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Reviews > Clothing > Underwear > Terramar Therma TX Silk and Wool Top > Test Report by Andrew Buskov


Terramar Therma TX2
Silk 'n' Wool Crew

Terramar's all-natural, two-layer, medium weight insulating layer system.
Andrew Buskov

Crew Front

Initial Report: December 5, 2009
Field Report: February 9, 2010
Long Term Report: April 12, 2010


Tester Biographical Information

Name: Andrew Buskov
Age: 34
Gender: Male
Height: 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight: 223 lbs (101 kg)
Waist: 38 in (97 cm)
Email: Rescue(at)Corridor9(dot)net
City, State Zip Madisonville, Kentucky  USA

Backpacking Background:

I’ve been backpacking for years now, and have slowly started developing my ideal style. I’ve gotten my pack weight down to roughly 25 – 30 lbs (11 – 14 kg) before water, and am whittling it down every hike. Day hiking is nice, but getting out over multiple nights is really what I enjoy. I like to take my time and enjoy the scenery as opposed to hiking hard. I also like being comfortable and insist on an air mattress. I usually tent or hammock, but stay in shelters when needed.

Tag FrontProduct Information:

Item: Therma TX2 Silk 'n' Wool Crew
Manufacturer: Terramar
Website http://www.terramarsports.com
Year of Manufacture: 2009
MSRP: N/A
Listed Weight: N/A
Actual Weight: 8.5 oz (241 g)
Available Color: Black
Size Tested:XL
Available Sizes:S - 2XL

Product Overview:

The Therma TX2 Silk 'n' Wool Crew is part of Terramar's Thermawool line of insulated long underwear. It is comprised of two layers, wool and silk, that are sewn together using construction knit technology. This traps a layer of air between the silk and wool, creating a thermal barrier without bulk. With a 1x1 rib crew neck and cuffs, saddle shoulder, wrapped side seams, and flatlock seam construction the TX2 Silk 'n' Wool Crew is designed for comfort as well as functionality.

(From Website)
Fabric Features: Unique Two-layer Fabric Layer System, Outer Layer 100% Super Soft Mercerized Merino Wool, Inner Layer 100% Super Soft Filament Silk, Fabric Weight: 150 grams 4.5 oz, UPF Rating 50+

Initial Impression:

The TX2 Silk 'n' Wool Crew arrived at my door in complete condition and without any obvious rips, tears, or other deformities. It was packaged in a retail display box that included information about the material, guarantee against defects for one year, sizing chart, as well as washing instructions. I removed the shirt from the box and weighed it prior to trying it on. I immediately noticed the level of comfort this shirt provided as opposed to my regular Nomex blend thermal underwear. It was definitely comfortable and smooth.

Tag backSome of the things that I noticed right off when trying on the TX2 Silk 'n' Wool Crew is that the neckline is nice and tight. On a number of other thermal underwear shirts I've owned the neck felt stretched out, sitting almost mid-clavicular on my shoulders. With the TX2, this was not the case. It hugged my neck just like a regular shirt. This felt comfortable and natural and definitely felt better than others I've tried.

I also liked the way the back panel was longer than the front. This allowed me to tuck my shirt into my pants and still be able to bend and move without it coming lose. However, at no time did I feel like there was an excess amount of material stuffed into my pants. It did well at protecting my backside from the cold air that we've been having here lately. The seams are sewn flat so they don't rub, something that I absolutely hate in thermal underwear. I didn't even notice the seams on this shirt at all though.

The sleeves are just the right length as they come down past my wrist just a little, but not enough to hinder any movement of my thumbs. There is a seam running along the underside of the arm, but as with the other seams, it wasn't noticeable. The saddle style construction in the shoulder is nice. Instead of a seam running on top of the shoulder, there are two seams that run near my clavicle and shoulder blade. This means that there is no chance of a seam rubbing a blister into my shoulder with a pack, something I tested with my daypack as I was heading to and from work.

