I decided to start experimenting with wool base layers…
Fabric: Merino wool
Price Paid: $65
I decided to start experimenting with wool base layers for both the ski season this past year and also for a climb in Ecuador this summer. This shirt was the first that I purchased, and it has completely sold me on the merits of wool.
My favorite things about the shirt: 1) thumb loops - why every base layer doesn't have these I don't understand. They are comfortable, they make it easy to pull other layers on over top, and they make sure that the shirt always covers your wrist and upper part of your hands; 2) the fit - the shirt is not a trim-fitting shirt. It can certainly be worn as an against-the-skin layer, or you can wear another lighterweight base layer underneath if you want to. I used this shirt in conjunction with Icebreaker's U-turn shirt and was very happy with the combination. 3) minimal stench after days of use - the marketing around this aspect of wool is not hype. 4) The zip-neck provides options for additional ventilation or complete coverage of your neck.
The downsides: 1) heavier than an equivalent synthetic shirt, and requires more attention to proper care; 2) takes longer to dry than a synthetic shirt - although this is more noticeable when the shirt is soaked than just normal moisture due to exercise.
Bottom line: this has become a staple of my outdoor clothing when the temperature starts getting cooler. It looks great, fits well and functions perfectly.