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Reviews > Clothing > Base Layers and Undies > Coldpruf Quest Top and Bottom Base Layer > Test Report by Brett Haydin
ColdPruf Quest Performance Base Layer
TESTER INFORMATIONNAME: Brett Haydin
EMAIL: bhaydin AT hotmail DOT com
LOCATION: Madison, Wisconsin, USA
HEIGHT: 5' 11" (1.80 m)
WEIGHT: 200 lb (90.70 kg)
CHEST: 42 in (107 cm)
WAIST: 36 in (91 cm)
SLEEVES: 33 in (84 cm)
I started backpacking in Wisconsin as a youth, being involved in Boy Scouts programs. As a young adult, I worked at a summer camp leading backpacking, canoeing and mountain biking trips. I now generally take short weekend or day trips. I plan several longer trips each year in different parts of the US, where I typically carry about 40 lb (18 kg). I prefer to be prepared and comfortable, but I have taken lightweight trips as well.
Product Information & Specifications
Year of Manufacture: 2017
Manufacturer's Website: www.coldpruf.com
MSRP: $32 Pants
$40 Mock Zip Top
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight Pants: 10.5 oz (298 g)
Measured Weight Tops: 8.1 oz (230 g)
Color Tested: Black (only available color)
Size Tested: Large (also available in S, M, XL, XXL)
Material: 85% microfiber polyester, 15% spandex
Warranty: No questions asked replacement - anytime.
Other Details provided by Manufacturer
Product DescriptionThe ColdPruf Quest Performance base layers are synthetic tops and bottoms that serve as the first layer to help wick moisture away and provide additional insulation. ColdPruf is owned by the Indera Mills Company. For this test, I am using the Men's Mock Zip top, but a crew style and a mock neck style are also available. There is only one style of pants. Both the pants and tops are packaged in separate, re-sealable bags. The base layers incorporate SILVADUR, a patented polymer-containing silver technology that is applied to the fabric. This technology inhibit microbial growth resulting in longer lasting garments while controlling odors.
The pants have a 1 in (2.5 cm) elastic waist band with COLDPRUF and their logo integrated into the fabric. The seams are all flat. The leg cuffs are hemmed at the ends as well. There are no tags on the interior, but rather the sizing and laundering instructions are printed on the interior. The wording also states that the product is manufactured in Mexico, but with American components.
The shirt top has a 9 in (23 cm) zipper that is considered a 1/4 length. The top of the zipper has a triangular shaped amount of fabric sewn over the top for comfort - no zipper rubbing on my chin, yay! The zipper pull is a loop of webbing printed with COLDPRUF. Like the pants, the seams are all flat and have 0.75 in (2 cm) hems at the waist and cuffs. The back has a small ColdPruf logo printed on the back in silver. The back also has a drop tail, meaning it extends a little further down the backside to provide extra cover. The sleeves are on the long side, but that is by design for the "Ultimate Athletic Fit" according to the manufacturer.
Initial ImpressionsThe Quest Performance base layers appear to be a superior set of base layers. The stitching is flawless. The fabric is smooth to the touch and felt great when I tried it on. The stretch of the fabric means that this is a perfect fit! While the lengths of the leg and arm cuffs are a little long I actually prefer that. Many of my other base layers leave a little gap at the end of my limbs that can leave me feeling a little cold in the winter. I can't wait to get in the outdoors and play with these!
Reading the InstructionsRight away, the manufacture recommends washing the base layers before wearing for the best fit. This gave me a great chance to follow the laundering instructions. Wash in warm water with like colors. Detergent must be bleach free. The base layers should be dried on a low setting. I am happy to report that the base layers fit perfectly still.
The website is full of useful information. I was able to search for base layers by temperature rating (cold, very cold or extreme cold) and by activity type (low, medium and high). The Quest Performance layers are designed for any of the conditions, however when I searched the THERMACHOICE link, the layers fall under the cold/very cold and medium/high activity categories. It is just a minor discrepancy, but I do hope it lives up to the extreme cold!
