It’s winter, it’s cold, and you need protection from the elements. Why not treat your body to the plush feel of Merino wool? We’ve long extolled the virtues of this fabric, and with good reason: Merino wool is soft, stretchy, breathable, resists stains and odors, and can be washed and dried along with many of your other outdoor clothing. Tough to beat all that. Tons of companies offer Merino wool base/mid layers, but lately I’ve been using products from Minus33, and have found them to be perfect for when the chill hits.
Kancamagus Midweight wool bottoms
Kanca-who? The name Kancamagus carries some weight in New Hampshire, which is the home state of Minus33. The name belongs to a one-time ruler of Southern New Hampshire, and translates as the “Fearless One.” NH might be the perfect place to develop base layer clothing, as they can face some of the coldest winter temps and strongest winds in the USA. Here’s a look at some of the tech packed into the Kancamagus bottoms:
• 100% Merino wool with 230g interlocking knit
• UPF rating 50+
• Flat-lock seams (to extend life and help bottoms move with your body)
• TEC Merino (Total Easy Care- machine washable and suitable for tumble drying)
• Fly opening (YES!)
While we Utahns don’t have to endure the chill of the Northeast, winter in the Rockies is legit. I tested these bottoms from the slopes of the Wasatch to the sandy trails of Escalante to see if they are the real deal.
Cold air, don’t care
Starting back in November, I’ve worn the Minus33 Kancamagus bottoms for all my outdoor adventures. When it finally started snowing, they became my go-to base layer for snowboarding. I found them to be very plush, and they felt great against my skin whether sitting on the lift or schussing down the slopes. Winter in UT has been mild, and some afternoons it got downright warm at the resort. Even when they were overkill, the Minus33 bottoms remained comfortable. The breathability of this midweight layer is a standout feature; I needed to work seriously hard on sidecountry hikes to get a lower body sweat going.
The Kancamagus midweight bottoms also make for great hiking layers. A lack of snow made for lots of winter hikes, and I have been quite cozy thanks to these pantelones. The athletic cut and flex of the Merino wool makes them ideal for layering under hiking pants or even your favorite denim. Also, the decision to include a fly on these bottoms is much appreciated. I’ll never understand why some companies overlook this detail.
I don’t have a single bad word to say about the Minus33 bottoms. I’ve washed and dried them many times, and they have not shrunk or lost their shape. I’ve used them for hiking and boarding where they feel great, wick away moisture and have superior breathability. My advice: treat yo’self! If you need a new layering piece for ski season, these should be on your short list.