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Reviews > Clothing > Shirts > Patagonia Wool 2 Turtleneck > Owner Review by Richard Lyon

PATAGONIA WOOL 2 TURTLENECK
Owner Review by Richard Lyon
May 29, 2007

 

Personal Details and Backpacking Background.
Male, 60 years old
Height: 6' 4" (1.93 m)
Weight: 200 lb (91 kg)
Email address: rlyon AT gibsondunn DOT com
Home: Dallas, Texas USA

I've been backpacking for 45 years on and off, and regularly in the Rockies since 1986.  I do a week long trip every summer, and often take three-day trips.  I'm usually camping in alpine terrain, at altitudes of 5000 to 13000 ft (1500 - 4000 m).  I prefer base camp backpacking, a long hike in with day trips from camp, but I do my share of forced marches too.  Though always looking for ways to reduce weight, I'm not yet a lightweight hiker and I usually choose a bit more weight over foregoing my favorite camp conveniences.

PRODUCT DETAILS.  This past winter Patagonia joined the merino movement, adding merino tops and long underwear bottoms to its line of "Performance Baselayer" garments.  Wool 2 is the lighter of two weights in which Patagonia products were available when I purchased the Turtleneck. (In contrast, Patagonia has four weights of its synthetic Capilene base layers.)  Patagonia doesn't provide a fabric weight for Wool 2 or Wool 3.  

The Turtleneck has a jersey-type weave and texture, more open than found on other brands of merino base layers that I own.  This weave, at least in the winter white color, makes the shirt almost translucent.  The shirt also features flat stitching, raglan sleeves, and a full six-inch (15 cm) turtleneck collar that I fold over once when wearing this shirt.  The shirt's seams are unusually wide at 0.25 in (6.4 mm).  I detect no elastic in the collar or cuffs, though each sleeve has a seam circling it three inches (7 cm) from the cuff that makes the sleeve very slightly narrower at that point.  A small Patagonia label is sewn at the bottom left of the front of the shirt.  This bit of advertising is invisible when the shirt is tucked into my trousers.turtleneck and raglan sleeves

Manufacturer: Patagonia, Inc.

Website: www.patagonia.com

Year Purchased: 2006

Year Manufactured: 2006

Size: XL; available in sizes S through XL. 

Color: Winter white.  Also available in black, batik blue, and mars red.

Fabric: 100 % New Zealand merino wool.  Says Patagonia on its website: "Our 100% merino wool is so fine that it can be slow-washed for softness next to the skin and minimal shrinkage. It is chlorine-free."  (The hangtag, though, notes that the Turtleneck is "machine washable.")

Weight (measured, none listed): 7.0 oz / 198 g

MSRP: $85 US

Warranty: "The Patagonia Ironclad Guarantee" (from the hangtag, I couldn't find it on the website.): "If you are not satisfied with one of our products at the time you receive it, or if one of our products does not perform to your satisfaction, return it to the store you bought it from or to Patagonia for a repair, replacement or refund."

WHY I BOUGHT IT. I acquired the Turtleneck primarily as a base layer for skiing.  I am cold-prone and appreciate the extra warmth and wind guard effect of a turtleneck, particularly on inbounds ski days involving long rides on slow lifts.  Turtleneck, as opposed to zip-neck, performance base layer tops are rather difficult to find.  I don't like the chill of a zipper against my skin in cold weather, and when I wear a shirt with one it always seem to snag or clog with ice when I really want to close it up.

FIELD CONDITIONS.  I wore the Patagonia Turtleneck as a base layer, under a wool sweater or ski jacket or both while in-bounds or backcountry skiing and ski touring in the Rockies from December through March.  On days when I didn't wear the Turtleneck when skiing I used it as my base layer around town, under a wool shirt or sweater.  Temperatures in the mountains ranged from -30 F (-34 C) at night in January to a mid-afternoon springtime high of 65 F (18 C) in March.  I also wore it as a base layer in camp after the day's hiking and as a sleepwear top on an April overnight backpack in the Texas Hill Country, low temperature around 40 F (5 C).

EVALUATION.  The Turtleneck has performed admirably in the backcountry and on the street.  While to my touch this is the lightest weight merino wool garment I own (roughly confirmed by weighing various other shirts) its insulating properties are terrific.  Certainly it did its job on a brutally cold backcountry ski day in Wyoming (high temperature 1 F/-17 C, with plenty of wind) and has equaled much heavier synthetics in all conditions.  The turtleneck feature hugs my neck and acts as a wind guard, obviating the need for a separate neck gaiter.

As with every other Patagonia base layer I've worn, the Turtleneck excels at wicking perspiration away from my body.  Even my in-bounds skiing involves much hiking to find fresh snow, and I often work up a sweat before letting gravity take over.  On a sunny, windless 65 F (18 C) day, worn under an insulated jacket, I had no perspiration build-up and the Turtleneck had no odor after a hard day of hiking, traversing, and mogul skiing. 

The open weave makes the Turtleneck the softest against of the skin of any merino shirt I own.  I've had no itching or chafing anywhere.  I haven't yet worn the Turtleneck as an outer layer and so can't comment on whether the weave might make it more prone to catch on tree branches or other bushwhacking obstacles. 

Size XL gives me a good fit, with sleeves long enough even for me. (My dress shirts have 37 inch sleeves.)  I much appreciated its generous torso length in the cold weather; the shirttail never came out of my trousers from stretching or skiing, another frequent problem for me. 

At Stiegler'sI have not noticed any shrinkage despite treating the Turtleneck like any other merino garment.  Rather than proceeding entirely by hand (which I assume is what Patagonia means by "slow-washing"). I wash the Turtleneck with other light-colored woolen garments in my front-loading washer, delicate cycle, with cold water and a non-detergent soap such as Ivory, Woolite, or Atsko Sport-Wash.  I air-dry it flat.  In dry North Texas the Turtleneck dries completely overnight.  I haven't yet washed the Turtleneck in the field.  After six months all stitching is intact and the shirt looks as good as new, and it also seems to get softer with each wash.  For some reason, however, it picks up static electricity when dried; the first time after a wash that I don the shirt it crackles with energy.  At other times this hasn't happened.

I haven't found much to complain about, even price. (Here Patagonia is comparable to other long-sleeve merino base layers.) For temperatures when I don't expect to get hot under the collar and therefore require venting this Turtleneck is the best base layer top I have found for outdoor activities.  And, typical of Patagonia, it's smart enough and comfortable enough to wear around town as well, as the photo at the left indicates.  The Turtleneck isn't in Patagonia's spring catalog, alas; I do hope it returns in the fall.  If not, though, I'll consider seriously other Patagonia Wool 2 base layer shirts.



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