Disclaimer: As part of this season’s #omniten crew, I was sent a big box full of stuff to try. This Columbia Men’s Baselayer Midweight Long Sleeve was one of those items. Columbia has asked me to simply be honest in any reviews of their gear, or don’t review them at all. I tend to only review stuff that I honestly like and generally include both pros and cons of the products.
A couple weeks ago, I was finally able to go out for hike that stretched my legs. I made it up to Fox Mountain and Cuyama Peak Lookout Tower, both peaks from the Angeles Chapter Sierra Club Hundred Peak List. Since it was in the 30′s and 40′s in the morning, I knew I would be wearing a base layer.
Enter the Columbia Men’s Baselayer Midweight Long Sleeve 1/2 zip. When it comes to baselayers, I tend to like them a little larger. I typically wear XLs when my jackets are Ls. I am not a 26-year-old athlete with six-pack abs, I am an over-40 average male, carrying a little extra weight. I like to start early when it’s cold and wear the same baselayer all day as it warms up. So, it’s from this perspective that I review this baselayer.
When I first put it on at the trailhead, I noticed that the fit was overall good. I liked the longer sleeves with the thumb holes. As I started climbing up the mountain, I realized that the longer sleeves also served another purpose, it shaded most of my hand, effectively removing the sunscreen requirement. Many times, the area where my thumb meets my hand gets pretty burnt from using trekking poles, especially on the downhill portion of my hikes, when it is later in the day and far sunnier. I was happy to see that I would be safe from this.
Another unexpected bonus was the higher collar. I am sure it was designed for warmth, but it protected the lower part of my neck, which sometimes get’s exposed when I wear crew neck baselayers. My typical hiking hat, a Headsweats with a flap, sometimes leaves the lower part of my neck exposed. I was comfortable knowing I had extra protection from the sun.
One more thing I liked about it was the length of the shirt. It was long enough to go well beyond my backpack length and stay there. It didn’t ride up at all during hours of hiking. There are few things more bothersome than a shirt that rides up while hiking.
The only thing I would list as a con, and remember this is from my perspective, is the very athletic fit. Especially around the midsection. Since I am not an athlete, the fit felt really tight, and I would probably feel uncomfortable wearing this shirt in a group hike or running around my neighborhood, but that’s just me. Since I typically hike alone, this isn’t an issue, but if you are an average guy like me, this might be a little much. Some other roomier merino baselayers in my closet will be used for these types of public outings.
I started with an extra down later, which I peeled off about a mile or so up the mountain. The back of my baselayer and arms were pretty wet from being under the down jacket. I likely should have removed the jacket far earlier, but, even though I was pretty warm, I felt comfortable in the baselayer. Once I was only in the baselayer, I was very comfortable and the arms dried pretty quickly.
I was even able to unzip it a bit on the way down the mountain.
Long arms keep hands warm and protects them from the sun
Raised collar for warmth and bonus sun protection
Long torso length which did not ride up while wearing a backpack
Con (for me):
Very, very athletic fit
This is a very well-built and well-thought out baselayer. Like I mention in other gear reviews, if I forget I am wearing or using it, then the gear is solid in my book.