Other than the texture of the wool, there is no sort of pattern or weave to it. There is a different feel between the wool outside and the silk inside, though not enough to differentiate. This might make it a bit difficult to put the shirt on correctly in the dark. One of the things that I didn't care for was the  instruction tag that is sewn in near the back of the neck. I understand this is a fairly standard feature on most clothing, but I've always been against this style tag on base layer clothing. I could cut it out, but more often than not I'm either left with a shorter scratchy tag, or a loosening of threads where the tag used to be. Personally, I think that all base layer clothing should have the information silk screened inside the neck of the shirt. This eliminates the scratchy tag altogether.

On the hang tag that came with the shirt there is a catch phrase: "Soft to the Touch, Warm to the Feel, Not Too Hot, Not Too Cold, Always Just Right". I have to say that I agree completely with this phrase so far. As a test one night, I decided to wear these to bed since it was a bit cold in the house 66 F (19 C). I normally just wear some boxers to bed and sleep under a sheet and quilted blanket. As I lay there in the Silk 'n' Wool outfit, I felt completely comfortable even though I didn't have the blanket thrown over me. Because I'm not used to sleeping this way though, I woke up the next morning wrapped up in my blanket and sheet. However, much to my surprise, I wasn't soaking wet from sweat, nor was I burning up in any way. I was completely comfortable! The shirt breathed the way it was supposed to and let my body regulate temperature all night. Such a wonderful feeling waking up warm and refreshed.

In all, I'm pleased with the feel, construction, and warmth that I've experienced with the Terramar Therma TX2 Silk 'n' Wool Crew.

Field Report: February 9, 2010

Field Conditions:

During this testing phase I wore the Terramar Therma TX2 Silk 'n' Wool Crew 10 times. While a few of the uses were on the three day hikes I took in two different recreational areas in Western Kentucky, a majority of the usage was around town during some of the snowy weather we've received this winter. We've received a couple of big snow falls so far and are looking for more. Big for us is 6+ inches at any one time, but I guess that's what I get for living in Kentucky instead of Colorado. Temperatures that I experienced during the day hikes ranged from 35 - 55 F (2 - 13 C), but overall temperatures that I've worn the shirt in has been between 2 - 60 F ( -17 - 16 C).  All day hikes were during overcast skies, but only one day hike had any precipitation: a bit of misty fog. I have also had the opportunity to wear this under my work shirt, as it's hard to layer when I have to throw on my gear at any time.

Performance:

The weather this season has been unseasonably cold, or at least that's the way it felt. It's probably a mix of the colder weather and my aging bones, but either way I've had some relief in this base layer. The Terramar Therma TX2 Silk 'n' Wool Crew has been very comfortable and warm over the testing period. I have found myself washing it numerous times during the week so I could have something to keep me warm whenever the temperatures turned cold or I was forced outside for extended periods of time. In addition to the warming properties that I have felt with this shirt, the comfort level is absolutely divine.

As I mentioned previously, the crew has often served as a sleeping nightshirt. Due to the fact that my bed is nestled right next to a window on the far side of the house from the heating unit, it's often drafty and cold when I go to bed. I am forced to either endure the cold or pay outrageous gas bills during the winter months. I've found that I can wear the Silk 'n' Wool Crew as a night shirt and sleep well all night long. This is saying a lot as I don't like to sleep with any sort of shirt on. I always feel confined and bound. However, the crew did not make me feel like I was wearing a straight jacket or anything of the sort.

I've also been wearing this to sleep at work as well. I often have to get up in the middle of the night to head out on fire runs. The gear that we wear is individually fitted, not tight but I definitely can't wear any sort of sweatshirt under it. While you might think that it would keep me warm in the winter due to the thickness, bunker gear is not that warm at all. The other catch is the fact that it's not wise to wear synthetics into a fire situation. As is well-known, synthetics melt. I'd just soon not have a synthetic top melt against my arms, chest, and back. I've really noticed a difference these past few months in my comfort level when responding to fire alarms and car wrecks while wearing the Silk 'n' Wool Crew.

While I've noticed that the crew tends to soak up perspiration quite easily, I've not noticed any sort of cooling effect because of this. It feels just like some of my other wool clothing in that it wicks the perspiration away from my skin. I've not felt overly cool while wearing the crew during any of my outings, nor have I felt overly cold while sweating in my gear at work.

