Gear Highlight #1 – Base Layers and Underwear

Submitted by Thorsten on 8th November 2018

Gear Highlight is a series of posts counting down to our Hardangervidda ski crossing in January 2019. Each post we will present a different category of gear we will be bringing on our trip. See all Gear Highlight posts.

Today we are starting a new series to present the kit we are going to use on our Hardangervidda crossing at the end of January. Each post will deal with one (more or less) well-defined category of gear. We will explain why we are bringing it, and why we are choosing that particular brand, if there is a specific reason. This post will deal with base layers and socks.

“Use only wool underwear” was one of three key pieces of advice Thorleif Thorleifsson gave us, when we talked to him about our idea to cross Hardangervidda. And we are sticking to it. 

Devold Breeze Merino Boxers (Thorsten)

Our underwear stays on 24/7 during the expedition, so it needs to be comfortable and not too tight. Since we won’t change it every day, it’s good if it is not too delicate. Merino wool is the perfect fabric for base layers. It dries super fast, and it does not smell as much as synthetic. I am going with Devold of Norway here. I am absolutely convinced by their quality. It’s even machine washable. I am bringing two of those.

Alpkit kelper merino briefs and t-shirt (Lauren)

As with Thorsten’s boxers, these are a soft, lightweight wool in the same range, designed as a simple base layer. I find them very comfortable and absolutely do the job of keeping me warm, even in the damp.

Bravissimo Skye Sports bra (Lauren)

I’ve been unable to find a merino bra which fits and offers any kind of support, so I’ve reluctantly gone with a synthetic bra. It’s comfy and plenty supportive enough for skiing, and is wireless so it feels ok to sleep in. I would prefer something a little softer, and after a few days it starts to whiff a bit, but it’ll do for now!

Devold Expedition Long Johns & Devold Expedition Zip Neck (both)

It’s cold in Hardangervidda. With 235g/m, Expedition merinos are the heaviest base layers in Devold’s product range. Thorsten is bringing two each of their Long Johns bottoms and Zip Neck tops, Lauren has one pair. On regular days skiing, one will be enough to keep us toasty warm, but if it gets really cold, we can wear the second pair on top. They have same same qualities the boxer shorts have.

Devold Daily Medium Merino Socks (Thorsten)

In our skiing boots, we are going to wear multiple socks. The first pair are thin or medium merino liners. Again, Devold is the way to go for me. I am bringing two pairs.

Ice breaker hike crew socks (Lauren)

These are mid weight merino sock with arch support. I’ve worn them hiking a lot and find them comfy and warm even when soaked through, and pretty smell resistant, which will be helpful after a week in my ski boots!

Alpkit Heavy Weight Trekker (both)

We are wearing heavy wool socks over the liner socks and moisture barrier, which we will talk about in one of our next gear highlights. Unfortunately, really heavy socks are the one thing missing from Devold’s product lineup, so we both went with Alpkit here. We are bringing two pairs each again.

That’s it for our base layers. Next time we’re going to cover mid layers for skiing and camping.

Gear Highlight #1 – Base Layers and Underwear


Keen hiker and ÖAV trekking and hiking guide, in love with Nansen. Owner of the most walk-averse rescue dog ever. Ice cream lover, kit junkie, runner and mad software genius.