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Reviews > Clothing > Underwear > Kari Traa Tikse Base Layers > Test Report by Christie Kimber

Kari Traa Tikse Base Layers

Initial Report

October 3, 2018


Background Information:

Name: Christie Kimber
Age: 27
Gender: Female
Height: 6’0" (183 cm)
Weight: 145 lb (65 kg)
Bust 32 in (81 cm)
Waist: 28 in (71 cm)
Arm Length: 36 in (91 cm)
Email address: christiekimber AT yahoo DOT com
City, State, Country: Courtenay, British Columbia (BC), Canada
Backpacking Background: I started hiking in 2015 when I moved from Saskatchewan to Vancouver Island, British Columbia. I started with day hikes and have eventually pushed myself to weekend and even week-long excursions. I am a three-season hiker. That being said, as I gather new gear and develop skills I am pushing my limits to try out 4-season backpacking and mountaineering. Vancouver Island gets a lot of rain and has a moderate climate. I also spend time in interior British Columbia in the Rocky Mountains.

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Product Information:

Manufacturer: Kari Traa
Year of Manufacture: 2018
URL: https://www.karitraa.com/ 
Size Tested: Women’s Medium
Color Tested: not listed (see explanation below)
•    same color scheme as "Jam" listed on website
Available Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL
Available Colors: 
•    Top: Ebony, Mauve, Greym, Night, Peony
•    Pants: Ebony, Mauve, Greym, Naval
Material: 100% Merino Wool
Measurements: none listed
Actual Measurements:
Top:
•    chest -  89 cm (35 in)
•    back length - 67 cm (26 in)
•    neck to shoulder seam - 12 cm (5 in)
•    shoulder to cuff seam - 68cm (27 in)
Pants:
•    waist 74 cm (29 in)

•    inseam 81 cm (32 in)
•    hips 76cm (30 in)
Listed Weight: not listed
Actual weight: top: 145 g, pants: 126g
MSRP: 69 EUR each

Date received: Sept 30, 2018k2


Initial Impressions:
    The Kari Traa Tikse base layer top and bottom arrived in separate packaging. They appear to be sold as separates (inferred from the separate packaging and confirmed on the website), although they come in matching colors and certainly work as a set. They came in quite elegant, but simple packaging - a flattened cylinder with clear thin plastic that allows you to see the color scheme with a thicker quality white plastic displaying the logo. The packaging and the base layers were received in good condition. Upon initial inspection there were no noted issues. There were no holes, damage, or loose threads. These base layers seem well constructed.
I will admit I was initially quite surprised with how thin the fabric felt. I have a few different merino wool items, and this is definitely the thinnest merino wool product I own.
    When I put on the layers I was delighted to feel how soft they were - that is a must for any layer touching my skin, especially wool. These Tikse base layers pass the "itch test" so far.

    Lastly, the color scheme is bright and fun!



Product Description:
The Kari Traa Tikse base layers are described in the following way according to the website:
•    Lightweight and incredibly soft
•    Highly breathable
•    Naturally odor resistant
•    Fabric has 4 way stretch and an elastic waist for a slim and snug fit
•    Smartly placed seams keep comfort high
•    Strategic mesh mapping

The base layers are advertised to be used for hiking and  state that they are a "light boost of warmth in cool weather".
In addition, the companies slogan is "for girls, by girls." I think this is certainly reflected in the eye catching color schemes. I received a color scheme that is not actually currently listed on the website. The main color is pale pink. The secondary color is burgundy - both a lighter and darker shade. The seam work is bright pink.

Construction and Fit:
    I had high expectations for these base layers being that they are a European brand. I used the size chart available on the website. My predicted sizes between the top and the bottom were all over the place - covering small, medium, and large with different measurements - so in the end I just went with medium for both the top and the bottom. The great thing about selling as separates is that you could mix and match sizes if required. Lucky for me (and Europe) my high hopes were met. I find European brands tend to carry clothes with longer inseams. I am happy to report the leg and arm length are both adequate, and everywhere else fits too! Although measured the inseam is only 81 cm (32 in) the fabric is stretchy so provides adequate coverage for me. For the general public I would say these base layers will fit a bit large/long. If I didn't need the length I would have sized down.
    The construction of the base layers is quite unique. They are made up of a primary thin merino wool fabric. Then there are secondary, even thinner merino wool panels with perforations. The second layer is a separate color than the first. I believe the perforations are to improve breathability. The panels are sewn together with thick seams that are incorporated as a style feature of the garments. So far, the seams lie flat and don't have any twists, even after the first wash. The pants have a thin elastic waist band with the logo spelled out. The top has a small stylized logo over the left chest.

k1

Care:
    Care instructions are listed on the website as well as on the tag of both garments. In fact there are a total of 5 tags on each garment detailing the care instructions in several languages. I will be cutting these out right away. The following care instructions are recommended:
•    Wash with similar colors
•    Wash using wool program (I assume this means the wool setting on your washing machine, if you have one)
•    Avoid enzyme washing powder
•    Do not use fabric softener
•    Wash before use
•    Do not put in dryer
•    Do not bleach
•    No professional textile care
•    Safe to wash and iron

Summary:
The Kari Traa Tikse base layers are light weight, hiking friendly merino wool garments. My favorite part about them so far is the great color pattern. I hope to have as much fun on the trail.








