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REI Co-op Midweight Base Layer Crew - Women's Review

This durable base layer features a soft and stretchy fabric and a slim fit for a variety of activities, all for an affordable price
rei co-op midweight base layer crew for women
Credit: REI Co-op
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $55 List | Check Price at REI
Pros:  Affordable, thumb loops, soft fabric, great fit, durable
Cons:  Tightly woven fabric doesn't breathe very well, smelly
Manufacturer:   REI Co-op
By Trish Matheny ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 15, 2022
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72
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 19
  • Warmth - 25% 7.0
  • Breathability - 25% 6.0
  • Comfort and Fit - 20% 8.0
  • Layering Ability - 20% 8.0
  • Durability - 10% 7.0

Our Verdict

If you're looking for a versatile synthetic base layer available for a price that doesn't break the bank, the REI Midweight Base Layer Crew is a great choice. While not the warmest or highest performing layer, it features a soft and stretchy polyester-blended fabric that will keep up with you during those shoulder season adventures. Strategically placed flatlock seams enhance overall comfort and durability, while the longer cut and thumb loops increase warmth. Because this layer tends to hold onto moisture once absorbed into the fabric, we do not recommend it for high-output cold-weather pursuits. That said, it is a great budget-friendly option for those looking to stay warm during moderately cold weather activities.

Editor's Note: This review was updated on November 15, 2022, after we retested this layer for our Fall update.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Best Buy Award Best Buy Award    
Price $55 List
Check Price at REI
$75 List$55 List
$54.99 at Amazon
$60 List
$59.99 at Amazon
$50 List
$49.95 at REI
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Pros Affordable, thumb loops, soft fabric, great fit, durableAffordable, thumb loops, long cut, easy to layer over top, soft and durable fabricAffordable, warm, breathable, thumb loops, 1/4 zip design improves ventilationExceptionally breathable, well-priced, doesn't smell, functional for all seasonsExcellent wicking power, breathable, super cute design, comfortable fabrics against the skin
Cons Tightly woven fabric doesn't breathe very well, smellyMaterial is not midweightOdd fit, traps odorSee-through, lacks durability, pillingPoor durability, requires specific maintenance, see-through with lighter colors
Bottom Line This durable base layer features a soft and stretchy fabric and a slim fit for a variety of activities, all for an affordable priceThis affordable base layer features ultra fine Merino wool fibers that are super comfortable next to your skin, effectively wick away moisture, and remain odor-freeThis blended polyester and Merino wool base layer provides warmth and breathability at a fraction of the costA low cost, lightweight Merino wool top that breathes well and doesn't hold on to stinkA comfortable and very lightweight silk base layer that requires care so as not to damage
Rating Categories REI Co-op Midweight... Ridge Merino Aspect... Carhartt Force Heav... Roman Trail Outfitt... REI Co-op Silk V-Neck
Warmth (25%)
7.0
6.0
7.0
4.0
3.0
Breathability (25%)
6.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
9.0
Comfort and Fit (20%)
8.0
9.0
6.0
7.0
7.0
Layering Ability (20%)
8.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
Durability (10%)
7.0
7.0
6.0
5.0
3.0
Specs REI Co-op Midweight... Ridge Merino Aspect... Carhartt Force Heav... Roman Trail Outfitt... REI Co-op Silk V-Neck
Fabric Weight Midweight Lightweight Midweight Lightweight (160 g/m²) Silkweight
Measured Weight 7.5 oz 6.0 oz 7.8 oz 4.2 oz 2.4 oz
Material 92% polyester, 8% spandex 84% Merino wool, 16% nylon 81% polyester, 19% wool 100% Merino wool Ribbed silk
Avaliable Cuts Crew, 1/2 zip neck Crew, 1/4 zip Crew, 1/4 zip Crew V-neck, cami
Odor Control Fabric None Naturally odor resistant Naturally odor resistant Naturaly odor resistant None
Thumb Loops? No Yes Yes No No
UPF (sun protection) 50+ 50+ No N/A No
Length Medium Long Medium Medium Medium
Fit Fitted, true to size Slim Fit is small, size up Fitted, true to size Loose and fitted, true to size
Accessory Pocket? No No No No No
Flat-lock Seams? Yes Yes Yes No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

The REI Co-Op Midweight features a polyester and spandex blended fabric that never limits range of motion, thanks to the four way stretch design. Our testers love the discreet thumb loops and longer cut that increase overall warmth and make the top easier to layer. The thoughtfully placed flatlock seams increase comfort when shouldering a heavy pack and also inspire confidence that this base layer will last for many adventures to come. While not the highest performer in terms of breathability, our testers would recommend this base layer for moderate cold weather pursuits when you are not generating a ton of sweat that needs to be wicked away from the body and released through the tightly woven fabric.

Performance Comparison


rei co-op midweight base layer crew for women - the rei co-op midweight base layer crew is a great choice when worn...
The REI Co-op Midweight Base Layer Crew is a great choice when worn alone for fall weather days and it easily layers below a puffy for colder, shadier areas.
Credit: Lindsey Fell

Warmth


While not the warmest nor the thickest base layer that we tested, the REI Co-Op Midweight features a tightly woven synthetic fabric that will help protect you against the cold. This layer features quite a slim fit and a 92% polyester and 8% spandex fabric construction that successfully trapped body heat during our cold weather activities. Our testers love the thumb loop feature that covered the majority of our hands when fully extended and kept our digits warm when the temperatures dropped. We also love the longer fit that increased warmth below the waist to our hips.


