TERRAMAR CLIMASENSE THERMAWOOL CS CREW & BOTTOM
TEST SERIES BY STEVEN M. KIDD
June 05, 2016
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Steven M. Kidd
5' 9" (1.80 m)
185 lb (83.90 kg)
Backpacking Background: I've been a backpacker on and off for over 30 years. I backpacked as a Boy Scout, and then again almost every month in my twenties, while packing an average weight of 50+ lb (23+ kg). In the last several years I have become a hammock camping enthusiast. I generally go on one or two night outings that cover between 5 to 20 mi (8 - 32 km) distances. I also do several annual outings lasting four to five days covering distances between 15 to 20 mi (24 - 32 km) per day. I try to keep the all-inclusive weight of my pack under 20 lb (9 kg) even in the winter.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
|Terramar Clamasense Thermawool CS|
Manufacturer: Terramar Sports
Year of Manufacture: 2015
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.terramarsports.com
MSRP: US $50 Shirt; $50 Pants
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: Shirt 7.6 oz (215 g); Pants 6.1 oz (173 g)
Sizes Available: S - XXL; Testing - LARGE Shirt & MEDIUM Pants
Color Choices: Smoke Heather; Imperial Blue Heather - Testing the latter
Outer Materials: 70% Microfiber Polyester; 30% Merino Wool
Inner Materials: 100% Microfiber Polyester
Terramar designed the Thermawool CS baselayers as a medium weight layering option that offers an extreme warmth ratio. Terramar's warmth rating system ranges from 1.0 (Warm) to 4.0 (Extreme), and this 4.0 layering option is designed to be one of their warmest offerings, yet it is also designed to offer superior breathability.
Per the company website the baselayers are a multi-layer design. The outer layer is a blend of 70% microfiber polyester and 30% merino wool and the inner is 100% brushed microfiber polyester. The brushed microfiber is designed to eliminate itching and flat seamed construction for further comfort.
The Climasense Thermoregulation Technology is designed to keep the wearer in all conditions by adjusting to his or her body temperature. It is both fast drying and wicking and inhibits bacterial growth that causes odors. The garments also have a UPF 50+ rating.
Both the box the items were packaged in and individual hang tags gave product care. The baselayers are to be washed in cold and only non-chlorine bleach should be used if needed. They may be dried on a low tumble dry setting with no fabric softener or dryer sheets to be used. They are not to be ironed, steam or dry-cleaned.
I am testing a men's large crew shirt designed to fit a 42 - 44 in (107 - 112 cm) chest and a men's medium pant for a 32 - 34 in (81 - 86 cm) waist. The box states that the Regular size is designed for someone up to 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m). I'll be testing the Imperial Blue Heather color. The seams have a contrasting orange stitch pattern.
INITIAL IMPRESSIONS & SUMMARY
I immediately found the baselayers to be well designed and very comfortable. The inner brushed microfiber was very smooth to the touch and felt great against my skin. No merino wool actually touches my skin as the 30% is actually in the outer layer. It is the wool that often causes me to itch, so by having it on the outer layer Terramar eliminates this possibility.
They call these a medium weight item, but I found them a little heavy and thick in my opinion. My first concern was whether or not they would be too warm for my typical trail use. We have pretty cold winters here in the Midwest, so I look forward to using them both for backpacking and on extremely cold winter days.
The design is appealing and the flat seams are something I believe I will enjoy. I ordered a large top and a medium sized bottom. I historically don't order varying sizes from the same manufacturer like this, but I've done this with success in items I've purchased from Terramar in the past. I did find it interesting that the Regular size was designed to only fit someone up to 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m) tall. I am 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m) and they fit me very well, but if I were much taller the pants wouldn't be long enough. I think they fit me perfectly, and in fact better in the length than my favorite pair of synthetic baselayers (which happen to be Terramar).
The original crew top that was sent to me had an imperfection with a missing portion of the inner brushed microfiber about half the size of a US dime. This caused the outer fibers in the area to appear loose. It took a few weeks to replace, but the process was fairly painless. I'm fairly sure the shirt would've come unraveled in this area had it not been replace. Save that, all else is well made and I really find the contrasting stitch pattern to be appealing to the eye as well.
I wore the items out one evening for several hours to the zoo when temperatures were around 20 F (-7 C) and they felt great. I also wore them to church the following day and at home in my living room all afternoon while watching a football game. There was no exertion that would cause me to perspire as I may in backpacking, but I found them to keep me quite comfortable out in the cold and I didn't overheat at home in the warmth. The indoor experience really surprised me to be honest, so there may be something to this Climasense technology! I look forward to testing it over the ensuing months.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
28 - 30 December, 2015, Straightstone, Virginia. I hiked and camped in the wooded areas along Straightstone Creek on my family farm in southern Virginia. The area is filled with rolling hills and the average elevation is 636 ft (194 m). Conditions were dry and temperatures ranged from the high 40's F (~9 C) to around 25 F (-4 C) at night.
15 - 17 January, 2016, Hoosier National Forest, Charles C. Deam Wilderness Area, near Bloomington, Indiana. This was a weekend solo backpacking off-trail and camping on Lake Monroe, covering a total of around 14 mi (23 km). Temperatures were as low as 20 F (-7 C) at night and rose to around 40 F (4 C) in the day. It was grey and dreary, but it never rained.
