Into the Underworld

Posted by @ 1:54 am on Saturday 17th December, 2011.
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For many years I didn't need baselayers. Youth, hair and a suitable metabolic rate ensured my warmth in all conditions. I well remember frosty days of winter fishing with my dad, I'd sit there all day long with just a light covering of clothes while he was wrapped up like an Eskimo and still he shivered.

The years crept on and eventually I relented and invested in some synthetic blue wonder-fabric LJs and top from SubZero. Indestructible they are, and mightily effective. If middle-age hadn't made me too big for them, I'd probably still be using them. They've been passed on to the next generation and are still doing well 25 years after purchasing them.

Those blue Meraklon things were replaced by some more-modern polyester Spiderman sets made by Five Seasons. They were ultra-cheap, I figured that they'd not be much cop and wouldn't stay the course, but they still work fine. The problem with them is, well, aromatic. Two days on the hill and they reek. I needed something more walking-partner-friendly.

Reading through a few relevant websites/forums/blogs confirmed what I already knew - that Merino's where it's all at. I decided to go there, I just needed some directions.

But how much to spend? And what to get? Hood? Thumb-loops? One-piece? More research was required. Opinions would be sought. Specifications would be pored-over and pics would be scrutinised.

 

 

Joe Newton's review of the Ibex Hooded Indie was interesting. At $170 for a set it would have been a stretch.

Hendrik Morkel's review of the Woolpower long-john and crew-neck set was equally interesting. Just over £110 for a set of these (or save six quid make do without a fly).

The I/O Bio Merino Contact Pilot Suit was recommended by a friend, but he ended up with a slap around the head :mrgreen:

No, I wasn't about to splash large amounts of cash on such sartorial elegance.

Aldi saved the day. LJs £15.99 a pop. Same price for a short-sleeved top. No hood, no fly, no thumb-loops. Any colour you like so long as it's black. I bought a set for me and a set for Chris.

 

 

 

They're basic but they're good for the money. The top stays tucked in and the LJs don't migrate anklewards. The top's neck is a tad more open than I'm used to but it's bearable, I'm getting used to it. The seams are fine, there are no scratchy labels, the fabric doesn't make me itch.

But do they pass the pong test?

Well, in the interests of pseudo-science I've been power-wearing them. Since buying them on December 1st, I've worn them every day dawn-to-midnight and also ten times overnight. While hostelling and winter-walking last weekend they were worn 24/7 except for when I was in the shower. They performed perfectly on the hill, I teamed the top with my Rab VR Climb jacket and the LJs with my Quechua Bionnassay trousers and all was fine. Perspiration was handled well during exertion, warmth was retained during stops.

My hi-tech testing-equipment consisted of my two daughters' noses... yesterday the as-yet unwashed armpits of the top were duly sniffed and it was declared that said garment "smells fine, just like a warm tee-shirt".

That's good enough for me.

Now, how much longer can I keep wearing these things before they are introduced to the washing machine?

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10 Responses to “Into the Underworld”

  1. BG! says:

    @Brian Cowling - Glad you liked it, Brian. Bet you're happy that I didn't post pics of me modelling said garb 😯

  2. BG! says:

    Originally Posted By Scott
    "Power-wearing".

    😆

    Poetic licence.
    I'm willing to consider alternative prose.

  3. AlanR says:

    They wash well too. 30? for 30 mins. std wash, no need for wool setting. No softener or conditioner.

  4. AlanR says:

    Hmm. That 30? started out life as 30 degrees C when i posted it. Strange.

  5. BG! says:

    Thanks for the advice, Alan.

    Dare I ask... bio powder, non-bio powder or soapflakes?

  6. AlanR says:

    I've used bio and non but not flakes. Never noticed any difference. Bio gets stains out better than non bio and non bio would probably treat the wool a bit better and also less chemicals going down the drain. Non bio would also be better for sensitive skins.
    You can tell who does all the washing in our house can't you.
    Never tumble dry them though btw.

  7. BG! says:

    Thanks again, Alan.

    Originally Posted By AlanR
    You can tell who does all the washing in our house can't you.

    Got the tee-shirt 🙁

  8. Andy Jones says:

    The joys of Aldi - a great place to pick up cheap gear and this looks like another winner. I once worse my treasured Helly Hensen thermals for a straight seven days without removal in a bothy. Washed them twice and they still stank - had to chuck 'em. Emotional day that was.

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