KARI TRAA TIKSE LONG SLEEVE TOP + PANT
TEST SERIES BY MARINA BATZKE
February 27, 2019
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mbbp2013 (at) yahoo (dot) com
Los Angeles County, California, USA
5' 5" (1.65 m)
132 lb (60.00 kg)
I converted from day hiking and car camping to backpacking in 2013. My backpacking trips are one or two weekend excursions per month in Southern California. The locations range from Joshua Tree National Park desert areas in the cooler months to mountainous elevations in the summer months. I always hike with a group and like the gear talk in camp. While I am looking for ways to lighten my pack, I am not an ultra-lighter: I like sleeping in a tent with a sleeping bag on a comfortable pad. In January 2017, I added snowshoeing to my winter activities.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Kari Traa
Year of Manufacture: 2018
Designed in Norway. Made in China
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.karitraa.com
Tikse Long Sleeve (LS) Top
MSRP: EURO 69.00
Available Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL.
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: 4.76 oz (135 g) Size L
Five Available Colors: Ebony (dark grey with pink), Night = Naval (dark blue with light blue), Peony (light grey with orange-red accents), Greym (light grey with black and pink accents), Mauve (dark blue with orange).
MSRP: EURO 69.00
Available Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL.
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: 4.76 oz (135 g) Size L
Four Available Colors: Ebony (dark grey with pink), Naval (dark blue with light blue), Greym (light grey, black and pink accents), Mauve (dark blue with orange and pink).
|Front side of packaging|
|see the red hanger pulled out|
The Kari Traa Tikse LS (long sleeve) baselayer top and matching Tikse baselayer pant each came in an elegantly designed packaging. It is a combination of white hard plastic and soft transparent plastic. By pressing in the soft transparent plastic, I can pull off the white hard plastic top and get to the product. The packaging back has a red hard plastic piece that can get extended to expose the hanger and use this innovative packaging for store display hanging. At first I was surprised by this "elaborate" packaging for a clothing baselayer but the manufacturer's website clarified more for me. Kari Traa is a female Norwegian freestyle skier who won three Olympic medals [wow], while also having an eye for design and a unique passion for creativity. Kari started her sports brand line back in 2002 and it is "for girls, by girls".
|Tikse long sleeve top|
While sold individually, the Tikse long sleeve top and the Tikse pant have the same fabric and seam color combinations and thereby create a matching set. I got the Naval color theme which is predominantly dark blue, accented with light blue sections, all connected by bright red flat seam stitching. Looks great!
Both the main fabric and the contrast fabric are 100% merino wool. The wool fabric looks ultra fine. A close inspection of both top and pant shows flawlessly made garments with no pulled threads, no misaligned seam stitching - all perfect.
Sewn into the inside neck area seam of the top and the inside back seam of the pant is a soft plastic tag with the KT logo, the size L/G and Made in China imprinted.
The Tikse LS top has the KT logo embroidered in bright red in the left chest area. A small red KT fabric tag is sewn over the low right shirt hem (not for a use purpose but for brand highlighting). The Tikse pant has the KT logo embroidered in bright red in the light blue knee section of the left leg. It has a small red fabric tag with the brand name KARI TRAA sewn into the seam under the knee section of the right pant leg.
The Kari Traa Tikse LS top and pant are described as highly breathable, naturally odor resistant and providing a four-way stretch for a slim and snug fit.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
Sewn into an inside seam of both the top and the pant is a 5-flap fabric tag with text in 28 languages [what?], ranging from English, Norwegian, German to Chinese and Romanian. Main Fabric: 100% wool. Contrast fabric: 100% wool. There is a small scissor symbol next to a recommended cut line: definitely a good tip, seeing that these are five flaps of 3 in (7.6 cm) fabric and I neither speak Greek nor Turkish.
Machine wash cold with similar colors on permanent press setting / wool program. Avoid enzyme washing powder. [Because enzymes in biological laundry detergents dissolve bacteria that cause odor and stains, it is possible to wash the laundry at lower temperatures than one might normally but such biological detergent is NOT recommended for these wool garments.] Use neither bleach nor fabric softener. Wash before use.
