COLDPRUF ECCO-TERRA MEN'S CREW & PANT
TEST SERIES BY STEVEN M KIDD
INITIAL REPORT - December 13, 2012
FIELD REPORT - March 18, 2013
LONG TERM REPORT - May 20, 2013
Steven M Kidd
5' 9" (1.75 m)
173 lb (78.50 kg)
Backpacking Background: I've been a backpacker on and off for over 25 years. I backpacked as a Boy Scout, and then again almost every month in my twenties, while packing an average weight of 50+ lbs (23+ kg). In the last several years I have become a hammock camping enthusiast. I generally go on one or two night outings that cover between 5 to 20 mi (8 - 32 km) distances. I try to keep the all-inclusive weight of my pack under 20 lb (9 kg) even in the winter.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
|Ecco-Terra Crew (Image Courtesy ColdPruf)|
Manufacturer: Indera Mills Co.
Year of Manufacture: 2012
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.coldpruf.com
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: Crew Shirt 7.3 oz (207 g)/Pants 5.8 oz (164 g)
Sizes: S/M/L/XL/2XL/3XL (Testing Medium)
The ColdPruf Eco-Terra's are single layered raschel knit (waffled) base layer long underwear made with 70% recycled performance polyester and 30% merino wool. The raschel knit is designed to trap air pockets and create a natural warmth barrier.
ColdPruf categorizes their base layers into three different buckets which they call the Thermachoice System: Cold/Low Activity, Very Cold/Medium Activity and Extreme Cold/High Activity. These fall into the final two categories of Cold/Extreme Cold.
They also have Microban antimicrobial technology to minimize odor and bacteria. The recycled material is made into a fiber from waste PET bottles.
The top and bottom are tagless, have flat seams and ribbed cuffs. The top has an extended tail. The pants have a gusset, comfort waistband and both a front and back rise. The website states the items have True Sizing for an Accurate Fit.
|Ecco-Terra Pant (Image Courtesy ColdPruf)|
I was excited to see the Eco-Terra base layers arrive just as a cold spell was hitting and as I have an outing planned with lows expected around 20 F (-7 C). I immediately took them out of the packaging (partly recycled as well), inspected and weighed them. I noticed the raschel knit before I even reviewed the packaging that explained the heat trapping design. It reminded me of the white cotton thermals I wore in the winter as a boy.
As you will notice in the image below the pants had a hole where the knit material meets a seam. Had I acquired these from a local vendor, I'd most certainly return them for a replacement. I will follow and report if this workmanship mishap becomes a problem in the ensuing reports. The shirt appeared to be in good order.
I then donned the items. I immediately noticed how snug the layers felt against my skin. The crew is designed to fit a chest size of 38-40 in (97-102 cm) and the bottoms are sized for a 32-34 in (81-86 cm) waist and my measurements fall within those ranges. The shirt is specifically snug in the chest and the pants more so in the leg and crotch area. They are not uncomfortably tight, simply snugger than I am familiar with. I have other base layers based on the same measurements that do not fit as close to the skin. Potentially this is what the manufacturer refers to as 'True Fit'. I'm aware that I don't want my long underwear too loose so as to not lose thermal qualities. Again, they are not so snug that I'm uncomfortable wearing them, but if I were to order them again I may consider a size large in both items.
The layers are made with 30% merino wool and the shirt is a little itchy when I first put it on. I think this will begin to dissipate or become less noticeable as I become more active. The pants feel fine. I have other merino wool articles, even with higher wool percentages, and without the raschel knit that are not scratchy to the feel.
In the images below you will notice the pants comfort waistband with the shirt tucked into the pants. The view from the back shows the extended tail, which should help the shirt stay tucked in. Finally, there is an image of the hole in the pants.
Overall, I feel the snug fit should help keep me warm in the backcountry and I hope the itchiness of the shirt subsides and the hole in the bottoms doesn't worsen.
I award roses for the neutral color with contrasting flat seams that are comfortable, and the fact they are helping protect the environment with recycled material. I give thorns to quality control for letting an unused item go out with a hole in it. I'm up in the air, but still neutral on the sizing, but I will inform the reader in several months as to whether I overcome this or it becomes a hindrance.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
|Coldpruf on a Snow Day|
23-24 December, 2012: The Fiery Gizzard Trail, South Cumberland State Park, Tennessee. This was a 2 day, 1 night outing. Elevations along the 14 mile (22.5 km) trek were roughly 1500 ft (457 m) to 1800 ft (549 m) with temperatures ranging from just above freezing to around 40 F (4.5 C). The sky was grey and overcast until around 9 PM on the first evening until the skies opened. After it began to rain, it never stopped until we exited the trailhead around noon on day 2.
30-31 December, 2012: The Fiery Gizzard Trail, South Cumberland State Park, Tennessee. A second 2 day, 1 night outing; but a short 4 miles (6.5 km) in and out each way on the south end of the trail. Elevations were a fairly constant 1750 ft (533 m) on this short mileage outing and skies were clear and cold. Temperatures hovered just below freezing in the daylight hours and dropped to as low as 21 F (-6 C) in the night hours.
