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Reviews > Clothing > Socks > Lorpen Expedition PLoft 1 Socks > Test Report by Kristine Mar

Lorpen Expedition Polartec / PLoft 1 Socks
Test Series by Kristine Mar

Biographical Information:

Name: Kristine Mar
Age: 44
Gender: Female
Height: 5'3" (1.6 m)
Weight: 120 Pounds (54 kg)
Email address: kmar546@yahoo.com
City, State, Country: New York, New York, U.S.A.

My love for the outdoors began about ten years ago, while I was living in Northern California. Most of my hiking experience includes day hikes, with an occasional 2-3 day backpacking trip. I'd consider myself a 3-season hiker and generally like to keep my pack as light as reasonably possible without spending a fortune. In 2007, I moved to New York City and have enjoyed East Coast hiking and experiencing the outdoors with four seasons. I enjoy trail hiking in all terrains, and have been fortunate enough to hike in a number of national and state parks, and several countries.


Product Information:

Manufacturer: Lorpen
Year of Manufacture/Received: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.lorpen.com
MSRP: N/A
Size Reviewed: Small (fits Men's US 3-5, Europe 35-37, UK 2 -4)
Other Sizes Available: Medium, Large and Extra Large
Color Tested: 330 Grey / Gris
Weight Listed: N/A
Actual Weight: 3.4 oz (96 g) per pair


Product Description:

The Lorpen Expedition Polartec / PLoft 1 Socks have an anatomical shape and are manufactured with a Polartec Powerstretch fabric with PrimaLoft insulation and are part of Lorpen's outdoor line. The Polartec Powerstretch fabric is manufactured to provide warmth under extreme temperatures and the PrimaLoft insulation is marketed to be: soft, lightweight, breathable with excellent water repellency to keep the foot dry, warm and comfortable. The packaging indicates that they are manufactured of recycled material and are biodegradable. They are constructed with 40% Polyester, 10% Polyester Antibacterial, 30% Nylon, 10% Lycra, and 10% PrimaLoft. The size small has the following dimensions: 19 inches (48 cm) length and 4 inches (10 cm) width.


Product Instructions:

The manufacturer's packaging as shown includes care instructions on the side of the package which requires washing in warm water 35C (63F) max, no ironing, tumble dry at low heat 55C (99F) max, no bleaching and no dry cleaning.

Manufacturer's Original Packaging


Initial Impressions:

I received two pairs of socks from the manufacturer which arrived in the packaging shown. My first impressions of the socks are that they are well constructed and manufactured of a different fabric than I am use to seeing in a sock, which is usually wool or a synthetic nylon composition.


Left Sock: Back side of the left sock
Right Sock: Front side of the right sock showing the anatomical fit.

The black areas of the sock consists of 3 layers, the external and internal layers are made of the Polartec Powerstretch insulated fabric with a middle layer consisting of the PrimaLoft fabric. The Polartec Powerstretch insulated areas around the toe, heel, and bottom of the foot are definitely denser, and provide more cushion. The gray areas of the sock are constructed of the PrimaLoft insulation and allow the sock to stretch forming a nice fit around the calves. Overall, the socks have a very smooth texture on the exterior, and a soft fleece-like feel in the interior.

Images showing the fit of the socks


The seams and construction seem to be very solid. The elastic band at the top feels tight around the calves, and there is some slight bunching on the front end of the ankles, but whether or not the elastic band or the bunching at the ankles will provide any discomfort will be determined.

I generally wear two pairs of socks with my boots, especially during the winter. I always wear a wool pair with a synthetic pair on top. Without the proper fit, and moisture wicking properties, my feet are prone to blisters, therefore, the right socks are very important to me. These socks feel well padded and cushioned, so I am hoping that these alone will provide the comfort, moisture wicking properties, and warmth required to keep my feet happy during my outdoor pursuits especially during the winter.


Summary:

This concludes my initial report on the Lorpen Expedition Polartec / PLoft 1 Socks. I would like to thank Lorpen and Backpackgeartest.org for allowing me the opportunity to test these socks. Please follow up for the results of my field tests in two months.


Field Report - March 9, 2010


Field Conditions:

I wore the Lorpen Expedition Polartec PLoft 1 socks at least 14 times over the last two months while winter hiking in State of Connecticut. The state parks were in the western part of Connecticut, and included Naugatuck State Forest, the DEP Centennial Watershed, Kettletown State Park, Paugusset State Forest, Saugatuck Valley Hiking Trails, and various trails around the Lake Zoar area. The day hikes generally ranged from 3 miles (5 km) to 10 miles (16 km), depending on the weather conditions which ranged from clear to overcast for most days, to light snow. There was at least one day that had strong wind conditions with gusts up to 20 mph (32 km/hour). Temperatures ranged from 2F (-17C) to 45F (7C) without the wind chill factor and elevation gains were never more than 1200 ft (366 m). The socks were also tested on one cross country ski trip at Fahnestock State Park in New York, and on a seven mile snowshoe expedition at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation also in the state of New York.


