Posts Tagged winter
Autumn is here, and it will be ski and winter travel season in no time. I’ve already worn my ColdPruf base layers on more than one occasion here in Oregon, and will be packing them when I head north to Alberta, Canada next week.
ColdPruf offers multiple product lines, rating them from cold to extreme cold and low activity to high activity. I appreciate that each line falls somewhere on this scale, so you can easily identify which base layer you’ll need based on what you plan to use it for. I tried out their women’s crew and pant in both their Performance and Eco Pro-Tek lines.
Both are rated for ‘very cold’ (the middle option on the cold scale) and ‘high activity’ (the top option on the activity scale). Both tops are long-sleeved crews, and both pants feature an elastic waist and fitted legs, but the main similarities end there.
Performance women’s crew and pant:
The women’s crew features flat seams, a tag-less back, and hemmed cuffs, all great for high activity. Both the crew and the pant are made of 96% performance polyester and 4% spandex, for a nice stretch when exercising, skiing, hiking, or sitting. You get antimicrobial odor-control and great moisture management and evaporation (in plain language, this means you won’t feel chilled or wet when you sweat). The crew is lightweight and thin, making it an ideal layering piece that won’t add bulk. The performance pant offers the same single-layer engineering and flat seams, and adds a comfort waistband that really is just that. Both are a close fit with plenty of give.
Eco Pro-Tek women’s crew and pant:
The Eco crew offers a more flattering cut, with a lower neckline and nice accents to add some color. Both the crew and pant in this line are made of 100% Repreve recycled performance polyester with a mini waffle weave, and are extremely soft. After wearing a lot of synthetic base layer materials, this one is surprisingly comfortable. However, due to the lack of spandex, there is very little give in the Eco line, especially in the pant. I found that while I prefer them for casual wear or travel, I need a base layer with more flexibility while hiking, snowshoeing, or skiing.
The Eco offerings feature the flat seams that are attractive in the performance line, and are also tag- less. You get the same antimicrobial odor-blocking technology. Also like its Performance cousin, the Pro-Tek is single layer. (By the way, this seems to be the main difference between the performance/casual lines and the extreme performance lines at ColdPruf: single vs double layer.)
Pick up either the Eco Pro-Tek or Performance in both men’s and women’s versions, or outfit youth in ColdPruf’s Base or Enthusiast line. I wish they made the Eco line in youth sizes, because my tween son has taken to wearing my Eco Pro-Tek pants, simply due to their softness. For kids who don’t like ‘scratchy’ base layers, this is the solution.
The price is right: ColdPruf’s Performance crew is only $19.99 on Amazon and the Eco Pro-Tek is only $18.36. Pants are approximately the same cost. ColdPruf layers can also be found on Backcountry and Sunny Sports.
I’m excited to pair two Isis items that look great together, feel great together, and take you from outdoor play to indoor elegance without breaking a sweat.
Isis Lindsay Skirt:
I love skirts that don’t feel like skirts. I need to be able to walk in them, run in them, sit in them, and basically be a tomboy in them. The Isis Lindsay skirt fits the bill. This fleece-lined, soft-as-butter skirt is warm for winter while paired with tights, and so comfortable, you’ll forget it’s on. The exterior of the Lindsay skirt is a soft-shell spandex that repels moisture like a jacket, but looks like brushed cotton or even wool. Basically, you can dress up in this skirt, but still be ready for anything. I love that it includes two deep side zippered pockets, and the spandex in the fabric means the skirt will move with you instead of constrict you.
You get a size zip entry, and a comfortable, wide waistband. The medium fits pretty big in the waist (hard not to feel good about), so it sits a little low on my hips. If you want a tighter waist fit, I’d size down. The length is 15.5 inches, which for me means falls to just above the knee. The Lindsay is totally machine washable, and there’s no need to iron (not that I would). Pick one up in one of three colors: samba (an burnt orange), celestial (eggplant) and black. The black has a brushed look to it which helps it transition well from an outdoor walk in the woods to a dinner out. I pair mine with boots and tights, and am good to go all day long. Match the Lindsay with the Chantilly crew neck to be comfortable indoors and out during winter weather.