The only downside that I've noticed about the Silk 'n' Wool Crew is the fact that the neck stretched out quite a bit. I'm very particular about the neckline in all my shirts. While I don't care for turtlenecks, I do want the neck of the shirt to sit comfortably at the base of my neck, just above my clavicle. The Silk 'n' Wool used to sit near this area, but now the neck has stretched out so much that it sits mid-clavicular instead of close to the base of my neck. It's easily twice the size as it was when I received it. I've tried everything I can think of to shrink it back into place, but even using a warm dryer setting hasn't helped. This is definitely something I don't care for. While it hasn't stopped me from wearing the crew yet, it's getting to that point. If the neck continues to grow, I just won't feel comfortable in it anymore.

Long Term Report: April 12, 2010

Field Conditions:

Throughout the Long Term Report testing phase, I was only able to use the Terramar Therma TX2 Silk 'n' Wool Crew shirt 5 times in total. The primary reasons for this was due to the fact that the weather warmed up to the point I didn't need any base layers on my hikes at all. In addition, wearing it around town and at night was also minimal due to the rising temperatures. The few times that I did wear the Silk 'n' Wool Crew were on exceptionally cold nights while running errands around town and once to bed after changing the sheets to a non-flannel style. Temperatures for times I wore it around town were around 30 F (0 C) with moderate winds and no precipitation. In total, I've probably used the Silk 'n' Wool Crew approximately 20 times for various activities.

Performance:

I've still been fairly pleased with the function and feel of the Terramar Therma TX2 Silk 'n' Wool Crew. I found that even thought the weather was warming up considerably the last two months, I was able to use the crew comfortably on the few times that the weather turned bitter cold. It really was one of those items that I threw on in a moment's notice to get relief and heat my body when I needed; something that is a definite plus as I tend to get cold frequently. It continued to keep me warm and toasty throughout the testing period.

It is a very versatile piece of clothing indeed. I was able to wear it under long sleeve t-shirts, long sleeve button-up style shirts, and even short sleeve t-shirts at times. There were also many times that I wore the Silk 'n' Wool Crew by itself, though this was primarily done while running around the house as opposed to running errands around town. I liked the fact that it looked good under most all my clothing. I didn't at all feel out of place as I would have with other long sleeved underwear.

As mentioned previously, I found that the Silk 'n' Wool Crew tended to hold smells easier the longer the test went on. This was especially noticeable during one particular instance where I was out running errands. After coming home, and knowing that I was heading out again in about 30 minutes, I left the Silk 'n' Wool Crew on underneath my t-shirt. I noticed that I started perspiring more heavily. As the time passed, I could easily start smelling my clothing even though I had only been wearing the Silk 'n' Wool Crew approximately 2 hours in total with most of that time having very little effort and perspiration. I immediately took off the shirt for washing as I really didn't want to smell during the rest of my errands. This was one of the few times during the entire testing phase that I had to remove the shirt due to smell.

The only other problem that I had was the fact that the collar of the neck continued to stretch out over the Long Term Report phase. It was already getting fairly large at the end of the Field Report phase, but now it's stretched out enough that I no longer feel comfortable wearing just this shirt. I now always insist on having a shirt over the Silk 'n' Wool Crew, otherwise I tend to show too much chest and back to feel comfortable and secure.

In all though, I firmly believe in the warming ability of the Terramar Therma TX2 Silk 'n' Wool Crew. I will continue to use it as a piece of base layer clothing until it's just too tattered to function. It provides warmth and comfort if used in the right cool conditions. Even though there are some problems that I have to keep in mind, I still feel that is a well-made piece of gear that serves its purpose well.

I'd like to thank BackpackGearTest.org and Terramar for allowing me to participate in this test.

Read more reviews of Terramar gear
Read more gear reviews by Andrew Buskov

Reviews > Clothing > Underwear > Terramar Therma TX Silk and Wool Top > Test Report by Andrew Buskov



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