By Danika Gilbert. Danika has been a guide for more than 20 years. For the last 12 years she’s lived in the San Juan mountains of southwestern Colorado guiding rock and ice climbing, backcountry skiing, mountain biking, alpine climbing, and mountaineering worldwide. Her personal climbing has taken her around the world to wonderful places like the Nepal, Pakistan, Europe, Greenland, South America, and Canada.
The first thing I noticed when I tried on the Minus33 Women’s Midweight 1/4 Zip was how soft the merino wool felt – wow! The “radiant violet” color is beautiful too – I spend so much time in black and gray, the splash of color is fantastic but not over-the-top. My first day wearing it was a fast-paced backcountry ski. It was a chilly day so I started out with two puffy jackets on. Very quickly I warmed up and was soon down to just the Minus33 layer over a light sports bra. It was perfect! Warm, but wicked well. When I got up above treeline, the wind did seep through and steal some of my warmth, but it was better than any synthetic layer I’ve worn recently. When I stopped to transition from skinning to skiing, I threw on a softshell jacket and was surprised that I didn’t get my normal “freeze” as my body cooled down. Since the layer held the warmth in very effectively, I didn’t need to put my puffy jacket back on as I do with most of my synthetic base layers.
The next test was a nordic ski, and again I was pleased with the warmth and wicking ability. It dried so fast that by the time I got home, I just left it on for the rest of the day. Same thing when I went for a run the next day. After several days wearing it, it still didn’t smell either! My synthetic layers are good for at most two rigorous outings, then they stink. The only drawbacks I’ve found in the design is that I struggle with the zipper pull with gloves on. I do like the small flap covering the zipper when it is all the way up though.
I’ve spent over a week in it exercising hard and have washed it twice and it’s holding it shape and soft texture beautifully. When I accidentally threw it in the dryer after washing, I was greatly relieved to find it hadn’t shrunk a bit. Whew!! If this piece had a hood and a bit longer sleeves with thumb holes, I’m not sure you could get me out of it for the winter. I love the soft wool, the warmth it provides, and the wicking. Nice job Minus 33 – let me know when you want help designing a hooded version!
Not an Outdoor Prolink pro yet? Register today!