PARADOX STRATA TOP
By Theresa Lawrence
December 30, 2013
theresa_newell AT yahoo DOT com
Sparwood, British Columbia, Canada
5' 8" (1.73 m)
125 lb (56.70 kg)
19.5 in (50 cm)
24 in (61 cm)
27.5 in (70 cm)
I have more than 15 years of backpacking experience. Day hikes and 2-3 day backpacking trips take place on most weekends throughout the year while longer trips are only occasional. I backpack predominantly in mountain terrain (Coast Range, Cascades and Canadian Rockies) with the goal of summiting peaks. Activities I use my gear with include mountaineering, ski touring, rock climbing, kayaking, biking, trail running, Search and Rescue and overseas travel. I like my gear to be reasonably light, convenient and simple to use though I would not claim to be a lightweight hiker.
Manufacturer: Paradox Inc.
Manufacturer's Website: http://paradoxoutdoor.com
Year of Manufacture: 2012
Made In: Thailand
Listed Weight: none given
Measured Weight: 5.75 oz (162 g)
Measured Torso Length: 27 in (69 cm)
Measured Sleeve Length: 32 in (81 cm)
Measured Waist Circumferance: 31 in (79 cm)
Fabrics: 84% polyester, 11% merino wool, 5% spandex
Color Options: Black, magenta, teal, blue, berry and mixed black/berry
Colors Reviewed: Teal, magenta, blue and black/berry (yes I have 4 of them)
Sizes Available: S, M, L, XL
Size Reviewed: Small
The Paradox Strata is a thermal base layer top intended for active use. The manufacturer states that it has many features including Paradox's own DRIRELEASE MERINO BLEND, which regulates temperature. This feature includes FRESHGUARD, which neutralizes odor by preventing odor-causing body oils from attaching to the fabric. Other attributes include quick-dry and wicking, drying up to four times faster than cotton and keeping the individual dry. Also, the lightweight and stretchy fabric gives the garment a comfortable fit and the built-in hand gaiters keep hands warm. It also has a stylish and convenient 1/3rd zipper.
To put it simply, since I've owned the Paradox Strata I have taken them on every backpacking, hiking, skiing, swift water kayaking and climbing trip over the past year. They have seen all four seasons of the Canadian Southern Rockies with temperatures well below freezing and well above. While this region isn't particularly humid, I have used them in very humid situations including underneath my Swift Water Rescue Dry Suit, as well as my Swift Water Kayaking Dry Suit, where the breathability of the suit was zero and the temperature outside was 29+ C (84+ F).
COMFORT AND FIT
I find the Strata fits very comfortably. I enjoy the stretchy and soft material making it easy to move in. The small fits me just as well as a base layer as it does a midlayer. The 1/3rd zipper makes it easy to use as a midlayer. Because I have several of them, I find I can even layer them up in below-freezing temperatures. I like the torso and arm lengths, as I have found many other garments of this type are either too short in torso or have too short of arms for my liking. The hand gaiters are also a nice feature and fit well. The zipper doesn't chafe as there is a fabric zipper guard at the top of the neck.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The thermal aspects are fantastic. I find it really does regulate my temperature keeping me warm in cold temperatures and wicking away moisture under heavy activity. I suppose this is why I bought four of them. As indicated they dry very quickly and I have never found odor control to be a problem.
I have found the Paradox Strata lives up to my expectations. I have used and abused them so often and they've been thrown into the washing machine dozens upon dozens of times and they look good as new and continue to perform. I should say, however, that I have never put them in the dryer. Since they dry so quickly, it was easier just to hang them.
I bought the Paradox Strata thermal layers mainly because of the price. They are far more affordable than almost all of their merino blend counterparts that I have seen and I have been nothing but impressed. I started with one and now have four because they are my favorite thing to wear for any outdoor activity. They fit, are comfortable, not scratchy, perform predictably as a thermal layer, do not smell and are affordable. I would definitely recommend this garment.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
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- Fits well
- Hand gaiters to keep hands warm
- 1/3rd zipper for easy on and off
- Does not smell
- Very affordable
- Dries fast, wicks
- Merino wool warmth
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