OWNER REVIEW-Wickers Expedition Weight Thermals
- Name: Jeremy O.
Height: 5' 10" (1.8m)
Weight: 168 Pounds (76kg)
Left Handed (In a right handed world)
Email address: jeremyryano@...
Home: Jersey City, NJ
Test gear in: North East, USA
Outdoor influence: I do several outdoor sports a little; hunting, canoeing, spring and fall camping, hiking I have been doing different aspects of these for 20 years. This multi-sport lifestyle drives me to own gear that is not perfect at any one thing but will accomplish different aspects of each outdoor sport that I undertake. I do however have one sport that breaks this rule. Snowboarding. I focus on all-mountain and now that my experience and full time career salary allow me, I am transitioning into backcountry snowboarding, and the mountaineering that comes with it.
My outdoor style is minimalist in nature, and environmentally conscious.
The information below is for Expedition Weight only.
Weight: I don't know the weight but a legitimate estimate is double typical thermal underwear.
Material: 93% Polyester 7% Spandex
Price Paid/Where: $18.95 ea. (top and bottoms sold separately) + shipping and handling www.sierratradingpost.com
Recommended Care: Machine wash warm, tumble dry cool temperature.
My Care: Machine wash cold, air dry
Fit: Moderately loose, I purchased these thermals one size smaller than I normally wear
Purchased: Fall 2008
Use: 10-15 days
Product Description: (I have a few photos of the thermals that i want to include)
For clarification, this is a review of Wickers Comfortrel® Long underwear that is available at Sierra Trading Post. Wickers website is selling a slightly different material make up in their newest line of thermal underwear.
Wickers Comfortrel® long underwear comes in 3 weights representing different thicknesses. Expedition Weight, Midweight, Lightweight. This review is of expedition weight only, however it will be updated upon the use of the midweight thermals that just arrived in the mail.
The expedition weight long underwear comes in sizes S to 2XL. The bottoms have a tight elastic waist and moderate elastic ankle. While the long sleeve top has only moderate elastic wrists. There are several color options at Sierra Trading Post, however on the Wickers website (the new line) black or white seem to be the standard colors for most of their products. The fit of the long underwear is not skin tight compared to other long underwear options.
I have used Wickers Expedition Weight long underwear in two distinct locations. First, snowboarding at ski resorts. I purchased this long underwear prior to the start of this years snowboard season in an attempt to solve my issues of January and February extreme cold. Ski resorts create a very difficult body temperature situation. At the start of the day, the sun has just come up, the air is still very cold. My body is also cold, with the days snowboarding exercise yet to begin. For this time of day extra layers are needed. The problem is that as the day progresses the constant cycle of active to non-active that the chairlift ride to snowboard ride provide for a dangerous perspiration. This sweat will lead to an extremely cold late afternoon as the sun starts to go down and the temperature begins to drop. In more remote situations this can become extremely dangerous, as the onset of hypothermia is very real. Wickers Expedition Weight became my solution to this problem with a substantially thicker base layer and top quality, as the name portrays, moisture wicking.
Wickers base layer is warm enough to fight the morning cold, and moisture wicking enough to remedy the midday sweating. My usual mid winter snowboarding attire is a base layer, 1-2 mid layers, and a slightly insulated water/wind proof shell. With the Expedition Weight base layer I was able to eliminate the extra mid-layer. On several occasions this winter I was riding in single digit temperatures and a wind chill that brought the feel down to subzero (sub-17 C) temperatures. The mornings in which this happened my new clothing system: Wickers Expedition base layer, wool mid layer, and weather proof shell, was more than adequate while sitting on the lifts, and wicked moisture while riding.
The other location in which I use Wickers Expedition Weight long underwear is backpacking and snowboarding at Mt. Washington, New Hampshire (all numbers in this section taken from Mt. Washington Observatory archive). This trip includes a 2.4 mi (3.9 km), 1800 ft (550 m) elevation gain to the camping and ranger station area. Set up camp, lighten the load to the daypack and snowboard equipment and then hike another 1000ft (305m) in elevation and enjoy the snowboarding. The hiking is not terrible difficult, however the weather is. My most recent trip to Mt. Washington to snowboard was Mid May of this year. In the three days we were there we encountered snow, rain, hail, fog, 70 mph (110 kph) winds, and temperatures ranging from 25 to 60 F (-5 to 15 C). Needless to say the weather conditions at Mt. Washington are extremes.
Breaking this trip into the different elements is the best way to explain my testing of the thermals. The first part, hike up to base camp with a full pack. I would not recommend hiking in the expedition weight thermals unless below freezing temperatures are expected for the majority of the hike. The second part consists of a daypack, hiking, and snowboarding. The temperatures had dropped to mid 30's F (≈2 C). For this weather condition and a substantially lighter pack, I did wear the Expedition Weight thermals, which performed excellently for the 3 hours or so of hiking and riding. The next part is a full day of hiking and riding the ravine. The temperature range for this day was mid 30's F (≈2 C) to mid 40's (≈3 C), with heavy wind in the morning and much lighter wind in the late afternoon. I wore the Expedition Weight Thermals for the riding and hiking this day. It became slightly warmer than I would have liked during the afternoon hiking portion but that extra warmth was nice for the ride down. The one impressive thing was that for as warm as I was the wicking quality of the thermals was put to the test and I think the base layer did an excellent job. The final aspect of this trip is camping, these thermals are great for sitting around camp, and in calm weather conditions are all that is needed under a shell to be comfortable. I really enjoyed this aspect of not needing extra layers to stay warm while inactive. I also would recommend sleeping in these thermals if your tent or sleeping bag isn't rated for any extreme weather that may occur in winter camping, as I did one of the nights that the temperature dropped dramatically below freezing.
On the whole I would recommend these thermals for those interested in winter: backpacking, camping, ski/snowboarding, and mountaineering. When the December-March (or into May on the extreme corners of the earth) temperatures drop well below freezing Wickers Expedition Weight thermals allow for an enjoyable time in any winter wonderland that I have experienced.
Comfortable fit (I prefer a more loose fit in thermals for increased flexibility)
Warmth in extreme cold temperatures
Heavier than typical thermals (only take them if you need the extra warmth)
Size can be deceiving
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