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Reviews > Clothing > Base Layers and Undies > Coldpruf Quest Top and Bottom Base Layer > Test Report by Kurt Papke

ColdPruf Baselayers - Quest Performance

Test Report by Kurt Papke

Initial Report - November 1, 2017

Field Report - January 23, 2017

Long Term Report - March 27, 2018

Tester Biographical Information

Kurt Papke
6' 4" (193 cm)
225 lbs (102 kg)
Email address
kwpapke at gmail dot com
City, State, Country Oro Valley, Arizona USA

I do most of my hiking in the desert Southwest, but occasionally get up into the Pacific Northwest and my old stomping grounds in Northern Minnesota.  I am a comfort-weight guy when it comes to most gear, trying to stay as light as possible but I don't go to extremes.  I typically sleep in silk baselayers, but I like the warmth of polyester.

Initial Report

Product Information

ColdPruf is a division of the Indera Mills company.  The Quest Performance baselayers are a member of their synthetic garment line.  They also manufacture merino wool versions.  Products included in this test are both the men's pants and men's crew top.

Product Information
ColdPruf Baselayers
Manufacturer website
Year Manufactured
Size tested/used
Also available in sizes S, M, L, 2XL
Color tested/used
The only color available is Black
Pants and crew top: USD $32 each

The website provides only a
fabric weight of 6.5 oz (184 g)
Pants: 8.1 oz (230 g) for size XL
Top: 11.8 oz (335 g) for size XL

Features listed by the manufacturer include:
  • ColdPruf Technical Fiber Polyester with SILVADUR Intelligent Freshness.  This is a Dow Chemical technology for binding silver ions to fabric fibers, often used in products that are seldom thoroughly cleaned.  Sounds like my base layers ;-)
  • 85% Microfiber Polyester, 15% Spandex.  The fabric has a fair amount of stretch to it.
  • Tagless, and flat seams for added comfort.  Nice not to have to cut off the tags.
  • Country of provenance: fabrics are made in the USA, sewing is done in Mexico.
  • Single layer, brushed inside.  Yes, the inside fabric is nice and smooth.  Feels like it should wick well.

Initial Use

cp01I put on both the top and bottoms.  Fit was OK: the sleeves could be a little longer (see photo at left).  I like to buy a Large Tall size in this type of garment, and push up to an XL when the Tall is not available to get sleeve length.  It should be OK as long as the garment does not shrink in the wash, which I would not expect it to.  The length of the bottoms was adequate.

I immediately noticed a sensation of warmth when I put these on - they should keep me nice and warm on cold desert winter nights.  The garments are very soft and smooth to the touch with non of the scratchiness you can get with wool.  The zipper on the crew top worked very smoothly with no snags.

They look very nice - I would not be embarrassed to wear the bottoms out in public under a pair of shorts as running tights, nor would I have any reservations about wearing the crew top as a shirt out in public.  In fact, ColdPruf mentions on their website that these are apropos for "active and casual wear".


So far so good.  I am excited about getting them out into the backcountry on a cold night and see how toasty they keep me.

  1. Lots of warmth for the weight
  2. Smooth fabric, doesn't feel scratchy
  3. Zipper on crew top is nice for ventilation
Areas for concern:
  1. How bad will it smell after a few nights on the trail?
  2. Fits well now, hopefully it will not shrink in the laundry and turn into mid-sleeves and capris.

Field Report

November 10-13, 2017
Gila Wilderness, New Mexico
West/Middle Fork Loop
43 miles
(69 km)
5630-7450 ft
(1716-2271 m)
Sunny and unseasonably warm, highs around 70F (21 C), nightly lows to 25F (-4 C)
December 10-13, 2017 Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona Hermit and Tonto
27 miles
(43 km)
2800-6640 ft
(850-2024 m)
Highs around 60 F (15 C), lows near 25 F (-4 C), sunny with light winds

West/Middle Fork Loop

Four-day hike up the West Fork of the Gila, over the mountains and down the other side, then back up the Middle Fork to Little Bear Canyon where I crossed back to my starting point.  Night two was the coldest, as I was camped up on top of the canyon rim where the elevation dropped the temperatures, and there was a pretty good breeze blowing all night.

Night one I wore just the Quest baselayers under my quilt, and I was plenty warm despite the temperatures dropping to roughly freezing.  Nights two and three I wore a jacket over the top for extra warmth - it was as much to keep my arms warm while reading before bed than anything else.

