I need a new pair of long johns as we have moved to a colder climate and are trying not spend too much on heating. I am looking for something really warm but not super bulky. I would love recommendations. Wool, silk, cotton, synthetic? Any brands you really love? I don't mind if they are a little pricey because we are saving on heating and I hope to be able to use them for a couple of years.
mother of 2, wife, daughter, lawyer, toddler wearing, extended breastfeeding, ec-ing, water birthing....
I have really liked duofold long johns - somewhat pricey (in comparison to others), but they last really well. I had a set that easily lasted 10 years before getting too many holes (but being long johns, I wore them anyway after that). I think they make a wool-cotton blend (with some synthetic, but not so much it gets uncomfortable).
I don't have a brand recommendation, sorry, but when you are choosing textile content, think about your activity level when you wear them.
Cotton is fine for a base layer if you aren't going to be very active and won't be sweating in them. Cotton holds moisture, so if you perspire the long underwear will stay damp and cause a chill. Not a problem if you are just sitting at home or in the office or driving to the mall. Terrible if you are exercising and spending a few hours outside on a windy, freezing day.
If you are going to exercise a lot, then chose a fabric that will wick away moisture. I find technical fabrics are most effective, but if you don't like synthetics, then merino wool or silk are better than cotton. Silk will hold moisture though.
Another issue is itchiness, depending on skin sensitivity. I find even the ultrafine merino wool (Icebreaker) still feels a little scratchy on my skin, despite the marketing claims. I don't notice at first, but after a while I realize that I'm itching everywhere.
I survived a very, very cold winter in Sweden in a pair of Smartwool long underwear. I seriously never took them off -- they were pajamas at night and kept me warm under my winter gear all day. Love Smartwool! They are expensive, but worth every penny. Sierra Trading post often has them on sale.
I had silk as well, but found them to be minimally helpful with the cold.
Frugal, food growing mama to my four loves
I recommend silk long john (I think I got mine at Land's End). They are nice and warm - I spend a lot of time outdoors in Minnesota in the wonter. But they are so thin that they are comfortable to wear under jeans.
If the chips are down, the buffalo is empty.
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