General Question

Ltryptophan's avatar

Are these the best thermals available?

Asked by Ltryptophan (9105 points ) November 17th, 2010

Medalist Tactical Shield Silvermax

That is what I have found in my diligent searching. Is there something better with similar/better properties?

What do you think about regular silks?

What are the best thermals in your opinion?

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6 Answers

robmandu's avatar

I don’t know that I can tell you what’s best. There are a lot of factors to consider for one thing.

For me it usually breaks down to what I can afford that’s immediately available and works properly with the rest of my gear for the activity I’m undertaking. And there’s a lot of range to be found there.

However, if you would like to also consider a product made from natural materials instead of synthetics that are renewable and traceable back to the original source, you might want to look into the Icebreaker line of thermal base layers made exclusively of Merino wool from sheep in New Zealand.

Your chosen product looks nice, too.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Another vote for merino wool.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I have Hot Chilis.They work fine and I am out in some very cold weather.I could wear those under a pair of jeans or ski pants snowmobiling or hiking all day and be just fine.I am sure there are even better things out now as my pair are not new.

Smashley's avatar

Big ups for merino wool. I balked at the Icebreaker prices when I was shopping for my last excursion, and none of the cuts fit me very well. After much shopping around, I found a really nice pair made by Kombi. Perhaps the quality of the stitching wasn’t as great, but I can sow and they were less than half the price.

In the end, it really depends what your application is. For backpacking/camping/canoeing I wouldn’t ever go again without wool, but if you’re just going out for single day trips, there’s really nothing wrong with the synthetics. The major difference is that synthetic lasts longer, cost less, but can start to smell really bad if you don’t happen to be near a washing machine.

Cruiser's avatar

Those look pretty awesome! I can only speak from experience of using Under Armor and they are fabulous and are highly regarding amongst the scouting community here for staying warm on 3 days of winter camping. Silk foot liners under wool socks is my 1–2 combo for warm footsies!

Smashley's avatar

In the end it depends heavily on what activities you’re doing, what temperatures and weather you’re looking at, and how much you’re willing to spend. I call wool the best all-round fabric, and I’ve never noticed a particular difference in synthetic base layers. You really should be focusing on material more than brand. In my experience, the difference in the brands tends to be cuts, range of thread weights, sizes, quality of stitching, purity of fabric (“pure merino” doesn’t mean “pure merino” unfortunately) and price of logo (both UA and Icebreaker make you pay heavily for the right to wear their brand).

Those look like a good pair for general winter survival, skiing and other low-aerobic activities, or for something like hockey, where you’ll sweat mightily but will change as soon as you’ve finished, but if you’re exerting yourself in cold temperatures, and have to hang around in those temperatures afterwards, I’d really look into wool. If you’re sticking with synthetic, I find Patagonia has a great selection of capilene (better than UA’s polyester, in my opinion,) at prices comparable to other high end synthetics (or low end wools. Merino has the same properties as conventional wool, but it tends to be less itchy and it more commonly cut into styles appropriate for sports.

The only drawback (besides price) for merino is that some people with enormously sensitive skin still find it too itchy, though I find it perfect and more comfortable on my skin than synthetics. Comfort is something to consider as well. Whatever you do, try on this pair before you buy it.

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