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Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Damart Base Layers Review

ok, it wasn't quite as cold as this 
Over the past week or two, there’s been a series of emails involving underwear baselayers. The outcome of this interchange is that I got a set of baselayers – that is to say, some long-johns and a top for review and an extra set (and note this cos it’s important) – an extra set which I can auction with the funds going to Mind directly through the virgin money giving page. I thought this was quite clever in many ways, specially since taxpayers can tick a box and if they do this, Mind gets an extra donation from the taxman.
But what of the Damart baselayer?  Cynics may say that since I got a free set AND , potentially, a few quids to my favourite charity, that my judgement on this matter will already be flawed. It’s a fair point, but if this was duff kit, I wouldn’t dare sell it on line. So here’s what I think, plus some technical stuff I got from the packaging.
iron man does santa
My first impression of the baselayers, immediately on opening the packaging, was  that the material was soft and warm and has a brushed effect on the inside. I got a “large” size, but the fabric is quite stretchy (which shows off the excellent physical shape of my rather lovely legs as it happens, but doesn’t do much for my expensively acquired beer-belly) Any way, the set has a very soft pleasant feel when I put it on in front of the full-length mirror and do my iron-man poses [koff]
I wore the baselayers on three low-level walks – two being reccies for a Durham County Council guided walk of eight and a half miles. The weather on these was either cold and windy and a bit sleety, with an enormous wind-chill but an actual air temperature of around 5C – and one walk where it was a bit warmer and not so windy, but pretty wet at the start.
camp above weardale
I also wore the baselayer on an overnight wild camp at 420 metres above Weardale on the solstice night. The weather here was fairly mild to start with but with heavy rain, which cleared later to reveal a starry moonlit night bit with a howling gale and followed up by a morning of fierce blizzardy snow squalls. I did have a rather good Mountain Equipment Annapurna sleeping bag courtesy of Dawn, so I was in very little danger of freezing to death. I also had imbibed a fair amount of scotch and some brie, so I seem to be alternately unconcious and/or involved in interesting dreams due to the cheese, I suspect. So, I can’t say too much about the performance of the baselayer, as a pair of jim-jams, except to say that that I had an undisturbed sleepy-snoozy time lasting from half past midnight till half past eight. (I was slightly miffed to miss the dawn, though, it being the solstice and all that…)
squally stuff...
So, basically, I really like this baselayer. It’s a bit warm if temps are higher than 5 or 6 C and , with windproofs etc on a steep hill or two, I did sweat a bit, but this dried out pretty quickly.
Technical stuff:
Baselayer is a “Men’s Long Sleeve Thermal Zip Top and Mon’s Long Thermal Pants
A complete set weighs about 300 grammes
Material is thermolactyl, soft to the touch and brushed on the inside
The top has a zip at the neck.
Seams are flat and off the line of a rucksack strap
The material has an anti-bacterial treatment
The set I had was rated Grade 4 which has a temperature range of minus 5 C to minus 15 C
The retail price is £32 for the top and £27 for the pants
An unsullied and still-in-it’s packaging set of these fabby dozy baselayers – in black, size “large” is now on auction on walkersforum  Click here to see:walkersforum auction bit
Link to top
link to pants
Finally: As an extra bonus-ball and seeing as it’s Christmas – Choose the winners of Damart’s Icelandic Adventure competition. Who gets to go?
damart icelandic adventure - choose the winners
My overall verdict is that I have noted that our very own Tony Bennet has been using bits of Damart gear for years and years and years…… so based on past performance, it should be robust. Anyway, I’m going to stay toasty in mine till the weather warms up

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