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What do smart travelers have in common? Frequent flyers use thermals under their clothes so they can travel carry-on only even in winter. Find out the brands our readers most recommend!


For a full packing guide, read how to pack for cold weather like a boss!


Best Thermal Underwear for Women



Thermal underwear is a type of clothing worn beneath your top layers to keep your body warm, especially during harsh winter temperatures. Made from specialty fabric to protect against the cold, women’s thermal underwear traps body heat to provide warmth.


Start by reading these general tips on packing for winter travel:


The best thermal underwear for women often feature popular and recommended fabrics, such as merino wool and polyester blends, because they are lightweight, ultra-warm, and wick away moisture. Outdoor brands specifically choose certain fabrics that are ideal for traveling in the winter.


Another smart traveler secret is to re-wear clothing more than once without washing. Read more tips about this strategy here!



How to Choose the Best Thermals


The best thermals are made from merino wool or silk fabric because it wicks away moisture, it’s lightweight, and ultra-warm.


People love these fabrics for travel!

One of the biggest benefits of traveling with clothing made with merino wool is that it can be reworn several times without washing. Some travelers have even gone weeks wearing it repeatedly without washing it!

Due to this reason, you only need to travel with one pair of woolen thermal underwear on a trip helping you pack light yet stay extremely warm. I usually pack them in one of my packing cubes along with my undergarments and pajamas as shown at the end of this video.

The biggest downside with merino wool and silk thermal underwear is the price. Because they’re high quality materials, they are high in price but well worth adding to your capsule wardrobe. All you need is one pair! Keep an eye out for sales.

Synthetic blends are a less expensive option. Although not quite as effective as natural fibers, they’ll definitely help keep you warmer than not having them at all.


Keep in mind that cotton is the least effective fabric for winter under clothes such as thermals. It absorbs moisture, preventing your clothing from helping you stay warm.



What Brands Offer the Best Women’s Thermal Underwear?


Below, we’ve lined up a few brands that offer the best thermal underwear for women:




Silk Undershirts | Silk Thermal Pants


Terramar Thermasilk Silk Thermal Underwear


Silk thermals from Terramar are made with 100% silk pointelle knit. Their anti-microbial comfort technology is a plus when you want to re-wear your clothing.

While they also offer fleece-lined tops and bottoms, their silk layers are most noteworthy. The fabric offers optimal warmth but is ultra lightweight. Stay warm without the bulk! Katherine Orloff says, ” I always take a Terramar silk undershirt. Takes up no room, and layers perfectly.”

As a plus, they’re also one of the best silk thermals I’ve found, and they’re the most affordable brands, too. I’ve got the silk scoop neck top and bottoms on my holiday wish list for sure!


Tip: when it’s really cold, layer a silk thermal under a merino wool thermal top for the perfect combo of warmth!




Merino Wool Thermal Top | Merino Wool Bottoms


Minus33 Merino Wool Womens Thermal Underwear


The name speaks for itself: this brand’s expertise is all about wool. Minus33 makes use of sustainable, 100% merino wool in all their clothing offerings. Their thermal underwear is made with basic and bright colors that work as mid-weight base layers for your cold weather wardrobe.


As an added bonus, did you know merino wool makes a great base layer for dry suit scuba diving?




Base Layer Top | Base Layer Bottom


ColdPruf Womens Thermal Base Layer Top and Bottom

Price: $14-$40


If you’re looking for the warmest base layer for cold weather consider Coldprufpart of the Indera Mills Company, a family-owned brand in North Carolina. ColdPruf creates knitted and thermal underwear products that give off a familiar, cozy feeling. While it doesn’t offer the same level of warmth as merino thermals, their products are made with a polyester and cotton blend that acts as a budget-friendly base layer.




Thermal Top | Thermal Bottom


Cuddl Duds Long Underwear for Women

Price: $29-$42


A supremely cute name for a brand that specializes in cozy clothing, women’s Cuddl Duds long underwear is best for affordability. From fabric to fit, they offer winter wear that can be worn in layers to provide warmth without breaking the bank. You can choose from different waffle-knit designed patterns and colors to match your lifestyle.

