Last year I drew a sketch of my ideal baselayer and sent it to Jane at C2 by Janeware. It wasn’t rocket science; just a solid piece of clothing to wear next-to-skin that is cut with raglan sleeves and enough shoulder room to move. When an online coupon popped up on my Facebook feed for C2, and such a baselayer had become reality, I decided to give it a try. It’s made from the new Polartec™ Power Wool fabric and cut for moving freely. I could think of no better way to test it than to run it through a typical weekend as a mom/athlete and all the fun that goes with that.
The Fit. I have been blowing out the shoulders and underarms of most of my baselayers lately. It might be because I have recently put on some shoulder and arm muscle. I’m by no means huge, but until recently I have been suffering from the t-rex syndrome of having spent years on a road bike. The C2 top in small fits me with a nice amount of shoulder rotation and no binding. At 5’2” and about 115, I tend to hover between XS and S, but in this case I opted for the larger.
The Fabric. It’s very light, smooth on the outside and just barely brushed fuzzy on the inside. Very soft against the skin as well as sliding easily against an outer layer. It sounds silly, but if you know what I’m talking about then this is important to you too. See more about Polartec ‘s new fabric here.
Day 1. I went for a nice long skate ski. I wore this and my lightweight Nordic ski jacket. I think it was 20F. That’s just about the least clothing I have ever worn for a day like that and I stayed comfortable.
When I was done, I was pleasantly dry, which served me well on a grocery store run. I then had to continue to wear the shirt while I wrangled children and prepared food. I finally took it off to shower and go to sleep.
Day 2. I hadn’t done my laundry (surprise), but I grabbed the Half-Zip and noticed it didn’t smell. That was easy. The temperature that morning was a balmy 8°F and we took advantage of the cold snow for a classic ski. It was the kind of cold that freezes headphone cords and I boldly wore the zip-top with just my light jacket again. Luckily it wasn’t windy.
Nothing tests the arm mobility of a garment like classic skiing, and I didn’t feel the least bit bound by the cut. Once again I was warm enough and more importantly, dry. There were a few errands and some more wrangling, cooking, assorted spitting up, and other mom activities, culminating (finally) in a shower. After two days, the shirt probably needs to go in the laundry since many fabrics lose a little loft (aka warmth) when dirty. It does not yet stand and walk on its own. It does repel baby spit-up.
Uses. I wore this next-to-skin with a thin windproof outer-layer for a highly active aerobic activity in really cold temperatures. If I were going alpine skiing I would likely throw a middle insulating layer over it. In the shoulder season it would pair well with a wind vest for cycling or trail runs. When it’s too damned hot for that, I see that they are making one with short sleeves.
Really, the only problem I have with this shirt is that I only have one. For now. At $79 MSRP it competes for a price point with Patagonia’s famous baselayers and sits somewhere in the middle of their line as far as warmth/weight. It is 100% US product; the fabric is woven here, the designs are drawn up here, and the garments are sewn here. And before I hear about equality, there are actually two models for men; the wool blend as well as an all synthetic. Jonathan, a slim 5’8” and under 150, loves his size M synthetic model just as much.
But it’s just an undershirt. Yup, it is. And if it’s cold out and you move, that’s a pretty important job. You can order one here, and they ship cheaply and quickly via USPS. The tights are amazing too, but I wrote about that already here.