Field Report

December 8, 2018


Field Testing:
  • Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada
    • Elevation: 450 m (1480 ft)
    • Duration: 3 days, 2 nights
    • Temperature:  6 to 16 C (43 – 61 F) 
    • Weather: sunny and clear. No precipitation. Winds up to 80 km per hour (50 miles per hour).
    • Trail Conditions: well-travelled trails through Acadian Forest. A lot of exposure to the elements at times.
  • Prince Edward National Park, Prince Edward Island, Canada
    • Elevation: 103 m (340 ft)
    • Duration: 10 km (6.2 miles)
    • Temperature: 4 C (39 F)
    • Weather: raining intermittently, windy
    • Trail Conditions: Mixed. Red sand beach and dunes, paved walkway, grassy path
  • Mount Washington, British Columbia
    • Elevation 1590 m (5200 ft)
    • Duration: two single day trips. 15 km total (9.3 miles)
    • Temperature -6 C (32 F)
    • Weather: sunny and clear
    • Trail: snow covered - mixed snowshoeing and hiking
  • Fort Nelson
    • Elevation: 500 m (1640 ft)
    • Duration: 5 km (3 miles)
    • Temperature: -15 C (5 F)
    • Weather: overcast, light snow
    • Trail: snow covered, winter conditions
Field Performance:
    I was able to test the Kari Traa base layers in a few different settings. Luckily, it just recently got cold enough to really put them to the test. My first few outings were a little warm for this base layer set. I think they are best used in sub 0 C (32 F) temperatures. The main reason for this is because the base layers themselves are see-through on their own. They cannot be used as a stand-alone top or bottom. So, being that they need to be paired with another layer, I think they are most comfortable in colder conditions.
    My first trip was the only overnight backpack trip I had. The base layers are super lightweight and pack down really small taking up a negligible amount of room in my pack. For this reason alone, they will definitely be my go-to base layer for backpacking trips. I wore them the first evening of our trip when we were setting up camp under my other camp clothes. I then wore them to bed as my pajamas. They are so soft and comfortable. I did not find them itchy at all - a huge bonus with any wool product. They worked great for this dual purpose. I then used the base layer bottoms the next day for my hike. I tried using the top as well, but found I got too hot. The bottoms worked great. They are easy to layer because they are so thin and light, but still did a good job keeping me warm. I also found the perforated feature of the fabric helped with breathability. In addition, the thin waist band provided a snug but comfortable fit. There are also cuffs at the bottom of the legs and on the top's sleeves which kept the base layer in place under my other layers.
    My two more recent trips were both in snow and cold weather. I was able to use the full base layer set under my jacket and wind pants. I don't sweat much at the best of times, and even less when it is cold outside, but the amount of perspiration I was able to create was easily absorbed and wicked away by the base layers. At the end of my day I did not have any large sweat patches or staining. The product also still smelled good after a few uses in a row.
    I am someone who always runs a bit cold, so I have also been using the bottom base layer day to day under my pants. They have gotten quite a few more days of wear and washes than the top base layer. The pants are still in great condition and look just like new. The elastic waist band has stayed tight, and the pants fitted. They have not stretched out, even when using multiple days in a row. I was actually surprised how well they have held up. I was concerned about durability given how th
inkt6 they are. I am careful when putting them on because they are thin and fitted, so I don't just pull them on quickly, I put them on more like tights.  With this technique I have not noticed any spots of wear or holes.
    I was pleasantly surprised with the weight to warmth ratio of these base layers, as well as the overall comfort. I continue to love the fun color and pattern. I will be taking these to Northern Canada with me in January, so stay tuned!

Pros:

- light weight
- soft and comfortable
- fun colors

Cons:
- see-through


This concludes my Field Report.  The Long-Term Report should be completed by Feb. 12, 2019.  Please check back then for further information.






Read more reviews of Kari Traa gear
Read more gear reviews by Christie Kimber

Reviews > Clothing > Underwear > Kari Traa Tikse Base Layers > Test Report by Christie Kimber



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