In search of quality, reasonably-priced men's long johns.
November 17, 2018 8:00 AM   Subscribe

I need to get myself a few more sets of long johns, but I'm having trouble finding a quality set that's in my price range. Any recommendations?

Winter is upon us in effect if not in name, and it's time to break out the long johns. In fact, it's time to break out a few more sets of long johns than I actually own, so it looks like I need to pick up a few sets. I'm talking tops and bottoms here, not just bottoms. I don't currently have any particular set that I consider my go-to brand and model, so I'm trying to figure out what to get.

My problem here is that when I start hitting up sites that I usually consider reputable for these kinds of reviews, the products they're recommending seem like they're about three to four times more expensive than I want to pay. We're talking like $80 and up just for the top, with the "budget" picks being in the $50 range per piece. I don't want to spend more than $50 per set, so that's a bit rich for my blood. I need a pair for every day of the week, and I'm not into spending $480 for three sets of underwear. (I already have four decent sets.) Meanwhile, the reasonably-priced options at major retailers are so badly swamped with fly-by-night brands, dubious marketing language, and reviews of questionable veracity that it's basically impossible to tell if you're buying garbage or not.

My requirements aren't that stringent, I don't think. I'm not looking for anything super heavy because I'm in and out of doors a lot and don't want to overheat when I come inside—if it's going to be a super cold day I'll double up, or put on more outer layers. The biggest restriction is that I don't want anything with cotton, because once you sweat in cotton it stops being warm and starts being wet and cold and awful. Wool or synthetic would both be fine. I'm a dude, so we're looking at men's options here. Oh, and I won't be going to a store for this—if I can't order it online then I won't be getting it no matter how wonderful it is.

That's really it. Mid-weight, non-cotton sets of long underwear that are of decent quality, continue to work if you get them sweaty, can be ordered online, and cost $50 or less per set. Do you have some?
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Costco membership?

They sell them in separates (tops and bottoms).
posted by Twicketface at 8:05 AM on November 17, 2018

I do not have a Costco membership and will not be getting one as they have no stores in my area.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 8:07 AM on November 17, 2018

I've used Uniqlo's long johns when I've needed them (a family vacation in Montreal last December). I bought the cheapest ones they sell, which I think was $10/ea for tops and bottoms. They've got a few levels, up to $25/piece or so, and might be worth checking out.
posted by Making You Bored For Science at 8:15 AM on November 17, 2018 [5 favorites]

Uniqlo Uniqlo Uniqlo.

I pretty much live in Uniqlo HeatTech from September through April. They come in a several styles and weights, and are very reasonably priced. I think they were the Wirecutter's budget pick, at least on the women's side.
posted by yeahlikethat at 8:26 AM on November 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

Yes, Uniqlo Heattech delivers a lot of warmth without the typical weight of thermals.

Alternatively, look at military surplus base layers: there are a lot of different online sellers (one example) and weight/fabric options, and there may be bricks-and-mortar sellers near you.
posted by holgate at 8:28 AM on November 17, 2018 [3 favorites]

I, too, live in Uniqlo's Heattech base layers from mid-fall through early spring. Mostly I just wear the basic variety around town, though I have some Extra Warm for camping, and the odd occasion when it actually gets below freezing in Portland. Can't speak to the Ultra Warm. I've found them to be quite long-wearing and worth every penny.
posted by mumkin at 10:22 AM on November 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

I came in to say uniqlo too, with the caveat that someone clarifies sizing first. I think - at least on the AU website - size charts give the measurements of the clothing rather then the size body it would fit. My body measurements are identical to their XL size but they just hung off me. I am a *medium*. I had to order online, and you can't return or exchange them. I don't know if there are sample ones to try on in store. My husband is wearing my XL.

Anyway, it is great long underwear. Just check the return policy on packaged items where you are and if someone here doesn't explain about the sizing maybd call them.
posted by jrobin276 at 11:29 AM on November 17, 2018

I feel like I'm always plugging Uniqlo lately, but I own so many of their Heattech things it's ridiculous. I love it.
posted by bananana at 11:30 AM on November 17, 2018

And yet another echo for Uniqlo Heattech! So warm!
posted by anadem at 12:06 PM on November 17, 2018

Nthing Heattech. It's worth noting it now comes in regular heattech, "warm", and "Extra warm" so you can pick the level you need. :)
posted by smoke at 1:48 PM on November 17, 2018

Uniqlo it is, I guess! My only hesitation is thag I've heard their sizing is…idiosyncratic, I guess. Not being indoctrinated into the Way of Uniqlo, I have no idea what size to order so that I can get clothing which will actually fit on my body. Does anybody have any thoughts on what size long johns a 5'7", 180lb male with fairly stumpy body proportions should get?
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 2:28 PM on November 17, 2018

Base Layers at Sierra Trading Post. They buy manufacturer overruns, store excess stock, discontinued items, and inventory going out of fashion, then sell it at a discount relative to retail for comparable items. I've been a satisfied customer since the early '90s.

Have you considered pajamas as a substitute for long johns?
posted by Homer42 at 12:39 AM on November 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

I would suggest trying a Small for the Uniqlo Heattech. If you're planning to wear it as a base layer, you probably want a relatively close fit. Everything below Ultra Warm is super stretchy and accommodating, so I don't think it'll be too tight on you; my 5'10" friend actually wears a Small in this stuff, so I think a Medium would be too long at your wrists and ankles. (The Ultra Warm tops are less stretchy and forgiving and you'd maybe want a Medium in that specifically, but that might be too long in the arms. I also find them to be overkill, but I do run hot.)
posted by halation at 11:21 AM on November 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

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