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Reviews > Clothing > Shirts > ExOfficio Womens Terma Quarter Zip Top > Test Report by Kathleen Waters

EXOFFICIO TERMA 1/4 ZIP TOP
TEST SERIES BY KATHLEEN WATERS
LONG-TERM REPORT

INITIAL REPORT - February 08, 2017
FIELD REPORT - March 21, 2017
LONG TERM REPORT - May 15, 2017

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Kathleen Waters
EMAIL: kathy at backpackgeartest dot com
AGE: 66
LOCATION: Canon City, Colorado, USA
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 4" (1.60 m)
WEIGHT: 125 lb (56.70 kg)

Living in Colorado and being self-employed, I have ample opportunities to backpack. There are over 700,000 acres/280,000 hectares of public land bordering my 71-acre/29-hectare "backyard" in addition to all the other gorgeous locations which abound in Colorado. Over the past 15 years, my husband John and I have also had the good fortune to hike/snowshoe glaciers, rain forests, mountains and deserts in exotic locations, including New Zealand, Iceland, Costa Rica, Slovenia and Death Valley. My hiking style is comfortable, aiming for lightweight. I use a tent (rainfly if needed). Current pack averages 25 lb (11 kg) excluding food and water.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: ExOfficio
Year of Manufacture: 2017
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.exofficio.com
MSRP: US $44.99 according to website $75.00 on hangtag
Listed Weight: N/K
Measured Weight: 8 oz (227 g)
Sizes Available: XS to XL
Size Tested: Medium
Colors Available: Black/White, Blue Smoke Heather, Brandy Heather, Grey Heather
Color Tested: Blue Smoke Heather

Other details:

Materials: 54% acrylic, 27% polyester, 14% rayon, 5% spandex
Terma
Photo Copyright ExOfficio

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The first thing I noticed about the top is the color - a very pretty light gray/blue with that feathery heather look. It looks just like the photo on the ExOfficio website. After admiring the color, I went on to check out the details of the top!

The ExOfficio Terma 1/4 Zip Top is a relaxed-fit top with princess seams and a cross-chest seam as well as a cross-back yoke seam. The fabric has a smooth exterior similar to a soft terry-cloth material. It's slightly stretchy. The covered zipper is nylon and about 12 inches (30 cm). There are thumb holes at the base of each cuff. Arm length is about 21 inches (53 cm). The stand-up collar is 3 inches (8 cm) which makes the back center length a total of 29 inches (74 cm) from top of collar to the hem. The top actually flares a bit at the hem so is not tight at the bottom but rather - well, flared out. All interior seam stitching is flat-locked, except for the hem and the cuffs which is a standard folded one.

There is a hidden side seam pocket with a hidden zipper just large enough for a passport. I checked, my passport fits into the pocket nicely with room to spare.

According to the ExOfficio website, the Terma incorporates the SILVADUR (tm) technology which reportedly uses silver ions to kill odor-causing organisms.

I thoroughly inspected the top and found no signs of imperfections. All seams are straight, tight (but not puckered) with no loose threads. There aren't any pulls, snags, or holes (yet). The quality looks to be very good which is what I expect of a top in this price range.
collar
Zipper Garage
pocket
Side Pocket
thumbholes
Thumb Hole

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

The care instructions on the side seam cloth tag tell me that the top needs to be machine washed with like (light, in this case) colors in cold water. No bleach or fabric softeners are to be used. I can use a dryer if I use the "low" dry tumble. The top needs to be removed promptly when dry. Ironing on low with a delicate setting is ok, but that's never going to happen in my lifetime!

These are simple directions and similar to most all of my outdoor tech clothing. Easy, peasy!

TRYING IT OUT

As soon as the top arrived, I immediately pulled off the shirt I was wearing to try it on. The fabric is so soft and smooth! I had no problems pulling the top on over my head thanks to the very long zipper. I'm not sure why this is called a "1/4 zip" top when the zipper is more than 1/3 the length of the entire garment! Anyway, it's easy to take off and on. The sleeves when relaxed almost cover my entire hands but using the thumb holes pulls them up a bit.to a comfort position. Length-wise, my derriere isn't quite completely covered, but close enough. And since the fabric is thin, I am able to tuck in the top without having a lot of extra bulk in an area where I don't particularly want it.

The stand-up collar appears to have an interfacing in it that is a little stiffer than the rest of the top. It's not uncomfortable though and the zipper garage - folded over "flap" at top of zipper - keeps the zipper tab from rubbing on my chin. Because I'm not a huge fan of turtle-neck type tops, I was pleased to find I could fold the collar in half. I also tried successfully to partially unzip the top and fold down the collar and that works nicely as well.