Observations:

The Lorpen Expedition Polartec PLoft 1 socks are very well constructed and are very comfortable to wear. The Polartec Powerstretch insulated areas around the toe, heel, and bottom of the foot provided a comfortable padding and the socks fit like a glove over my foot. The socks never bunched up around my ankles, slid into my shoes, or resulted in any blisters. The socks were well insulated and as long as I kept moving, my feet never got cold. A minor cause of irritation was the elastic band under the knee (with the Lorpen name in the photo). It was a little tight in my initial assessment, and it did irritate my skin, causing me to break out in a rash two times. I am not sure if this was caused by the tightness of the sock, or if the band at the top was not made of an anti-microbial material. It was only on the left leg, and on both occasions the temperature was not above 35F (2C), so perhaps I am just sensitive, or my left calf was just a little too wide in circumference for the size small sock. Once I took the sock off and allowed my leg to breathe, the rash was gone by the next morning.

The socks were always worn alone with either my Lowa Banff leather hiking boots, or Sorel snow boots, with the exception of the cross country ski outing in which case I wore a ski boot. The moisture wicking properties and breathability of the could be improved upon as my feet quite often felt "clammy" during the hikes as they started to sweat, although the exterior of the sock was never wet at the end of my hikes. On a positive note, although my feet were "clammy" and were obviously sweating, there was no sign of odor when removing the sock, in comparison to other hiking socks made of synthetic materials which I have worn in the past.

The socks are manufactured well and are extremely durable. I washed them once a week in warm water, and usually have allowed them to air dry, but have on occasion put them in the dryer on a low setting. The seams and the fabric are holding up very nicely and the Primaloft layers have no visible signs of compressing over time. They have held up extremely well with no sign of wear and tear, fading of the fabric, or seams stretching out or loosening up.


Summary:

The Lorpen Expedition Polartec PLoft 1 socks are well made, comfortable, and durable and so far they have performed extremely well at keeping my feet warm during cold weather activities. I will continue to test these socks as long as the weather here in the Northeast remains cold enough. Check back in a few months for the final results.

Long Term Report - May 7, 2010

Field Conditons:

Unfortunately after my Field Report in March, the weather started to quickly warm up here on the East Coast. In addition to the testing period reported in March, I only got an additional two days of hiking using these socks. The expedition weight of the socks made it difficult to continue to test the product once the weather started reaching temperatures above 45F (25C). In total, I tested the socks on 16 day hikes, 1 cross country skiing outing, and 1 day snow shoeing. I also wore them around town on short jaunts whenever I needed to wear my snow boots to run errands.


Observations:

My impression of the Lorpen Socks has not changed. These are still the warmest, most well constructed, and durable socks that I have ever owned. Due to the thickness and the warmth of the sock, I found that I could only wear them with my Sorel Snow Boots and my leather Lowa Banff hiking boots, and of course, the cross country ski boots which I rented. The socks, with the additional padding, were too thick to wear with my snowboard boots which have an inner lining, and they also did not fit well with any of my day hiking shoes. The performance of the sock in cold weather was excellent. As long as I kept moving, my feet always remained warm even in temperatures as cold as 2F (-17C). They were, for the most part, comfortable to wear. The interior of the sock felt soft and fleece-like, while the anatomical shape worked well to keep a tight fit without slippage or bunching. I did find that the elastic band on the top of the sock caused some irritation in one leg at times. Perhaps it was too tight for the circumference of my left calf, or perhaps I had an allergic reaction to the fabric. I also found that the socks moisture wicking and breathability could be improved upon.

I received two pairs of socks for testing and both pairs have withstood numerous washings without any noticeable wear. The color has not faded, the stitching remains solid and intact, the padding has not compressed, and the socks have not stretched out and continue to hold the same anatomical shape in the condition in which they arrived.


Summary:

The Lorpen Expedition Polartec / PLoft 1 Socks are made for winter expeditions and cold weather activities. They are a technical, well constructed, comfortable and extremely warm pair of socks that have performed well in cold temperatures. The moisture wicking properties and the elastic band at the top of each sock could be improved upon.

Things I like:

  1. Warmth
  2. Anatomical fit
  3. Durability and Construction

Things I don't like:

  1. Moisture Wicking Properties
  2. Elastic Band at Calf

I would like to thank Lorpen and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to test this item.



Read more reviews of Lorpen gear
Read more gear reviews by Kristine Mar

Reviews > Clothing > Socks > Lorpen Expedition PLoft 1 Socks > Test Report by Kristine Mar



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