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Reviews > Clothing > Underwear > Terramar Thermawool Base Layers > Test Report by Duane Lawrence
TERRAMAR CLIMASENSE THERMAWOOL CS
Test Series by Duane Lawrence
I have been an avid outdoor enthusiast for the past 25 years. I enjoy a variety of outdoor activities including mountaineering, day hikes, multi-day backpacking trips, river and ocean kayaking, back country skiing, snowshoeing, mountain biking and rock climbing. I have climbed and hiked throughout British Columbia, the United States and when opportunity presents itself in Europe and India. I carry a wide variety of gear depending on the type and length of trip. I am a Search and Rescue team member in the Southern Rockies and am part of the swift water and rope rescue technical teams, and ground search team.
Product Description and First Impressions
The Terramar Thermawool CS Crew Shirt and Bottom are made from a outer layer blend of 70% microfiber polyester and 30% merino wool with an inner layer of 100% brushed microfiber polyester resulting in a medium to heavy weight base layer. Both pieces are listed as medium weight although the warmth factor rating listed on the box (which runs from 1.0 at warm to 4.0 at extreme) are rated at 4.0 or extreme. Personally I would consider these base layers as more of a heavy weight than a medium weight. I was unable to find any information on the warmth rating system on the web site although the packaging is easy to understand.
Construction wise the crew and bottom appear to be very well constructed. Both are made utilizing panels creating a contoured fit in the arms and legs. All seams appear to be well stitched with the top having contrasting stitching. All seams are a flat seem construction. The bottoms have a wide, 1.25 in (3 cm) waist band.
The Climasense Thermawool CS base layers are designed utilizing the Terramar Climasense Thermoregulation system designed to keep the wearer comfortable in all conditions, adapting to the body’s changing physiology. The fabric recognizes the need for either heating or cooling. The fabric contracts to trap air and create heat or expands to allow heat and moisture to escape in order to cool the wearer. The fabric is also designed to move moisture quickly away from the wearer, is listed as 50+ UPF, has odor control properties and is noted to be a soft-no itch wool.
For sizing I am testing the medium for both the top and bottom. With a top-chest listed measurement of 38 – 40 in (97 - 102 cm) and bottom-waist measurement of 32 – 34 in (81 – 86 cm) I found that they fit my 33 in (84 cm) waist and 37 in (94 cm) chest very well. Terramar makes both the crew top and bottom in both regular and tall with the tall adding 2 in in the body and sleeve of the crew. The bottoms are listed to fit people from 5 ft 8 in (172 cm) to 6 ft (183 cm) in the regular and 6 ft 1 in (185 cm) to 6 ft 3 in (190 cm) in the tall. I am testing the regular and at 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) the regular were long enough for me. The bottoms, although snug, fit well although when bending or squatting the seemed to ride down a bit making me want to hike them back up. Not sure if this is going to be a recurring theme or not but will make a point of paying particular attention to this during the test period. The crew top seemed to have additional room for someone that is slightly larger than myself.
My first impressions were very positive. Both the crew shirt and bottom were visually appealing, the smoke heather color is a nice shade of gray, the seams look very sturdy and the panel construction fit well when I tried them on. I am always nervous about wool garments being itchy but the brushed microfiber polyester did not look or feel scratchy.
Overall I liked what I saw and am looking forward to testing the Terramar Thermawool CS crew shirt and bottom. They are very comfortable when first put on and look good. My only real concern is that they might be a little too warm. Thankfully we get lots of nice cold weather in the Canadian Rockies so there should be ample opportunities to test them out in nice cool crisp weather.
Readers may be interested to know that the Climasense technology is bluesign system approved. The bluesign system reduces the environmental impact concerning the entire textile supply chain from the chemicals and textiles used and supplied.
Photo From Terramar Sports Webpage
I've been able to wear the Terramar Thermawool CS for most of the winter. During the test period I've had the opportunity to use these base layers in a variety of conditions. Trips included a couple of three and four night ski trips and a whole pile of day trips into the back country of the Canadian Rockies. Generally speaking temperatures ranged from a nice -5 C (23 F) in December through to -20 C (-4 F) in January and February. This Mach I've been able to test these layers in fluctuating temperatures with the mornings starting around -12 C (10 F) then rising to 5 C (41 F) in the afternoon. During the trips weather condition varied from a heavy snowfall to beautiful sunshine and everything in between.
