TERRAMAR THERMA TX2 SILK 'N' WOOL TOP
TEST SERIES BY NANCY GRIFFITH
March 31, 2010
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Northern California, USA
5' 6" (1.68 m)
130 lb (59.00 kg)
My outdoor experience began in high school with involvement in a local canoeing/camping group called Canoe Trails. The culmination was a 10-day canoe voyage through the Quebec wilds. I've been backpacking since my college days in Pennsylvania. I have completed all of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina. My typical trip now is in the Sierra Nevada in California and is from a few days to a week long. I carry a light to mid-weight load, use a tent, stove and hiking poles.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Terramar Sports Inc.
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.terramarsports.com
MSRP: Not Listed
Listed Weight: Not Listed
Measured Weight: 6.1 oz (173 g)
Size Tested: Women's Medium
Also Available in S, L, XL
Color Tested: Black
Also Available in Chocolate and Port
Style Tested: Half-zip
Also Available in Crew
Made in China
Photo courtesy of Terramar Sports website
The Terramar Therma TX2 Silk 'n' Wool half-zip top is a thermal base layer with two layers of fabric. The inner layer is 100% silk and the outer layer is 100% merino wool. This construction is said to trap warmth between the layers and act as an insulating layer to create warmth without bulk. The wool is stated as mercerized, which means that it has been chemically treated to create a lustrous appearance, strength, affinity to dye, resistance to mildew but also increases affinity to lint.
The top has a zipper half-way down the front with a wind flap beneath the zipper and a folded-over zipper garage for the top of the zipper. There is an ergonomic zipper pull attached.
The seams are a flatlock seam construction which means that the material is butted together at the seam rather than overlapped. This construction allows for a completely flat seam area to prevent chafing. At the shoulder the seams are a saddle type which means that the sleeve extends to the collar. The seam is then not at the top center of the shoulder but rather is a few inches (cm) forward and aft to allow for freedom of movement. At the sides the seams are contoured for a better fit.
The Therma TX2 series is listed as medium weight (warmer) versus their other choices of lightweight (warm) and heavyweight (warmest).
INITIAL IMPRESSIONS & TRYING THEM OUT
My initial impression was of the quality construction. I normally wear lightweight silk thermals and really appreciate the heavier weight and solid feel of this fabric. I am thrilled about the half-zip since that generally works much better for me for temperature regulation. The two-layer construction does not feel in any way like two separate layers--the fabric feels like one single layer.
I tried it on and liked the fit. It is a bit large (medium) but I was between sizes and chose the larger just to make sure. So, I'd say that the top is true to size. The sleeves and hem are slightly long. I'm not sure if silk/wool will shrink so I'll monitor that through washings.
I am allergic to wool and get very itchy if/when wool directly touches my skin. So I'm interested to see whether this thermal top causes any itching with wool as the outer layer.
I wore the thermal top as a base layer with a light fleece and a shell for a two hour bike ride in the cold rain. It breathed well and kept me warm. So far I really like the comfort of the fabric. I did not experience any itching on this initial try out.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
The washing instructions are:
Machine wash cold water
Do not bleach
Recommend to lay flat to dry
Do not iron
The Terramar Therma TX2 Silk 'n' Wool Top so far seems to be a comfortable thermal top.
Likes So far:
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Over the Field Testing period, I wore the thermal top for one 3-day car camping trip, one 3-day backpacking trip, 4 morning runs, 4 mountain bike rides, 7 snowshoe outings and one day hike. I lost count of how many times I washed it but estimate that it was approximately 5 times.
Some examples of usage conditions:
Bagby Recreation Area, Central California: 3 days; 1,000 ft (300 m); 30 to 55 F (-1 to 13 C); rainy to cloudy
Point Reyes National Seashore, California: 3 days; 0 to 1,407 ft (429 m); 40 to 55 F (4 to 13 C); partly cloudy to heavy rainstorm conditions
Loon Lake, Orion Trail, Sierra Nevada, California; 5 mi (8 km); 6,327 to 6,800 ft (1,928 to 2,073 m); 35 F (2 C); Cloudy to breezy conditions; Wore with shell.
Loon Lake, Van Vleck Trail, Sierra Nevada, California; 6 mi (10 km); 6,327 to 7,000 ft (1,928 to 2,134 m); 28 to 35 F (-2 to 2 C); Cloudy to snowy conditions; Wore with shell and 1/2 time also with inner down jacket.
Loon Lake, Bert's Lake & Chipmunk Bluff Trails, Sierra Nevada, California; 5 mi (8 km); 6,327 to 6,700 ft (1,928 to 2,042 m); 23 to 43 F (-5 to 6 C); Sunny conditions; Wore with shell and then alone after getting too hot.