Field ConditionsSince receiving the base layers, I have been on five overnight backpacking trips. My first trip was an overnight in Rock Cut State Park, Illinois. Over the two days I hiked 12 mi (19 km) along a mostly flat, forested terrain. There were some great meadows as well as some trails along the river and the trails were mostly dirt-packed. I made it through a couple of muddy sections. There was no meaningful elevation gain and I had a pack that weighed approximately 45 lb (20 kg). The weather was wet, with on and off rain showers and temperatures from 55 to 65 F (13 to 18 C).
My next trip was an overnight hike in Marble Falls, Texas. This 12 mi (19 km) hike was along dirt-packed trails and roads, while somewhat rocky and hilly. It is Texas Hill Country after all! While I started out with fair weather, overnight turned sour and by the time I hiked out I was drenched with heavy rains, albeit warm weather from 60 to 80 F (16 to 27 C). Elevation gain over the entire trip was just over 900 ft (270 m) with a pack weighing 45 lb (20 kg).
I also took a 4 mi (6.4 km) out-and-back in the Davy Crockett National Forest in Texas. The dirt-packed trail meandered through a pine forest. Temperatures were on the cold side (for Texas) with a high of 55 F and lows on 35 (13 and 2 C) with mostly clear skies and no precipitation. My pack was 45 lb (20 kg).
My next trip was a 9 mi (15 km) trip along the Ice Age Trail in southern Wisconsin. This hike took me though the Kettle Moraine State Forest, known for steep features created as the glaciers retreated from the last Ice Age. The trail is generally dirt-packed through wooded forests of pine, maple and oak. Temperatures ranged from 10 to 40 F (-12 to 4 C) and the weather was partly cloudy. My pack weight was 50 lb (23 kg) and I used gaiters for this trip.
My last trip was a 7 mi (11) hike in Yellowstone Lake State Park in Wisconsin. This was a snowy trip with my young dog on her first winter overnight. My pack was a little heavier - 60 lb (27 kg) - since she hasn't quite mastered her own pack yet. However the skies were generally clear with some smatterings of clouds and temperatures from 10 to 40 F (-12 to 4 C). I did use snowshoes the majority of the trip as well as gaiters.
I have also worn the base layers on at least a dozen outings either hunting or on day hikes locally. Conditions have generally mirrored that of the backpacking trips. However, it is important to note that on several days hunting, I was stationary in a tree-stand. The base layers were part of a layering system that consisted of down, fleece, breathable shells and camouflage shirts and pants. Temperatures got as low as -5 F (-21 C).
ObservationsThe ColdPruf Quest Performance base layers are decidedly warm! Which is good, since that is what I would want from a set of base layers. I couldn't have asked for a better opportunity to test these than right in time for the annual "Rut" season for deer hunting in Wisconsin. While the first day hunting and stalking was quite nice, the second day was cold and snowy. After hiking the more than 1 mi (1.6 km) into the woods with 60 lb (27 kg) of gear on my back, I was worried that I would shiver in the 20 F (-6 C) temperatures. I switched out my fleece for a down jacket covered by a breathable shell and while not toasty warm, I was certainly comfortable enough not to shiver while taking a shot with my bow. These get high marks for wicking away moisture!
The tops are perfectly fine to wear as is. In the image above, I wore a thin down vest over them to keep me warm from the mild temperatures in Marble Falls. On all of my backpacking trips I wore the Quest top while adding insulating layers over. I did bring a backup shirt just in case, but I found that I never really needed it. By the time I needed to settle down for the night, the shirt was dry. Even in the rainy Texas weather, after setting up a tarp in camp the base layer dried out nicely over dinner. I don't entirely like the top zipped up all the way as the zipper seems a little stiff in my neck. But in the cold nights in Wisconsin, I kept it zipped up completely and was happy for the extra coverage!
I wore the base layers in bed each night with no problems. My sleeping arrangements have been to use an insulated sleeping pad and either down or synthetic fill appropriate for the temperatures. My winter bag is rated for 0 F (-18 C). I tend to sleep hot and normally adjust my temperature by opening the bag, not shedding layers. I slept comfortably in these throughout each of my trips.
