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Reviews > Clothing > Underwear > Terramar Sports Thermolator Top > Test Report by Ryan Lane Christensen

Terramar
courtesy of terramarsports.com

Terramar

Body-Sensors - Thermolator II Top

Test Series by Ryan Christensen

Last Update - May 4, 2010

front
[ image courtesy of http://www.travelcountry.com ]

ACCESS MAIN REPORT SECTIONS VIA THESE LINKS:

INITIAL REPORT
December 17, 2009

FIELD REPORT
March 2, 2010

LONG-TERM REPORT
May 4, 2010

INITIAL REPORT
December 17, 2009

Reviewer Information Backpacking Background
Name:  Ryan L. Christensen
Age:  45
Gender:  Male
Height:  6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:  235 lb (107 kg)
Email:  bigdawgryan(at)yahoo(dot)com
City, State, Country:   Idaho Falls, Idaho, USA

I began backpacking at twelve, continuing until 25. After an extended hiatus, due in part to a bad back, I resumed cycling, hiking, and backpacking several years ago. I also began snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. I share my love for backpacking and these other sports with my children. I am a midweight backpacker, but carry a full array of necessary gear.
 

Product Information:

The information listed below was taken from both
Terramar product tags and its website.

Thermolator II - W7505 Men's Half Zip with Mesh
Manufacturer: Terramar Sports Inc.
Manufacturer website: http://www.terramarsports.com
Place of Manufacture: China
Year Manufactured: 2008
Materials: 86% Micro Filament Polyester, 14% Spandex
Colors Available: Black with Pewter stitching
Sizes Available: S, M, L, XL, 2XL
Warranty: "Terramar Sports guarantees all our products against manufacturing defects for one year."
MSRP: N/A

Product Specifications
Manufacturer's Specifications  
Weight: Not Listed
Tester's Actual Measurements  
Weight: [Large] 7.7 oz (218 g)

Product Description:

Terramar Sports primarily manufacturers baselayer garments. It has five product lines: Thermasilk, Thermawool, Body-Sensors, Lifestyle, and Core Classics for both men and women. However, Terramar only offers its Thermasilk, Body-Sensors, and Core Classic products in children's sizes. Products in the Body-Sensors line are designed to work with the body's "natural heating and cooling system to promote rapid evaporation while providing effective insulation." Terramar claims Body-Sensors "create a comfortable microclimate around your body regardless of your level of exertion or temperature." The company invites consumers to "Select a Body-Sensors garment according to your metabolism, activity level and weather conditions. And make the great outdoors even greater."

Within the Body-Sensors line, there are baselayers, essentials, and compression garments. Thermolator II is one of eight Body-Sensors baselayers. Thermolator II garments are made of Terramar's proprietary Electrostatic Comfort Control ec2® Qwik-Dri™ fabric which is 86% Micro-Polyester and 14% Spandex. On one of the tags attached to the top, Terramar claims its "ec2® Qwik-Dri™ technology has the ability to actually lift moisture molecules away breaking them down for rapid evaporation." Terramar's patented process does not use add-on chemicals. Rather, it involves a molecular change in the yarn itself. Because of this, the ec2® Qwik-Dri™ fabric's moisture control will neither wash out nor wear off. This is a pretty spectacular claim! I can't wait to see how well it actually moves moisture away from my skin.

Terramar also claims the fabric "offers incredible softness with 360° stretch for comfort, warmth and complete range of movement." There are two men's Thermolator II tops: a long-sleeve crew, and a long-sleeve, 1/2 zip mock turtle neck. In the women's line, there are two Thermolator II tops: a crew, and a hoodie. All Thermolator II products are classified as medium weight baselayer items.

