Gear Review: The North Face Wool Base Layer One Piece - Backpacker

Gear Review: The North Face Wool Base Layer One Piece

Stay warmer and bunch-free in this worthy one-piece baselayer.

[winter spacesuit]

Why a union suit? “I really like the way you just put it on in the morning and never have to adjust the waist or shirttail tuck,” says one tester. It was awesome in bitter single-digit blizzards thanks to the midweight fabric—a blend of polypro, wool, and polyester, about a third of each—and gapless lower back that allowed for windmilling ski falls or ice tool reach-ups without letting drafts or spindrift intrude at the waistline. Moisture management is augmented by TNF’s bicomponent FlashDry construction and treatment, which combines double-layer knitting and finishing treatments to wick, spread, and evaporate moisture fast. Testers say it dries noticeably quicker than standard poly/wool blends. A drop seat with U-shaped zipper lends convenience. “I’m so slavishly in love with this thing it’s weird,” notes one chronically cold tester. It was most at home in frigid stop/go activities. On spring pursuits, it was too warm unless you layered it underneath the lightest of wind shells. It’s an ideal (and extremely luxurious) winter baselayer at a price you’ll forget after a few wearings. $229; 12.9 oz.; m’s S-XXL;