TRYING IT OUT
When I pulled the Kari Traa Tikse shirt and pant out of their packaging, I first noticed how lightweight and thin both are. I immediately liked the two blue color combinations with the bright red flat seam stitching.
I have not owned any merino wool garment before, so I first did a feel test. The dark blue wool feels heavier/ thicker while the light blue feels softer and a touch thinner. There is no manufacturer's indication that two thicknesses are used, so I am surprised that I like the softer touch and feel of the light blue sections a bit more. In the back and in the armpit areas of the top, the baselayer shirt has a dark blue mesh fabric. The baselayer pant uses the same dark blue/ light blue merino wool fabrics. The pant has the dark blue mesh in the top back right underneath the elastic waistband, plus mesh in the back knee areas.
|The three fabric patterns|
The pant elastic waistband is 0.9 in (23 mm) wide and bright red in color with KARI TRAA embroidered repeatedly throughout.
I tried on both garments and the L size fits me perfectly. The manufacturer's website has a Size & Fit tab under each clothing product. I had selected the size L which compares to European size 40-42 and that worked out great for me.
Now I will first wash both garments and then venture out into the field.
The Kari Traa Tikse long sleeve top and pant are a pair of baselayer garments, made from lightweight merino wool, designed to keep me warm in cool temperatures plus keep me in a colorful design.
eye-catching color combinations
none so far
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Beartrap Bluff, Southern California, USA
2 days/ 1 night backpacking: 12 mi/ 19 km
Temperature: 79 - 42 F/ 26 - 6 C
Cedar Springs, San Jacinto area, USA
2 days/ 1 night backpacking: 7 mi/ 11 km
Temperature: 73 - 35 F/ 23 - 2 C
Joshua Tree National Park, Southern California, USA
2 days/ 1 night car camping with navigation: 5 mi/ 8 km
Temperature: 58 - 38 F/ 14 - 3 C
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
During the Beartrap Bluff and Cedar Springs backpacking outings, I wore the Kari Traa top and pant at night. In addition to the baselayers, I wore a fresh pair of socks and a shirt on top. That way, I felt comfortably warm inside my sleeping bag and a silk liner.
|sleeping bag down feathers on the pants|
The Joshua Tree National Park night felt much colder than Cedar Springs and I actually kept my down jacket on over the Kari Traa baselayers. And of course a fresh pair of socks - a must for me. I knew we would start the navigation training Sunday morning with the first 60 minutes for introductions and a few theoretical tests at the campground. So I kept the Kari Traa pant on underneath my hiking pants and the Kari Traa shirt underneath my daytime shirt and down jacket. I am glad I did, since the morning was cold and overcast. We then got our navigation assignments and I hiked the following hours with the Kari Traa baselayers on. I felt very comfortable throughout the day. Even when the sun was at its warmest, there was always a breeze. The minute the sun was hiding behind a cloud, it got cold. So I was well protected by the Kari Traa baselayers.
I like the wide elastic waistband of the pant. It does not cut in and fits me well.
To my surprise I noticed a small hole in one shirt sleeve. I do not at all remember that the sleeve caught on anything or that I bumped into anything. No idea how that hole developed. I will stitch it closed, so it does not develop into a bigger hole.
|Hole in Sleeve|
I have occasionally worn the baselayers around the house while comfortably lounging on the couch watching some TV. The other evening, my skin reacted negatively with an itchy sensitivity. I have very sensitive skin and just this week I noticed a bad itch on my arms when I wore a wool cardigan at work. So for now I am assuming my skin has just had a bad week. I will report in my Long Term Report if I notice such itchy skin again while wearing the Kari Traa Tikse baselayers.