Isis Chantilly Crew:
Sporty enough for the ski slopes or nordic track, yet dressy enough for apres ski drinks afterward, Isis’s Chantilly Crew is one of those easy-to-pack, take-everywhere tops I’ve been reaching for over and over. I wear it to work with a skirt and tights, then to chilly evening sporting events as an under layer. I could even wear it running outdoors in spring. It comes skiing with me, and on the road. Basically, when I’m layering, I’m wearing this crew neck.
The Chantilly is made using what Isis calls ‘Evaporator’ technology (you gotta love all these fabric performance terms), which does its job of wicking away moisture while keeping you warm. The top is crew neck style and long sleeved with a flattering feminine cut and scrolled flower design. It’s so cute, actually, it’s a shame to cover it up with additional layers; I wear it solo when I can. It’s breathable and seamless, and not cloying like many underlayers made of a nylon/polyester blend. It doesn’t stick to my skin making me clausterphobic (what, that doesn’t happen to you?). Somehow, the spandex helps the shirt keep its shape without squeezing. (It’s quite flattering on, if I do say so myself.) It’s easy to throw in the wash, too, and it doesn’t pill.
The Chantilly comes in sizes XS-XL (a medium is a size 8). I find that the sleeves are a little longer than most, but because there’s a nice cuff at the wrists and hem, it fits nicely. You can grab a Chantilly in one of three colors: jet, vixon (bright pink) and celestial (purple). I found myself wishing for a Chantilly pant to go with it, then discovered my wish was granted in the Chantilly Long Jane. Pick up either for $59.95 at Isis, Moosejaw, or Amazon.
You could fill a suitcase with winter footwear that perform different functions. In this day and age of luggage fees, however, this really isn’t a viable option. The Adidas Yunga Felt Boot is both stylish and functional, appearing to be one boot to meet multiple needs. That said, after using the Yunga happily for a few months (accompanied by many a compliment), I worry that in trying to be an all-purpose boot, it manages to fall just a little bit short in several categories.
What the Yunga does well:
The Yunga is unique, which is what first drew me to it. Inspired by Russian soldier boots, it’s covered in warm, Italian felt wool, which gives the boot a muted, semi-old-fashioned look, even with its Adidas logo and stripes. It reminds me of the boiled wool hat I once bought in a New England Shaker village…in a good way. The Yunga certainly doesn’t look dressy, but it doesn’t look entirely sporty either: I wear mine with everything from jeans to ski pants, and always find myself wondering, “Does this go together?” No matter: as I said, the Yunga usually elicits compliments wherever I go.
The Yunga is also surprisingly water-resistant and warm. The boot is lined with more wool on the inside (though not thickly), and though the sides are thin, they’re well-insulated.The toe and heel are capped in rubber, and there’s a TPU mudguard . The midsole has an aluminum board insert to protect against chill, and the outsole features what Adidas calls High Traxion Rubber with a good grip in snow, ice, and slush. The side-zipper makes getting in and out of the Yunga easy.
What the Yunga lacks:
Because the Yunga isn’t quite dressy enough to pair with leggings or a dress, I do find myself needing to pack a second pair for evenings out during winter travel. I also wish the boot went higher up on the calf (it hits me at mid-calf, and I’d love to have it reach below the knee).
While I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how water resistant the felt outer is, it does show dirt, mud, and water stains easily. This is a shame, because the felt wool is very pretty. The good news is that these stains generally dry well. I wore my boots through some sloppy spring snow mixed with mud, didn’t do a thing to clean them, and came back to find them nearly clean. Thank goodness, because I don’t know how I’d clean them easily if I wanted to. The Yunga boots are only 13 ounces, which makes them a good choice for lightweight packing, but they’re pretty bulky; you’ll save on weight but not on space.
Bottom line: I like my Yunga boots, I really do. They’re my go-to boots for commuting to the ski resort, and they’re interesting and good looking and fun while still keeping my feet dry. I only wish I could reach for them in all winter situations.
These boots are brand new at Adidas, and can be found on the Adidas Outdoor site, at Zappos, Sunny Sports, or Amazon in two colors: chalk (a lovely white color) or light onix (recommended to not show dirt). Either will set you back $130 or less.
And if you need something for the kids, check out the Adidas Adisnow boots in sizes up to 7, for under $75.