7-10 March, 2013: The Savage Gulf, South Cumberland State Park, Tennessee. This was a 4 day, 3 night 'group hang' with 25 hammock campers covering 23 miles (37 km). On the first evening temperatures dropped to as low as 22 F (-5.5C), but by the final day the temperature rose as high as 63 F (17 C). Elevations ranged from 1100 ft (335 m) in the gulf to 1850 ft (564 m) on the rim. On the final evening, although the temperatures were balmy compared to the first night or two, the winds did blow as high as 30 mph. Winds like these can easily effect hammock campers as there is 360 degree air circulation.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I've worn the baselayers on three individual outings during the current phase of the test series. They've been perfectly adequate in keeping me warm throughout the test.
On one outing I wore them on the hike, throughout the evening and up until bedtime. With temperatures approaching freezing, wet and windy conditions I was impressed with their performance. Along the trail I barely noticed I was wearing them, but as I sat in camp I did notice the top. At times when I was not active it was itchy. I never experienced this with the bottoms...even when wearing them with no other undergarments.
I don't typically wear baselayers through the day unless the weather is well below freezing or extremely windy, rather I generally reserve them for bedtime in my hammock. As just mentioned the one thing I continued to notice on the multiple nights I wore them was the itchiness of the top when I wasn't active. I find it odd that it was only the top that gave me bother. It was never to a point that I had to remove the item, and it often subsided with time, but it did cause enough discomfort to cause me to pause and think about the item.
Both items fit snugly. I've lost a considerable amount of weight over the last six months and at points wondered if the medium size was the correct fit, however, I fit comfortably into this size in nearly all articles of clothing currently. The top does fit snugly into the armpits and the bottoms are snug on my thighs. Based on the ColdPruf sizing charts I am easily in the medium size range, but given the opportunity I'd probably go up a size in them.
The hole in the bottoms hasn't expanded as yet, so I'm happy to report this as a positive.
The Coldpruf baselayers have kept me warm on several cool evenings well below freezing in the backcountry throughout this test. In my opinion they do run a little snug for the size and I find the top to be a little itchy for my taste. I've grown accustomed to wearing it, but I've found other merino wool blends to be much more comfortable.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
29 - 30 March, 2013: South Cumberland State Park, Tennessee. I took a 2 day, 1 night outing with minimal mileage just to get away with a buddy at the CCC campground near Tracy City, TN. Minimal distance was covered, save the trip to the campsite and temperatures never dropped below 45 F (7 C) on the warm spring evening.
19- 21 April, 2013: The Fiery Gizzard Trail, South Cumberland State Park, Tennessee. A 3 day, 2 nights outing; that covered a little over seven miles (11 km). With my 4 and 5 year old children in tow we descended the Climber's Loop and summited again near Foster Falls, staying one night at Father Adams and a second at the Small Wilds area. Though, they've been on many multi-night trips, this was their first true multi-site backpacking experience. Elevations were a fairly constant 1750 ft (533 m) save the trip in and out of the gulf which included very quick elevation changes of around 300 ft (91 m). Temperatures were in the mid-50's F (~13 C) during the daylight hours and mid-30's F (~2 C) at night. It was dry, but the ground was soaked on the first night, and the rain-fed creeks were gushing.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
March and April here in middle Tennessee had drastic temperature swings from unseasonably warm to cold and wet...very wet! It was never cool enough to don the base layers outside the backcountry. I did take them on two backpacking trips.
They were nothing more than unneeded weight on my outing in late March. As the temperature never dropped below 45 F (7 C), I never even pulled them from my pack. However, in late April I went on a mutli-night outing with three adults and five young children where I was glad to have them on the first evening.
Over the last several years I've slept in a hammock better than 90% of the time. On this outing I went to the ground sharing a tent with my two children. I'm not as well suited to this as I once was! I gave the kids my sleep pads with the more significant R-value ratings and used a pad rated just above freezing for myself. Against my better judgment I also packed a bag rated to 40 F (4 C). The first evening brought temperatures in the mid-30's F (~2 C). Significant weight loss over the last six months has caused me to be a 'cooler' sleeper and those temperatures pushed the comfort limits of that bag for me!
I went to bed warm with no layering. It wasn't long after the S'mores wore off and the kids dozed off that I realized I was chilled. I put the ColdPruf base layers on and they were a dream come true that evening. As usual, the top continued to be a little itchier than I would like, but I made do and was glad to be wearing them! I wore them around camp until we broke for a hike the following morning. The second night was warmer than the first and I didn't need them, but I kept them close by all night.
Overall, the Eco-Terra's did their job. They've been superb at keeping me warm in cool-to-cold weather and wick moisture away from my body. The sizing is a little snug, so given the opportunity I'd go up to a size large. I do, however, wear a medium in most articles of clothing. I also found the shirt to be a little uncomfortable and itchy.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.
Although, I will keep them in my gear stash, they will probably not be my go-to base layers when I hit the trail. I have other merino blends or synthetics that are simply lighter and more comfortable. If I'm running around in the snow with the kids, staying active to distract me from texture, I'll grab them all day long.
I would like to thank Indera Mills Co. and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to test the ColdPruf Eco-Terra base layer crew and pant.
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