I like the slipperiness of the fabric - it allowed me to toss and turn in my hammock with no friction.  It also felt very smooth against my skin.  On night three it was a little warmer, and I felt a little bit of prickliness around my elbows, something I've experienced with polyester baselayers in the past with their aggressive moisture wicking properties.

After the trip I laundered the garments, and they came out looking brand-new.  All in all, a great start to my use of the Quest baselayers, I was a happy camper!!

Grand Canyon's Hermit/Tonto

Four-day, three night backpack in the western portion of the Grand Canyon.  Winds were light, but temperatures dropped to freezing and below as soon as the sun set every night.  I typically put the baselayers on shortly after arriving in camp so that I did not have to disrobe after the temperature dropped.  It was also pretty chilly in camp at night, as fires are not allowed in the Canyon, so I needed the warmth pretty quickly.


It's not possible to see the baselayers in the photo above, but imagine they are beneath all those other layers keeping me nice and toasty on a chilly morning along the Tonto Trail at Boucher Creek.

The baselayers added a substantial amount of warmth at night, but unlike my Gila trip I was not sleeping in a well-insulated hammock up off the ground, but in a tent on the cold, hard dirt.  I used the same topquilt, but it has more air leaks when sleeping on a pad on the ground.  As a result I was a little chilly at night and ended up sleeping with most of my clothes on.  At least I brought enough layers to sleep warm.

I laundered them once again upon my return, and they came out looking still brand-new.


Overall the ColdPruf baselayers have performed as well as I could expect given their thickness and weight.  I like the way they slide around against other fabrics, whether additional insulation layers or my hammock.  The slipperiness also makes them easy to get on and off.  The fit has been perfect, and I have experienced no shrinkage.  I like the zipper on the crew top - it makes it easy to get the garment on and off, and allows me to vent when needed.

Long Term Report

Feb 1-5, 2018 Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona Tonto and Boucher
38 miles
(61 km)
2760-7200 ft
(840-2195 m)
Highs around 70 F (15 C), lows near 32 F (0 C), sunny with light winds

Tonto and Boucher Trails

This was a "check the box" hike of five days and four nights, designed to complete the last of the Grand Canyon trails I had yet to tread.  I descended from the South Rim along the South Kaibab, and cut over along the Tonto trail all the way to Boucher Creek.  From there I ascended on the Boucher and Hermit trails.  I have now completed all the Grand Canyon trails from the Little Colorado confluence to the Boucher Creek area with the exception of New Hance.

The weather cooperated with my plans, I had near perfect conditions with daytime temperatures warm enough to hike in short sleeves, and nighttime temperatures hovering just above or at the freezing point.  As is typical with me for the Grand Canyon, I slept on the ground with an inflatable air mattress in a small one-person tent.  I used my 32 F (0 C) down sleeping bag for this trip. The following photo shows my humble abode perched below Yuma Point at the midway point of the formidable Boucher Trail:


My sleeping layers consisted of the ColdPruf baselayers plus a merino wool long-sleeve T-shirt.  I had a jacket and down vest with me for additional warmth, but I ended up using them for a pillow, as I was warm enough at night without additional insulation in my 32 F (0 C) sleeping bag.  I put the baselayers on in the evening as soon as the sun went down behind the canyon walls, and took them off just before leaving camp in the morning.  They are very easy to put on and take off, as the fabric slides nicely against the skin.

When I arrived back home in Tucson I laundered them and threw them in the dryer with the rest of my hiking clothes.  I like that I don't have to treat them with "kid gloves" when I do the laundry, no hanging outside to dry, no stretching, etc.


I continue to be impressed with these baselayers.  I have been a stickler for a decade about sleeping in organic (mostly silk) fabrics at night, but the ColdPruf baselayers have made me a convert.  They are very warm for the weight, cause no prickly sensations with 12+ hours of wear in camp each night, and look (and smell) identical to the day they arrived in the mail.  It is the latter that really impresses me, because my silk baselayers start to show signs of wear and tear after just a few launderings, and start to feel "crispy".  Both my silk and Merino wool baselayers start to develop holes, particularly on the backs of my shoulders where my pack rubs, after about a dozen days on the trail.  The ColdPruf baselayers show no evidence of any abrasion after four months of use.

I intend to continue to use these garments on all my cold-weather backpacking trips due to their warmth and sturdiness, and save my silk baselayers for warmer weather conditions.

Thanks to BackpackGearTest and ColdPruf Baselayers for the opportunity to test the Quest Performance garments.

Read more gear reviews by Kurt Papke

Reviews > Clothing > Base Layers and Undies > Coldpruf Quest Top and Bottom Base Layer > Test Report by Kurt Papke

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