Synthetic-Free Base Layers and Eco-Friendly Fleeces

Base Layers

Winter adventures call for more than just excitement and adrenaline; they demand preparation and the right gear to keep you warm and comfortable in the chilly temperatures. One crucial aspect of your winter wardrobe is choosing the right base layers and fleeces, especially if you’re into Winter Ski and Snowboarding, or any outdoor activity in cold climates. In this guide, we’ll explore the importance of synthetic-free materials and highlight some of the best brands that offer eco-friendly options for your winter escapades.

The Downside of Synthetics:

Many traditional base layers and fleeces are crafted from virgin or recycled polyester, contributing to the growing problem of microplastic pollution. Not only do these synthetics harm the environment, but they can also pose health risks due to the use of azo disperse dyes, known skin sensitizers. To address these concerns, it’s time to shift our focus towards clothing made from 100% natural materials, promoting both personal well-being and environmental sustainability.

Choosing Natural Materials:

Merino wool stands out as an excellent choice for base layers, offering natural odor resistance, moisture-wicking properties, and breathability without compromising warmth. Alpaca wool and organic cotton are also viable alternatives. For those seeking flexibility, look for bio-based knit materials such as Tencel. Embracing natural fibers ensures a comfortable experience while minimizing your ecological footprint.

Toxic Dyes and Finishes:

Avoiding clothing treated with PFAS-filled waterproofing and moisture-wicking treatments is crucial. Opt for natural and bio-based finishes, like Pangaia’s peppermint oil blend. Ensure the base layers carry third-party certifications such as bluesign, REACH, and Oeko-Tex, guaranteeing the absence of harmful dyes and finishes.

Ethical Supply Chains:

Prioritize brands that transparently share information about their manufacturing practices and locations. Brands conducting internal or third-party audits demonstrate a commitment to safe working conditions and fair wages. Certifications such as Fair Trade further attest to ethical and responsible practices throughout the supply chain.

Eco-Friendly Packaging:

Pay attention to packaging – single-use plastic poly bags are still prevalent even in sustainable fashion circles. Choose brands that utilize biodegradable, compostable, or recycled packaging to align your commitment to eco-friendly practices from purchase to disposal.

Brand Spotlight:


Paka, a Certified B Corp, combines Peruvian alpaca wool and Tencel to create sustainable base layers. Oeko-Tex-certified dyes and fully biodegradable packaging enhance their eco-friendly approach. Paka’s products are not only soft and flexible but also handmade by local artisans, ensuring a unique touch.


Specializing in high-performance thermals made from merino wool sourced in New Zealand, Icebreaker offers a range of options tailored to temperature conditions and activity intensity. With a keen eye on the supply chain, Icebreaker maintains a strong commitment to quality, comfort, and sustainability.


Smartwool’s merino wool base layers prioritize comfort, warmth, and breathability. The brand uses plant-based dyes and routine supply chain audits, complemented by a “sustainability roadmap” QR code for transparency. While not all products are 100% natural, Smartwool’s commitment to continuous improvement is evident.


Certified B Corp Pangaia embraces innovative materials like recycled wool, Tencel, and organic cotton. Treated with PPRMINT, a peppermint oil blend, their fleece jackets and pants stay fresh for longer. Pangaia’s journey towards transparency includes an interactive map of Tier 1 suppliers, and their compostable packaging aligns with sustainable practices.


This PFAS-free and bluesign partner brand blends merino wool and Tencel for soft and breathable sweaters. Houdini’s focus on repair and recycling showcases a commitment to reducing waste. While information on packaging is limited, their dedication to sustainability makes them a noteworthy choice.

Kari Traa:

Founded by an Olympian, Kari Traa offers a vast collection of merino wool base layers in various styles, colors, and prints. With REACH compliance and bluesign partnership, the brand ensures comfort with soft, breathable designs. Incorporating recycled plastic in packaging adds an extra layer of eco-friendliness.


This PFAS-free Swedish brand provides versatile, 100% merino base layers designed for both functionality and style. Though limited information is available on dyes and packaging, Lundhags focuses on preventing chafing during continuous activity, showcasing attention to detail.

REI Co-op:

REI’s RWS-certified merino wool base layers prioritize comfort and flexibility, with a Fair Trade-Certified factory ensuring ethical production. Offering plus-sized options and a resale section for secondhand pieces, REI Co-op caters to diverse needs, though more information on supply chain and dyes is desirable.


As winter enthusiasts, let’s make conscious choices that not only keep us warm but also contribute to a healthier planet. By opting for synthetic-free base layers and fleeces from brands committed to sustainability and ethical practices, we can embrace the cold with a clear conscience. Remember, your choices matter – for yourself and the environment. So, gear up in style and warmth, all while leaving a positive impact on the world around you.

Latest Article
Keep Reading

Related Article