Steve Long takes a look at the Thermo Half Zip from Marmot. This all round lightweight mid-layer hugs the body, is super stretchy and looks pretty rad - but is it too rad? Did Steve like it? Read on for full details...
I’ve got to tell you straight off that I really like this lightweight fleece shirt! Since it arrived I’ve worn it for all my mountain activities, and its performed admirably in all conditions. That’s included a sport climbing trip to Spain, ice climbing in Ogwen, trad cragging in Cornwall, navigation tutorials in Cwm Glas, new routing at Rhoscolyn, and last but not least spring clearance and fencing in my garden.
This is basically a mid-layer shirt, though I have on occasions worn it as a simple shirt next to the skin on a warm day when I wanted to protect my arms from the sun (no, it wasn’t in the UK)! It seems to hit the right balance between ventilation and warmth. It fits remarkably snugly, almost like a second skin - yet perspiration doesn’t seem to present a problem. I found that I could wear this shirt over a merino wool undershirt for a couple of days with none of the usual pre-worn whiff you normally expect with fleece wear.
The shirt provides reasonable storage opportunities, with a chest pocket extending towards the arm pit, which is easily big enough for my waterproof camera (de rigeur for any day out). The pocket is unobtrusive and comfortable, and quite frankly its plenty enough storage for a shirt. It is very light and easily stowed, since it doesn’t really seem to crease because of its slinky fit. And although it doesn’t pretend to be windproof it does provide a bit of shelter from a light summer breeze, and of course it fits just fine under a soft shell jacket.
It is made from a Polartec fleece fabric that is sort of patterned with thicker squares on a slightly thinner fabric, this is quite difficult to explain, but essentially means that the top remains very lightweight and comfortable and unrestrictive to wear, yet is still very warm. It really is very flexible fabric, and the patterned nature is designed to capture air and use it as an insulator.
Well the style and colour may not be to everybody’s taste; wearing this as an outer layer I felt a bit like a character from a Marvel comic! But of course fashion is a subjective topic... It’s also pretty unforgiving if you’ve gained a bit of mid-level padding over the winter – but presents a motivational opportunity to sort that out!
So what are the specs?
The thermo half zip is made from Poartec high efficiency fleece. It has a 'flat lock construction', a small chect pocket with a zip and it also has eleasticated cuffs with thumb loops.
It's available in Black, Cobalt Blue/Bright Navy (as worn be me), Steel/Cinder and finally Team Red/Brick (pictured on the right).
Size wise, the men's medium has a back length of 70.5 cm and weighs 340gm. The cut is tight, so if you are a medium in Marmot usually, it would be worth trying a large.
Materials: Polartec®Power Dry® 92% Polyester, 8% Elastane Stretch 3.9 oz/yd
When you want cozy warmth in a lightweight, half-zip style, the Thermo ½ Zip is a layering piece you’ll love. Featuring Polartec®Power Dry® fabric, this fleece provides toasty warmth that’s light to wear and easy to pack. Added stretch offers plenty of freedom of movement, while the dual-tone color design offers plenty of style.
More Information: Marmot Website
Steve Long (51) is an International Mountain Guide currently working as part-time Technical Officer at Mountain Leader Training UK and also serving as the president of the UIAA's Training Standards Working Group. He is a founding member of the Association of Mountaineering Instructors, and worked at Plas y Brenin as a senior instructor for 12 years. He is the author of the popular instructional DVD Self-Rescue for Climbers and also the definitive text for mountain leaders: Hillwalking, as well as various over projects such as the current Tremadog guidebook.
Steve is a keen and active climber, equally at home on rock or ice; and has visited every continent for mountaineering activities. Climbing highlights include one of the few British ascents of Cerro Torre, several routes on the Troll Wall, canyoning and big walling in Borneo (Low's Gully), a winter ascent of the Dru's French Direct and various other big walls; the most recent being the Fish route on the Marmolada. Steve also regularly works with climbing federations from other countries to help them set up their own leader and instructor training schemes: current projects include Nepal, Ladakh, Israel, Turkey and Portugal.