The men's Thermolator II half-zip top, hereafter referred to as "top" is the product I am testing. The packaging included the company and product line logos; the words thermolator ii, 360° degree stretch, baselayer, mediumweight 2.0; information about the ec2® Qwik-Dri™ fabric, size chart, laundering instructions, and the fabric blend composition. In addition, the following bullets were listed:

  • PERFORMANCE TECHNOLOGY
  • BODY ACTIVATED COMFORT
  • NOT TOO HOT, NOT TOO COLD
  • ALWAYS JUST RIGHT
This is not your father's long-handled underwear; but rather a high-tech baselayer top. Listed features include:
  • Zip mock featuring zipper garage with wind flap
  • Set-in sleeves
  • Ergonomic zipper pull
  • SVZ Strategic Ventilation Zone Panel Back
  • Drop contoured back hem for performance fit
  • Functional thumbholes
  • Contrast flatlock seam construction

Terramar's laundering instructions for the Thermolator II top are:

  • Machine wash cold.
  • Wash dark colors separately.
  • Only non-chlorine bleach.
  • Tumble dry low.
  • Do not iron/steam or dry clean.
  • No fabric softener/dryer sheets.

Initial Impression:

Terramar Sizing Chart (tops)
Men's (chest)
Small
Medium
Large
X Large
2 XL

34 - 36 in (86 - 91 cm)
38 - 40 in (97 - 102 cm)
42 - 44 in (107 - 112 cm)
46 - 48 in (117 - 122 cm)
50 - 52 in (127 - 132 cm)
Women's (bust)
Small [6-8]
Medium [10-12]
Large [12-14]
X Large [14-16]

34 - 36 in (86 - 91 cm)
36 - 38 in (86 - 97 cm)
38 - 41 in (86 - 104 cm)
43 - 45 in (109 - 114 cm)
Kid's (chest)
X Small
Small
Medium
Large
X Large

23 - 25 in (58 - 64 cm)
26 - 27 in (66 - 69 cm)
28 - 30 in (71 - 76 cm)
31 - 33 in (79 - 84 cm)
34 in (86 cm)
When shopping online, I get really frustrated when unable to determine whether or not a product will fit me. Unfortunately, this was my experience when visiting the Terramar website. If only a size chart had been available, my experience with what is otherwise a very informative and easy to navigate website would have been a pleasure. Therefore, it is my hope, and suggestion, that Terramar include a sizing chart on its website. Had I not owned another Body Sensors product, I would have been left to guess which top was the proper size for me. Therefore, I have included the sizing chart.

Unfortunately, I received a Large top when I actually need an X Large. So, I did not even try it on for fit. Rather, I contacted Customer Service and explained that I been sent the wrong size. The lady I spoke with was very polite, and quickly collected my correct size and mailing information. She told me that the correct top would be sent out right away. I was very pleased with the politeness and helpfulness of Terramar's customer service.

Two things caught my attention right away. First was the silky feel of the fabric. My dry hands did not catch on the fabric as I rubbed them over the top. Second, although listed as a mid-weight baselayer, I like how lightweight the top is. Testing will prove whether this lightweight top truly performs as a midweight garment.

Aside from the sizing issue mentioned above, the product was what I expected based upon the information and photo on the Terramar website.

Initial Testing:

Because the top was too small, my initial testing consisted of examining the top for noticeable manufacturing defects, feeling the fabric, and weighing it. There were no noticeable flaws in the fabric, seams (including what appear to be 4 needle 6 thread flatlock seams) and other stitching, zipper or pull. In fact, the top appears to be of high quality materials and workmanship. Little touches such as the zipper garage, wind flap, molded zipper pull, and thumbholes add to the overall quality. I really like the silky feel of the fabric--can't wait to get it next to my skin.

INITIAL LIKES INITIAL DISLIKES
  • style
  • lightweight
  • feel of fabric
  • none

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FIELD REPORT
March 2, 2010

Summary:

The top I received and reported on in the Initial Report was too small. However, Customer Service quickly rectified the problem and I was able to test the correct size top without delay. Therefore, I have recorded the actual weight of the XL top and and discussed its fit below in this Field Report.

During the Field Test phase, I wore the top approximately ten days; with and without additional layers. These included an overnight outing to Island Park, ID in mid-December, and several urban snowshoe outings and a couple of days shoveling snow.

To date, the top has been extremely comfortable; provided warmth as a baselayer, even in the coldest of temperatures; and seems to wick moisture quite well. I have been extremely pleased thus far with the fit and performance of this baselayer top.

