Steve Leeder puts Wilderness Wear’s Fusion 190 Switch Hoodie to the test.
Thermals have a simple job: to keep you warm and dry but with so many variations out there where to even start? With this in mind, let’s start with the basics – Merino V. Polypro.
Merino, particularly in its low micron versions, enables insulation in the cold (even when wet), maintains odour-free stability (even after days of constant wear) and provides an ultra-soft touch to skin.
Polypropylene is a highly engineered synthetic fibre that provides extraordinary insulation during physical exertion and wicks moisture away from skin. This is achieved by its zero moisture retention capability, which keeps the wearer warm and dry during high aerobic activity.
What if there was a thermal out there that combined the benefits of these magical fibres? Well, leave it to an Aussie company to make that happen. Wilderness Wear’s thermals and technical socks are made right here in Australia using Australian Merino Wool. They seem to think that equals 200% Australian. I’ll let you think about the maths for a second.
I’ve been wearing their thermals and socks for ages now and wont wear anything else so I was stoked to find this year they’ve taken their thermal base layer to a new level. The SWITCH hoodie is 190gsm Merino Fusion but has a super high neck gaiter and a built in hood. It’s a set up that can be worn a bunch of ways – as a practical, all-purpose inclusion to your kit, or a trendy addition to your everyday wardrobe. I’m pretty confident you’d even pass as a Footclan Soldier for Shredder.
That’s the tech behind the hoodie. But what’s it really like?
My girlfriend asked me today “Have you even taken that thing off yet?” and the answer is no, I can honestly say I’ve worn my hoodie for 4 or 5 consecutive days. It’s just too cozy to take off and it doesn’t have any manky smell so why would I. My first mountain bike ride with the hoodie I was beyond stoked. At the start of the ride it was -1 degree and I was pretty happy to have the warmth of MERINO. As I got half way up the first climb the sweat was starting to flow but at the top of the trail the hoodie was dry and so was my skin. Stoked, cause it was blowing a gale and if I was even a bit damp I was going to be real cold. That is why poly pro is so good, it’s what they call Aquaphobic – it hates water – and sweat is water.
The way down was a little bit of a surprise as well. Speed is my friend but in the cold it normally goes straight through all my jerseys. What I found was that the wind wasn’t really getting through. Its not windproof at all and they haven’t claimed that but I think the weave of the fibre is tight enough to keep some of the wind out.
Ok switch to the snow and what’s this magical hoodie like?
Touring in this top has been awesome. Early season has been pretty much all about exploration. I have been hiking around skinning and finding a few turns and all I have been wearing is my SWITCH and my new Flylow shell.
I love the really high neck that can totally cover my face. At one point on my last tour I was using the hood as a helmet liner and had the neck gaiter pulled up over my nose. My goggles covered the rest. Zero draft down my neck and no skin showing on my face.
Thank you WILDERNESS WEAR you have made a winner, not just multi-sport but multi-season.
Sound too good to be true? Head into Wilderness Sports in Jindabyne to try one on for yourself.
Wilderness Wear Fusion 190 Hoodie (available in Mens or Womens styles)
50% Pure Australian Merino
50% Ultra-fine Schoeller Polypropylene
190gsm double jersey
• Slim fit
• Engineered hood
• Built in face gaiter
• Raglan sleeves
• Gusset panels for increased mobility
• Double sewn flat seams
• Elliptical hem
$SRP AUD 139 incl GST