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Reviews > Clothing > Socks > Heat Holders Original Socks > Test Report by Frances Penn

HEAT HOLDER ORIGINAL THERMAL SOCKS
TEST SERIES BY FRANCES PENN
LONG-TERM REPORT
April 30, 2013

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Frances Penn
EMAIL: fpenn AT sbcglobal DOT net
AGE: 56
LOCATION: Santa Ana, California
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 130 lb (59.00 kg)

I have been backpacking for six years mostly on long weekends in Southern California with two or more 5-day trips per year in the Sierras. My total daypack weight is usually 15 lb (7 kg) and my total backpack weight is usually 28-30 lb (13-14 kg) depending on the need for a bear canister. I am a tent camper and have experienced all night rain, heavy winds, camping in snow once, but mostly fair weather.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Heat Holders
Year of Manufacture: 2012
Manufacturer's Website: www.heatholdersstore.com
Manufactured in Indonesia
MSRP for available styles:
US $15.99 for the Original style
Other Styles available: Slipper, Long and Ski
The Ladies Original style is being tested
Available in Men's and Ladies versions
Listed Weight: none listed
Measured Weight: 3.8 oz (108 g) for both socks
Size Tested: US 5-9 (UK 4-8) and EUR 37-42
Sizes Available: US 5-9 (UK 4-8) and EUR 37-42
Materials: 91% Acrylic, 5% Nylon, 3% Polyester, and 1% Elastane
Colors available: Black, Charcoal, Indigo, Purple, Deep Fuchsia, Raspberry, Pink and Light Pink
Colors tested: Deep Fuchsia and Raspberry

The socks are fleece lined thick thermal socks with a fuzzy inside and a smooth soft outside. They are constructed in the shape of a normal sock with a seam over the toes and a heel cup, but they are much thicker and have a fuzzy inside. The manufacturer claims the socks are 7 times warmer than a basic cotton sock which has a TOG rating of 0.33. By comparison, an ordinary thermal sock measures 0.89 TOG rating and these socks have a TOG rating of 2.34. A TOG rating measures the thermal ability of textiles.

The package indicates three reasons the TOG thermal rating is so high on the socks. First, the advanced insulating yarn is specially developed to provide high performance insulation with superior moisture wicking. Second, the long looped thermal pile which holds in more warm air. Third, the soft brushed fuzzy inside holds more warm air inside the sock.

The socks have a soft feel on my feet and reach halfway up my calves. From the heel to the top of the sock is 8 in (20 cm). The top band on the outside is 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide and 1/2 inch (1+ cm) wide on the inside. The fleece on the inside may account for the top cuff not being as noticeable when turned inside out. The top band is tight enough to keep the sock on my calf but not so tight as to be uncomfortable. The socks are so soft that I forget I have them on. The socks are the same thickness the entire length with no areas of double stitching.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

Two pairs of socks arrived in the colors requested and packaged like most socks in a cardboard sleeve type package that contained the product information and washing instructions.

IMAGE 1
packaging


The socks have a very soft feel on the inside and the outside. They are entirely one color with no accents or name markings. They are fuzzy on the inside all the way up to the top except for 1/2 inch (1+ cm) at the top.

IMAGE 2
inside out sock on top


I wore the socks at night in temperatures below 32 F (0 C) and my feet were warm while walking around in camp and all night in my sleeping bag. The socks are so thick that I was concerned they might not fit into my hiking boots, but my concern evaporated as my foot slid into my waterproof boots. After walking around for a few minutes, my feet were warm but felt tight in my boots. I plan to wear them snowshoeing for an additional winter testing opportunity, and will include these results in my Long Term report.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

The washing instructions indicate to wash dark colors separately, but do not include drying instructions. The instructions also indicate when placing on foot to roll back the sock to ensure the long inside yarn loops do not catch on toes. I haven't experienced the inside of the sock catching on my toes so far but I will watch for this.

I just finished washing and drying the socks for the first time. I usually hang my hiking socks to dry to prevent unnecessary wear and shrinking. These socks are so thick that I was concerned about how long it might take them to air dry. I placed them in the dryer for 20 minutes on the medium/permanent press setting and they are fully dry and look just like new. The next time I wash them, I will hang them to dry to see how long it takes the socks to fully dry.

