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Backpacker Magazine – June 2008

Field Notes: The Latest Word from Our Testers

True-blue reviews on the latest items we've taken out on trail.

by: The Backpacker Editors

PAGE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Merino Base Layer | Handsanz Germ Gel | Lowepro Camera Case | Lafuma Daypack | Sanuk Camp Shoes | Sherpa Adventure Rain Shell | Shockles Tie-Down Straps | Eagle Creek Duffel

WOOLIES Merino Base Layers
After successfully tackling the retail biz, this online shop is now taking on manufacturing: is making its own brand of competitively priced, lightweight wool baselayer tops. Both the long sleeve crewneck and zip-T (our favorite) are made of fine merino from New Zealand, which is soft, itch-free, and naturally more odor-resistant than synthetics, which typically employ chemical treatments to fight stink. The 18-micron merino (the fabric's quality is measured in micron size, with lower numbers indicating a finer, or softer, feel) is among the softest we've tested, making it an easy pick almost any day of the year. "This shirt will see me through every season: as a single layer in warm weather; solo under a shell when it's cool and blustery; and as a wicking base under multiple layers for cold-weather workouts," said one tester. "I'll wear it until it disintegrates." It's preshrunk, so the fit–which is snug without being too clingy–won't change, and after intensive use, the pilling is close to nil. Props go to the flat shoulder seams and the thumb loops, which keep sleeves from riding up when you reach overhead. On the zip-T, the 10-inch zipper offers good ventilation, and the 2.5-inch standup collar seals out neck drafts. Demerit: One of our three samples suffered a small tear near the thumb loop. $60-70; men's S-XL; women's XS-XL. (800) 409-4502; Merino Base Layer | Handsanz Germ Gel | Lowepro Camera Case | Lafuma Daypack | Sanuk Camp Shoes | Sherpa Adventure Rain Shell | Shockles Tie-Down Straps | Eagle Creek Duffel

PAGE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

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Dave S
Aug 29, 2008

I've worn Merino for years and it doesn't get smelly either when wet or from perspiration. Legendary around the world sailor Peter Blake wote if for 40 days/nights without it getting itchy. It does take a bit longer to dry than synthetics, but it's warmer, comfier and isn't made with chemicals. I have a light weight one that's great for summer wear also.

Aug 15, 2008

just came back from a wet hike in the adirondacks and find that all rain protective equiptment leaves me sticky or wet,hence i stay in tent or wear fast drying nylon shell of small cost...

Honora Renwick
Aug 01, 2008

I've not tested out an 18 micron merino garment. The one I did wear, left a rash under the hip belt, after wearing it for three hours in the rain. Wool takes longer to dry as well. It's right for some people but not me as I would get too hot in it.

Eric Blumensaadt
Jul 30, 2008

In my personal experience Eagle Creek's duffles are among the very best in design and quality.

Eric Blumensaadt
Jul 30, 2008

At that price I'd rather get an Integral Designs "Thru Hiker" parka of eVent.

Eric Blumensaadt
Jul 30, 2008

Any wool gets HEAVY with water when soaked. (Not to mention smelly).

Thanks, but no thanks. I'll stick with synthetics.

Dave Waldrop
Jul 12, 2008

Recently bought this shell while visiting my son in Seattle WA. We went out on hike into mountains and experienced some significant rain on a three to four hour outing, I did get bleed through moisture. I really don't know if that would be considered normal for that kind of shell or not. I really like it and would still buy it. But did have the wetness as I mentioned. This was a long period of significant rain.


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