 percent merino wool and 13 percent nylon, this blend does an excellent job wicking away moisture while keeping your core temperature warm. The integration of the synthetic fibers makes it more durable than 100 percent merino wool options, like the SmartWool Merino 250 Bottom, a midweight option and our Editors' Choice award winner. That said, it's not as warm or cozy as these thicker contenders. If lightweight and durable performance are what you see, the Smartwool Merino 150 certainly delivers. Take it with you on your aerobic adventures or while you camp in cold conditions.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

The Smartwool Merino 150 Bottom provides lightweight and durable performance that is best for cool weather. Take it with you on your next aerobic endeavor or simply slide it on when the temperature plummets in the shoulder seasons.

Performance Comparison


The Smartwool 150 is a lightweight option that is perfect for warm to cool weather. Constructed of a merino wool blend  it provides great wicking and breathability for all-day wear.
The Smartwool 150 is a lightweight option that is perfect for warm to cool weather. Constructed of a merino wool blend, it provides great wicking and breathability for all-day wear.

Warmth


Offering a decent level of warmth, the Smartwool Merino 150 bottom is great to wear while sledding, building snowmen, and going out for hot cocoa in cold weather. Packed with 87 percent merino wool and 13 percent nylon, this bottom does an excellent job wicking away moisture to keep dry in cool to cold weather. While this bottom isn't loaded up with tons of fibers, it provides good enough warmth for a lightweight design. It features 150 grams of this material. We wore it while hiking, skiing, and running. In all cases, our legs and core were left warm, happy, and happy. We just wouldn't recommend it for the coldest places on Earth. And we'd also recommend wearing it with an additional insulating layer to optimize overall insulation. If you seek a warmer merino option, be sure to check out the SmartWool Merino 250 Bottom, our Editors' Choice award winner.

The thinner fabrics make this piece a little less warm  and a great option to wick away sweat. The thinner make-up of the merino wool also does good work to insulate while on the go.
The thinner fabrics make this piece a little less warm, and a great option to wick away sweat. The thinner make-up of the merino wool also does good work to insulate while on the go.

Comfort and Fit


Given its thinner construct and merino-wool hybrid design, it does a good job at providing lavish all-day comfort. The lightweight design (weights 5.2 oz) and its features offer a great fit.

Front...it doesn't have the cleanest fit and constricts around the groin  however  it does feel comfortable on.
Front...it doesn't have the cleanest fit and constricts around the groin, however, it does feel comfortable on.
Model is 5'6" and 140 lbs. A good length  but could be a touch longer.
Model is 5'6" and 140 lbs. A good length, but could be a touch longer.
Back. No constrictions and comfortable overall. Fabric fits nice to skin and fit is true to size.
Back. No constrictions and comfortable overall. Fabric fits nice to skin and fit is true to size.

The waistband features a broad section of material that covers the elastic on the waistband for enhanced comfort against the skin.


The materials stretch nicely, providing coverage for women of all shapes and sizes. Also, the elastic around the ankle isn't constricting in any way, shape, or form to allow a diverse fit. The fit is true to size and our testers love the cute styles that are available. While this product isn't as cozy as other merino wool contenders (because of its thinner design), it's still an excellent option for all-day wear underneath a pair of snow pants or with work pants. It layers easily due to its slippery face fabrics. Our verdict? Comfortable and well-fitted.

A good amount of length around the ankles is great for taller and shorter ladies. The cuffs are also elastic  offering a decent fit for a variety of sizes.
A good amount of length around the ankles is great for taller and shorter ladies. The cuffs are also elastic, offering a decent fit for a variety of sizes.

Breathability and Drying Speed


As a lightweight design, it does an awesome job breathing while out on the trail. Taking this bottom hiking and skiing, we learned that it off-loads heat well. The integrated nylon does an exceptional job at wicking away moisture while the merino wool provides insulation and great breathability. In our tests, it absorbed a moderate amount of water (6.65 ounces) and provided an average drying time.

A lightweight and breathable contender.
A lightweight and breathable contender.

As a result of these results, we're happy to report that we'd recommend this bottom for everything from a morning run to an extended backpacking trip into the backcountry. Not only will the fabric wick and breath well, but it will dry out quickly as well.


Durability


This is one of the most durable merino wool options out there. Integrating a sliver of synthetic fibers ensures that it retain its shape while in motion. Also, we didn't notice any pilling, stitching fly-aways, or anything that resembled a durability issue. When running through dense underbrush, the fabric didn't snag and stayed nicely intact. That said, because it is merino wool, we suspect it is not as durable as a 100 percent synthetic contender because of the properties of the materials. However, we didn't observe any issues in our testing period.

Best Application


Wear it climbing at the crag, hiking around the back forty, or while skiing at the resort. This lightweight merino-wool hybrid offers an awesome level of durability and performance that makes it quite versatile. Skin for miles on cold days or take it for a meandering walk on a cool day. This lightweight option could be the next great integration for your outdoor exploring gear kit.

Take this lovely layer out while backpacking or hiking for days. The fabric will keep you dry without stinking...even without washing.
Take this lovely layer out while backpacking or hiking for days. The fabric will keep you dry without stinking...even without washing.

Value


Priced at $80 this is a good deal. The materials and performance are on point, making it a great value.

Conclusion


This lightweight merino-synthetic blend provides exceptional durability and performance in one temperature regulating package. Wear it while running your next winter trail or while skinning uphill in the backcountry.


Amber King