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Reviews > Clothing > Base Layers and Undies > Coldpruf Classic Base Layers > Test Report by Duane Lawrence

Classic Men's Crew & Pant

Initial Report - November 11, 2017
Field Report - January 23, 2018
Long Term Report - March 24, 2018

Duane Lawrence

Tester Information
Name:                Duane Lawrence
Email:                duanesgear (at) yahoo (dot) com
Location:           Sparwood, British Columbia Canada
Gender:             Male
Age:                   45 years
Height:               5’9” (1.75 m)
Weight:              160 lb (73 kg)
I have been an avid outdoor enthusiast for over 25 years.  I enjoy a variety of outdoor activities including mountaineering, day hikes, multi-day backpacking trips, river and ocean kayaking, back-country skiing, snowshoeing, mountain biking and rock climbing. I have climbed throughout British Columbia, the United States and when opportunity presents itself in Europe and India. I carry a wide variety of gear depending on the type and length of trip.  I am a search and rescue team member in the Southern Canadian Rockies and am part of the swift water, rope rescue and avalanche technical teams and ground search team.

Initial Report

Product Details

Manufacturer Web
MSRP$55.00 US$55.00 US
Size TestedMediumMedium
ThermaChoice Temperature RatingCold & Very ColdCold & Very Cold
ThermaChoice Activity RatingMedium & HighMedium & High
FabricMerino WoolMerino Wool
Weight164 g (5.78 oz)152 g (5.36 oz)
GuaranteeNo charge replacement for any reason


The ColdPruf Classic Marino Crew and Pant and made of 100% Marino wool.  They have used a single layer jersey knit design utilizing 170 gsm or 5 oz silk weight.  The crew top has a modified raglan yoke shoulder, 7 cm (2.75 in) fabric cuffs and a 7.5 cm (2.95 in) drop tail.  The pant has a 3 cm (1.18 in) comfort waistband, gusseted front, 4 cm (1.57 in) back rise for fit and comfort and a 7 cm (2.75 in) ankle cuff.  Both the pant and crew top use the natural stretch inherent in merino wool for a snug comfortable fit.  The Merino State wool that ColdPruf utilizes is designed to provide a comfortable fit, keep the wearer dry and odour free and is flame resistant (always nice to know).  The label indicates that the base layers should be washed inside out with cold water and on the gentle cycle.  It also notes that fastidious people can iron them on the low setting and that they can also be dry cleaned.  

ThermaChoice System

ColdPruf has developed what they call a ThermaChoice system that is meant to assist purchaser with determining what they need.  The system provides a colour-coding system from cold to extreme cold and low activity to high activity.  The combination of the temperature range a
nd activity level directs the purchaser to the appropriate garment.  The ThermaChoice rating for the Merino Crew and Pant are listed for cold to very cold weather and medium to high activity level.   The rating system also links the product to the technology or design parameters used in the product.  In this case both the crew and pant use single layer engineering, moisture wicking technology and antimicrobacterial odor-fighting properties in the design.   It seems like a very handy tool for determining the best fit although, as with anything, personal comfort and internal heat generation will really affect this rating, still, very helpful.

Initial Observations & Fit

 The ColdPruf Base Layers look to be well constructed with consideration given to fit and comfort.  The arm length of the crew top is of a nice length for me, although the neck line and shoulders felt a little off when I first put it on.  I was not able to really figure this out as I had a bit of a reaction to the merino wool and had to disrobe in short order.  My skin is still itchy half an hour later and I must admit I am a little scared to put it back on.  I am hoping that after a wash or two or three that I won’t react to the wool otherwise this might be a very uncomfortable test period.  The pants were not nearly so bad and fit very well.  They are really snug and with a good amount of stretch which I anticipate will be a nice feature as they will go under almost anything with no problem.  They also seemed to sit nicely on the waist although I have not moved around much yet so will have to wait and see how they do once I get out into the field.  Overall they look to be a nice pair of base layers that I am hoping will keep me nice and warm this winter.  

Photos Courtesy of  ColdPruf.  

