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Reviews > Clothing > Underwear > Coldpruf Classic Base Layers > Test Report by Brian Hartman




NAME: Brian Hartman
EMAIL: bhart1426ATyahooDOT com
AGE: 49
LOCATION: Central Indiana
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 150 lb (68.00 kg)

I have been backpacking for over 20 years throughout Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and most recently in Western USA. In addition to backpacking I enjoy family camping with my wife and kids and being outdoors in general. I would describe myself as a mid weight backpacker. I use fairly light weight equipment and gear but still like to bring more than the bare essentials with me while on the trail.


November 5, 2017


Manufacturer: ColdPruf IMAGE 1 IMAGE 2
Year of Manufacture: 2017
Manufacturer's Website:

Specifications for Crew Top
Material: 100% Merino wool, 17.5 Micron
Silk Fabric Weight: 5 oz (170 g)
MSRP: Crew Top US $55.00
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: 6.5 oz (184 g)
Available Colors: Commando, Black
Available Sizes: Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, 2X-Large
Size Testing: Medium, 38 - 40 in (97 - 102 cm)
Raglan shape shoulder yoke
Flat seamed for smooth fit
Drop-tail for secure fit
Tagless label

Specifications for Pant
Material: 100% Merino wool, 17.5 micron
Silk Fabric Weight: 5 oz (170 g)
MSRP: Pant US $55.00
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: 5.3 oz (150 g)
Available Colors: Commando, Black
Available Sizes: Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, 2X-Large
Size Testing: Medium, 32 - 34 in (81 - 86 cm)
Flat seamed for comfort
Tagless label

The ColdPruf Classic Merino Wool crew top and pants (hereafter called thermals, crew top or top, and pants or bottoms) are thermal underwear designed to be worn next to the skin for increased insulation and to draw moisture away from the skin in cold weather. They are single-layer jersey-knit with silk weight merino wool that is 5oz (170g per manufacturer) per square meter of fabric. They are designed to be moisture-wicking and odor-fighting. They are also tagless and have flat seams for increased comfort.

IMAGE 6 The top has a drop-tail to help keep cold air out and a raglan shape shoulder yoke (manufacturer description) which is a design that moves the seam off the shoulder. They also have elastic cuffs to keep cold air from coming in at the wrists. The pants have a Comfort logo elastic waistband and elastic cuffs to keep cold air out and keep them from pulling up at the ankles.

ColdPruf uses a color-coded rating system called ThermaChoice that helps customers choose the best product for their needs. In this regard, the Classic Series silk weight base layers are categorized for cold or very cold temperatures with medium to high activity.

Regarding the manufacturer, ColdPruf is a fourth generation, family owned company that started making apparel in 1914. Today they only make base layers and the Classic series top and bottom that I am testing is one of 15 different series they produce. Their products are designed, knit, finished, and cut in North Carolina and sewn in Mexico. ColdPruf's product line includes 4 base layers made of various fabric blends but the Classic series is the only one that is made from 100% Merino wool.


The ColdPruf thermals arrived in a letter-sized UPS envelope. When I first saw the envelope on my doorstep, I thought it was for my wife because I was expecting a larger, heavier package. However as soon as I saw my name on the envelope and the North Carolina return address, which is where ColdPruf is located, I knew my thermals had arrived.

I quickly opened the envelope and inspected the crew top and pants. They were in new condition with impeccable workmanship and no snags, holes or loose stitching. I chose the color black for both items and really like the look although they will be covered up by clothing most of the time so it probably doesn't matter.

Classic Merino wool top
The top is a crew neck made with single layer merino wool. It is soft and smooth to the touch and it has some natural stretch to it as well. It has flat seams throughout and the shoulder area has what ColdPruf refers to as a modified raglan yoke design. This design moves the seams away from the top of the shoulder for added comfort. I have another thermal top that has regular shoulder seams so I'm anxious to test this top while wearing a backpack to see how it feels. As for sizing, I ordered a medium and the neck is 6 in (15.3 cm) in diameter. The sleeves from shoulder to cuff are 24.5 in (62 cm) in length and the length of the crew from top to bottom is 25 in (63.5 cm) including the tail, which should help keep it tucked into my pants. As a bonus, ColdPruf uses tagless labels, which is great since there is no tag to stick out or irritate my skin.

Classic Merino wool pant
The pant has a soft, smooth feel same as the top with no hint of itchiness whatsoever. It also has flat seams and is tagless, just like the crew top. In addition, the crotch area has a gusset design for added comfort. The waist is 14 in (35.6 cm) unstretched and the waistband on the pant is 1.25 in (3.2 cm) wide. In size medium the pant is 37 in (94 cm) long and has an inseam of 24 in (61 cm).



The hang tags gave a brief description of the base layers. I also found care instructions on the website as well as on the product labels. The instructions read as follows: Turn inside out before washing. Machine wash cold with like colors on gentle cycle. Do not bleach. May steam or iron at low setting if needed. May be dry cleaned. I also found warranty information on ColdPruf's website which states that they will replace the garments free of charge and without question if at any time they don't live up to expectations.