The Kari Traa baselayers have kept me comfortably warm during my recent outings. I am looking forward to a few snow outings where I plan to test the Kari Traa baselayers.
wide pant elastic waistband
perfect arm and leg length - ideal fit for me
my sensitive skin recently developed an itch to the fabric
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Ruegen, Northern Germany
4 day hikes at 4.5 mi/ 7 km each
Weather from misty wet to stormy cold
Temperature: 43 - 37 F (6 - 3 C)
Mission Creek Preserve, Southern California, USA
Elevation: 2450 ft (750 m)
2 days/ 1 night car camping with navigation: 3 mi/ 5 km
Rain, at times heavy, cold, some wind Saturday; sunny and cold Sunday
Temperature: 54 - 39 F (12 - 3 C)
Anza Borrego State Park, Southern California, USA
Elevation on day 1: 1000 ft (300 m) + day 2: 4000 ft (1200 m)
2 days/ 1 night car camping with dayhikes: 6 mi/ 10 km + 10 mi/ 16 km
Sunny on Saturday but aggressive cold wind on Sunday
Temperature: 72 - 49 F (22 - 9 C)
Mammoth, California, USA
Elevation: 9000 ft (2750 m)
2 days snowshoeing: 3 mi/ 5 km + 6 mi/ 10 km
Sunny and a pleasant cold
Temperature: 49 - 33 F (9 - 1 C)
Mt. Pinos, California, USA
Elevation: 8300 ft (2530)
1 day of navigation on snowshoes: 3 mi/ 5 km
Temperature: 25 F (- 4 C)
Henninger Flats, Angeles National Forest, California, USA
Elevation: 2600 ft (790 m)
2 day/ 1 night backpack
Temperature: 60 - 40 F (16 - 4 C)
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
During the Mission Creek outing, I wore the Kari Traa baselayers the entire weekend. It started with a rainy, cold Saturday where I had the top over a light short-sleeve undershirt, then a fleece shirt and my rain/ winter jacket as outer layer; plus the Kari Traa pant under my hiking pants. I was recovering from a cold and I needed all these layers to feel comfortable. During the very brief moments that the sun came out, I took the rain/ winter jacket off and stuffed it in my pack. Later at night, I wore the Kari Traa baselayers and my very warming ski underwear top and long johns above, plus a fleece jacket. Inside my 32 F rated down sleeping bag, I had a warm night. Sunday we had beautiful blue skies and sunshine but cold temperatures. I wore the Kari Traa shirt, a fleece shirt and a fleece jacket on top; plus the Kari Traa pant under my hiking pants. With all my layering I was able to peel clothing on or off as needed, while all along the Kari Traa baselayers well controlled my body temperature without any sweating or moisture build-up. At home before I tossed the Kari Traa baselayers in the laundry I did a smell test and they did not smell bad at all, despite having been worn all weekend day and night.
|Anza Borrego State Park|
On Saturday of the Anza Borrego State Park trip, the daytime temperature was much warmer than expected and since I had not brought a light T-shirt along, I wore the Kari Traa shirt as my outer T-Shirt with just a thin undershirt below. My friends complemented the nice design of the Kari Traa shirt. The light blue and dark blue colors, combined with the red stitching really do look great.
I snowshoed in Mammoth on two days and that meant layering. In the morning I wore lots of clothing layers, then as the temperature warmed up and our group started climbing, I peeled off layer after layer. The Kari Traa base layers adjusted well. Only my legs occasionally got rather warm, since I was wearing my ski pants with the Kari Traa pant underneath: with the sun at its brightest and during/ after a good stomp through fresh, fluffy snow, I could have done without the baselayer pant but there was no chance to take them off out there in the wilderness.
I am happy to report that - apart from that one itchy skin sensitivity incident in the beginning - my skin has not had any rashes or itches at all when wearing the merino wool baselayers.
By now, I have washed the Kari Traa baselayers about 9 times. A close inspection of the shirt and pant show no new holes. I had carefully stitched closed the one hole that I had noticed on one sleeve during the FR period but no new holes have developed.
The Kari Traa Tikse long sleeve top and pant, made from lightweight merino wool, have been a superior pair of baselayers throughout the last several months. I love that they combine a nice colorful design and great fit, along with keeping me pleasantly warm (but not overheated) in cool temperatures. I will continue wearing the baselayers on my future outings, most likely as my nighttime wear during the coming warmer months.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2019. All rights reserved.
great color combination dark blue/ light blue/ red stitching
stylish cut - sleeve and pant leg lengths fitting me really well
odor-free even after several days and nights of wearing
breathable - adjusting to varying temperatures and clothing layers
wide pant elastic waistband fits well
one small hole on one sleeve
Thank you to Kari Traa and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test the Tikse merino wool baselayers.
Read more gear reviews by Marina Batzke