Thus far I am fairly happy with the Thermawool CS. They are without a doubt one of the warmest base layers I have ever used. During the colder weekends, -20 C (-4 F), I used them with another mid weight fleece then bib ski pants. For the shirt I generally wore them, even during the cold days, without the need of a jacket, at least on the weight up. During times of exertion I could actually see the fabric bring the moisture to the surface of the layer. Although I could not say that it kept me perfectly dry it did an exceptional job. The fabric dried off within 15 minutes after stopping and I never felt damp or the need to change the layer to stay warm. In my books that’s fairly impressive.
During the warmer days I didn't even need a second layer for my legs as these base layers were more than ample for keeping me warm. The one thing I would note though is that they do get a little toasty when the temperature approached -5 C (23 F). I find it very difficult to comment on how well they adjust to body temperature as the manufacture indicates the fabric will do. I can say that I found myself fairly comfortable in pretty much any temperature provided I had the right layers on. They do appear to wick very well and, again, as far as I can tell they do a fine job of regulating temperature.
As for comfort and fit the top is fantastic. I am trialling the medium, a size that I wear for pretty much everything I own, and it fits comfortably. The fabric is soft to the touch, stretches and moves with my body. The length of the shirt was good, not riding up the back and not so long that it was hanging off of me. For the tights, I am not as happy. They fit well, or at least they seem to. What I find is that they slip off of my waist, riding down and I have to periodically hoist them back up. I was thinking that I might need a larger size but everything else about them fits very nice. The length of leg is great, any longer and they would bunch around my ankles and for volume, if they were larger they would be baggy which I wouldn't like so much. The wide waist band did not seem to help much which was a little bit of a surprise. Seeing that I always wear mediums and according to the sizing chart they should have fit me perfectly. That being said, I found them just as comfortable as the top. As heavy weight base layer they are very nice, just wish they did not slip so much.
After a three day trip of wearing these layers every day all day and enjoying some great assents and ski runs then leaving them in a pile for a day or two I was happy to note that they did not smell that bad. It’s a matter of scale so if I had to rate them for dealing with odors I would give them a 9 out of 10, 10 being exceptional. I am not sure if I have had a set of base layers that have not started to move on their own after a long weekend of back country skiing and then sitting on the floor for a couple of days. I was very impressed. I did run them through the wash, probably about 20 times so far and have not seen any pilling of the fabric and there was no shrinkage.
Although it is getting warmer out I am still looking forward to using these for the next couple of months on some more back country trips.
The weather got significantly warmer in April and May so I was not in a position to adequately continue testing the Terramar Thermawool base layers while backpacking but was lucky to have an opportunity to test them for some swift water fun. I had a number of occasions to use them while playing in the Elk and Slocan Rivers while river rafting for three days and engaging in swift water rescue training. As a base layer, in a dry suite, on hot sunny days in a cold river it really showed how effective these layers are. When wearing a dry suite no moisture can escape so wicking capabilities are very important. I had two layers on under the dry suite; the Terramar Thermawool layer and a heavy fleece bottom and top. After rafting all day or completing swift water training for a day I found that the base layer was relatively dry while the fleece captured 90% of the moisture. I cannot honestly say they were perfectly dry but they were fairly close. I do not think it is fair to count this as under performance as there really is nowhere for moisture to escape. The one thing that did continue to bug me was the lack of the bottoms ability to stay put. It is impossible to hike them up in a dry suite so I had to live with it until I was able to change. On a positive note after three-days in a dry suite they did not smell too bad. They were definitely much fresher smelling than my other layers which I swear were moving all by themselves.
On the spectrum of a base layer warmth scale, the Terramar Thermawool layers are at or near the top. Considering their rating scale of 1 - 4 with 4 been extreme warmth, they definitely live up to being a 4. They do not smell, even after being encased in a dry suite for three days, and are very comfortable. They retain their shape very well even after being washed many times with no pilling. My only complaint is with respect to the bottoms. The legs fit great but they slip down relentlessly.
Thank you to Terramar Sports and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this product.
Read more gear reviews by Duane Lawrence
Reviews > Clothing > Underwear > Terramar Thermawool Base Layers > Test Report by Duane Lawrence
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