Minnesota runs the gambit in temperature. Literally. Take last week (January 14th – January 20th). I biked to work in 40-degree temps at the beginning of the week and by the end of the week, it was zero degrees. Today, exactly seven days later, the low is -12 and the high is -2. In seven days time, I experienced a 50-degree temperature shift.
This made me take pause and reflect on my Terramar baselayer testing period. Since late fall of 2012, I’ve been testing the SmartSilk 1.0, the Hottotties TXO 2.0 and the Thermawool TXO 3.0. But it was last week and today that I got to experience all three sets of Terramar baselayers in a consecutive seven-day period.
The Hototties TXO 2.0 should be in everyone’s wardrobe.
Comfort: Made of 18 percent spandex and 82 percent X-ODOR polyester, these feel just as cozy and comfy as the SmartSilk 1.0’s but with that extra umpf for warmth. Like the SmartSilk 1.0, they have flat seam construction to prevent shoulder-gouging when carrying a heavy pack.
Design: Size-wise, both the tops and bottoms are dead-on so order your normal size. The fit is extremely attractive and flattering to curves. Think Victoria’s Secret goes Into the Wild.
However, you can go Into the Wild with confidence. Activated carbon with Nano silver embedded within the yarn radiates body heat back to your skin for eons to come and will not wash out. Though a morbid thought, your Hottotties® TXO 2.0 will keep you warm long after your body has gone cold. They’re also eco-friendly with no chemical finishes.
(I don't know if this means that the Hototties will leave a small carbon footprint as your body decomposes or if...yeah, okay, back to the review.)
Warmth: This is the most important threshold upon which I judge baselayers. It’s nice to have baselayers that fit well and flatter figures but the whole point of a baselayer is to retain body heat where it’s needed the most. Terramar bills these as a “warmer” baselayer on their warm, warmer, warmest scale. I bill them as my choice for running, biking and skiing in temps that range from about five degrees to the mid-teen’s because the blend of polyester and spandex keeps me warm without overheating and sweating.
Moisture Wicking/Breathability/Odor Control: But when I do overheat and sweat, the Hottotties TXO 2.0 do a very good job of wicking moisture. Odor is kept well under control, too.
Speaking of odor control, it happens to be the second most important threshold upon which I judge all baselayers. Baselayers conjure images of climbing Himalayan peaks, wearing the same pair for weeks on end. Believe it or not, this is a realistic scenario. While I’ll never be ambitious enough to climb Himalayan peaks, I oftentimes spend a week or more on backpacking trips in bear country.
To me, bears are more life-threatening than any 8,000-meter peak. Bears are unpredictable and have a heightened sense of smell. If we want to be safe in the backcountry, it makes sense that we do everything we can to not draw attention to ourselves.
Anyway, I put the Hottotties TXO 2.0 through the five-day test, which is my own version of extreme realism: Winter camping with temps from five degrees to the mid-teen’s, paired with a couple days of snowshoeing and standing around on bonfire on Lake Superior’s North Shore. After my testing period, the Hottotties smelled only like bonfire soot. Here in Minnesota, we call that the Northwood’s cologne.
Overall, I love the Hottotties TXO 2.0. I love their softness and the way they manage moisture and odor. I love how I can wear them and not feel like a guy.
If you plan to be in temps colder than the mid-teens, I recommend the Thermawool TXO 3.0. If you plan to be outside in temps in the 20’s to 30’s, or if you’ll be exercising fairly heavy, I recommend the SmartSilk 1.0.