Quality base layers are the foundation of comfort in the outdoors. In other words, it’s not a place to skimp. I put some base layers by a new player in the crowded market though the wringer this winter, wearing them for days on end in both sports and casual situations during cold weather.
Hanks Clothing, a New York outdoor company that’s been around for more than 60 years, recently entered the merino garment market with Australian-sourced, Chinese-manufactured pieces under its WoolX brand.
I’ve tested the WoolX Midweight Merino tops and bottoms while hiking, running, and skiing over the past three months. They perform just as you’d expect from quality merino — soft, non-stinky and warm.
WoolX isn’t any better or different from pieces made by Icebreaker, Ibex, SmartWool, or other brands on the merino market. But some of the WoolX pieces are a little less expensive.
Overall, WoolX base layers work well, but they are limited in styling, color and features. The shirt is basic and plain. (A good thing for people who prefer no frills.) See my breakdown on the new merino player in the bullet points below. —Sean McCoy
Price: $85 (tops) $85 (bottoms)
Where To Test It: Winter ski slopes, crisp fall forests or anywhere the extra warmth of a midweight base layer is useful.
Who’s It For: Cold weather outdoor athletes, winter hikers, snowmobilers.
Boring But Important: Both products have flatlock, non-chaffe seams and are machine washable and dryable. I tried it and both came out looking no worse for the wash.
Important Specs: The tops and bottoms are both made from 100% 18.5 Micron Australian Merino Wool with a mid-weight 230 g/m2 Interlock. The shirt has an underarm gusset for a better fit and long 3” cuffs.
Made In: China (with Australian merino wool).
Killer! Since November, I’ve pretty much lived in these base-layers and used them for all sorts of activities as well as keeping warm around the house on cold days. I’ve only washed them a few times and they never have developed an odor.
Flaw: WoolX currently only comes in black or dark navy, which is fine for a baselayer, but doesn’t give a lot of style options. They are very basic looking base layers.
First Impressions: Soft, warm and comfortable, these are well made Merino base-layer.
Who Should Buy It: Wool lovers who don’t take off their long-johns all winter and don’t care about external appearance as they really look like long underwear.
Contact Brand/More Beta: WoolX Merino Underwear
—Sean McCoy is a contributing editor. Our “First Look” column highlights new gear arrivals at GearJunkie.com. Photos © Monopoint Media LLC