Here is the first of my three FRs that are due next week. The HTML may
be found here;
The text is below.
The Core Zip has been worn, or along, on the following trips.
Dave and I went up to the peak of San Gorgonio via the Dollar lake
trail as Dave has never been that way. It had rained the day before
and they were calling for below-freezing temps so we figured we may
see snow or ice. It was 35 F (1.7 C) when we started at an altitude of
6880 ft (2097 m). At the summit it was 31 F (-0.6 C) and the wind
chill was registering at 17 F (-8 C). We went 23.2 miles (37 km). The
picture below is at the start of this trip.
Jenn and I went to the Ortega Candy Store trailhead and did the Bear
Canyon/Bear Ridge loop in the San Mateo Wilderness. 6.8 miles (11 km)
in temps to about 80 F (27 C) on up and down trails that were either
sandy or rocky. We had 1100 ft (335 m) of elevation gain and loss.
(The Core Zip went in the pack almost immediately as it was warmer
Dave and I went 27 miles (43 km) on the PCT from Green Valley to
Vasquez Rocks This hike saw 5000 ft (1524 m) of gain as we went over
three passes in temperatures started at 43 F and climbed to 70 F (6 to
21 C). The terrain was dirt, scree or rock.
Dave and I spent two days in the Tehachapi Mountains just south of
Sequoia National Forest. The temps were between 35 and 66 F (2 to 19
C). We went 42 miles (68 km). We had to carry all our water so my pack
weight was 35 lb (15.9 kg) starting out.
Jenn and I celebrated New Years Eve by spending the night in Round
Valley in Mount San Jacinto State Park. We snow shoed 6 miles (10 km)
and stayed at an elevation of 9100 ft (2775 m) on 5 ft (1.5 m) of snow
pack. The temps ran from 40 to 22 F (4 to -6 C). Thankfully there was
no wind to speak of.
The Core Zip has seen a lot use in Minnesota where I have worn it
under a rain coat and down sweater in rain, freezing rain, winter mix
and snow. With lots and lots of wind! Temperatures were as low as -12
F (-24 C) with wind chills to -40.
I also wore it skiing in our California mountains.
So far I have been impressed with the Core Zip as a hiking and
backpacking base layer. I have worn it as a solo shirt a few times on
hikes and it is comfortable if a little loose. At the last minute I
changed my size to an XLarge as I heard the Large did not fit another
shorter tester. I wish that I had stuck with the Large as the Core Zip
hangs off my arms and body creating folds and bunching when I put a
fleece or down sweater over it. My suggestion is to trust Sitka Gear's
The fabric has proven to be quite warm when used under a coat. On the
trip to San Gorgonio we hit some high winds and the temps dropped. I
just put a shell over the Core Zip and completed the climb without
resorting to extra layers which I did have in my pack. (It should be
noted that I am a very warm-blooded hiker.)
On the other hand that same wind, any wind for that matter, went right
through the fabric. It has the least wind blocking ability of any
shirt I own, even my lighter weight base layers. It is almost like the
open weave channels wind right through. I am not knocking the shirt
for this as it is a layering piece made to be covered, but I hike a
lot in just my base layers and have to cover up much sooner with this
The odor control has been very good. As good at this point in the test
as any synthetic I have used. I will watch this more as I get into
some bigger trips now that the holiday season is past. On the New
Year's Eve trip I wore it for two straight days. During the night I
noticed that where my arm touched my body I was sweating due to having
a bit too warm of bag. So I put the Core Zip on to keep the sweat from
transferring to my bag and its 800 fill down. After coming home and
letting it sit for a couple hors It did not have retained odor. (I on
the other hand did have some retained odor until Jenn chased me into
The durability has been fine so far. No pulls or loose threads have
shown up. As I keep it exposed much of the time it has been subjected
to scrapes against rocks and trees but has weathered them all just
One thing I would get rid of is the pocket on the arm. I can't stand
the feeling of anything in it, and even the zipper pull bothers me at
times. My dad saw it and thinks it would be a good place to keep a
fishing or hunting license. I tried a folded up permit and did not
care for the feeling. Just call me Mr. Sensitive
I leave with a shot of me hauling my big gut over four feet of snow.
Hmmm, me thinks a New Year's resolution is in order. Look for proof of
it by coming back in a couple of months to read the Long Term Report
of the final two months of testing this shirt. My thanks to Sitka Gear
and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to put it through its