Can't wait to get out "there" and put the top through its paces!

SUMMARY

Perfect timing! The ExOfficio Terma 1/4 Zip Top arrived the day before a planned snowshoe on the Colorado Trail near Breckenridge, Colorado. It is supposed to be a beautiful, sunny 50-ish F (10 C) Colorado day and I'm so excited. I like to layer my tops when hitting the trails and the Terma will be one of those layers.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Since the last couple of months; all my outdoor adventures have been day hikes and only one two-night weekend campout. All of which were located in the Rocky Mountain foothills I call home in Fremont County, Colorado. Fremont County is in the south central part of Colorado and the terrain and geography are quite different from what most people think of when they hear "Colorado". Instead of towering ponderosa pine trees and white-barked aspens, this area is more high-desert with some prairie characteristics. Lots of scrubby pinon pines, juniper, grasses and even cactus. The trails are often very dusty but rocky and when muddy, sticky clay-like muck. Elevation ranges from just above the mile (1.6 km) mark to over 13,000' (4000 km).

It's been ridiculously warmer than normal this winter - heck, we really didn't have much of a winter at all! It's been in the 80s F (26-29 C) for the last week. Very, very little in the way of moisture, either snow or rain. Red Flag Warning and Wind Advisory Days (dry, windy conditions where no open flame is permitted) have been almost daily weather alerts. Very unusual weather conditions for sure!

Some of the trails I've recently traveled are in the Oil Well Flats, Grape Creek, and Rainbow and Temple Canyon areas.

An example of my hiking is the Oil Well Flats Tectonic Shift Trail which offers primitive campsites in BLM land (Bureau of Land Management) through juniper and pine tree stands with a few meadows. The very narrow, newly-constructed trail is mostly hard dirt-packed with intermittent rocks. It's an intermediate-rated trail for mountain bikes but also a hiking trail and we had it all to ourselves. Temperature was about 45 F (7 C) under a clear, sunny blue sky. Amazingly, it was one of the few days we had almost no wind at all. The trail was 2.3 miles (3.7 km) one-way with a 220' (67 m) ascent and a -51'(-16 m) descent with an elevation of 6,107' (1861 m) high and 5,939' (1810 m) low.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

I've worn the Terma on eight different day hikes and one overnight during this evaluation period. In all cases, the top was worn as a base layer with a down vest. Mostly that was all but on windier days, I added a windbreaker. On the overnight, I slept in the Terma and my vest.

I've found the Terma to be a warm enough top under the above conditions. And, at the upper temperature ranges, it was cool enough. So, as Goldilocks would say, the Terma is "just right" for me in a wide range of temperatures! I didn't experience any excessive sweating - I sweat easily - during my most vigorous snowshoeing and what sweat I did experience did not wet out the top to an uncomfortable degree. And when I did sweat, I was pleased to note the Terma did NOT stink as some of my other synthetic tops tend to do. This was particularly nice when I had to sleep curled up in my sleeping bag with my nose buried into the bag for warmth!

The loose fit of the Terma is both a blessing and a curse. The blessing part comes in with keeping me cooler and not having fabric sticking to/rubbing against my body. It's nice to not have every inch of holiday-food-gorging excess body "mass" glaringly highlighted as well.

However, that same relaxed-fit means I can't really tuck the Terma in well - too much bulk - into some of my pants if and when I want to do so. And that sometimes means less warmth when I need it.

I've had no problems with the zipper opening and closing smoothly even after playing with it a lot (hey, I'm "testing" it!). And it doesn't keep me from comfortably and neatly folding down the collar which is the way I've worn it almost exclusively. As I indicated above, I rarely wear turtle-neck tops and when I do, only for warmth. Because the neckline of the Terma is so loose, the collar is unless for warmth. Just for show, folks!
Taking a Break on Tectonic Shift Trail
Taking a Break on Tectonic Shift Trail
Since I have worn the top often where the sleeves are exposed, I was worried about damage from tree sap - we have lots of pine and juniper - and from snags and holes from those branches that would just reach out and grab me. I'm happy to report that up to now, I have not experienced any damage and not because I suddenly became the most graceful of hikers, never lurching into vegetation! This is one tough top!

As for care and maintenance of the Terma, I really don't do anything special. The top has gotten thrown into the washer and electric dryer along with my other light-colored technical clothing. I used a cold water wash gentle cycle and a normal dryer setting. Once I hung the top up to dry.

I've washed the Terma at least 3 times now and it has come through the washings just fine. There hasn't been any staining, pilling, shrinking or snagging of the material. The stand-up collar is a little sloppy-looking though as if the interfacing (stiffer than the outer fabric lining) has lost a bit of "starch". This is not really a problem for me as I rarely zip the top all the way up and usually prefer to fold the collar down like a normal shirt collar.