Field Report - January 23, 2018

If the past two months was not the ideal time for testing base layers I am not sure when would be.  Temperatures ranged from -30 C to 0 C (-22 F to 32 F) with individual days having a 5 to 7 (8 to 11 F) degree difference from morning to evening, perfect for layering.  Over the past two months I used the ColdPruf base layers on multiple occasions including a three-day backcountry ski trip, a few days at the ski hill, three snowshoe day trips and on multiple evenings during our search and rescue practices.  Weather conditions were fairly consistent being cold, snowy and cold and snowy.  Overall I travelled an estimated 38 km (23.6 mi), with upwards of 2000 m (6500 ft) of elevation.  Exertion levels were low during my search and rescue practices and up to high while skinning up to a back country ski hut and doing laps in the surrounding hills.  

In my Initial Report I commented that the merino wool was extremely itchy and I am happy to report that after an initial wash I was able to put them on without a severe reaction although it took a couple more washes before I could wear them comfortably.  After 10 plus washes they bottoms are just fine but the top is still a little scratchy.  Generally I only notice this when I first put them on and during periods of inactivity, but it is never to the point where I need to change.

With the extreme cold that we have been experiencing locally I was able to get a fairly good idea as to where I would place them on the thermal retention spectrum. For myself, I would rate these base layers as good for 0 C to -10 C (32 F to 14 F).  Once the temperatures dipped below -10 C (14 F) I wanted a thicker base layer as part of my layering system.  Since the thermal rating system only gave general descriptions it is hard to say if they match up to the intended thermal rating or not.  I would say they are for slightly warmer temperatures than I would have expected but they still perform well in cool to cold temperatures.  

As part of a layering system they work well.  They are snug without being uncomfortable and it is easy to layer up over top of them.  I did note that they do have a tendency to retain static.  It was quite something when I took off a synthetic t-shirt that I was wearing over top of the crew top.  I needed a fairly strong pull to separate the garments with substantial electrical discharge.  After doing a 3-hour skin up to a backcountry hut with a full overnight pack I noticed that these layers did an excellent job of pulling sweat away from me.  The only downside that I noted was that when I stopped the evaporation process was so effective that the whole crew shirt was cold which made me cold.  This lasted about half an hour in the cabin and only really stopped when the ambient temperature warmed up.  I also noted this when we were doing laps up to a ridge top.  After skinning up and stopping to transition for the ski down I notice that the fabric turns cold until I started moving again.  Nothing too surprising here as this is normal, at least for me, but it was more pronounced with this layer.  I suspect that in slightly warmer conditions this would not be an issue but in cold temperatures it cooled me off faster than I would have liked. Something for me to consider when planning my outings.

With respect to wear and odor control they are preforming exceptionally well.  There is no sign of pilling, no wear points, the stitching shows no sign of loosening or fraying. The elastic waistband is not stretching out and the cuffs show no wear at all.  After wearing these for three days straight they did not retain any noticeable odors which is very impressive. Even after a hard day of skiing with a pack I did not notice any significant odors from the garment.   It is really nice as I have some shirts that seem to pull odors into them even after the mildest level of exertion, the ColdPruf base layers just do not seem to hold or absorbed any orders, very nice.

Overall, other than still being a little scratchy the ColdPruf Marino Wool Base layers are doing very well.  They work well in moderately cold temperatures, up to -10 C (14 F), wick very well, handling moderate to high activity levels.  They work well as a layer and do not restrict my movements.  Over the next couple of months I have a number of ski weeks on the agenda so I will be able to continue to put them through their paces but thus far I anticipate they will continue to perform very well as part of my laying system.

Long Term Report - March 25, 2018

Over the last two months it has finally started to warm up although the snow is still very much a constant.  I was able to enjoy using the Coldpruf base layers while participating in a number of activities including fat-biking (mountain biking on snow with "fat" tires), for those that might not be familiar with the activity, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and a four-day sledding and backcountry skiing excursion.  Overall temperatures ranged from -15 C up to -2 C (5 to 28 F) with a variety of weather although most of the time it was either snowing lightly or heavily.  There were a couple of days of sun in there but snow and more snow was what I saw of the last four months.  

