Wild Rye Baselayer Battle

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Intro

Wild Rye is a small female-led brand based in Idaho that’s been making aesthetically pleasing bike and ski apparel since 2016. I’m constantly on the hunt for good wool baselayers to ski in and had the opportunity to compare Wild Rye’s two baselayer kits with different weight fabrics. Both are well-fitting and comfortable kits, and I found that on most ski days I preferred the LITE pieces, but for coziness I liked the full merino version.

<p>Evie Raglan </p><p>Size Tested: 6</p><p>Material: 100% merino wool</p><p><span>MSRP: $125</span></p>

Evie Raglan

Size Tested: 6

Material: 100% merino wool

MSRP: $125

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Fit

I have said it before, but I really appreciate brands that opt for numerical sizing rather than t-shirt sizing (S/M/L). I understand it means more SKUs and more inventory but it also means buyers are less likely to go through the annoying internal debate of what size to buy. Is it a loose large or a tight large? How can I trust online reviews when three say “true to size,” five say “runs small,” and two say “runs big”? Why is this small so huge/baggy/long/shrunken/tiny/child-sized?

The fact that Wild Rye’s baselayers come in even sizes from 0-18 means a buyer has a little more clarity into what will fit her. At 5’5” and 135 lb, I chose a size 6 in tops and bottoms, and the baselayers fit exactly how I hoped they would. The LITE kit is slightly tighter than the merino kit but not enough to warrant an upsize for me.

Both versions of the Jane Legging are very high waisted (over the belly button) with a wide, comfortable waistband. The height of the waist does complicate the dropping-trou-in-bibs dance a bit for me, but at least these leggings will never ride down.

The Jane Leggings are 7/8-length, not quite full-length but covering the shin and calf. Personally I don’t understand why all ski baselayers aren’t 3/4-length. I don’t like gathering the bottoms of my leggings above my shin when I’m putting on ski boots, and I definitely don’t like having leggings inside my boots, but this seems to be a minority opinion, judging from the ubiquity of full-length leggings.

The Evie Raglan and Evie Raglan LITE tops have a nice long silhouette and thumb holes on the cuffs (definitely a selling point for many women I know).

Fabric

After wearing both kits, I checked the fabric make-up and was really surprised by what I learned. The regular-weight Jane Legging and Evie Raglan are 100% merino, while the LITE versions are mostly recycled and bio polyester, with merino making up less than a tenth of the blend. But I would have actually guessed the opposite. The fully merino top and bottom don’t feel like wool, in the best way possible–these pieces are really soft, smooth, stretchy, and don’t have that subtle almost scratchy texture that I expect (but don’t mind) with wool apparel.

On the other hand, the LITE kit does have that texture. It’s not unpleasant, it just led me to believe that it was entirely wool, which is not the case–it barely contains any wool. However, it seems to share a lot of the best qualities of wool, and feels light and soft to the touch.

Who are these pieces for?

Wild Rye advertises the LITE kit for “spring skiing and summer camping,” but it’s the kit that I reach for all winter. I don’t use thermal-style baselayers for skiing and especially not for touring. I run pretty warm and tend to stay active, preferring to get my warmth by swapping out midlayers rather than having anything heavy next to my skin. The LITE kit breathes well, doesn’t stink, and dries quickly even after I get soaked skiing lifts in a near-freezing snowstorm.

The merino Jane and Evie pieces, which I would describe as mid-weight rather than heavy-weight, are still too warm for me to ski in except on really cold days, but if you’re someone who wants more insulation, these are extremely soft and comfortable baselayers. And, with its really appealing print, the Evie top is lowkey but cute enough to wear as a normal shirt in the winter. I live in the merino kit when I’m car camping or doing other lower-output activities where I want to stay warm and cozy without having to worry about odor, even after several nights of sleeping in the dirt without a shower.

From what I’ve seen, Wild Rye has yet to make a bad piece of apparel, and the Jane Legging and Evie Raglan, either in the LITE fabric or full merino, are good additions to a ski layering system.