Thermal layers are essential for cold weather activities, but as a vegan, they can be hard to find. Many good quality layers contain wool or merino wool. However, I’ve sourced five great options, all made from synthetic materials that’ll keep you warm whatever the activity.
Ridestore’s very own brand, Dope, offers a selection of synthetic thermal leggings and tops designed for life on the snow. Despite its designed purpose, I wore these while climbing Kilimanjaro (it got down to -15°C) and they were perfect for slow and steady high altitude climbs.
Available in both men and women’s, its Snuggle thermal range features a hi-rise tight-fitting legging with soft brushed fleece on the inside, and a looser turtle neck style shirt with fleece lining.
The leggings were incredibly comfortable to wear and didn’t ride up or slip when walking during the eight-hour climb to the summit thanks to the elasticated thick waistband and quality stretch fabric. The long sleeve top proved an ideal mid-layer above my skin tight thermal. Thanks to its fleece lining and adjustable roll turtle neck, it helped to keep the warmth in without adding much bulk.
Top marks for snuggle factor!
Patagonia is well known for its ethically made outdoor gear. Many Patagonia products are made from recycled and Bluesign certified fabrics. The Capilene Thermal Top and Leggings are no exception. There’s the added bonus of choosing between a crew neck top or a zip neck, dependant on how much ventilation you need.
These lightweight thermals fit close to the skin, but not skin tight, and are available in both men’s and women’s.
Columbia’s Midweight Stretch Base Layer top and leggings are made from polyester and it’s trademark elastane Omni-Heat™ Reflective Jersey. This thermal reflecting liner features on many Columbia products and works by reflecting your body heat back to you. I’ve got a Columbia Carson Pass Jacket which features Omni-Heat and it works incredibly well.
The base layers are stretchy and fit close to the body and the zip neck top is ideal for adjusting the ventilation.
ODLO’s Active Warm base layers are crafted from fast-drying and highly breathable polyester. The flat-stitched seams, longer cut at the back and super-soft brushed inner ensure a snug, chafe-free fit during high-intensity activities, and the turtle neck and half zip offer additional insulation and ventilation when you need it.
Known for its sportswear, Under Armour HeatGear® top and leggings are ideal for high-intensity cool-weather exercise. It’s tight fit wicks away sweat and is quick-drying.
Made from polyester and elastane, its available in both men’s and women’s.
Concerned about synthetics?
Over the last few years, concerns have raised about clothing made from synthetic materials (particularly fleece fabrics). This is because they release microplastic particles into the oceans when washed.
As a vegan, it’s very hard to find clothing suitable for the outdoors that isn’t made from synthetics. To try and reduce your impact, you can wash synthetics in a Guppyfriend Washing Bag. This bag captures microfibres and hinders them from making their way into the marine ecosystem.