Gear Review From Lightning Layne
Base Layer Test
Rating — Great Model – Superfine Merino Wool Zip T Neck- Style 744-size medium
Initial fit and feel – When I first put on the T neck I felt a little itching on my back but this went away either with some use or the first washing of the garment. I also felt the warming nature of the fabric. I noted that the fit of the T neck seemed to be true all over i.e. the arms were a perfect length not too long or too short as was the trunk and the T neck, plus the material was very soft to the touch!
Environment – I used the Zip T neck on every hike and backpacking trip I have been on since I was given the product at the Summer OR! I have used it mainly as a base layer and a time or two it has been the mid layer! I have been traveling all over the western Uintah Mountains and the southern Wasatch! So my environment has been rocky and steep the weather has been all over the place! It has rained at least twice a week since the OR and has even snowed! The daytime temps have been 35*F and they have been 80*F night time has been as low as 22*F and it has been 0*F f including 60% humidity—yes a roulette wheel of weather and hard to plan for! I have also worn this top under my bike jersey—it was the right tool for the job. I have also worn this top to bed and colder nights and was glad I did it added to my comfort level! Hours used – Two hundred +–mostly hiking and backpacking and some cycling. Arms – I find the arms to fit very well in length and don’t interfere with reaching nor do they bunch up in the arm pit. The stretch of the material allows a comfortable fit around the arm!
Wrists – The wrist cuffs are very comfortable and have maintained their stretch and snugness around my wrists throughout the many times where I push up the sleeve to my upper forearm to add ventilation etc. Trunk – For me this is the perfect length (It ends just above the crotch) As I can wear it out or tucked in the trunk is a comfortable size for me as it doesn’t squeeze me to much but is also not loose. I do not notice any seams while stationary or during use and the stretch of the material allows great freedom of movement.
Collar/Zipper– The collar gets a lot of use and abuse—half the time the zipper is open and the collar is lying flat on the shoulder but when it comes time for it to be deployed it stays up and is a usable height. The zipper has worked very well so far and is un-noticeable against the skin (Slider hider is a nice touch) and opens plenty far to get good ventilation and helps you to take it on and get it off as well.
Moisture control – This garment keeps me dry at the skin level period, and it dries pretty fast too! Lugging big packs at altitude can really get you sweating and I have never been uncomfortable because of the Zip T, in fact it’s been quite the reverse! I will leave a trail head in moderate temperatures let’s say 45*F after being used to 75*F so it’s a little chilly then the wind will move a little and here you go! You don’t want to over dress so you put on the Zip T maybe some light gloves and add a hat, Its late in the day so you head for camp a 1000’ higher and when you arrive, your skin is dry, and you are happy, you take off the pack add a layer and make camp.
Temperature control – I have been very happy with the temperature control of the Zip T! Its weight and thermal properties allows it to work alone or layer with other items to keep you comfy! I have had really great luck layering it with a polyester hiking shirt—This combination has gotten me thru most of my trips- there has been occasions where I added my rain shell and or a down vest but the Zip T has on its own seen me thru plenty of temperature extremes and load hauling add has yet to overheat me—same goes for cycling on those nippy days—The micro climate at the skin level has been a happy one! I will say this—would be sore as hell if I had to use one of the base layers I usually use Instead of the Minus-33 Zip T neck—I really like this top……………..
Odor control – I am known in the industry for really putting the wood to garments when it comes to odor control, which means, I will sweat like a pig in a garment for days and weeks between washings to see how the odor control holds up then I will wash the garment quite a bit to see how it does from this stand point! Note: If it did stink, maybe this would help with mosquitos! Minus33 Superfine Merino wool gets “Two thumbs up” and two big toes up’ as well- It does great- it totally controls odor.
Comfort and performance on the trail– I think I can say a bit more on this topic! I have noticed that I don’t notice the Zip T, except when I need to raise or lower a cuff or the collar! My pack straps and waist belt haven’t been able to find a seam to grind into me nor has the back pad been able to abrade my back as a result of a rough material etc.! If anything, the wool has added comfort to carry a backpack and kept my skin dry in those contact areas. His top layers well with under or outer layers maintaining a comfortable fit. Wear-ability – I have yet to see the material breaking down due to pack straps or waist belts either supporting 50# loads—no the garment does not look brand new as it displays some very minor plilling, but it looks very good and is still very serviceable with lots of life left.
Clean up – Final fit and feel– At this point in time the Zip T is doing great and is the garment of choice for a base/mid-layer and has served me well thru the summer and fall and helped me enjoy even further a lot of great places that I got to visit! I’m primed for a winter of cross country skiing/snowshoeing and the Zip T will definitely be along on these adventures! The Zip T Neck is definitely a multi-task piece of clothing that I wouldn’t leave home without!
Rating—Great Model – Superfine Merino Wool Long underwear/with fly- Style 719- size medium
Initial Fit and Feel – I couldn’t believe how comfortable they were, The hand was very soft against the skin, it makes you want to lounge around in them- so I went and got a book to read……… The waist band was very comfortable initially just the right amount of tension—I like the wide snug leg cuffs too!
Environment – The Bottoms have been all over the Uintah’s and the Wasatch too! I have not used them to the same degree as the Zip T Neck but they have been an asset after arriving at camp and on colder nights I have slept in them inside my sleeping bag. I have hiked in them layered under biking shorts several times for some of our colder days- its amazing how cold you get out cycling on a moderate day! Hours used- 60
Waistband – Is perfect! I find the width to lie flat under pant waist bands or cycling shorts and stays in place with no chafing etc Fly – Very handy, however I am just as happy to not have one! Legs – They are a good length that doesn’t ride up when you are high stepping and are a good volume as they fit comfortably snug and stretch as they need- no bagginess
Cuffs – Comfortably grip the leg and are nice and wide and flat—I believe this design adds to performance and comfort equally. Also the stretch of the cuff helps in the removal of the garment too! Body – Not too tight or baggy for me.
Moisture control– The bottoms do a good job of keeping you dry Temperature control – Having used these pants for cycling with my light cycling shorts, I found for my purposes the weight of this product to keep me at a good temperature during nippy days (50*F) when you need a little extra layer, when added to the fact you will be doing twenty miles an hour or more including some wind. Even if it is a little warmer and even after you have warmed up, I have found the bottoms to help regulate my skin temperature so I don’t have to worry about overheating.
Odor control – This product takes care of odor completely. Comfort and performance on the trail – I have yet to have any chaffing in the thighs or body no bunching or unwanted friction (Even when layering) during the variety of activities I have use this product for— The fit is absolutely perfect and I really like the flat waistband and leg cuffs Wear-ability – Like the Zip T, This product is wearing very well with some minor pilling. I am not seeing any unusual wear granted this product has been subjected to a different type of wear overall as compared to the Zip T. I imagine that I will be using this product for a very long while.
Clean up – The Bottoms respond to machine washing very well and don’t seem to have any issue’s with the overall fit as a result!
Final Fit and Feel – Because of the Bottoms great performance and fit, I will be using this layer as a base layer for XC skiing and on warm days will dress as if I am on a hike or a bike, that is, shorts over the Bottoms! And I will use them for winter cycling as the conditions allow. I hope that this report does some good! These products are sure winners, Good Going and that’s from the crowd out on the trail!
Sincerely, Layne T. Oliver