Finally I have come around to reviewing the Sub Zero Factor 1 Plus base layer. I was sent this in October of 2017 and I now feel I have used it enough to proffer a considered opinion.
It actually arrived on my doorstep at quite an opportune moment. I have been using the same old base layers for a while now, with the exception of a recent purchase of a Patagonia Capilene long sleeve T, which I tend to wear in summer. Consequently they are all slightly frayed around the edges and, dare I say it, a little tight across the middle.
Here's what the manufacturer says about the Factor 1 Plus:
Polyamide is the yarn of choice for Sub Zero baselayer thermal underwear because of its far superior qualities compared to polyester. To start with it is about 20% lighter, is a lot softer and is a lot more durable… we add a hydrophilic treatment that actively takes perspiration away form the skin to the outside of the fabric. This leaves a warm dry layer of air next to the skin and also makes the fabric extremely quick drying ... Finally, a very important feature of polyamide that is very often overlooked is that it is a lot more hostile to bacterial growth than polyester.
A Review of the sub Zero Factor 1 plus base layer.
COST: 45 GBP ( 65 USD)
- Produced on Santoni circular seamless knitting machines for unique fit.
- 20% lighter Polyamide material.
- Hydrophilic treatment for fast wicking and fast drying.
- Polyamide is more hostile to bacterial growth than polyester (so it doesn't whiff so much).
- Comes in Unisex and Women's versions.
- Manufactured in Britain.
As usual I try to use clothing in different scenarios to understand what might be good or bad about it and what suits me. I have used this top walking and camping in Autumn on the beach, a night out in the snow, snowboarding, and on a three day backpacking trip in the South Downs.
The first thing that struck me about this top is the fit. Particularly the length. I am 6’3” and it is always a pleasure to find clothing that doesn’t start out (or at least end up) looking like a crop top. Trendy and fetching as crop tops might be, they are not conducive to the outdoors where chills are looking for any opportunity to enter.
The body is long and the sleeves are extra long with thumb holes to keep your wrists warm. The latter is a plus, but in all honesty not something I often used.
Walking around my neck of the woods in temperatures of around 8 °C with a small rucksack I found it to be warm and comfortable. The weave appears fairly loose but there was no breeze on that day and the fact that it hugs the figure everywhere means there were no cold sweaty spots. As soon as I put another layer on to deal with slightly cooler temperatures it proved to be too hot, although this may just be me!
Having said that it is really for colder weather so I was glad to take it out for night under the stars when we were blessed with some snow. The temperature dipped to -1°C and I was perfectly warm and comfortable in my sleeping bag - now of course this is down to more than just the base layer but no complaints there.
Walking in these conditions with a rucksack I encountered some discomfort, when (and only when) wearing a fleece as well. The friction between these two layers was uncomfortable - perhaps I should be grateful I didn’t catch fire with all these man-made fibres. Having said that on its own or with a different layer it was perfectly comfortable with a rucksack and didn't ride up.
But back to serious matters. I wore the Sub Zero Factor 1 Plus snowboarding, under a down snowboarding jacket and it was great. I mean of all the things I did, I kind of felt that this is what it was made for. The length came into its own, the sleeves, the extra warmth, the fast-wicking, quick drying aspect - it all added up to a great piece of clothing for bursts of physical effort in the cold.
This is definitely for colder weather. The seamless design makes it very conformable and warm but was generally too warm whilst hiking with backpack and another layer. One of the claims is that it doesn’t get smelly. After three days walking in the South Downs recently I beg to differ.
Overall I liked it and I will be using this on very cold days and definitely wearing it with me on the snowboard!
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