Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Odlo thermals

So. As captain sceptic, I was shown some new thermals a couple of months ago. Something that apparently was as good as Icebreaker, if not better.

Icebreaker, as we all know is made from merino wool, and as such, does not smell, does not really need washing for a fairly long time, and is a very versatile and warm bit of kit. As someone with sensitive skin, however, I have sometimes found them to be a little itchy and irritating. Wash them with some jeans, and they become comfortable and bearable, but still, just a tad itchy.

Odlo have taken the synthetic idea and run with it, which is great news if you are slightly (or very) allergic to wool in any way shape or form.
I have been wearing Helly Hansen thermals for years, and am fully used to the horrific smell emenating from them at all times- though apparently this has now been fixed- I'll go onto that another time. Silver has been used in the past- woven into the polyester in order to give the fabric an anti-bacterial finish.

(silver ions are highly toxic to some bacteria, fungus and algae)

The woven silver thread was good, and did the job, until the fabric was worn, the thread broke down, and hey presto- once more, a garment that reeks.

Odlo has apparently got around this by adding silver ions to the polymer mix in liquid form before the extrusion of the fibres, so when the fibres are actually extruded, the silver is actually a part of the fabric itself. The Antibacterial qualities are inherent within the thread.

Does it work?

Well, onto that in a minute.
The trunk of the top is woven in a circular pattern up the body, which means that there are no seams on the trunk. Seamless construction, which also has an element of elastin in there, so, very stretchy indeed. (at this point, I have to point out to the pedants that yes, there are 2 seams where the arms join the torso, but thats it).
There is a whole "body mapping" thing going on as well. (body mapping being the buzz word of the season, it appears). What this means is that they have worked out where the body gets hotter or colder and added or removed layers of polymer where needed- or not. So you get a body contoured effect on the torso which makes you look something of a greek god. Which isnt bad.

Well, thats the premise.

Ive been wearing one pretty much constantly for the past few weeks in the shop and around town, (not heavy exercise at the moment).
In terms of heat quality, its coming in at about Icebreaker 200- 220 or so. Quite warm enough for pretty much everything in the autumn and winter, no problem there. The stretchi-ness is excellent, and it feels really nice on.
As soon as I wore it, there was no feeling of slight --mmm--- not sure about this, as I did with icebreakers, and Ive had no issues with it at all.

Another neat touch is that the care instructions are woven into the hem- so no labels to cut off and lose. Nice.

I wore it for 2 weeks first, without washing it, and figured that perhaps it might need a bit of tlc, or else I might start repelling customers and the general public. Taking it home, the majority of the top still smelt like it was new, un worn and straight from the box. (under the arm was a slightly different matter, but anything that can still be non-smelly after 2 weeks of that must be witchcraft).

Having washed it now, it is still comfortable etc, and smells fine- im now into the first week since washing it, so we shall see how it goes.
As a final note for the moment, the fabric on the arms is fraying sightly where I think I may have caught it on some velcro, but we shall have to see how that goes. Its not massively fragile, but its worth noting at this point.