Patagonia Capilene MW Variable Knit Crew
The Capilene MW Variable Knit Crew has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best base layer tops for 2023.
If you are still able to find one of these shirts (they were discontinued in 2006, I believe), I *highly* recommend buying it. It's the finest cold-weather workout shirt I've owned. It's not terrifically warm by itself, but it does provide some limited insulation--its stellar qualities are the fact that it provides some limited wind resistance combined with excellent moisture management.
With a normal midweight Capilene top under a vest, I'm very conscious of the wind on my arms when I'm cross-country skiing in sub-20 degree weather. With the variable-knit top, I hardly notice it (I skied for an hour on a 5 degree day just this morning, for instance). If it's in the high 20s, I can ski with just this and feel fine.
Your mileage may vary--I tend to be pretty warm-blooded, so I'm usually more worried about overheating than being cold; if you're like me, this might be a very good choice. (If you need to layer up massively to endure the cold even when you're highly active, then you'll probably be more comfortable with a normal wicking top and some kind of light shell.)
One final note: I wear a medium in other Patagonia Capilene crew-tops, so I bought a medium. I was surprised to find that it fit a lot differently--it's much more form-fitting, which was no surprise, but the arms are enormously longer, so much so that I have to roll up the cuffs. The fact that I wear this shirt constantly despite that irritation should provide some sense of the regard in which I hold it.
Fabric: Midweight capilene variable knit.
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