Friday, December 12, 2008

Bamboo Base Layer from Kombi

I'm in Peru right now trying out lots of new gear in the Andes Mountains, but am not near a computer very much. So for a while these travel gear reviews will be coming in drips and drabs.

First up, this wicking base layer from Kombi. I've been wearing it on many a cool morning in Colca Canyon and it will get heavy use on my upcoming trek. It's a soft as a cotton shirt, but is actually made of bamboo. Well, 48 percent anyway, then an equal part of CoolMax and just a dash of Spandex. So the majority of the materials came from a sustainable resource and it doesn't feel as synthetic as the usual wicking layer.

It works well with the zipper open: unlike many of these mock turtleneck designs I try out, the collar lies flat. If the air is cool though, zip it to the top and it provides extra insulation around the neck. Anti-chaffing flatlock seams are a nice touch and the top of the zipper goes inside a fold. Kombi also makes models are a thicker bamboo/merino wool blend and this one comes in four colors.

The women's version is a two-tone affair, in five options like the one pictured here.

As with most bamboo weave products, you can't just toss then in the washer and dryer though. jfjfj. The good news is, if you're on an extended trip and are doing a lot of sink washing, this shirt dries more quickly than cotton or synthetic fleece. It's just a single layer though: bring something heavier if you're facing frigid conditions.

You can find Kombi products at ski shops, or check their site for other options.

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