During our fall trail runs, we noticed that while the layer was able to trap our body heat and move sweat away from our skin, the fabric holds onto the moisture generated after gaining some elevation. We found that this lowered the level of warmth the layer can maintain when dry and therefore we only recommend this layer during moderate activities. While the midweight fabric itself provides enough warmth for shoulder seasons when the temperatures aren't consistently below freezing, the thin layer will not be warm enough as a stand alone piece during those winter days on the chairlift.

rei co-op midweight base layer crew for women - featuring a longer cut, thumb loops, and tightly woven fabric, the...
Featuring a longer cut, thumb loops, and tightly woven fabric, the REI Co-op Midweight Base Layer Crew offers enough warmth when worn alone or below other insulation.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Breathability


When compared to other synthetic base layers in this review, the REI Co-Op Midweight, does not offer a competitive performance in terms of breathability. The slim fit and tightly woven fabric seem to prevent the layer from breathing as well as other layers that are more air permeable, allowing more moisture to be wicked away from the skin.


On a long trail run, our testers noticed that the layer successfully wicked moisture away from the body, but did not successfully evaporate the sweat out the layer. This issue was compounded when we layered the top beneath other fleece and synthetic jackets as the base of the system trapped moisture and thereby reduced the overall warmth. That being said, it performed well during moderate activities such as hiking or rock climbing in the shade when you aren't necessarily working up a sweat during high output activities such as backcountry skiing or trail running.

rei co-op midweight base layer crew for women - the tightly woven fabric prevents the layer from breathing as...
The tightly woven fabric prevents the layer from breathing as efficiently as we would prefer. While it is able to wick moisture away from the skin, the fabric itself takes a long time to dry.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Comfort & Fit


The REI Co-Op Midweight features soft and stretchy fabric and a slim fit. The long cut extends beyond the torso which not only increases warmth but also allows the layer to remain tucked in, a feature our lead tester appreciated when wearing with her harness during fall days at the crag. While we would agree that the fit is true to size, it is slim, hugging your curves and fitting tightly around your shoulders. If you're after a loose fitting base layer, this would not be our first recommendation.


The polyester and spandex blended fabric feels soft next to our skin, softer than you might expect from a synthetic layer. We appreciated the 4 way stretch design that never limited our range of motion as well as the flatlock seams that are strategically placed so as to prevent chafing when wearing a backpack. All in all, our testers were satisfied with this slim-fitting base layer thanks to its stretchy fabric built to move with you throughout a variety of activities.

rei co-op midweight base layer crew for women - our testers love the slim fit and stretchy fabric.
Our testers love the slim fit and stretchy fabric.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Layering Ability


Our testers love the thumb loop feature which enhanced the layering ability of this top by holding it in place and preventing the layer from bunching up while combining with a midlayer fleece or jacket over top. We also found that the polyester and spandex blended fabric created a smooth surface that didn't grab other fabrics when layering in a system.


While the REI Co-Op Midweight is rather easy to layer over top, we noticed that the slim fit prevented layering underneath with anything more than a tank top. When trying to layer anything with sleeves underneath, our testers found it far too tight, thereby limiting breathability as well as range of motion. Overall, this base layer is easy to layer over top, however, too tight of a fit to layer anything more than a tank top or sports bra underneath.

rei co-op midweight base layer crew for women - too tight to layer much more than a tank top underneath but the...
Too tight to layer much more than a tank top underneath but the smooth fabric and thumb loops allow for easy layering over the top.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Durability


After an extensive three month testing period during the fall in Yosemite Valley and Indian Creek, we subjected this layer to every abrasive activity we could think of, from long trail runs to the rims to off-width climbs up to 150 feet in length. We're happy to report that we experienced no issues with durability after multiple adventures and washes.


Perhaps our only complaint in this metric is that the synthetic fabric smells almost immediately. This can be a concern if planning on an extended road trip or an overseas adventure when you don't have access to a shower or laundromat. We must admit this is often the case with synthetics and merino wool is often our first choice for a naturally odor-free fabric. That being said, the smell would subside after washing with detergent. After hundreds of feet of offwidth climbing, our testers are confident in the durability and construction of this affordable base layer.

rei co-op midweight base layer crew for women - durable enough to climb 150 feet of offwidth (read: lots of arm...
Durable enough to climb 150 feet of offwidth (read: lots of arm contact with the rocks), this layer is built to last.
Credit: Lindsey Fell

Should You Buy the REI Co-op Midweight Base Layer Crew?


While this base layer doesn't perform as well as other synthetics layers in this review, our testers believe that you get what you pay for. Features like strategically placed flatlock seams enhance the overall comfort and durability of this layer. Additionally, it's available for a fraction of the cost of other synthetics while still providing enough warmth, thanks to a durable and stretchy fabric, as well as a slim fit that effectively traps body heat during moderate cold weather activities.

What Other Women's Base Layers Should You Consider?


Our testers love this layer for its budget-friendly features, however, if you're willing to invest a little more for a higher performing base layer, check out our Top Pick for Midweight Breathability, the [Patagonia Capilene Thermal Weight Zip-Neck - women's | Patagonia Capilene Thermal Weight Zip-Neck]. Or for a base layer that offers incredible features that make it worth the investment, check out our ultra durable Editor's Choice for Synthetic Base Layer, the [Arc'teryx Rho LT Zip Neck - women's | Arc'teryx Rho LT Zip Neck].

rei co-op midweight base layer crew for women - this synthetic base layer outperforms its affordable price tag.
This synthetic base layer outperforms its affordable price tag.
Credit: Lindsey Fell

Trish Matheny
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