ColdPruf describes the Classic series base layers as having a snug, comfortable fit. With that in mind, I chose size Medium for both when ordering and am very glad I did. They fit perfectly. They are soft and smooth against my skin and they are snug, but they also have enough stretch that they are very comfortable to wear. Being silk weight they are thin enough that I can see through them, but I don't foresee that as a problem as long as they are durable. I wore them briefly around the house and look forward to cold weather and the opportunity to put them through their paces.


The ColdPruf Classic base layers are lightweight, Merino wool thermals. They are well designed, meticulously sewn and I look forward to testing their durability and effectiveness at keeping me warm, dry and comfortable.

This concludes my Initial Report for the ColdPruf Merino wool base layers.


January 16, 2018


IMAGE 1 I wore the ColdPruf Classic baselayers for 26 days during Field Testing. This included three overnight backpacking trips, a cross-country ski trip, numerous trail running and daylong hiking trips, and two snow shoveling excursions. I also wore the top and bottom to work when temperatures dipped below 0 F (-18 C). My trips during this test period were to Southern Indiana (IN), Northeastern Wisconsin (WI) and Northeastern Ohio (OH) where temperatures ranged from -9 to 19 F (-23 to -7 C) and winds gusted to 16 mph (26 kph), making for frigid conditions. The skies varied from sunny to overcast during this period and the snowfall totaled 7 inches (18 cm) in WI and OH while I was there. Back in Southern Indiana I saw a total of 4 inches (10 cm) of snowfall while backpacking. During Field Testing I hiked / skied a total of 23 mi (37 km).

My first trip of this test period was to Southern Indiana where skies were overcast with temperatures in the mid teens F (-9 C). During this trip I hiked approximately 6 mi (10 km) across very hilly terrain.

Location: Southern Indiana
Type of trip: On and off-trail hiking
Distance: 6 mi (10 km)
Length of trip: Two nights
Backpack weight: 42 lb (19 kg)
Conditions: Overcast and breezy
Precipitation: 4 in (10 cm)
Temperature range: 12 to 18 F (-11 to -8 C)

My second trip was to Northern Wisconsin where I stayed for four nights but only camped outside for one, due to frigid conditions. While there I hiked the Devil's River Trail in Manitowoc County, which is a scenic trail that was built on an old railroad bed that runs parallel to highway I43 through farmlands and wetlands.

Location: Northern Wisconsin
Type of trip: On-trail hiking
Distance: 8 mi (13 km)
Length of trip: One night
Backpack weight: 38 lb (17 kg)
Conditions: Clear, cold and windy while camping; other days were overcast and saw snowfall
Precipitation: 7 in (18 cm)
Temperature range: -9 to 17 F (-23 to -8 C)

My last trip of this test period was to Northeastern Ohio where I camped for two nights and visited several state and local parks. While there I also went cross-country skiing at Chapin Forest, which was one of the highlights of the trip.

Location: Northeastern Ohio
Type of trip: On-trail hiking and cross-country skiing
Distance: 9 mi (14.5 km)
Length of trip: Two nights
Backpack weight: 39 lb (18 kg)
Conditions: Partly sunny and warm
Precipitation: Brief mist on the second morning
Temperature range: 2 F to 19 F (-17 to -7 C)


The ColdPruf Classic base layers performed very well during the past two months of Field Testing. In fact, they exceeded my expectations for warmth and durability, given the fact that they are so thin. As recommended by ColdPruf, I wore them directly against my skin with multiple layers on top of them. Over the shirt I wore a lightweight mid layer, followed by an insulating vest and my shell. Over the bottom I wore my hiking pants, which are uninsulated nylon pants. Once on the trail and warmed up, I stowed the shell in my backpack to avoid sweating, but as soon as I stopped, I immediately put it back on to combat cold, gusty winds.


Warmth / Wicking: The ColdPruf base layers did a great job keeping me warm when temperatures were in the teens F (-9 C), even while standing still. When temperatures dropped to the single digits F (-18 C), however, I had to keep moving to generate enough body heat to keep from getting cold. When I was actively moving and generating body heat, the ColdPruf base layers did a good job keeping me dry. I was genuinely impressed with the wicking capabilities of the base layers as evidenced by how they performed while I was cross-country skiing and trail running. Both activities occurred in temperatures around 15 F (-9 C) and the base layers did an excellent job of wicking moisture away from my skin to my outer layers so that I stayed dry. I am certain I would have been wet and chilled after both activities, if I wasn't wearing ColdPruf thermals.

IMAGE 4 Comfort / Fit: Based on ColdPruf's sizing chart, I chose size medium shirt and pants, and they fit fine, albeit snug. After doing more research on their website, it turns out they recommend close-fitting base layers to improve the moisture wicking properties. It took a few weeks for me to get used to the close fit, which is ok, as long as I don't gain any weight. The material is stretchy so that helps with fit and, as a bonus, it feels smooth against my skin and has no itchiness whatsoever. One last thing I really like about these garments is they don't hold any odors. As testament, after wearing them for 26 days, I handed them to my wife and asked for her thoughts and she said they smelled fine.

