Last week while browsing a few different forums I noticed more than one question surrounding the design and use of our Merino Zip-Off Baselayer Bottoms. Like they used to say in school, if one person has a question, then there are likely others wondering the same thing. The Zip-Off Bottoms have become one of my favorite layering pieces over the past year, so I’d like to make sure everyone is clear on how they work and why they were designed the way they are.
The first thing that most potential buyers notice and question about the zip-off bottoms is the length. They are obviously different in that regard from traditional long underwear that ends around the ankles, and it’s a normal instinct for potential buyers to initially shy away from a product that appears to fit differently than what they’ve become accustomed to wearing for years. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t have my share of eyebrow raising moments as Shaun catwalked the halls of the KUIU office in his mid-calf length baselayer bottoms during the developmental stages of the product. Fashion sense aside, the shortened length concept makes sense and works in the field. There’s really no reason to have a baselayer insulate the lower leg within the upper of the boot… that’s what socks are for. Furthermore, the beauty of the zip-off feature is that the user doesn’t need to remove his pants or even touch his boot lacing to add and/or remove this layer. Lastly, the garment weighs less without the excess fabric.
The functionality of the easy-on, easy-off design could not be better. Gone are the days where you tough out the bitter cold in the mornings to avoid having to basically change clothes later when the sun came up in order to shed my traditional long underwear. It’s not that we don’t have time on a hunt to take our boots and pants off and then put them back on again, but let’s face it… it’s an inconvenience that’s typically avoided until the heat of a baselayer bottom becomes completely unbearable. The zip-off bottoms change all of this. It’s a no-brainer to put them on in the morning when it’s cold, and it only takes about 15 seconds to remove them, put them in the pack, and continue with the day as soon as it gets too warm.
A couple frequently asked questions are how does the zipper feel against the leg, and how do the upper closer tabs feel against the waist? The answer is pretty straight forward- you really don’t ever feel either of them. The size 3C YKK zippers are small and soft, and have an inner trim that closes off contact between the skin and the zipper teeth (detailed photo below). Though slight in size, these zippers have proven to hold up very well. We have yet to receive a single warranty claim against the performance or longevity of the zippers on the zip-off bottoms.
The upper velcro closure tabs are designed in a way that keeps all of the hook and loop material out of contact with the body. Additionally, there is almost no bulge or change in thickness along the waistband that would create an uncomfortable pressure point while wearing a pack waist belt over the top.
I hope this helps clear up some questions surrounding this baselayer piece. The Merino Zip-Off Bottoms are undoubtedly KUIU’s most under-the-radar innovations of the past year.
GIVEAWAY (Update Below)
SUBSCRIBE AND SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS AND/OR EXPERIENCES WITH THE ZIP-OFF BOTTOMS IN THE COMMENTS SECTION BELOW, AND I WILL PICK ONE COMMENTER AT RANDOM NEXT FRIDAY AT 10AM PST TO RECEIVE A FREE PAIR.
JAMES PARMER, your name was drawn as the winner of this Giveaway. I have emailed you with instructions. Thank you to all who took the time to comment on this post. Your responses are invaluable to those who come across this post down the road while researching this product.
On a side note, it was brought to our attention yesterday that the previous SUBSCRIBE feature used for this blog has sent a some unrelated emails to our readers. We immediately deactivated and removed the problematic subscription provider, and have replaced it with a new one that will not send any unwanted emails. Thanks to those of you who notified us of the issue.