Regular visitors to Trail & Kale may already be familiar with Paka Apparel and their alpaca wool apparel and socks, which we have reviewed in the past.
This Paka baselayer review takes a look at their new men’s and women’s baselayers, which are made from a blend of Alpaca wool and Tencel plant-based fibers.
Read on for more about why this Alpaca + Tencel blend makes them so special and the properties of the fabric and fit that have made Paka’s baselayers so popular among people who enjoy being active in the outdoors – especially in colder weather.
About Paka Apparel
Like their other garments, Paka’s base layers are made in Peru by their team of weavers, using fully traceable Alpaca wool from herds raised in the country.
If you’re not familiar with Alpaca wool, it’s an amazing natural fiber with some of the best thermal, sweat-wicking, odor-resistant, and durability properties of any clothing fiber making it perfect for apparel used for activities such as skiing, hiking, and running.
To learn more about it and Paka Apparel, read my Paka alpaca socks review.
Also, check out Paka’s website where they provide more information on their wool and manufacturing processes.
Paka Baselayer Review
As mentioned above, one of the special things about these baselayers is the fabric, which is made from 20% Alpaca wool and 80% Tencel.
What is Tencel, you may ask?
Tencel is a super soft, natural fiber made from cellulose fibers (from plants), and its properties include being breathable, lightweight, and resisting wrinkles once woven.
The combination of Alpaca wool and Tencel in creating these men’s and women’s base layers results in a lightweight, silky-soft, yet breathable and insulating long-sleeve delight.
The fabric’s silkiness means it doesn’t cling or ride up (an issue with other base layers).
Its odor-resistant properties mean you can wear one of these tops all day, for multiple days, without it smelling in between washes.
It is definitely on the lighter and thinner side when it comes to the various baselayers I’ve worn and reviewed.
This makes it great for layering and wearing in warm weather where you want the layer (perhaps for sun protection) but not something that’s a heavier weight like you might for skiing.
Alpaca wool is very durable (more so than other wools) however due to the fabric being on the thin side, time will tell how durable the base layer is after hundreds of wears.
Washing Paka baselayers
Speaking of washing, yes, you can machine wash these Paka base layers.
Because of the soft fabric, I keep them separate from other items that may contain buttons or velcro that could cause snags, and wash them in a mesh bag, as I do with other items I consider special or delicate when putting them in the machine.
Sizing and fit
Paka Apparel’s baselayers are currently available in four colors and in men’s and women’s sizes ranging from XS to XXL.
For sizing details, visit the product pages on Paka’s website (men’s and women’s), where they also have a tool that helps you work out the recommended size based on other brands of clothing you wear.
You can choose to size down for a snug fit or go with (what was for me) your ‘usual’ size, where it has a looser fit. I like that mine fits in this way and also that it sits fairly long, over my hips, which I find more flattering, warmer, and comfortable than tops that stop mid-hip, for example.
What are Paka baselayers good for?
As mentioned above, the Alpaca and Tencel fabrics properties mean these base layers are naturally moisture-wicking, odor-resistant, soft, and non-restrictive.
Additionally, their design means they don’t look like an overly-technical item of sports apparel. There are no large logos or compression sections, for example.
So you can wear one of these tops with your everyday pants or jacket, possibly to work, even, and not look like you’re wearing your hiking gear.
This means these Paka baselayers are very versatile – you could wear them for everyday, but also put one on for activities including trail running, hiking, and as a snowsports baselayer and it will act like one, keeping you warm, comfortable, and dry.
Where to buy Paka baselayers
At $75, these are great value baselayers. By comparison, the lightweight merino tops on our merino baselayer’s buyer’s guide start at around $80+.
So, to find tops with similar properties, with traceable sourcing and a flattering fit for this is really a great deal.
Visit Paka’s website to check current size and color options for the baselayers as well as any promotions they may be offering:
Paka also offers free shipping and exchanges.