Gear Test: Kombi Bamboo Baselayer

December 30, 2009
Filed under Camping Gear, Outdoor Apparel

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In an era when outdoor gear has become so specialized as to differ­entiate between running socks and trail running socks, it’s delightful to discover a garment with genuine multipurpose versatility, such as the Bamboo four-way stretch, two-tone, quarter zip-neck baselayer by Kombi Sports.

I tested the Bamboo zip-neck while trekking to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa. The garment is not only superbly functional, but stylish enough to wear in casual settings without feeling like you’re out and about in your underwear.

The concept of layering to remain comfortable in a variety of temperatures begins with the all-important baselayer, yet many styles tend to be unflattering. From a styling standpoint, the Bamboo zip-neck sports two-color styling (women’s version) or three-color styling (men’s version) sets it apart from traditional baselayers. Decorative stitching also lends an air of sophistication. On the functional side, the Bamboo zip-neck provides two essentials in a quality baselayer: insulation and moisture management. The fabric is just heavy enough to provide warmth without bulk, ideal for layering or perfect by itself on days with moderate temperatures.

Mesh in the underarms facilitates the evaporation of sweat; while the quarter-zip neck can be adjusted for temperature control. An ingenious triangle of fabric at the top of the zipper keeps the tab from dangling when it’s zipped all the way up.

Aside from my trek on Mt. Kilimanjaro, the Kombi Bamboo baselayer has proven itself on summer backpacking excursions, fall fly-fishing trips and dinner at a pizza parlor with my friends. Whether it’s for casual wear or worn strictly for layering, the Kombi Bamboo baselayer boasts excellent performance, with styling to match. Typical retail price is around $50. Kombi Sports: kombisports.com.

From Camping Life’s January/February 2010 issue.

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