Becker Peak, Sierra Nevada, California; 3.5 mi (5.6 km); 7,320 to 8,325 ft (2,231 to 2,537 m); 29 F (-2 C); Variable conditions from clear sunny patches to snow with windy conditions at times; Wore with down vest and shell.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The length of the shirt works well for staying tucked in while doing strenuous activity. I often tuck my base layer top into my base layer bottom to keep it held in place. But with this top, even if I don't take this extra step, the shirt still stays tucked into my pants during movement.
The fabric has a really cozy feel to it. I find myself wanting to hold the shirt up to my face before I put it on just to enjoy the softness. I like the weight of the fabric too and find it to be just right: not too warm or heavy and not too thin. On the Bagby camping trip, it was a very cool morning with a heavy frost and I needed to change clothes into my biking gear. I removed my warm down jacket and light fleece and left my silk 'n' wool top on. It felt so comfortable and warm even in the cool tent. I ran my hand over my arm and could feel a nice amount of warmth.
My skin is sensitive to wool and gets red and itchy if I have a wool sweater in contact with my neck. Although this fabric is wool on the outer layer, I have had no issues with itching. I have worn the shirt completely zipped up at times but haven't noticed any itching on my neck.
The durability of the top seems fine so far. The zipper continues to move easily. The fabric is holding up just fine but I do notice what a lint magnet it is. It seems to be constantly covered with little pieces.
The top is holding up well after multiple washings. I always washed it in cold water on regular or gentle cycle and dried it by laying it flat on a large terry cloth towel. I didn't seem to get the top into the wash between every wearing, so there were times that I probably wore it three times before it got washed. I never noticed any foul odor and was really pleased as to how well it resisted odor despite multiple uses in strenuous conditions.
The Terramar Therma TX2 Silk 'n' Wool Top so far seems to be a comfortable and functional thermal top.
Things I Like:
Things I dislike:
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Over the Long-Term Testing period, I wore the thermal top for 8 nights of car camping, one overnight backpacking trip, 3 snowshoe hikes and two morning runs. I washed it an additional five times.
For car camping and backpacking, I wore the top while in camp with a down vest and for sleeping.
Some examples of usage conditions:
Joshua Tree National Park, Southern California: 4 nights; 1,800 to 3,800 ft (549 to 1,158 m); 40 to 45 F (4 to 7 C); dry conditions with one night of high winds.
Pinnacles National Monument, Central California: 1 night; 1,260 ft (384 m); 40 to 45 F (4 to 7 C); dry conditions with heavy dew.
Montana de Oro State Park, Central California Coast: 1 night; 180 ft (55 m); 45 F (7 C); dry conditions.
Joshua Tree National Park, Southern California: 1 night; 4,500 ft (1,372 m); 40 to 45 F (4 to 7 C); dry conditions with light wind.
Dewey Point, Yosemite National Park, California; 8 mi (12.6 km); 7,250 to 7,385 ft (2,210 to 2,251 m); 29 to 43 F (-2 to 6 C); Clear conditions; Wore with shell and 1/2 time with down vest.
Strawberry Ridge, Sierra Nevada, California; 4.2 mi (6.8 km); 5,600 to 6,500 ft (1,700 to 1,980 m); 30 to 40 F (-1 to 4 C); Clear conditions; Wore with shell and 1/2 time with down vest.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The shirt continues to be a solid base layer and one that I am happy to have in my drawer.
The fabric is getting somewhat softer as it wears and is very comfortable. I still have had no issues with the wool causing any itching on my skin. It continues to attract ungodly amounts of down and lint and at times I was shocked when I saw all of the down that was stuck to me in the morning. It isn't an attractive look for wearing this top as a sole layer. Seriously, there is no easy way to remove the lint and keep it off.
The functional durability of the top continues to be good; the zipper continues to move easily. I find that I can easily operate the zipper with one hand simply by pulling on the collar (near the zipper garage). This is really convenient when I am trying to cool off during a run. There has been no noticeable shrinkage. As mentioned, the fabric is wearing and appears slightly frayed.
The five washings during this period consisted of 2 times being in cold water on a regular cycle with drying flat on a towel, once washing by hand drying flat on a towel and 2 times in cold water on a regular cycle and tumble dry low. Frankly, I grew tired of having to dry the shirt flat on a towel and just threw it in the dryer on low for the last washings. I did not notice any problems with the top becoming misshapen, shrinking or having any other detrimental effect. I plan to continue this practice in the future.
The Terramar Therma TX2 Silk 'n' Wool Top is a comfortable and functional medium-weight thermal top.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Things I Like:
Things I dislike:
This concludes my Long Term Report and this test series. Thanks to Terramar and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to participate in this test.
Read more reviews of Terramar gear
Read more gear reviews by Nancy Griffith