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Base Layers / Socks - Allergic to Wool

I am extremely allergic to wool. I hike and camp all seasons frequently... but I am struggling to find a good "replacement" for wool base layers and socks. I also attend forest school with my daughter that I will need base layers for. I have one Columbia base layer that is a spandex type material but taking more suggestions...


4 Replies

Something like Patagonia's capaline should be just right - all polyester.  I have some capaline items and they work just fine....Probably other brands as wll

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

When you say allergic to wool?  Does that apply to all wools?  I assume yes.  But, we know what assume can do.

Arc'teryx, Patagonia (as already mentioned) and REI all have some non-wool versions as well.  

Have you tried some Google searches (Bing or other searches)?  There are a few sites that do reviews of gear and apparel.  And, I noticed on the one site I use quite a bit that there are a good number of non-wool apparel items.  Socks might be a bit tougher.  That same site showed a couple of non-wool options (Wigwam and Wrightsock).




I use heavy acrylic work socks with thin polypropylene liners inside. This combination is particularly warm in winter weather. Also the acrylic stays warm when wet and is more durable than wool.

The ones I use are so old that I can't remember where I bought them. Probably a workwear store. Something like Dickies Men's High Bulk Acrylic Thermal Boot Crew Socks


Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

I would also mention, for base layers - check out Odlo.  I believe they are European and cater to skiers and back country explorers.  It is a brand that REI carries.  As far as socks, check out Darn Tough (another that REI carries).  Darn Tough does a lot of merino wool, but, I believe they have synthetic insulated socks as well.  Another brand to check out on socks is Thorlos (REI carries these, too).

I don't think you can go wrong with the REI Co-Op brand synthetic base layers as someone mentioned.  Arc'teryx is great, but, expensive.  If you can find Arc'teryx on sale or used, definitely go for it.