TRYING IT OUT

I wear size 9 1/2 boots and the socks fit my feet perfectly, even though the package indicates the socks fit sizes US 5-9. Since the socks are so thick, I can feel the seam over the top of the toes inside my hiking boots. I will pay more attention to this detail in my future testing.

Concerns:
Will my feet be warmer and subsequently create more perspiration because of the warmth?
Will the wicking be adequate to keep the socks dry inside my boots in the colder weather?
Will my feet be uncomfortable because the thicker socks make the boots tighter?
Will the top band be tight enough to stay up during use?
Will they hang dry quickly enough to be washed during a backpacking trip?

I will be paying close attention to these details during my testing trips.


SUMMARY

These socks are comfortable to wear. I am looking forward to having warm feet in cold temperatures. I am heading up to the mountains shortly and will be out in the snow as much as possible to test their warmth.



LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Trip #1:
Location: San Jacinto Wilderness, California USA
Elevation: 8,000 ft (2400 m)
Trip duration: 2 days, 1 night
Conditions: dirt trail with some steep rocky portions
Temperatures: 30-50 F (-1 to 10 C)
Weather: cold and windy during the day and 10 F (-13 C) at night with light snow flurries during dinner

I wore the socks during the day with my waterproof boots just in case it snowed. The socks kept my feet warm although my boots felt a little tighter than with my regular hiking socks. A little snow fell at night in camp during dinner. I was really glad I wore the socks at night in my sleeping bag because there was a little bit of snow on the ground by the time we went to bed. Since it was still really cold and windy the next day, I wore them to hike back to the trailhead.

Trip #2:
Location: Sturtevant Camp near Mt. Wilson, California USA
Elevation: 3,000 ft (900 m)
Trip duration: 3 days, 2 nights
Conditions: dirt trail with some steep rocky portions
Temperatures: 30-60 (-1 to 15 C)
Weather: sunny days and cool nights

I wore the socks at night because we had to walk from our little cabins to the group dining hall and to the bathroom building. We stayed in small group cabins that didn't have much heat so the socks kept my feet warm at night in my sleeping bag.

Trip #3:
Location: Big Bear area, California USA
Elevation: 7,000 ft (2100 m)
Trip duration: 2 days, 1 night
Conditions: off trail forest
Temperature: 30-50 F (-1 to 10 C)
Weather: cold days hiking in the forest on about 6 inches (15 cm) of snow pack

I wore the socks all day hiking in the snow. We used our snowshoes when the snow was deep enough. I also wore the socks at night to keep my feet warm.

Trip #4:
Location: Joshua Tree National Park, California USA
Elevation: 3,000 ft (900 m)
Trip duration: 5 days, 4 nights
Conditions: sandy desert terrain
Temperature: 30-50 F (-1 to 10 C)
Weather: cool and slightly breezy days

I wore the socks at night in camp during dinner, all night in my sleeping bag and in the morning to make breakfast. I didn't wear them during the day because it wasn't cold enough to need them.

IMAGE 1
stormy day in Big Bear

IMAGE 2
close-up

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The socks kept my feet warm during the days hiking in the cold and wind, hiking in snow and snowshoeing, and all night on some very cold nights. I wore them to go snowboarding in the Big Bear area on a cold and stormy day. I also wore them for snowshoe day hikes in the Big Bear area. When the weather was cold, I didn't notice my boots feeling tighter than usual due to the thickness of the socks. The socks wicked away any moisture that may have occurred. I didn't notice any dampness from perspiration.

I washed the socks after every trip. When I had time, I hung them to dry. When I didn't have time, I dried them in the dryer. The socks took two days to dry by hanging, being turned inside out after the first day. I would not wash them on a backpacking trip because of the drying time, but I would carry an extra pair on an extended trip.

By the end of the testing period, I noticed the socks would slide halfway down my leg by the end of the day. The socks didn't bunch or slide inside my boots. The socks did not create pilling on the outside. The fleece on the inside looks the same as when the socks were new.

SUMMARY

I was happy to have these socks for my trips this past winter. In the past, I wore fleece socks at night and my feet were cold on the coldest nights. Wearing these socks, my feet were warm both during the cold days and the even colder nights. Now that it is getting closer to summer here in California, I will be putting these socks away with my winter gear. I will definitely wear them when the weather turns cold again next Fall. I feel lucky to have been chosen for this test. Otherwise I would not have known about these awesomely warm fleece socks.

This test series is now concluded. Thank you to Heat Holders and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test these wonderful socks.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.

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