I do like the length of the tops. They are long enough to cover my backside and don't creep up, which makes for a sold hike! The bottoms are so comfortable I hardly notice them at all. And like the tops, the length has been perfect in keeping my ankles covered. I have seen a wide range of temperatures, and so far these layers seem appropriate in all of them.
My next trip was a 9 mi (14.5 km) out-and-back in the Cleveland National Forest in Southern California. I hiked mostly through a canyon that was dotted with pinyon pines with an elevation gain of 1,300 ft (400 m). Daytime temperatures were between 70 and 80 F (21 and 27 C) with an overnight low of about 45 F (7 C). There was no precipitation and it was almost perfectly blue skies. My pack weight was 40 lbs (18 kg). I wore the base layers only at night.
My last trip was a short overnight in Lake Kegonsa State Park near Madison, Wisconsin. This trip was part scouting (for turkeys) and part experimenting with sleeping in a hammock (my first time). I hiked a total of 10 mi (16 km) in both the state park and adjacent hunting lands. The terrain was hilly, mostly through deciduous forests and prairies. While I hiked along the dirt-packed trails, I did a fair amount of bushwhacking through thorny brush. The weather was much colder on this trip, with a high of 45 F (7 C) and a low of 30 F (-1 C). While there was no precipitation, the sky was cloudy the entire time. I wore the base layers the entire time, including at night.
Besides the three trips, I have worn the base layers 1-2 times per week either running or on day hikes. This contributed to another 15 uses. Conditions on these uses were similar to what I experienced over the duration of the test series.
ObservationsThere hasn't been much change in my opinion of the Quest Performance base layers since my Field Report. However, since the conditions were decidedly warmer, I was able appreciate some of the flexibility the base layers provide. For starters, on several of my day hikes, I used just the top layer and was quite comfortable. If I needed an extra layer, my down vest or a medium-weight fleece was generally sufficient for high activity use. On some of my runs, I wore just the tops and bottoms with a wind jacket and shorts in conditions down to 40 F (4 C) with no problems. It was on my runs that I genuinely appreciated how well the fabric wicks moisture away. While sweaty, I did not experience any chills.
I am especially impressed with the durability of the fabric. I can see no abnormal signs of wear. Aside from some very minor pilling on the pants, the fabric looks in great shape. Even better, I can still read the washing instructions! I suspect the pilling on the pants is because I almost always wore pants with the bottom layers so there was near constant friction. Despite many run-ins with buckthorn and other brush, I see no snags, loose threads or other major issues. The zipper works as well as it did on day one.
I did not wash the base layers after every use, but I did so after every overnight trip. I estimate I washed them about 15 times over the duration of the test series. They were always run through the drier and I have not noticed any change in fit. Quite impressively, the base layers never retained an odor. If I had to find one drawback, it would be the feel of the zipper when fully zipped. In hindsight, I think I may have preferred the crew or the mock turtleneck versions. However, having the choice of just one, being able to unzip the top during warmer conditions was a definite plus.
Sleeping in the base layers was comfortable. I tend to sleep hot anyway, so I normally sleep with my sleeping bag partially unzipped. With the base layers on, this helped regulate the hot-cold cycle I normally experience while sleeping. The soft feel of the fabric added an extra layer of comfort to my sleeping conditions.
SummaryThe ColdPruf Quest Base Layers have performed beyond my expectations. I plan to use them until they wear out, and likely will purchase another set.
Pros: Excellent fit, comfortable fabric, has kept me quite warm. Durable, dries quickly and has not held any odors whatsoever.
Cons: Zipper is not always comfortable when fully zipped for me.
This concludes this test series. I would like to thank the Indera Mills Company, ColdPruf and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to test the Quest Performance base layers.
Read more gear reviews by Brett Haydin
Reviews > Clothing > Base Layers and Undies > Coldpruf Quest Top and Bottom Base Layer > Test Report by Brett Haydin
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