This new tech base layer comes from Polarmax’s Comp 4 line, which is the warmest of Polarmax‘s three categories. My family and I have been skiing and snowboarding in Polarmax base layers for a few years now, and this company consistently manages to provide three things: affordability, comfort, and warmth. My kids think they’re cozy, I think I can afford to outfit everyone in them without taking out a loan, and no one complains that they’re cold.
What more could you really want from your base layer?
Well, we want style. Used to be, everyone wore the same navy blue or black long johns under their ski gear and called it a day. Now, each piece is a fashion statement. Polarmax already figured this out a few years ago with their tween Coolmax line (which my 11 and 13 year olds love), and now they’ve added a graphic element to their women’s Comp 4 half zip.
This arm and shoulder floral design is somehow both elegant and trendy, and I’ve gotten quite a few compliments on it. At upscale ski resorts, it’s practical to have one layer that can go from snow to apres ski, and the Comp 4 will take you there. Take off outer layers and lounge by the fireplace in this graphic base layer, or even wear it out with a wintery skirt, tights, and boots.
Any ski clothing item that can pull double-duty is getting priority in my bag. I’ve worn the Comp 4 for a day of skiing straight to the pub or ski village, and more importantly, it’s kept me warm on the slopes. It’s washed well, shows no sign of fading, and has not shank in approximately 10 washes.
The Comp 4 is made with heavy weight stretch fabric (this is the thickest layer Polarmax makes). The inside is brushed fleece, making it cozy against the skin, but it still breathes. You get dry moisture wicking and anti-Microbial/anti-Odor protection, so you don’t need to wash it between your ski day and your dinner out. The half-zip is nice because it allows for some extra breathability without sacrificing on style. It’s also nice to zip it all the way up on the mountain.
How does the Comp 4 compare to Polarmax’s other levels of warmth? I’ve tried items in their ‘warm’ and ‘warmer’ categories, and while comfortable and affordable, I won’t be going back. I now switch out between this new Comp 4 and their Comp 4 crew (without zipper). The thing I can’t live without? The brushed fleece lining.
The Comp 4 is made in the USA, and you can pick it up at Polarmax for $59.95. A variety of the women’s crew versions (in all warmth categories) can be found on Amazon, but you’ll want to order direct for the half zip with graphic.
The Merrell Avalon is one good-looking jacket, and came to me at just the right time, the same week my favorite ‘dressy’ peacoat was officially declared lost at the dry cleaners. The Avalon–described as a parka–is not particularly lightweight, and it won’t pack down very small, but you’ll still want it with you when you travel. Why? It’s both elegant and functional. (And it doesn’t have to be dry cleaned.)
Constructed of a two-layer Opti Shell and insulated Opi-Warm interior, the Avalon has kept me equally warm in Canada in December and Oregon in autumn. (You’ll want to take it off indoors…it’s serious about keeping your warm.) The jacket is definitely both waterproof and breathable, with a brushed fabric look to the the outside that reminds me of classic tweed. This fabric is not only pretty; it repels moisture and keeps out the wind. The jacket has fully tapered waterproof seams and an interior waist elastic to help keep out the wind and wetness, and an interior mesh back panel to keep your temperature regulated while walking or city touring. (You also get pit zips to regular temps.)
Basically, the Avalon sports beauty and brawn. While it doesn’t have as many pockets as I’d typically like in a travel jacket, you will find two zippered hand-warmer pockets and an internal side pocket large enough for a phone or point-and-shoot camera. Plus, the front of the jacket zips all the way up to cover the chin if needed. Snap buttons further secure the zippered front, which not only help secure you against the cold, but look beautifully tailored as well.
One of my favorite features of the Avalon is the detachable hood. This full hood can be tightened both at the back and on the sides with hidden elastic pulls, and can be zipped on or off entirely. When it’s on, it is secured by zipper and hidden velcro tabs on each side. I take it off when I want to dress up the jacket for a night out, but even with the hood on, the Avalon is very streamlined. It looks great with slacks and dresses as well as more casual clothes.
This is definitely my go-to jacket when I need to get serious about warmth and looking good. Wear it on travel days to avoid trying to stuff it in a carry-on, however! Pick one up in a gorgeous basalt heather or bright adriatic herringbone at Merrell for $249, at Altrec, or look for it on Amazon for as low as $199.