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By The Numbers: What’s the Best Base Layer Fabric? Wool vs. Alpaca vs. Polyester

In this paper, I subject base layers in various weights made from merino, merino blends, and alpaca to the suite of tests I have developed to evaluate base layer performance. I then compare the performance of these base layers with those of the polyester base layers I have recently reviewed. We also see if my preconceived notions about merino hold water. Finally, we will see how to choose the fiber for our base layers.

How to Store Freeze-dried Food

Best practices for storing your freeze-dried food (plus one killer chiles rellenos recipe).

By The Numbers: Patagonia Capilene Thermal Weight vs. Patagonia Capilene Midweight Performance Comparison

How does Patagonia Thermal Weight Capilene stack up against Midweight Capilene?

By The Numbers: Testing the Performance of Mountain Hardwear AirMesh Garments

Is Mountain Hardwear AirMesh a breakthrough product or a prisoner of wicking base-layer physics?

Why is my base layer soaked?

Sometimes a wet base layer just can't be avoided. Soaked-based layers happen. Here is why it will happen to you.

Sunscreen for Hiking and Backpacking: Efficacy, Ingredient Safety, and Best Practices

Dan Hu reviews current research regarding the safety and efficacy of sunscreen for hiking and backpacking, including ingredient efficacy, safety, and best practices for outdoor adventuring.

By the Numbers: Compression Resistance of PrimaLoft Gold vs. Climashield Apex (Part 4)

PrimaLoft Gold outperforms Climashield Apex as the more resilient (durable) insulation, capable of retaining more of its original warmth and loft in response to repeated compression.

Do moisture-wicking fabrics work?

Moisture-wicking fabrics (base layers and underwear) are designed to move sweat away from the skin. In this study, we test if Polartec and other base layer fabrics meet manufacturer claims.

BatteryBench: A Protocol for Testing Portable Battery Chargers and Electronic Devices for Backpacking

Rex Sanders runs through an extensive protocol for testing portable battery chargers and electronic devices.

Synthetic Insulation Degradation Part 2: Thermal Performance vs. Compression

How bad does high-loft synthetic insulation (Climashield Apex and Primaloft Gold) degrade when subjected to repeated compression cycles? What's the impact on backpacking gear and apparel?

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