Thermals tops are like toilet paper – an essential item that brings you comfort in more ways than one.
Surely I’m not the only camper who packs way more thermals (and food) than necessary. It’s just way too easy to overthink what you’ll need. At least this is what I tell myself because I’ve accumulated a thermal box. Yes, a thermal box! But the box doesn’t seem as helpful as it once was. After wearing the Wilderness Wear Merino Max 260 Long Sleeve Crew Top all those other thermals seem slightly redundant. Just like my box of old primary school trophies; I keep them around but they’re totally useless. The Wilderness Wear base layer has easily stood up against the coldest environments Australia has thrown at me.
I’ve been spending the winter in Jindabyne, trail running, snow-shoeing, resort skiing and ice-climbing. The perfect combo to give this Wilderness Wear merino top a bloody good evaluation.
Warmth & Breathability
There’s a reason they’re called thermals and that’s mainly to keep us warm, AKA hella-toasty. Luckily, the Wilderness Wear Long Sleeve Crew Top provides sufficient warmth for all those winter activities. Not once did I get cold while backcountry snowshoeing and resort skiing. Even when I hid from gale-force winds behind a rock I still felt warm. At night I comfortably slept in -6 degrees. Keep in mind this is combined with good quality gear such as a down sleeping bag. But looking at the specs of the thermal layer, being 100% Pure Australian Merino wool, there is no reason for the product not to perform well.
I also went for a sneaky 10km trail run around Lake Jindabyne and found the breathability of the product to be top quality. The thermals never got grossly sweaty, so when I stopped I didn’t feel cold or a bit wet. When it comes to breathability, this thermal is definitely an overachiever.
Overall the base layer fitted nicely. The design has a slightly longer body to stop that nasty updraft. The sleeves hugged my arms, but still allowed a full range of motion. I must say the best thing about the Wilderness Wear thermal top was that I didn’t experience any ride up; twisted sleeves, or tangled thermals when adding layers on. The struggles of untwisting thermals are undoubtedly the worst. I was beyond stoked when it wasn’t a problem with the Wilderness Wear thermal top.
The only critique I have is that the crew top sat a little high on my collar bones making it feel tight and constricting on my neck. Almost felt like a tiny turtle neck.
They’re a little on the higher side for thermals, at $139, but it’s completely justifiable (and this is coming from a uni student with no money). Firstly, Wilderness Wear is owned and manufactured in Australia. The Merino wool (which performs better than synthetics) is Australian too. By simply purchasing this product you are helping not one, but many Australian businesses, keeping the money local and continuing to support the small outdoor retail industry.
If that’s not enough of a reason, I’ll give you another. This thermal is warm enough for Australian winters. I’ve tested this product on the top of Australia in the middle of winter and anyone that says it doesn’t get cold in the land of Oz has not experienced the soul-destroying winds that rip through the snowy mountains.
In my opinion, this thermal is pretty perfect for Australia and Australians, making it worth every cent.
This section is for the ultra-light hikers and their excel sheets. It is the heaviest of the three thermals Wilderness Wear offer and the weight is something I noticed as I picked it up for the first time. The material is thick, but this is mostly reassuring, rather than making me question the weight.
To be honest, it was comforting knowing the thermal layer wasn’t t-shirt thin. Whether that be the placebo effect or not, thick thermals are the bomb. So I guess they’re worth its weight in wool (haha, sorry).
There’s something about wearing great products created by Australian businesses – it just makes you feel good. This thermal top from Wilderness Wear is definitely a great baselayer for winter expeditions. In fact, it’s more than good enough to have me reconsidering the need for my trusty thermal box.
Damon was given the Wilderness Wear Merino Max 260 Long Sleeve Crew Top for testing and was allowed to keep it afterwards. He was allowed to say whatever the heck he wanted about it in this review.