Polartec’s new Power Wool fabric takes the opposite approach of the VOORMI: It places hydrophilic merino on the inside to absorb moisture and better regulate body temperature, and hydrophobic polyester on the exterior. The idea is that the wool absorbs sweat, then synthetic fibers pull it out for faster drying. Does it work? “I soaked my back on a broiling snow climb up Oregon’s South Sister,” says one tester. “It felt mostly dry in 15 minutes, and totally dry in 30 (faster than the VOORMI).”
“You definitely get that ‘warm when wet’ magic of wool,” a tester says. “Even when I was sweaty and winds picked up on Washington’s Tiger Mountain, it insulated me and prevented the flash-freeze feeling.” Bonus: Polyester on the outside adds abrasion resistance. Note: The crew is a women’s-only style. The men’s version is the ¾-zip Nova ($170).
“After four hard days on Chile’s Torres del Paine circuit, this top still smelled OK—not exactly fresh, but not horrifying, either,” reports a tester.