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Outdoor Retailer Winter Market ’10: Companies continue expansion into base layers

It's a good time to be in the market for merino base layers -- apparently, though, not such a good time to be a sheep because there continues to be more products launched touting the benefits of wool...oh...and cotton, too. We have the details.

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In the never-ending quest to broaden and diversify product offerings, it seems as if more apparel makers exhibiting at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market were rounding out their apparel arsenals with the addition of a base layer line. Wool continued to be the material of choice, while one company has engineered a wicking cotton.

Cloudveil and Dale of Norway both launched base layer lines. With seams that are offset to prevent chafing, Cloudveil’s Primer collection went the green route with more than 50-percent recycled PET and eco-friendly dyes and coatings (MSRP $45-$60/men and women’s tights and tops; Dale of Norway’s 180 line (pictured right) is a fine merino wool jersey knit that touts a tighter weave in a 18.5 micron thickness. Tops are available in women’s and men’s short sleeve, long sleeve crew and zip long sleeve (MSRP $69, $74, $79), and are machine washable.

Considered the lynchpin to its Core Climate System, Mountain Hardwear’s Integral base layers are a merino/recycled poly knit blend with MicroClimate Zoning construction (MSRP $50-$65/men and women’s tights and tops).

Polarmax partnered with Cotton Inc. to launch PMX, a type of cotton fabric with Transdry that moves moisture, in a line of short and long sleeve tops (MSRP $45-$50,

Speaking of cotton, I/O Bio Merino’s line may be made of merino wool but pieces have the look and feel of cotton. Reportedly the largest merino supplier in the world, the parent company decided to showcase its textile technologies with this house brand that’s looking to capture a younger consumer through edgy styles and colors. Check out the Glory Zip hoody (MSRP $89) in the Contact base layer series.


Icebreaker is getting inspiration from the running market with its new GT base layer designed for high aerobic sports (pictured left), with 25 percent finer fabric for faster drying while in motion. Available in a variety of weights — ultralight, lightweight, mid and expedition — pieces have flatlock seams, eyelet fabric for ventilation and reflective graphics (MSRP $40-$120/men’s and women’s briefs, tops and tights).

In the “what’s old is new” category, Patagonia has returned to its former naming system for its Capilene base layer system: silkweight, lightweight, midweight and expedition weight. The majority of the line, except for the silkweight, has been revised with modifications in fit and fabrications, including a re-engineered Polartec fabric in the mid and expedition weights. The midweight also features the marrow stitch where the two pieces of fabric butt up against each other but don’t overlap to lessen bulk and decrease seam profile.

–Wendy Geister