The layer next to your skin is arguably the most important part of any kit. We put Woolx’s stuff through the ringer (pun intended) to see how it handled this bipolar winter in the Tetons…
As Earlyups community member Matt Clark noted earlier in the week, your base layer may be the most important and often overlooked aspect in any outerwear kit. Since my first purchase of a high performing wool base layer over a decade ago (which I still have and use) I’d agree.
Fact is, if your base layer can’t wick or continue to keep you warm when damp you are likely going to “have a bad time”. In my decade of backcountry skiing I’m yet to find a material that performs as well as wool. It dries fast, keeps you warm and most importantly, continues to warm even when wet. The stormiest season I’ve lived in the Tetons I actually skied in a shell my Mom bought me at TJ Max. (I’m not making this up) Though it was far from the highest tech shell (it cost $50), it fit me well and was light. When paired with a good base layer, though it may not have performed like a $600 Gore-Tex Arc’Teryx awesomeness, it got the job done without me giving one thought to it.
New kid on the block WoolX sent us a few products for testing earlier in the year. Products include…
- Woolx Merino Wool Medweight Top – 295 grams – MSRP $89.99
- Woolx Merino Wool Midweight Bottom – MSRP $89.99
So how’d the WoolX stuff perform? Awesome. In a way, I thought this was a foregone conclusion. I knew it’d work well unless the fit was awful (it wasn’t) or they were lying to me about the materials (they weren’t).
Here are the Cliffs Notes
- Fit well. They aren’t baggy but not constrictive. Obviously, this is subjective but my 6’2″ 190lbs liked the way the large fit.
- No itch. Wool can itch. Woolx guarantees their product to be itch free.
- Durable. I have a SmartWool base layer from 2005(?) I still wear. Its finally starting to show a few holes but I’d say its one of the best products I’ve ever purchased for skiing (and the only one from 2005 I still use). Will the Woolx stuff hold up like this? So far it appears so. I’ve worn it 40+ days, washed and dried it like any old garmet and it looks the same as the day I got it.
- Look good. Though I try not to apres in my long underwear (bottoms) often, when I do, I prefer Woolx. In all seriousness the top looks great and bottom does its job.
- I’m not a long underwear (bottoms) guy but this stuff has swayed me anytime temps are south of 20 degrees. Oddly, wearing good long underwear like this doesn’t really have me *that* much hotter but my knees feel a whole lot more youthful. Weird I know. Apparently keeping your legs warm is a performance thing…
- The only problem I’ve found is when it gets really really wet it has a “wet dog” smell to it. Truth is, all merino products have this smell. It sort of comes with the territory though extremely wet (like I just went on a 10 hour tour) Woolx stuff is especially bad. It doesn’t matter when its saving you from hypothermia but it can be bad in the bar. Here is the thing, I try not to show up in the bar drenched in sweat anyway. So its sort of a none issue – though worth mentioning if your nick name has the word “gland” anywhere in it.
At $90/garment its not cheap but we have a feeling it’ll last a lot longer than that rad shell you paid far more for. Comparing the pricing to others in the space its perhaps a bit high but not much. If we were considering a base layer, we’d certainly give this another go…