|Taking a break on a winter hike in Vermont.|
I'm priveleged to be a part of another season of #ORInsightLab, a group "influential folks...who are diverse athletes and dynamic social storytellers. " For the Lab, our job is to share gear feedback in specific categories for Outdoor Research, and this season, I'm all about upper body layers.
Despite sizing issues with one of the three pieces I received to try (the Sonata Hoody was way too tight on my hips), the other two pieces fit, including the Radiant LT Zip Top, and I took it out for a few winter adventures to see how it performed.
The TechnologyThe Radiant LT Zip Top is part of the Radiant collection, which includes hoodies, pullovers, jackets, and tights.
There are three primary fabric technologies Outdoor Research uses to make the Radiant collection what it is. First, there's a hard faced fleece material to keep warmth in from the outside. It still feels soft to the touch, but tougher than standard fleece, almost as if it's part softshell jacket. Second, there's a grid fleece material for moisture management. It helps wick sweat away, but feels soft next-to-skin. Finally, there's a hybrid material that combines the best of both worlds.
Overall Fit, Style, and PerformanceThe Radiant LT Zip Top is designed to be lightweight, to wick sweat from your skin while you're out adventuring, and to function as a second layer or as a baselayer. At 8.8 ounces, it's the currently the lightest fleece Outdoor Research makes. I'd put it in the midweight baselayer category; it's thick, but not too thick, and it's stretchy, making it easy to move around.
|Having the zipper for ventilation is great when it comes to sweat prevention on winter hikes, which can contribute to hypothermia.|
The spandex bindings on the thumbs and cuffs are unique to long sleeved baselayers I've tried, and I like that the sleeves stay in place. The spandex bindings on the thumb holes might be uncomfortable if you've got larger hands or are wearing gloves underneath, but I didn't have any trouble.
|It's hard to find shirts that cover my butt and have long enough sleeves, given I'm 5'9" with a 6'0" wingspan, but the Radiant LT Zip Top fits just like a baselayer should.|
And we all know sweat can cause unpleasant smells after a while. Polygiene® Active Odor Control uses silver salt to keep the fabric from allowing the growth of stinky bacteria, which is always a plus. I'm interested to see how the odor control works after 6-12 months of use, and I'll update this review if it stops working!
|Hooray for thumb loops I can use, or not use!|
Recommended Uses and Final Thoughts
Overall, I'm a fan. The Radiant LT Zip Top is great for winter outings of all sorts because it's lightweight and breathable, but it'll still keep you warm under a shell layer as the temperatures drop. I love that it's long enough to cover my butt, that the sleeves are long enough so I can use the thumb loops, and that it's soft next to skin. Plus, with color combinations like Ultraviolet/Night, the one I'm sporting in this review, how can you go wrong?
As part of #ORInsightLab this winter, Outdoor Research provided me with a complimentary top to test. As always, the opinions expressed here are my own. What do you think of the Radiant LT Zip Top? What's your favorite cold weather baselayer? I'd love to hear from you!