A merino wool baselayer that is soft and warm. Perfect for cold-weather activities of all kinds.
- Longer than average in torso and sleeves - no "riding up"
- Discreet, sewn-in thumb holes
- Neck is slightly large
Fit and Comfort:
Finally, a baselayer top that has a little extra length in the sleeves and torso and stays in place, no matter the activity. I’ve worn several merino products over the years and this is as comfortable as any that I’ve worn with a soft-to-the-skin and no-itch feeling. This top fits close but not restrictively tight to the body. The length of the torso and arms are both generous, meaning they actually fit my taller-than-average frame (6'2" or 1.88m), unlike many baselayers I’ve frustratingly worn in the past. The only area that could use a potential improvement is the neck, which feels slightly too wide of an opening (not drastically so, however).
Front, also shown is Ridge Merino Inversion Heavyweight Bottoms
Back, also shown is Ridge Merino Inversion Heavyweight Bottoms
For what it’s worth, my wife says this is the best looking baselayer she’s ever seen me wear. I’ll leave it at that.
The biggest test in breathability was while dragging two white deer out of the woods through hilly terrain. The outdoor air temp was hovering around 25F, but I was shedding layers quickly due to the exhausting exercise that manually dragging a deer kill out of the woods. By the end of the hour-long drag, I was down to nothing but the baselayer top and a simple orange vest (for safety reasons) and was very comfortable in terms of temperature.
Hiking and hunting are both great activities for testing the warmth of a baselayer, particularly when transitioning from movement to stationary, and vice versa. I’ve worn this baselayer in temps ranging from -5F to 45F (-20C to 7C), and the 270g of merino wool have done a great of keeping me warm.
A break in the snow means I can finally snap a photo. Base layer underneath a hoody and jacket in 8 inches of fresh snow and temperatures in the single digits, while muzzleloader hunting.
Aside from fit and comfort, I’d say that layering is the most important feature for a baselayer, so I paid particularly close attention to how this top layered with other garments and my verdict is that it is fantastic. When I thought about a “heavyweight” baselayer, I was afraid that it would be bulky and when wearing, I’d look like the StayPuff marshmallow man. Definitely not the case.
In the three months I’ve worn this top, I’ve washed it 6 or 7 times, always according to the manufacturer’s recommendation (i.e. machine wash warm, line dry), and have experienced no issues. As with other merino wool products I own, this too takes some extra time to line dry (especially in a chilly basement, where I line dry in the winter), but that is an acceptable trade off to me in order to extend the life of a quality product.
Construction and Weight:
The 100% merino wool top features flat locked seams, which make for less chaffing and itching, as opposed to traditional seams. I didn't notice the difference when first putting it on, but after 8-10 hours of wearing it, I realized that I never really noticed that I was wearing the base layer (that's the way it should be!). The overall weight of the top is 10.7oz (303g).
Thumb Loop Feature:
As with most baselayers, the bells and whistles are kept to a minimum on the Inversion Heavyweight Crew, but it does sport thumb loops, which, in general I am not typically a fan of, but was won over by these ones. The reason I actually like the thumb loops on this baselayer is two-fold: 1) they are not a slit in the cuff, but rather a small elastic band sewn inside the cuff and 2) they are so small that they are hardly noticeable whether in use or not.
Discreet thumb loop means when it's not in use, it's not noticeable. I love it!
After three months of regular use (most weeks I would wear at least 1-2 days, with some weeks seeing 3-5 days of use), the Inversion Heavyweight Crew shows no signs of wear, aside from the label peeling off (no impact to use).
I tested the Ridge Merino Inversion Heavyweight Crew for three months (Nov. 2017-Jan. 2018) in central and northern Pennsylvania, including a record snowfall month of December for the area. The baselayer was tested during numerous activities including hiking, hunting, sleeping, and casual indoor and outdoor wear. At 6’2” and 190 lbs. (1.88m and 86.2 kg), I tested the men’s medium size. I thought about the large, but personally prefer a slightly tighter fitting baselayer.
This is the best cold weather base layer I've worn to date, due to its exceptional comfort, warmth, and the couple extra inches in the overall length, meaning it covers everything. My wife says that its best feature is that it doesn't stink easily (it's 100% merino wool). I highly recommend it for below freezing temperatures, no matter the activity.
Acknowledgment: Many thanks to both Trailspace and Ridge Merino for the opportunity to test the Inversion Heavyweight Crew.