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Reviews > Clothing > Underwear > Gordini Lite LS Crew or Princess > Test Report by Nathan Kettner

TOP GORDINI BASE LAYER
TEST SERIES BY NATHAN KETTNER
LONG-TERM REPORT
March 14, 2009

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

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Nathan Kettner
EMAIL: kettnernw "at" yahoo "dot" com
AGE: 31
LOCATION: Colorado Springs, Colorado
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 6' 1" (1.85 m)
WEIGHT: 175 lb (79.40 kg)

I'm a medium weight backpacker, meaning my pack usually weighs 30-35 lb (13-16 kg), and I generally hike a moderate pace and mostly in mountainous terrain. I almost always use a tent (lightweight when backpacking, wall tent when hunting). I'm a weekend backpacker and make lots of day trips and single night outings, plus a few week-long backpack trips. All of my outings have been in the beautiful and rugged Rocky Mountains of Colorado and Wyoming since I started backpacking in 2004.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Gordini
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.gordini.com/
MSRP: US $35.00
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: 5.5 oz (156 g)
Size Tested: Medium (available in S - XXL)
Color Tested: Black (also available in Charcoal, Chocolate, and Denim)

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The top was packaged in a sharp looking orange box (see pic below). The first thing that struck me as I pulled them out of the box is how really lightweight they were - in fact, I can almost see through them. The material is very soft and stretchy and is advertised as Lavawool (registered trademark of Gordini USA), a fabric that is supposed to have, "The warmth of Merino wool + comfort of fleece." Printed on the inside of the collar, the construction is listed as a blend of 88% polyester and 12% Merino wool.

IMAGE 1

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

The only instructions are the care instructions which say, "Machine wash cold, tumble dry low. No bleach."

TRYING IT OUT

When I first put the top on, I was happy to note that the sleeves were sufficiently long for my long arms and I had a free range of motion without the sleeves pulling up my forearms. On the down side, I could feel the stitching on the back of my shoulders, but this may just be due to the stitches running from the armpit to the collar, rather than the standard seam running down the top of the shoulder and around the sleeve at the arm pit. I'll have to see if it is noticeable after wearing it in the field.

TESTING STRATEGY

I plan to wear this top, under whatever else I need to stay warm and dry, on several day snowshoe trips and at least one overnight snowshoe trip. The average temperature will vary significantly, from lows near 0 Degrees Fahrenheit (-12 Degrees Celsius) to highs near 70 Degrees Fahrenheit (21 Degrees Celsius), with elevations from 6,300 - 13,500 Feet (1,920 - 4,100 Meters) above sea level. I'll be using the following criteria to evaluate this top:

Breathability - Will my skin feel clammy underneath?
Wicking - When I work up a sweat, will the material keep me dry and warm?
Durability - Will the machine washable fabric hold up?
Odor - Does the "anti-microbial finish" really prevent odors from repelling my hiking companions?

SUMMARY - 25 October 2008

As far as I can tell, this top should be just right for my snowshoe trips when I don't need too much insulation because I'm generating enough body heat, but have to have a good moisture-wicking base layer to keep me comfortable.

This concludes my Initial Report. The Field Report will be amended to this report in approximately two months from the date of this report. Please check back then for further information.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I've had the Gordini top for a little over two months now and have worn it on 3 or 4 sledding trips and one 2-mile (3.2 km) along the Front Range of Colorado, at about 6300 ft (1920 m), and on a Christmas tree cutting expedition up to 8500 ft (2600 m). The sledding trips all saw temperatures just slightly below freezing and the tree cutting trip was slightly colder, around 15 F (-10 C). During the sledding outings, I worked up a sweat pulling the sleds and kids up the steep hills, while the 2-mile (3.2 km) hike and tree cutting were accomplished at a more leisurely pace.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

I wore the Gordini top under a zippered long sleeve tee, and in temperatures near freezing, that combination would be perfect without any additional insulation. However, the sledding trips required a waterproof (snowproof?) outer shell to keep from getting wet. And during my more casual outings, a third, windproof outer layer was definitely required.

When I worked up a sweat the baselayer did its job and wicked the moisture away, at least as much as possible, given that it was underneath two more layers. The really nice effect of the Lavawool was that it didn't stick to me or make me feel clammy, but felt like it was giving the sweat a chance to evaporate away. As for odor protection, I don't know that a couple hours of exertion is sufficient to conclude whether or not the top was reducing my odor or not, but it certainly didn't hurt anything.

The Gordini top was always a pleasure to put on because the fabric is very soft, even after being put through the washing machine a half-dozen times (I never put it in the dryer). The lightweight material also made it enjoyable to wear as a base layer because it never felt bulky, as I've experienced with heavier materials like cotton.

SUMMARY - 13 January 2009

Overall, I really like the feel of the Gordini top because it is a soft, warm, lightweight baselayer. It will be my first choice for a baselayer in future outings.

One point that I would be remiss in not mentioning, is that I'm now convinced that I would have been better off with a larger size. When I first tried it on, the thought crossed my mind, but I dismissed it - mostly because I wanted to try it out immediately. Check out my dimensions, listed above, and choose your size accordingly.

This concludes my Field Report. The Long Term Report will be amended to this report in approximately two months from the date of this report. Please check back then for further information.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Since I filed my Field Report, I've had the pleasure of wearing the Gordini base layers on many cold days around town, but most interestingly, I wore them on two snowshoeing trips. The first trip was in the Lost Creek Wilderness of central Colorado where the trail starts at about 8,000 ft (2400 m). A friend and I ascended just over 2,000 ft (600 m) in 5 hours of steady climbing in nearly untouched snow and temperatures in the 20's F (-6 to -1 C). We took turns breaking trail, but the sweat factor was high whether I was in the lead or not.
IMAGE 1
Lost Creek Wilderness, Colorado


The second snowshoe trip was an overnight hut trip near Aspen, Colorado. That trailhead was at 8,700 ft (2650 m) and we climbed 2,600 ft (800 m) and covered 6 miles (10 km) in about 7 hours. That hike was a real challenge, not only because of the elevation gain, distance covered, weight carried, and steep sidehills, but because the warm temperatures (40's F, 4-10 C) made the snow stick to our snowshoes, making every step a real workout.
IMAGE 2
Near Aspen, Colorado

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

On my snowshoe trips, the only time I realized how much I was sweating was when I took my backpack off and the wind could get to my sweat-soaked back. The rest of my body stayed pleasantly dry and relatively warm because of the wicking properties of the Gordini base layers.

SUMMARY - 14 March 2009

Since I have been wearing the Gordini baselayers, I have started to take for granted the comfort and warmth provided by the lightweight, soft, and strechy Lavawool. I think this shirt will be the standard by which I judge all other baselayers.

An important note is that I think Gordini sizes run a little small. I technically fit into the Medium range according to their sizing chart, but the Mediums are tighter than I like.

CONTINUED USE

Since this shirt looks almost as good as the day I received it more than 4 months ago, even after many uses and trips through the washing machine, I expect that I will wear it for years to come and then I'll have to get another one.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.

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