20 - 21 February, 2016, Brown County, Indiana. My son and I did an overnight outing covering a total of 6 mi (10 km). Low temperatures were right at freezing an highs were at 40 F (4 C), but the wind-chill made it feel considerably cooler. It drizzled lightly as we were hiking out on Sunday morning.
13 - 17 April, 2016, Big South Fork National Recreation Area, Kentucky and Tennessee. A five-day/four-night backpacking outing that centered primarily following the John Muir and John Litton Trails. Distance covered was approximately 55 mi (89 km) with temperatures ranging from 35 F (2 C) nighttime lows to 80+ F (45 C) daytime highs. There was a light drizzle the first evening just before sunset, but other than that the days were dry, warm and sunny and the evenings crisp, cool and clear.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD & SUMMARY
During the Field Reporting portion of the test I wore the Terramar base layers on four individual outings and countless times on cold days throughout the winter. I found the Climasense Thermawool base layers to easily hold up to their claims of being very warm and breathable. They kept me warm on even the coldest of subfreezing days and generally breathed generally well.
On days above 40 F (4 C) I did find them to be a little too warm to wear for extended lengths of time without starting to perspire if I was doing anything strenuous. I could at times wear the shirt as a single layer in temperatures like this, but the pants were always too warm if it was this warm. So for several of the outings I only wore the pants at camp in the evenings if at all. I wore the top during the day during all the trips except for the trip to Big South Fork. Daytime temperatures ended up being shorts and t-shirts on that trip. The entire set did come in handy the first night as we base camped!
As mentioned, they were very breathable, but after exertion and perspiration the odor control feature tended to work pretty well in my opinion. After multiple days of wear without wash they didn't smell too awful. I did wash and dry them as directed. I generally don't prefer to machine dry merino wool, but did as directed and notice no negative effects from doing so.
The brushed polyester lining is super comfortable. It is very soft against my skin and found myself wearing them around like pajamas from time-to-time as well. The navy shirt with the contrast stitch was nice enough in my opinion to wear as a single outer layer if running to the store on the weekend.
So far I'm very impressed with the product. My only fear is how much use I'll be able to get out of them as I enter the final phase of testing. Temperatures are rising and I wasn't able to get extended use out of them on my April outing, so I'm not certain how often I will wear them into May and June. Only time will tell.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
14 - 15 May, 2016, Flatrock River YMCA Camp, St. Paul, Indiana. This was an overnight camping trip with the Cub Scouts. A cold front hit the area just before the outing creating near record low temperatures. High temperatures never rose above 46 F (8 C) and nighttime lows were around 35 F (2 C), however, wind chills made it feel considerably cooler. Everyone in the Pack was wearing their winter coats, stocking caps and gloves for the majority of the outing. It was grey and cloudy, but dry.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
After my mid-April outing that brought temperatures in excess of 80 F (45 C) I feared I wouldn't have much of an opportunity to use the baselayers in the Long Term phase of the test. However, roughly a month later as spring was coming on I went on a Cub Scout camping trip that brought near record low temperatures to central Indiana. It only averaged 40 F (22 C) and the wind chills that made it feel barely above freezing. A cold front brought on these dramatic temperature swings. Just a day or two before I'd been swimming in the pool in the mid-70's F (42 C) temperatures. Needless to say, the weather was a shock for all of us, and I was fortunate enough to get one more field use out of the Terramar baselayers.
As stated in the Field Report, I normally wouldn't have worn them in temperatures that hovered around 40 F (22 C), but the drastic temperature swing from the extremely warm weather just days before made these 4.0 (Extreme) baselayers a welcome addition to my spring gear stash. I wore them on a 2 mi (3 km) hike with the Cubs and throughout the day and into the evening as we sat around the fire watching skits and roasting s'mores. I never broke a sweat in them, but I wasn't extremely active. I had to setup three individual hammocks with tarps and quilts at the outset of the camping trip which took around 45 minutes. This generally can cause a little perspiration on my part, but with the breeze I had no problem staying dry and comfortable in the crew and bottoms.
That was the only chance I had to use them in the final phase of the test series as temperatures were generally too warm other than that one odd weekend in May.
The Climasense Thermawool baselayers are very comfortable and I truly enjoy the way the brushed polyester lining feels against my skin. After extended use they don't tend to retain too much odor which I find as a positive and they've held up well to both wear and laundering. I've washed and dried them via machine which is the suggested care. I generally don't prefer to use a dryer for any item with wool in it, but I followed the instructions with no negative effects to date. It is only a 30% wool blend, but I've owned other brands that suggest air drying with the very same blend. I'm not sure what Terramar has done to protect the wool from damage in a dryer, but they've done it successfully to my satisfaction.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.
I will certainly continue to use them in the future, but primarily on the coldest of trips that stay around or under freezing. I will certainly also use them on cold winter days around town when I'm not exerting too much energy. When the temperatures get too much above that freezing range and I'm wearing them on the trail I can perspire in them. I will certainly attest that they hold up to their extreme rating! I've owned multiple Terramar items in the past and I'm excited to report that these crew and bottoms perform just as well as every other item I've used from them in the past.
I'd like to thank Terramar Sports and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to test the Climasense (CS) Thermawool baselayers.
Read more gear reviews by Steven M Kidd