Cuddl Duds thermal leggings get top marks from our readers. Heidi Barry Rodriguez says, “For an inexpensive base layer I like the Softwear Stretch leggings. They are amazing.

When it’s really cold out, I put the leggings under it – those are not constricting at all. I walked all over New York City in below freezing weather and I was warm. Soft, comfy, and hand wash well. The shirts are terrific, and the leggings are excellent under other leggings or pants.

A Cuddl Dud crewneck, with a button up shirt and a merino sweater, was perfect for very cold weather urban sightseeing. Ditch the button up shirt for normal cold, add a decorative scarf, and stay toasty!”


TFG readers love their classic and best thermal underwear for women, especially for their budget-friendly prices.




Woolies Tech Long Sleeve Shirt | Woolies Tech Layer Bottoms


ibex Merino Wool Base Layer Top and Bottom – Editor’s Pick!

Price: $105-$115


If you’re looking for something well-made and reliable, the ibex merino wool thermal underwear is of superior quality and it’s been a long time favorite of TFG’s editor!

The Woolies Tech Long Sleeve Shirt not only works as an excellent base layer under midweights but it can be worn solo as a shirt. While the Woolies Tech Layer Bottoms are described as lightweight and work well under trousers or a dress, so not as heavy as typical tights.

One happy user endorses the Woolies soft, long sleeve shirt, “I was surprised by the versatility of this piece when it arrived and have worn it frequently since I bought it a few months ago. It’s a great base layer!” 

While another reviewer can’t get enough of the Woolies breathable bottoms and talks about the odor-controlling properties of merino wool, “Wonderful for staying warm inside during winter and so useful to layer. These natural fibers don’t retain odor like synthetic fibers. Always a must-have addition to a wardrobe.”




Merino Wool Thermal Top | Merino Wool Thermal Bottom


Icebreaker Thermal Underwear Merino Wool Top and Bottom

Price: $70-$89


It’s a brand that explicitly states what it’s meant to do: break the ice. Made for the adventure traveler, Icebreaker creates clothing options to match your outdoor necessities. Their base layers are 100% merino wool, perfect for winter hikes, camping, and travel.

Anubha, one of our guest writers, lives in the Canadian arctic and wears Icebreaker all day every day. She says, “I’ve found Icebreaker products perform very well in terms of fit, durability, and temperature regulation – I’ve had no problem throwing them in with the laundry!

I would also recommend their socks and undies, if you want to go for a full-wool ensemble. They’re some of the best extreme cold weather thermals.

In terms of style and weight, I find myself reaching for the Icebreaker Everyday Long Underwear Leggings in 200gm and the Oasis Long Sleeve Crew in 200gm. If I could add anything to my Icebreaker collection, it would be the Tech Top Long Sleeve Half Zip.

Icebreaker doesn’t just make some of the best thermal underwear for extreme cold, they also have great travel clothes, too. Our backpacking guru Tammy Lowe recommends the Villa dress.

Reader Gina Stanyer says, “I love icebreaker. I have several tops and dresses, they can be layered up with boots and tights in winter or worn with sandals in summer. The fabric is amazing – it stays fresh for many wearings!”


For a trip to an extremely cold destination, read our post on what clothing to wear in the arctic!




Thermal ShirtThermal Leggings


Duofold Mid Weight Wicking Thermals for Women

Price: $10-$30


This sub-brand by Champion invites users to “hold on to the heat”, and they make it possible with their league of thermal underwear! Their snug-fitting, moisture control products are made with cotton, polyester, and spandex blends. Solid tops and bottoms can easily be paired and layered with other clothing against the cold.


One of the biggest perks is the price: their mid-weight bottoms start around $10 and the higher grade tops start around $25.




