For both the bitter cold and unseasonable warmth that PNW winters are trending, the Women’s Showers Pass Basecamp Merino Hoodie has been a great addition to my quiver of baselayers. At 230 gsm, (grams per square meter) this long sleeve merino wool hooded top works nicely on top of a t-shirt or tank as the outer-layer in warmer temps. It also fits well under an insulating midlayer in cooler times, suitable for a variety of applications, both lifestyle and athletic.
- Wool and polyamide blend, all-season 230 gsm midweight fabric
- Convenient zippered Kangaroo pocket
- UPF 40 sun protection
- Merino wool naturally resists odor, wicks moisture
- Titanium gray accent stitching
- Reflective label at hem
- Size tested: women’s small
Out of the box
This winter, the Showers Pass Women’s Basecamp Merino Hoodie has been a welcome addition to my baselayer collection of various merino short and long-sleeved tees in differing weights from Icebreaker, Smartwool, Ibex, and Showers Pass. I have been clinging to a similar hooded piece with pockets by the now defunct Ibex brand for year, but it had become so worn that both my elbows completely poke through the sleeves. It’s been difficult to let go of, as a merino piece in this weight and style is a wardrobe staple for me. Bridging the activity / lifestyle gap in a way that a more technical piece or less technical fabric would not be able to, I’ve finally found a suitable replacement for my loved-to-pieces Ibex hoodie.
Although my previous hoodie was a subdued gray, I’ve grown fond of the vibrant “harvest,” or mustard, color of the Basecamp Merino Hoodie. The rich golden hue flatters my skin tone and provides a splash of color to my predominantly gray and black winter (and spring and summer) wardrobe without being obnoxious. It photographs well in snow photos and provides contrast to the green evergreen forests and the gray that permeates our PNW urban settings.
Sliding into the Showers Pass Women’s Basecamp Merino Hoodie is like gliding into a cozy wool temperature-regulated float tank you will never want to get out of. In the name of testing out the microbial properties of the piece — not because I am a dirt-bag outdoors-person, science — I wore the hoodie over the Showers Pass Apex Tech short sleeve tee shirt for three days straight of storm-skiing followed by binge-watching Korean reality TV on Netflix in bed. Not only did I feel as comfortable shredding as I did snuggling in bed, but the fabric didn’t absorb much body odor (I swear!).
On the trail
When I acquire clothing I intend at least partially to serve a technical function, I try to select pieces that work for multiple sports and activities. I’ve been utilizing this top on days I plan to switch between athletic and social activities in cool weather.
One of my primary uses is for alpine skiing. I love this piece for alpine skiing because it transitions well between slopes and lodge in a range of conditions. On the coldest days this ski season, I’ve been wearing the Showers Pass Apex short sleeve tee in men’s small under the Basecamp Hoodie, topped by the Arcteryx Atom LT, an insulated midlayer, and the Arcteryx Beta AR jacket, a three-layer Gortex hardshell. This has kept my temperature well regulated on the cold lift ride up as well as when shredding turns on the way down. On warmer days, I stash the Atom LT and wear the Basecamp Hoodie directly under the hardshell or forgo the hardshell all together and ride with the Basecamp and bibs. When taking a break in the lodge or grabbing a drink apres-ski, the Baselayer looks great with my bibs for a ski-bum look or with my base layer wool leggings for more of a ski bunny vibe.
For cross country skiing on cooler days, it works well paired under my Patagonia Houdini shirt. There are synthetic pieces designed specifically for cross country that might work better, but I cross country ski for the workout and the joy of gliding along frozen lakes, not for any competitive purpose.
With the need for increased ventilation for health regulations, the climbing gym has been extra chilly this fall and winter. The Basecamp Merino Hoodie has made starting my climbing sessions much easier in the mornings. It’s also great to wear when biking around town on cooler days to run errands or commute.
The 230 gsm weight merino wool fabric, especially with the hood, pockets, and relaxed fit that add extra bulk, is too warm for longer duration high output aerobic activities, but it makes a great recovery piece for the car-ride home or for heated patio hangouts afterwards.
The Basecamp Hoodie has withstood a number of washes to date and has yet to display signs of wear. This piece retails for $139, which isn’t cheap, but it is comparable in price to similar pieces by Smartwool and is less than Icebreaker. Hopefully the Showers Pass Basecamp Hoodie will be with me for years to come.
Fit and Sizing
At 5’8”, 135 lbs, the small was the best fit for me, which is consistent with my sizing in other Showers Pass base layers and base layers from other brands. The fit of the shirt and the weight of the fabric make it most suitable as a layer over another shirt. It was a relaxed fit for me, more in line with the 90’s skater or snowboarder-look that is popular now than the body con fit of more technical base layers. Despite the thickness of the fabric, nipples will show through without other layers underneath. One note about the fit is that the length of the hoodie accommodates a cycling stance, which is much appreciated (just say no to crack!) but it ends up framing my lovely, slightly rounded belly in a way that emphasizes its swell. I’ve found that tucking the bottom three inches up under itself gives the piece a more flattering fit on my body.
Learn more at ShowersPass.com.