Performance Observations

As with any layering system I find everything is dependent on the level of activity and the outside air temperature.  Wearing the Coldpruf base layers with one or two additional layers and then a shell; worked really well for the most part.  During really cold days it was more important to layer up to ensure I kept warm.  During those infrequent warmer days I actually had an opportunity to delayer down to just the base layer with a light T-shirt overtop.  The base layer was able to provide me with adequate warmth while cross-country skiing in -5 C (23 F) temperatures and I would even consider saying that they were a little warm especially when the sun came out.  While sledding in -15 C (5 F) with three layers on I was quite happy while either standing around with the group or active on the sled.  During my ski up to the top of a ridge, an ascent of about 750 m (2460 ft) with a temperature of around -10 C (14 F), I was able to moderate my exertions much more consistently and was very happy with the layers.  

The key to a good base layer, at least for me, aside from its warmth is how well it will pull moisture away from the body and shed it.  The Coldpruf base layers did an excellent job of wicking the moisture away from my skin regardless of the temperature.  This was very evident while playing in -10 to -15 C (14 to 5 F) temperatures as my medium layer was actually frozen to my shell.  Although I noticed a slight chill whenever I stopped moving around, for the most part the moisture was pulled away, transferred through my mid-layer to the outer shell.  When engaging in activities that during warmer weather -3 to -5 C (26.6 to 23 F) with no mid-layer I found that the base layer pulled the moisture away but was not really able to shed the moisture to the atmosphere very well.  This became very evident when I stopped moving around at the end of the day.  The base layer stayed cold to the skin while for close to an hour which I must admit was not the most pleasant experience.  What I found was that a secondary layer to continue wicking the moisture further away from my skin was needed.  Without the mid layer to assist the base layer had no way to shed the moisture which resulted in chilled skin.  

I noted in my initial report about how itchy the merino wool was and I am for the most part pleased to advise that they are no longer terribly itchy.  I still notice it a little from time to time, especially on my back after sweating a little but it is very very mild and nothing really to complain about.  I also noted that both the pant and crew top shrank a little during the test period.  They both fit very well but they have shrunk a little and are a little snugger than when I first got them.  


Normally I would not include much here but I did have a warranty issue with the pants.  I literally ripped a massive hole in one leg while putting them on.  I contacted the warranty department and was very impressed that they responded within 24-hours of my initial email.  They asked for a couple of photos and when I purchased them but not a receipt.  They advised me that they were going to send the information I provided to their quality control team for evaluation and get back to me.  This occurred within 5 days at which time they advised me that it appeared that there was a flaw in the fabric and they would send me a replacement garment which arrived 12-days later.  I live in Canada so the time lag seemed reasonable and I was quite pleased with the entire process and the level of customer service provided.  Sadly when I got them I was back to square one for itchiness but I cannot really complain too much.


As with any base layer performance really depends on the layers chosen for the temperatures and actives undertaken.  In general, for myself, I would use these layers between -5 C and -15 C (23 F and 5 F) while participating in moderate to high levels of activity.  They wick moisture away from the skin effectively especially when another moisture wicking layer is used.  They are less effective as a standalone layer in warmer temperatures. They definitely have difficulty getting rid of moisture once it’s pulled away from the body which resulted in me being chilled once I stopped moving.  As for odor control they stayed fresh even after four days of continuous wear.  For durability, aside from the unfortunate tear they seemed pretty good.  The stitching is in good shape and there is no evidence of thinning of the fabric.  I hope the hole in the pant was indeed a bad run in the manufacturing process, time will tell.  Overall the Coldpruf Crew and Pant base layer performed well and are an effective part of a layering system between -5 and -15 C (23 and 5 F).  

Thank you to and ColdPruf for the opportunity to test the Classic Crew and Pant Base Layers.  


Read more gear reviews by Duane Lawrence

Reviews > Clothing > Base Layers and Undies > Coldpruf Classic Base Layers > Test Report by Duane Lawrence

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