So, to date, I'm happy with the quality of the materials and the wear of the Terma!

SUMMARY

Despite the fact that Spring officially arrived yesterday, I will continue to be wearing long sleeves early mornings, at night and at high attitudes for several weeks. Especially on my upcoming snowshoe week in 10 days! Yay! The ExOfficio Terma has done a great job of keeping me comfy so far and will get the best workout of this field evaluation during that trip when I will, most likely, encounter colder temps and hopefully, lots of snow! Even after the snow is gone, I expect the Terma to offer me protection well into the summer.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

The last couple of months have been sticking-close-to-home months. All of my snowshoeing and hiking has been pretty much confined to the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) trails in Fremont County, except for a week-long trip (all day hikes) to Eagle County and an overnight to Gunnison/Chaffee County's Monarch Pass for some great snowshoeing on the Continental Divide.

Shockingly, the weather in Eagle County the first week of April was down-right balmy with very snow-free terrain - this is the home of Vail and Beaver Creek Ski resorts! While we planned to spend the week snowshoeing, we ended up hiking instead as there was no snow except the snow on the ski runs and even as disparate as I was to snowshoe, I know not to go anywhere near ski and snowboard territory! So we "made do" with some gorgeous hikes near Minturn and Avon, Colorado. Temps were in the mid 50's F (13 C).

Our trip to Monarch Pass yielded wonderful deep snow that was pretty much "crusted" over so very easy going through some beautiful pine forested areas as well as open meadows along the Continental Divide. It was a bit colder - in the low 30's F (-1 C).

In both locations, we were in steep terrain with elevations ranging from a low of 7400' (2260 m) in Avon to a high of 11,500' (3500 m) on the Continental Divide at Monarch Pass.

Close to home, I was able to get in a half-dozen day hikes in the Cooper Mountain area where most of the time it was unseasonably, unreasonably warm! We had days top out over 80 F (27 C). The Cooper Mountain range is in the south central part of Colorado and the terrain and geography are quite different from what most people think of when they hear "Colorado". Instead of towering ponderosa pine trees and white-barked aspens, this area is more high-desert with some prairie characteristics. Lots of scrubby pinon pines, juniper, grasses and even cactus. The trails are often very dusty but rocky and when muddy, sticky clay-like muck. Elevation ranges from just above the mile (1.6 km) mark to over 13,000' (4000 km).
Continental Divide Trail at Monarch Pass
Monarch Pass - Continental Divide

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

After four months, I'm still very happy with the way the Terma performs both on and off the trail. It is incredibly versatile and I have worn it with a variety of other tops. When it was really cold, I sometimes wore a synthetic tank top by ExOfficio under the Terma and top that with a light down vest and a shell. But mostly I wore the Terma as a "shirt" with a down vest. I tend to get very hot very quickly when trekking in the dry sunny climate of Colorado. Unless the temperatures are below freezing or very windy, long sleeves and a vest are sufficient for me.

The Terma did a good job of keeping my body temperature comfortable. And when I did get sweaty, the top kept me as dry as any other base layer top I own. It also dried out quickly when it did get damp. I liked the length of the top for covering my lower back without having to constantly pull it down. It is not long enough to cover my bottom though and I never tucked it into my pants as its loose fit made for a bulky waistline if I did.

Since I did mostly wear it solo with a vest, I'm happy to report the Terma survived numerous brushes with all the prickly vegetation we have around here. Coupled with my innate clumsiness, the pines, cactus and junipers have caused the demise of more than one other piece of clothing!

It seemed like every time I did the wash, the Terma was in it, so I'd guesstimate the top was in the washer and drier at least 4 times during this reporting period. I continued to wash the top in cold water with a base layer wash and machine dried it, no ironing. Other than the stand-up collar looking a little "limp", the Terma looks to be in fine condition.

STARRING ATTRACTIONS

1.) Love the fabric's smooth feel
2.) Kept me warm when I needed it without getting sweaty
3.) Very shapely but comfortably loose

MINOR DISTRACTIONS

1.) Really am not a fan of the stand-up collar.

SUMMARY

I wore the ExOfficio Terma 1/4 Zip Top a lot throughout the last couple of months on the trail when backpacking, hiking and snowshoeing. And also, because it was so comfortable, I wore it around the house. Just because the calendar says we are deep into spring doesn't mean the Terma top will get put away for the summer. I know that I never can tell what the weather will bring on the trail and the versatility of this top will keep it front and center for summer hikes, particularly for summit bids.

Thank you to ExOfficio and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to try out the ExOfficio Terma 1/4 Zip Top.

Kathleen (Kathy) Waters

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.

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