Review: Women’s base layers from Garneau and Pearl Izumi
We still have 1-2 more months of winter in the northern states. My dad resides in Yuma, Arizona, and would call 40°’s winter, but whatever your cold tolerance is, baselayers can be a key component to enjoying the outdoors. Baselayers need to wick away moisture in cold temperatures and should be lightweight and fit snugly against your skin but not restrict movement.
Garneau Drytex 2004 Women’s Pants
Sizes available: XS-XXL (MD reviewed)
The Garneau Drytex 2004 Women’s Pants are lightweight with a 4-way stretchable peach skin fabric. What the heck is peach skin fabric?! The fabric has a fuzzy texture like the skin of a peach. The bottoms are moisture-wicking, have an antibacterial treatment, and feature a few reflective stripes.
The 1.5-inch elastic waistband is designed to stay up while being active. I’ll admit to having become a little schlumpy this winter and found the elastic to be very snug and definitely not going anywhere. No matter if I was biking, jogging, or hiking, under a mid-layer or under an outer layer, these did not fail me in warmth.
I like everything I own to be multi-useful. With base layers, I want to be able to wear mine as tights under a dress for quick changing after an activity or sleep in them if it’s too cold (or I am too lazy to change). They were almost to warm to sleep in, which isn’t a bad thing if I was camping in the cold. With the large branding on the lower right leg, I had to bust out the tall boots to make them work off the bike, but that also isn’t a deal-breaker.
After 8 weeks of use and washing, the material has started to pill in the token wear spots: knees and arse. But there are no tears, no sweat sag, and no reduction in warmth. They are high quality for a baselayer legging at $40. The Drytex 2004 pants are available in men’s and women’s cut and Garneau gets bonus points for going up to an XXL in both.
Pearl Izumi Women’s Transfer Wool Long Sleeve Cycling Baselayer
Sizes available: XS-L (MD reviewed)
This long-sleeve base layer is a Merino Wool and Polyester blend with moisture-wicking qualities. The material percent distribution varies throughout the top, with a micro-waffle type construction to help wick away those notorious sweat areas: back and under the arms. There is a more stretchable Lycra material along the back of the arm to the elbow for handlebar reaching without feeling like you are about to hulk out the back of your top.
There are thumb loops that are a simple stretchy loop with a 1/4 inch width that looks like it could be uncomfortable but felt fine even when wearing 3 layers of clothes. Pearl Izumi has this long sleeve baselayer rated at 20°-40° temperature and the top performed well in these temps. Even in the mid-teens, I was never concerned about my body temperature while being active. As a higher-end baselayer top priced at $90, it got the job done well and looks and feels like it will last a few years of steady wear.