Welcome to a special Buyer’s Guide feature from FREESKIER. Here’s a close-up look at the best ski midlayers of the year. Click here to explore the entire 2021 FREESKIER Buyer’s Guide.
Table of Contents
Armada Babka Fleece
Like throwing your PJs into the dryer before bed, the Babka and its fluffy Sherpa fabric will keep you warm, warm, warm, and extra cozy. Complemented by thick patches of water-resistant, PFC-free DWR-treated Full Dull Plain Weave fabric on the shoulders and sleeves, it’s a city-slicking full-zip that can double as a thicker layer for really frigid days on the hill.
Flylow Carla Jacket
Part of Flylow’s technical/lifestyle Habitat Line, the Carla Jacket was designed with layering in mind. The brand purposely left the hood out of the equation to avoid uncomfortable bulk when worn under other hooded pieces (like your waterproof shell) but kept a slightly taller collar to ensure no heat escapes. Made from soft-to-the-touch grid fleece and durable stretch fabric over the shoulders, this full-zip fleece is a surefire daily driver.
Picture Lixi Tech Sweater
Packed with 100 grams of Primaloft Black Eco insulation—one for every dollar you spend— you might never take off the women’s Lixi Tech Sweater. Picture utilizes 50-percent recycled polyester to create this dreamy layering piece with a bonded fleece brushed backing that makes it oh-so-soft to the touch. The easy-on/easy-off side zipper comes standard and it’s available in rose taupe and black. She’s a certified beaut for on-mountain layering or chillin’ by the fireside.
Strafe Outerwear Aero Pullover Insulator
Raglan sleeves on the Aero Pullover provide a bit more room in the shoulders and no bulky seams—an ideal detail for skiers who rock a backpack. The Recon Shield face fabric is durable and lightweight but difficult to tear, and even the printed interior is sewn with ripstop threads. Inside, 60 grams of Primaloft Gold with Cross Core aerogel-infused insulation keep it toasty. Stuff it into the kangaroo pouch for organized packing or use it as a pillow during long drives.
O’Neill Clime AOP Fleece HZ
Smooth against the skin, stylish and eco-conscious, the Clime AOP Fleece half-zip is available in three prints and designed for ladies who appreciate a relaxed fit pullover. Featured as part of O’Neill’s sustainable Blue Collection, stitched with 92-percent recycled polyester and lined with brushed fleece, this second layer gets the job done and gives back, too.
Smartwool Hudson Trail Fleece Anorak
Comprised of 45-percent recycled wool fleece, the Hudson Trail 3/4-zip second layer puts comfort and warmth at a premium. Available in four colorways, this wool/polyester blend pullover sweater is designed to keep bone-shivering chills at bay. Smartwool’s Merino biologists and product planners are masters of multi-season products; we expect you’ll want to keep this anorak close by for chilly days anytime of year.
Armada Kenlem Fleece
Armada’s cozy-as-hell Kenlem Fleece has a tracksuit style that’s sure to be a standout at the local watering hole or the jump line in the park. Apart from the woolly Sherpa fabric in the main body, a water-tight zipper and shoulder accents made from tough, PFC-free, DWR-treated Full Dull fabric provide protection where you need it. Layer it under a shell in the heart of winter or rock it as a standalone piece when that spring slush calls.
Mons Royale Decade Pullover
Available in both men’s and women’s styles, the all-new, mega stylin’ Decade fleece comes in a crew neck pullover (pictured here) as well as a full-zip hoodie. Ethically sourced Merino wool is the star of this midlayer—because that’s what Mons Royale does best—but DWR-treated recycled ripstop panels deserve a call-out for their added wind and moisture protection. Pair it with the matching pants for a comfort kit suitable for a post-ski tailgate dance party or a First Class red-eye to Austria.
Arc’teryx Delta LT Hoody
For those on the quest to find a technical, lightweight layering piece, the Delta LT is your holy grail. Made from a waffle-patterned synthetic fleece, this minimalist hooded midlayer is quick-drying and air-permeable—a perfect combination for big tours (and big sweats) in the backcountry. It’s definitely thin but provides just enough warmth, working best as a midlayer paired with a baselayer and a shell. Its regular fit, full-zip style offers plenty of room to groove
Flylow Fez Shirt
If you thought corduroy had no place in skiing, Flylow is here to change your mind. The updated Fez ain’t your dad’s duds; this beauty is made with today’s corduroy, an anti-wrinkle, quick-drying, moisture-busting, technical fleece fabric. Tiger’s eye snap buttons add some serious 1970s disco vibes but also make suiting up a cinch, and the two chest pockets are perfect for a few slices of leftover bacon. Rhinestones and bell bottoms not included.
Scott Insuloft Merino Jacket
Insulation through the core, stretchy merino sleeves and back, bio-sourced insulation—that’s what sets this model from Scott’s Insuloft collection apart from the pack. It’s lightweight, but don’t let its appearance fool you—this jacket is packed with 70 grams of DUROloft BIO insulation and utilizes recycled fabrics. The athletic fit makes this layer extra comfortable and it’s surprisingly packable. Simply said, this layer should always make the short list.
Dynafit Free Alpha Direct Jacket
The premiere layering piece within Dynafit’s brand-new, North American freeride-focused Free line, the Free Alpha Direct is a welcome addition to the brand’s usually tighter, brighter collection. Fuzzy Polartec Alpha insulation maintains plenty of warmth while being insanely lightweight. Paired with a wind- and water-resistant exterior, it’s an ideal outer-layer when chugging up the skin track or a premium midlayer underneath the Dynafit’s new Free Infinium Insulated Jacket on frigid days, and a great standalone for spring missions.
Picture Mohe JKT
Puffy coats usually have threaded baffles that create little pockets for insulation. But moisture can seep through the threading. As usual, Picture is looking at things differently and brings a seamless pre-baffled fabric to the Mohe puffer, significantly increasing its wind-stopping power, loft and durability over time. Polartec PowerStretch body mapping under the arms provides extra wiggle room while DuPont Sonora synthetic insulation adds the warmth. Like all Picture products, you can feel good about wearing apparel that is better for the environment.
Strafe Outerwear Aero Insulator
The Aero Insulator packs a heated punch, getting its name from the 60 grams of PrimaLoft Gold insulation infused with space-grade Aerogel. The result? Substantially more warmth for less weight. The Recon Shield shell is a tightly bound nylon ripstop fabric that expertly protects against wind and moisture; in simple terms, it works just as well layered under a shell or as a jacket on its own, depending on the day’s weather forecast. The Aero Insulator also conveniently stuffs into its own pocket for easy packing.