Baselayer Top | Baselayer Bottom


Meriwool Midweight Baselayer Top And Bottom

Price: $40-45


Merino wool is one of the most perfect fabrics for keeping you warm and comfortable all day. It will naturally wick moisture away from your body. It is anti-bacterial and resists odors. You can wear it to stay warm in winter or cool in summer. It’s a fabulous fabric!

Meriwool’s baselayer crewneck top in merino wool offers a flattering fit if you want to wear it alone. You also can wear it as a baselayer or a mid-layer, if you need additional warmth. The merino wool leggings and top feature super soft fabric, with no itch.

This Meriwool quick-drying shirt and thermal leggings have a loop you can use to hang them dry. We don’t usually recommend washing merino wool while traveling; first, because you can wear them many times between washings, and second because it takes wool a long time to dry.

Meriwool recommends you hand wash their products and lay them flat to dry for best results, but the washing instructions on this merino wool crew top and leggings say you can machine wash them on cold and tumble dry on low with like colors. You might not want to do it all the time, but if you need to wash your merino wool while traveling, that’s one way to ensure they would be dry.

Our readers suggest the best merino wool sweaters!




Fleece Thermal Top | Fleece Thermal Leggings


Angelina Fleece Women’s Thermals

Price: $9-$30


The Amazon-based Angelina brand offers winter wear, including fleece-lined thermal underwear for women. Not only are their prices super affordable, but their products come in a wide array of colors so there’s something for every personality.

While the other bottoms listed in this article act as the perfect under clothes layers, these styles from Angelina are the best thermal leggings for winter to be worn on their own. Thermal bottoms tend to loosen with wear but since these leggings have a microfiber spandex blend.

Their inexpensive, fleece lined thermal leggings are one of the most popular and best-selling items featured in TFG’s ten best leggings for women who travel and I’m definitely going to get them the next time I’m in the US!


They also offer fleece-lined tops which sound absolutely amazing as I write to you from my bitterly cold English flat. Brrrrr!




Longsleeve Top | Merino Leggings


Unbound Merino Merino Wool Thermal Underwear

Price: $98-$155


The Merino leggings and Longsleeve crew top from Unbound Merino are loved by readers for their cozy warmth and versatility. These thermals are made from merino wool, so they’re soft, moisture-wicking, quick-drying, and temperature-regulating to keep you warm on freezing winter days. And while they’re fantastic base layers, both the top and bottoms are fully opaque and thick enough to be worn alone on a slightly warmer day, for sightseeing, or just for lounging around. 

They’re perfect for travel as they’re wrinkle-resistant, hold their shape super well, and don’t retain odor, so you can wear them repeatedly without washing and they’ll stay feeling and smelling fresh!




HEATTECH Longsleeve Top | HEATTECH Leggings


Uniqlo HEATTECH Thermal Underwear

Price: $24.90


These Uniqlo HEATTECH top and bottoms are my new favorite thermals. They were a lifesaver on my trip to Tokyo–so warm yet so lightweight. 

They have odor control and are moisture-wicking, so these thermals will feel (and smell) fresh not only after a long day of wear but also after multiple wears. Despite the superior warming technology, these thermals are impressively lightweight, so you can comfortably layer them under fitted tops and pants. They have a great amount of stretch, too! 



Here’s a quick review of the brands for the best thermal underwear for women:

[wpsm_comparison_table id=”26″ class=”center-table-align”]




Compass Rose Carryon Packing Cubes


How to Pack Your Thermals


Packing cubes will change the way you pack. We designed our own brand of slim packing cubes, with a unique color and numbering system, so it’s easy to remember where you’ve packed everything—ESPECIALLY your thermal underwear!

We put together a five-part YouTube series showing the different methods to use packing cubes for travel. Check out the first video below:



Learn our packing hacks with packing cubes in this video!


If you use this specific packing strategy, packing cubes can also compress your belongings. This is the secret to traveling carry-on only!



Read this post on how to stay warm in cold weather and not look like a snowman!

Who gets your vote for the best thermal underwear for women? Comment and share!






For more winter travel tips, please read:


I hope you liked our top picks for the best thermal underwear for women. Share this post with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Thanks for reading!