Durability: Both the crew top and pants have been quite durable. They show no signs of pilling and have no holes, rips or tears in them. At first, I was very careful about putting them on and taking them off, because they're so thin. But after a few weeks I started treating them like all my other clothes, and they are no less for wear. One thing I haven't done yet is wash them, not because I'm concerned about their ability to handle a wash cycle, but rather I'm concerned they might shrink when drying. I did promise my wife, however, that I would wash them before my next outing, so please stop back in a few months to read my Long Term Report and see if they still fit.


The Coldpruf Classic baselayers kept me warm and dry in some very inhospitable conditions. The fabric is soft and smooth to the touch and I really like the fact that they are odor resistant which allows me to wear them multiple days at a time.

This concludes my Field Report for the ColdPruf Merino Wool crew top and bottoms. 


March 27, 2018


During the past two months I wore the ColdPruf thermals for a total of 14 days, including two backpacking trips, as well as to work and around town.  In fact, I pretty much wore the top whenever temperatures were expected to be below freezing, and I wore the bottom whenever I needed to be outside for extended periods.  

My first outing was a two-day trip to Southwestern Ohio where skies were partly to mostly cloudy and temperatures were cold with daytime highs in the low 20s F (-4 C).  My second trip was for two days to the Hoosier National Forest in Southern Indiana where skies were sunny and there were 5 in (12.7 cm) of snow on the ground.

1. Southwestern Ohio (OH).  During this two-day outing I hiked mostly off-trail through mature forests and across several frozen creeks.  Daytime temperatures were in the mid 20's F (-4 C) and elevations ranged from 577 ft (176 m) to 860 ft (262 m).

Location: Southwestern Ohio
Type of Trip: Off trail
Distance: 12 mi (19 km) 
Length of Trip: 1 night / 2 days
Backpack Weight: 36 lb (16 kg) 
Sky and Air Conditions: Overcast
Precipitation: 0.75 in (2 cm) snow
Temperature Range: 9 F to 24 F (-13 C to -4 C)

2. My second trip was to the Hoosier National Forest. During this two-day outing I hiked on and off trails covering approximately 9 miles (15 km) over moderately hilly terrain. Snow and slippery trails slowed me down considerably.  Elevations ranged from 505 ft (154 m) to 760 ft (232 m) and temperatures ranged from the low to upper 20’s F (C). 

Location: Hoosier National Forest 
Type of Trip: On and off trail backpacking
Distance: 9 mi (15 km) 
Length of Trip: 2 nights / 2 days
Backpack Weight: 35 lb (16 kg) 
Sky and Air Conditions: Sunny with light winds
Precipitation: None. 5 in (12.7 cm) of snow was already on the ground
Temperature Range: 21 F to 28 F (-6 C to -2 C)


The ColdPruf Classic base layers continued to perform well during Long Term Testing.  I continue to be impressed at how well they retain warmth, given their light weight.  And, because they are so thin, I could easily layer additional clothes over them without feeling bulky.  In regard to their ability to wick moisture, I expended a lot of energy hiking off-trail in the Hoosier National Forest and generated lots of excess heat, but I never felt sweaty or chilled, even when stopped for lunch.  I must say that I am completely sold on merino wool as a base layer.  It has the magical ability to draw moisture away from my skin and dissipate it, without retaining odors or smelling, even after multiple days on the trail.  Although I had an initial concern about the long-term durability of these thermals, they have held up very well to abrasion and multiple washings and have exceeded my expectations for durability.  

I wasn't sure going into this test if the wool would cause any scratching or itchiness against my skin.  Four months later I am happy to report that I've had no problems with irritation whatsoever.  My only negative is that, after washing the top and bottom twice during Long Term Testing, they have shrunk slightly so that they are now tight instead of just snug.  The top has gotten narrower across the chest and shorter in length so that it's tight across the chest and rides up my back rather than stay put.  The bottom is smaller in the waist and length but still wearable.  I washed both garments in cold water and let them air dry per ColdPruf's instructions so I'm not sure why they shrunk.  Nevertheless, I've done some research into this subject and, because I didn't run them through the dryer, it may be possible to stretch them back out again using a process called "knit blocking".  Knit Blocking involves soaking the garments in a sink filled with luke warm water, a generous amount of hair conditioner, and a dab of mild detergent.  If I decide to do this I would only soak the top, see if it works, and then try the bottom.  Along similar lines, one nice addition for ColdPruf to consider would be to add a tail to the back of their tops to help keep them tucked in.



The ColdPruf Base Layers were warm, lightweight, and they did a great job of wicking moisture away from my skin.  They also dried quickly and didn't hold any odor.  I only wish I had ordered a larger size because they have shrunk over the past four months and the shirt is now tight instead of snug.  Overall, I am sold on the ColdPruf Merino Wool base layers and give them high marks for both quality and performance.

This concludes my Long Term Report of the ColdPruf Merino Wool Layers.  Thanks to ColdPruf for providing these items for testing and to for allowing me to participate in this test.





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