Odlo Evolution Warm LS Crew Shirt – Our Review
It’s not every day a new base layer comes through the door makes us take a second look. But that was exactly the case when Odlo brought these along for us to have a look at over the summer. For years now, I have been using merino wool base layers for almost all my outdoor activities, so I was initially a little suspicious about these new base layers from Odlo. However, since having the opportunity to try them out, they really do appear to be an evolution of the base layer as we know it.
Odlo have been around since the late 1940’s, but have been specialising in base layer technology since the 1960’s. Their skiing base layers have been used by national ski teams around the world, so they are very much at the top of their game. Their latest offering, the evolution range, is very different to any other products that we have come across. It uses a combination of five different fabrics throughout the garment, specifically placed to offer the user warmth in those key areas, and increased ventilation and moisture management in others. The reason this is able to work so effectively, is down to the seamless technology that is used to create the base layers. As a result of this, the comfort is taken to another level.
We have the ‘Warm’ variation in stock, which is suitable for a temperature range of between -28°C and +14°C, dependant on your activity level. This means that they are ideal for downhill/telemark/cross country skiers, walkers or cyclists to name a few. Seeing that we are stuck down in the New Forest, and we have not seen any snow as of yet (and don’t have any mountains to ski down anyway), I was a little limited at my activity choice. So I took them for a day’s cycle through the forest – nothing particularly technical or challenging, but the temperature was probably around 3 or 4°C. I have to admit, that I do feel the cold – so I wasn’t very keen to head out of a grey, gloomy, cold day. However, once I had taken my bike off of the car rack, and got going my legs going, after a couple of miles, I started to warm up (and cheer up…). After about 5 miles, I remembered that I was meant to be reviewing this base layer. I suddenly realised how warm I was, yet how well ventilated and comfortable I was. The fact that I had been cycling along, and not really noticed the base layer stands for a lot. The long arms kept themselves in position around my wrists, not riding up at all. Likewise, my lower back was kept covered and protected, even if other layers had started to move around. After around 15 miles, the temperature seemed to drop again, and I did notice that my arms were getting a little bit cool, but otherwise, I was warm, dry and comfortable. My colleague, who has also been testing one of these, also encountered this, but I am not sure if this is because we were not wearing enough layers on top of the base layer – we really wanted to see how warm it was!
When I arrived home after the bike ride, I was relieved I didn’t have to throw a stinking, sweaty base layer into the wash – the odour-reducing silver ions were certainly doing their job – effectively ending the odour problem once associated with synthetic underwear.
On the whole, I have been very impressed with the Evolution Crew Top. Would I choose this over the much loved merino? Well, I think I would – it is definitely warmer than other base layers I have had from Smartwool or Icebreaker, but offers a much better degree of moisture management and ventilation. The Evolution range from Odlo certainly changes things. It really is a game changer.
+ Excellent seamless technology combined with wide range of fabrics creates a very comfortable base layer.
+ No more stinking base layers thanks to silver ions.
– Arms were a little cooler than I would have wanted.
Available in crew neck tops, and full length bottoms, in both men’s and women’s.