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I just recommend merino for the base layers. Outer layers are better as synthetics for washability. Lots of brands to chose from.

Minus 33
Icebreaker
WoolX
Terramar
First Lite (Hunting brand)

These are items where you typically do get what you pay for. Watch the %merino content. nothing wrong with poly/merino blends, some are great.

Take care of them, don’t wash them after every use and never machine dry.
 

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I am looking for a base layer / rainy season jersey to wear.

It sounds like Merino wool is an ideal candidate for this so it would be nice to find a good long leave or 3/4 mtb suitable one.

Eneff has some pretty sweet LS but no XL in stock: https://www.ridenf.com/collections/merino-wool

Patagonia have a 3/4 Merino jersey: Patagonia Men's Merino 3/4-Sleeved Bike Jersey

There must be a bunch of other ones. What's a popular one for the PNW weather?

Your in Canada? BC?

Just go to costco and buy the LS 100% merino shirts they have there- $30 vs $100 plus for everyone else
 

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i have tons of different ones and they all are great: ibex, icebreaker, rapha, pata etc...

i'm definitely wearing wool on every ride during the fall winter...usually just a base layer under some other tech top or jersey, but sometimes a wool jersey on top for extra warmth. i also am a big fan of defeet woolie boolie socks
 

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fwiw I am a fan of Merino Ridge stuff, men's base layers linked here. Biggest challenge is usually availability.

Not vouching for whether they are a good value compared to other brands, or whether they are any more comfortable, as I have not tried others. But I've winter-biked with these as a base layer and liked them very much.

You can get 15% the first order by signing up for their email newsletter.

Good luck with the search/purchase
 

· Elitest thrill junkie
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I find merino/wool/smartwool to be highly over-rated and over-hyped.

There are features that are far more important to me in practice than the exact material (syn vs. wool). I see the primary benefit of wool being multi-day epics where you don't have a chance to wash/dry gear. Even this is a double-edge sword, since wool does not dry out nearly as fast as synthetic, so you need to be careful with your layers to not get too wet or make sure you have an opportunity to dry out.

Other features I find much more important:

-A selection of different weights, having options in other words, a heavier base layer for colder days, a thinner one for not as cold days that will dry faster, etc. Even doubling up base layers if necessary. This kind of comes into the price part of it and what you can buy with the money.
-Zippers, so you can cool off more and prevent sweat/dampness. The longer the better, but at least to open up the neck a bit.
-High collar/turtle-neck, I find this is hugely important for controlling heat loss through your neck. You can stuff a buff down in your neck to kind of do the same thing, but nothing is as good as having it on the base-layer. Cheaper base-layers that come in plastic packaging with bottoms usually don't have this.
-Extra long length, both arms and especially torso. This allows it to "tuck in" and not have any cold areas of exposed skin or leaking. I find this to be one of the more important things.
-Form-fitting. Not tight, but form-fitting and not loose. I find moisture transport doesn't happen when there are loose pockets, this creates a little cold area over that skin as the moisture collects, these pockets stay cold IME. It's better to have that pocket between the base layer and the next layer IME, this is optimal for moisture transport.

The downside with synthetic is you need to dry it out immediately and make sure to wash it regularly, usually not a big deal, but it could be on a multi-day epic. It is warmer for the weight and dries faster, so those become big benefits. They do have coatings these days to cut down on stink, but if you throw wet clothes into a basket and let them fester, you can expect the nasty results. Contrary to myth, synthetics still provide warmth while wet, it's close but wool does edge it out, but I feel more than anything, the issue with wool taking much longer to dry out negates this (keeps you from getting warmer faster). The general breath-ability of synthetic is better.

I've experimented significantly with both in many conditions, from cool, to cold (colder than -30F), from dry to wet. In any significant rain event, especially at cold temps where it's almost snow (or real wet snow on the other side of the freezing point), it's really hard to stay completely dry. About the only thing that works is a rubber jacket and you will get wet from sweat. No water-proof material like Gore-tex stands up in anything more than a light rain IME. It's also necessary to have some rain on hard-shells like gore-tex to provide enough cooling for your core IME, otherwise they just trap too much body-moisture in anything other than arctic sub-freezng. Moderate precip for an extended period is just biding time before you get penetrated all the way to the core. So those are typically the hardest thing to plan for and more insulation seems to help and is about all you can do to stay warm, since staying dry is generally not an option. Most of my base layers are synthetic, leggings, uppers, gloves, face, etc. I have some wool ones, I have never found them to outperform the synthetics.

My two favorite are an REI one with all the above features, synthetic and a Columbia one, with the reflective tech (does that actually work? I dunno). The "home run" for me is hitting all of the above features in one, not too short, has a zipper, has a decent collar, etc.
 

