Patagonia Capilene Midweight Bottoms - Women's Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Amazing breathability, comfortable on the skin, great fit, good warmth, cute colors and designs
Cons: Less durable than previous version, holds smell after time
Compare to Similar Products
Patagonia Capilene Midweight Bottoms - Women's
|Price||$48.30 at Backcountry|
Compare at 2 sellers
|$110.00 at REI|
Compare at 2 sellers
|$29.83 at REI|
Compare at 2 sellers
|$65 List||$60 List|
$59.99 at Amazon
|Pros||Amazing breathability, comfortable on the skin, great fit, good warmth, cute colors and designs||Warm and cozy, will keep you dry, improved fit||Affordable, stylish design, super comfortable, excellent fit||Very breathable, ultralight construction, quick drying, great snug fit||Great value, very warm, breathable, cute color options, comfortable waistband, versatile fit|
|Cons||Less durable than previous version, holds smell after time||Lacks durability when worn alone, not the most technical or breathable option||Not as breathable due to thicker waistband, welded seams aren't our favorite||Not as comfortable as merino fabric||Stretches out over time|
|Bottom Line||A synthetic long underwear bottom with an all around impressive performance at a fair price||A versatile merino wool bottom for cozy winter days of activity or inactivity||A versatile synthetic bottom featuring modern style, unbelievable comfort, sufficient thermoregulation, and affordability||A highly breathable layer that dries quickly, making it exceptional for intense cool to cold weather activity||A merino wool pant that's warm, comfortable, and offers a great value|
|Rating Categories||Patagonia Capilene...||Smartwool Merino 25...||Kari Traa Rulle Hig...||Odlo Performance Li...||Meriwool Merino The...|
|Comfort and Fit (30%)|
|Specs||Patagonia Capilene...||Smartwool Merino 25...||Kari Traa Rulle Hig...||Odlo Performance Li...||Meriwool Merino The...|
|Material||100% recycled polyester||100% Merino wool||70% acrylic, 20% modal, 10% Merino wool||69% polyester, 27% polyamide, 4% elastane||100% Merino wool|
|Fabric Weight (g/m²)||N/A||250 g/m²||N/A||N/A||250 g/m²|
|Measured Weight (size medium)||5.6 oz||7.3 oz||5.9 oz||3.1 oz||7.8 oz|
|Cuts Avaliable||Full length||3/4 length, full length, onsie (full body w/ hood)||Full length||Full length||Full length|
|Smelly Over Time?||Yes||No||No||No||No|
|Odor Control Fabric||HeiQ Fresh||Naturally odor resistant||N/A||N/A||Naturally odor resistant|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Midweight Capilene built by Patagonia is historically known as a workhorse synthetic that can truly take a beating. Winning an award for its stellar all-around performance, this layer will keep you cool when it's hot and warm when it's cold. This pant is comfortable and great for all types of adventures. Wear them on their own or under a pair of pants.
We tested this bottom during a snowstorm in Colorado, early season, worn both on its own and under a pair of pants. The material feels quite thin, but it is constructed of two layers of polyester. The upper layer is smooth to the touch and layers easily under other pants. The fabric closest to the skin is new and redesigned. Instead of the "power grid" fleece squares that it used to have, the interior fabric is now outfitted with hexagonal shapes that aren't fleecy but are still quite warm.
The Capilene is rated at a midweight level, so it is quite versatile. It's not as thick as the 'thermal weight' bottom option, which offers more warmth overall, but it's also not super lightweight. We found it perfect for layering underneath insulated snow pants on a super cold day. Or you can wear it under non-insulated pants on a warmer winter day.
We also appreciate that the pant is warm enough to easily wear to bed on camping trips but not so hot that you can't hike in it too. In fact, given its reasonable amount of warmth, it's a lovely option to wear on its own on a run, hike, or climbing adventure.
We absolutely love how breathable this fabric is. Made of 100% recycled polyester, the fibers are more rigid and do an excellent job of wicking and drying. The material in the newest update of this pant is thinner than the previous version, making it even more breathable than before.
We tested the Capilene while skinning uphill with a pair of snow pants and while hiking and running. In all situations, the temperatures started just under freezing and sometimes moved up to the fifties. When layered and not layered, this bottom did a great job of moving moisture away from the body to keep us dry. When we opened the vents on our pants, our skin remained nice and dry throughout the day.
The fabric itself, being composed of synthetic material, doesn't hold moisture for long periods of time, especially when it's exposed to the open air. The material isn't so tightly knit that the moisture gets caught in the fabric. Instead, it dries out very quickly. This was confirmed by a few objective drying and in-field tests we conducted. Overall, you can assume great breathability with the Capilene Midweight. It's a wonderful option for cold mountain running (worn on its own) or for wear under a pair of snow pants.
Comfort and Fit
We appreciate the super cozy and thinner design of this iteration of the Capilene. While it isn't as cozy as other merino wool contenders, of the synthetic options out there, it is the most comfortable we've had the pleasure of testing. The newer design is thinner and feels softer against the skin than before. The sizing is true to fit, and the pant retains its shape, even after running, sitting, playing, and exploring.
While synthetic fabrics aren't nearly as comfortable or cozy as merino wool, Patagonia did good work making their trademark long underwear bottom soft and comfortable for all-day wear. Even though the synthetic fabrics cool much faster than merino wool options and aren't the most comfortable thing to pull on if they've been sitting out on a cool morning, we appreciate the cozy warmth they retain when worn. However, even though the fabric is treated to prevent odors, this pant does not do that very well. If you sweat heavily, you'll find them stinking after a day or two of heavy use. So be sure you can wash them.
We wore the Capilene Midweight all day while hiking, running, working, and sleeping. During all these activities, the fabric retained its performance to keep us comfortable. To the touch, the materials aren't as soft as merino wool and feel a touch bit scratchier, but even when sweating, we didn't notice the rougher fabrics being a problem. The thinner design also offers better layering capabilities.
The fit is true to size, and the waistband isn't too tight or loose and is comfortable against the skin. This pant retains its shape throughout the day (not as well as its predecessor, though) and is okay for wear on its own, given the cute patterns and color options.
We really love how durable this pant is. We've tested it while hiking, skiing, and running, and it still looks new. The polyester fibers are more durable to abrasion, stretch, and wear, which makes these pants suitable for wear on their own. That said, in comparison to the last iteration, the fabrics seem a little softer and are more prone to snags, given the thinner face design.
While we haven't had the opportunity to test this pant for very long, only time will tell. The previous version lasted us the entire year and still looked almost unworn. Upon first inspection, this new version seems a little less durable than the previous version; however, it still offers great durability in comparison to the rest of the products out there. We will continue testing and report back if we find anything different.
Given the good durability, decent price, and balanced all-around performance of this synthetic contender, it's most certainly one we recommend. If you're seeking a base layer that'll last and perform for a good price, this is it. Its midweight design is quite versatile, offering year-round use to wear on its own or underneath other pants. Its thinner design is also okay to wear underneath a pair of jeans or work pants when the temperatures really begin to dip into the negatives. We just don't love that the fabric gets smelly — quickly — especially if you glow heavily, but this is still a high-value product all around.
The Patagonia Capilene Midweight Bottom is a synthetic base layer and a super popular option on the market. This is primarily because of its well-crafted design that is comfortable to wear all day while offering a nice balance of warmth and breathability. Its high performance and great price win it an award and our continued recommendation.
— Amber King
Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.
GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.Learn More