When building a house or a skyscraper, you start with the foundation and work your way up; the foundation of your clothing system is the base layer. This important and often overlooked piece of the layering system is where the microclimate next to the skin is forming and where we can begin managing it. Merino wool has been used in clothing for seven centuries and for good reason! The two most beneficial attributes of Merino are its ability to absorb moisture while still maintaining its warmth, and its ability to remain near odorless even after extended uses without washing–perfect for hunters. With these traits in mind, Stone Glacier created the Chinook top and bottom.
Chinook Base Layer Technical Specs
Stone Glacier uses their MERINO6™, a high-quality blend of 89% merino wool and 11% Nylon. The merino diameter comes in at a super fine rating of 17.5 microns. The long-sleeved crew top comes in with a weight of 8.3 oz in size large. The bottoms come in at an even lighter 6.4 oz also for a size large–a 14.7 oz complete baselayer.
One of the first things that struck me upon receiving the Chinook set was how soft to the touch it is. This can be attributed to those superfine merino fibers. I was also pleasantly surprised with the tarmac color, the only color offered for both top and bottom. It is a greenish-brown that will be well suited in any outdoor environment (even if you never run around the woods in just your underwear!)
As usual, Stone Glaciers’ quality was top notch with no exposed threads and neatly stitched seams. The seamless shoulders are a nice touch providing a full range of motion and preventing any chance of a seam causing a hot spot between your skin and pack’s shoulder strap. One of my favorite features in any shirt, but especially a base layer, is a long cut tail and I was happy to find Stone Glacier included it on the Chinook.
First and foremost, the Chinook set is extremely comfortable. The well thought out seamless shoulders don’t hinder movement at all making it easy to draw a bow or reach above your head without pulling the sleeve up your arm. The bottoms are “boot top” length, which I find to be perfect; no longer do you need to worry about the bottom of the leg bunching up inside your boot. The bottoms also have a seam just above the knee making it comfortable to squat and not be restricted.
I’m embarrassed to write that I wore the top for a total of thirteen days without washing! Included in that thirteen days were some late season archery elk hunts, multiple days at work, and even a Thanksgiving dinner! After all of that activity, the ultimate test of the merino was if it passed the smell test from my pregnant wife with her heightened superhuman sniffer. I’m happy to report that it passed with flying colors! My wife couldn’t believe it had been worn that long and had no odors to speak of! (brave woman!)
A little more care must be taken with a merino product when it is finally time to wash. It’s best to hang dry after washing on a gentle cycle. This will ensure maximum life out of your garment. A 100% merino wool garment’s disadvantage is it takes a lot longer to dry in the field than a synthetic piece. Stone Glacier seems to have solved this problem with the addition of the 11% nylon which helps to evacuate moisture. I found no discernable difference in drying time between the Chinook and my synthetic base layers.
Final Thoughts On The Chinook Baselayers
The Chinook set will continue to be the foundation of my layering system for the foreseeable future. I am also looking forward to September elk hunts where I will be wearing the Chinook top as my outer layer. I’m confident in its ability to keep me cool during those long late summer days on the mountain. It will also excel at keeping my scent under control. That’s something both my hunting partners and I can appreciate when showers and washing machines are rarities.
This is truly a great baselayer that can be utilized 365 days a year no matter the climate or location. Stone Glacier once again created a great set for the backcountry hunter utilizing centuries-old merino and modern technology. You will be comfortable in the field or even just around town.
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