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As far as jerseys go for when it's wet but not cold, this one from RaceFace is sweet. I don't get to use mine enough.

 

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The only advantage I have found to wool is that it doesn't burn or melt standing around the campfire. I still prefer thick wool socks for serious hiking though. I have some old wool socks that are literally going on probably 25 years of pretty steady use.

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I use thin silk for the base layer
on top, wool

silk rules, but it tends to rip before other stuff rips. but even half-shredded silk does the job
 

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I just purchased a few shirts from Smartwool. Was able to find them on sale, one is a short sleeve merino front and synthetic mesh back. I wore it the other day on the MTB and it was a bit warm for the day but was comfortable and soft on the skin.

also picked up a 150 wt long sleeve merino that I wore on a 4 hour tour at 8700-9000’ earlier this week. Temp was in 50s when I started, and got to low 60s by time I was done. It was a great shirt for the ride and will be nice to have as the weather gets cooler and into the winter.

I have a Castelli polyester zip mock shirt I wear in the winters that is warm as a base layer, i usually sweat like crazy with it though (use it on my road bike) not sure if merino will be different but nice to have a few shirts to wear.
 

· Candlestick Maker
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I like merino wool (despite being unable to wear other wool that I find itchy). I have lots of diff brands but have had the best luck w/ Smartwool and Icebreaker. Some of the no-name stuff has been fine, too. For me, the merino wool works across a pretty large range of temps and keeps me warm even when I get a bit damp. Oh yeah, I generally hate anything that is like an actual riding jersey, so most of my merino wool is more like hiking/skiing apparel.
 

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If you can deal with a race cut the Casteli Gabba Jersey's are absolutely amazing. They cost a large fortune but they are by far the best Jersey I have used in mixed wet conditions.
 

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I am looking for a base layer / rainy season jersey to wear.

It sounds like Merino wool is an ideal candidate....
It sounds like you are asking for two different things.

For base layers, I like Craft. I don't like wool next to my skin, even Merino. But over a Craft layer, that's ok. Craft also makes base layers with a wind-blocking layer on the front which is great for road rides and some MTB rides.

Rainy season jersey? I prefer to ride for whatever the temp is, and carry a quality rain jacket in the jersey pocket. Something thing with vents in the arm pits and on the back. For me, that will also compensate for a drop in temperatures/reduce windchill.
 

· high pivot witchcraft
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Your in Canada? BC?

Just go to costco and buy the LS 100% merino shirts they have there- $30 vs $100 plus for everyone else
The Paradox ones? I have a bunch. I got them last year at 50% off - tops for $10, bottoms for $7. Crazy! Not the highest merino content but still decent.

I like merino. Socks, tops, bottoms, love it all. the Costco merino socks are awesome. $20 for 4 pair.

The way merino never stinks is amazing to me. I find it cool in the summer, and warm in the winter. It works exactly as advertised for me.

I have some NF and 7Mesh stuff. Expensive but good. Life is short. Treat yourself.
 

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Something I don’t think anyone else mentioned is how well wool regulates temperature, like a thermostat, and insulates you even when wet. Wool breathes very well and doesn’t build up a funky smell.

Synthetics just don’t do that well and some will trap too much heat resulting in more sweating.
 

· high pivot witchcraft
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Off topic warning - the following is about merino wool, but socks, not base layer.

****

This thread has inspired me to make a rare trip to Costco today (a non-riding day due to weather) to pick up a 4 pack or two of the Costco branded merino blend socks. I own and enjoy many, but I see that they changed the design and colours this year 😝

I wear those socks year round. They NEVER stink. And they are cool in the summer, and warm in the winter. Less than $5 CDN a pair. I own $50 Darn Tough socks and other high priced offerings. I like the inexpensive Costco socks the best.
 

· Elitest thrill junkie
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Something I don’t think anyone else mentioned is how well wool regulates temperature, like a thermostat, and insulates you even when wet. Wool breathes very well and doesn’t build up a funky smell.

Synthetics just don’t do that well and some will trap too much heat resulting in more sweating.
Eh, no.

Synthetics also insulate you when wet. While there is a slight edge to wool, in testing it is not a huge difference. Synthetics also breathe better (dry out faster). Really, wool acts opposite of what you are claiming, it traps moisture easier and holds it longer.
 
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Something I don’t think anyone else mentioned is how well wool regulates temperature, like a thermostat, and insulates you even when wet. Wool breathes very well and doesn’t build up a funky smell.

Synthetics just don’t do that well and some will trap too much heat resulting in more sweating.
I’ve found the opposite to be true, other than the odor part.
 
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