Likes Thus Far Dislikes Thus Far
  • fit
  • style
  • lightweight
  • breathability
  • feel of fabric
  • none

Product Specifications
Tester's Actual Measurements  
Weight: [X-Large] 8.2 oz (232 g)

Field Locations and Test Conditions:

I wore the top on an overnight outing to Island Park, ID with my sons' BSA Venturing Crew. The elevation was approximately 6,293 ft (1,918 m). As shown in the photo on the right, the sky was gray and overcast. Temperatures ranged from a high of 24 F (-4 C) to a low of 12 F (-11 C).

I also wore the top on several urban snowshoe outings and shoveling snow during the test period. I wore the top with and without additional layers, based on the temperature. High temperatures were in the low 30s F (0 F) and the low temperature was -4 F (-20 C).

Observations:

Because the top I received initially was too small, I was unable to address fit in my Initial Report. However, a simple call to Terramar Customer Support resulted in a speedy delivery of the correct size. The top fits me well. The arms are the correct length and although adequate, I prefer a sligthly longer tail, especially during high activity. I do not like my top becoming untucked and riding up my back. The material inherently fits snugly. However, the top is not too snug through the torso.

I really like the silky feel of the fabric both next to my skin and underneath additional layers. vent panelThe photo on the left shows SVZ Strategic Ventilation Zone Panel (inside the flatlock stitching) in the back of the Thermolator II top. Note the white of my T-shirt showing through (T-shirt worn simply to show the numerous perforations in the ventilation panel). In addition, the thinness of the material is evident as the lettering on the T-shirt easily shows through.

Whether the temperature is hot or cold, I sweat. The ec2® Qwik-Dri™ fabric and the SVZ Strategic Ventilation Zone Panel seem to wick moisture quite well. I am quite pleased with how well this ventilation panel works. During highly aerobic activities, the panel allows moisture to escape. This helps me stay drier, which is nice especially when stopping in really cold temperatures. Furthermore, the fabric dries quickly.

Prior to this test, I had not worn a top with thumbholes. It took a little getting used to, but so far, I think I like them. They certainly keep the sleeves in place when sliding my arms into additional layers. Likewise, using the thumbholes kept the sleeves in place while snowshoeing and shoveling snow.

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LONG TERM REPORT
May 4, 2010

Summary:

During this final test phase, I wore the top six additional days. It has been extremely comfortable; provided warmth as a baselayer and as a single layer; and seems to wick moisture quite well. I have been extremely pleased with the fit and performance of this baselayer top.

This will continue to be a go-to work horse for me in colder temperatures.

Likes Dislikes
  • fit
  • style (mock collar & half zip)
  • lightweight
  • breathability
  • feel of fabric
  • none

Field Locations and Test Conditions:

I wore the top on a day hike in Hell's Half Acre National Landmark. The elevation is approximately 5,300 ft (1,615 m) above sea level. I also wore the top on five different bike rides near my home.

On the days I wore the top during this phase of the test, the temperature ranged between 22 F (-6 C) to 56 F (13 C). In addition, there were winds of up to 35 MPH (56 KPH) mainly from the west. The coldest was the day I hiked Hell's Half Acre.

Observations:

For the most part, temperatures during this phase were warmer than those during the previous phase so my use was somewhat limited. However, I was able to wear the top as my only layer on several bike rides. Doing so, I really appreciated the 1/2 zip, which enabled me to better regulate my temperature. This was also true on my day hike in Hell's Half Acre where I wore the top as a base layer, but was still able to utilize the 1/2 zip to regulate my temperature. I continue to be pleased with how quickly the ec2® Qwik-Dri™ fabric dries after wicking the sweat away from my body.

I am quite pleased with the overall performance of this top. During this test series, the Terramar Thermolator II top performed as well as my more much more expensive medium-weight 1/2 zip mock collar baselayer top. High quality and high tech performance from a modestly-priced garment is very refreshing.

The top remains in great shape, no loose threads, fraying material, or significant pilling. This will continue to be a go-to work horse for me in colder temperatures. In fact, I plan to take it with me May 7 - 8th to our Boy Scout Council's Jamboral; an overnight campout with nearly 6,000 Scouters celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America. In years past, these campouts have included cold temperatures, rain, snow, and wind. Based on this test series, I anticipate being comfortable in the Thermolator II 1/2 zip top, regardless of the weather.


This concludes my Test Series. Thanks to Terramar and
BackpackGearTest for allowing me to test this baselayer top.

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