Review: Sitka Merino 120 LS Crew

When you think of wool, a thin, lightweight shirt isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But Sitka is all in on merino baselayers, and for good reason. The layers are incredibly warm for their weight in colder weather, ventilate well in hot conditions, and wick moisture away no matter the temperature. The thinnest of them all is Sitka’s Core Merino 120 LS Crew. True to Sitka’s athletic fit, the shirt is form-fitting, but not too tight. It leaves enough room for airflow, while not bunching up with extra material under a backpack. With regards to the cut, the most noticeable feature is an extra panel sewn into each sleeve, which keeps the garment tight around the wrists and cuffs. It also allows me to scrunch the sleeves above my elbows on hot days, without worrying about them rolling or sliding back down. The sleeves even have thumb holes, so alternatively, on cold days, the cuffs won’t ride up as I’m slipping on another layer. Overall, the Core Merino 120 is a do-it-all baselayer. I wore it on a weeklong antler-hunting trip this spring, and I was shocked by how warm it was when traversing a windblown ridge, but also by how well it breathed when bushwacking through creek-bottom willows on a sweltering afternoon. And through all the brambles, bushes, and rocks, the fabric didn’t fray at all—so I know the garment is in for a long life in the mountains.

To complement the long sleeve, I also tried out Sitka’s Core Lightweight Boxer on antler- and bear-hunting trips this spring. While it’s a fully synthetic fabric blend, its breaths great, dries quickly, and manages odor well. At 2.5 ounces, it truly is lightweight. Not that I’m too concerned about weight (a heavy pack is a heavy pack), but some folks around the O/B office have been known to weigh their underwear before big trips. The nicest feature of the boxer is the elastic waist band, which stays put even when diving over logs, scrambling through scree, or breaking brush for firewood. For a technical boxer-brief upgrade, look no further than Sitka’s Core lineup.

$119 for the shirt, $39 for the boxer;