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Minus33 Kancamagus Midweight Merino Wool Bottoms Review

For wintry missions in the backcountry or hibernating deep inside a cabin, these soft, long bottoms are almost perfect for keeping legs extra toasty
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Minus33 Kancamagus Midweight Merino Wool Bottoms Review
Credit: Justin Simoni
Price:  $80 List
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Manufacturer:   Minus33
By Justin Simoni ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jul 8, 2024
73
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 16
  • Warmth - 25% 9.0
  • Breathability - 20% 7.0
  • Comfort and Fit - 20% 7.0
  • Durability - 15% 6.0
  • Drying Speed - 10% 6.0
  • Layering Ability - 10% 7.0

Our Verdict

The Minus33 Kancamagus Midweight Merino Wool Bottoms are well-designed to keep you comfortable and thriving when the weather turns cold and wintry, surrounding you in a layer of thick, soft, 100% Merino wool fabric. The high-waist design and tall ankle cuffs gently hug your body on each end to keep the bottoms locked into place as you move between home and backcountry. A flatlock seam construction keeps the fabric smooth and comfortable against your skin, while the wool helps to keep you dry, pulling moisture away from your skin and providing impressive overall thermoregulation. This pair is best worn underneath a top layer to help keep things toasty and to protect you and the Kancamagus from the potential damages inflicted by rugged terrain.
REASONS TO BUY
Soft and stretchy wool fabric
Super cozy and warm
High waist and tall ankle cuffs
REASONS TO AVOID
Lacking in durability
Takes a long time to line dry
Not as breathable as other options

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Price $80 List
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Bottom Line Exceptional for the coldest of days when you want to keep your legs warm and cozy underneath your outer layersMore than just a budget choice, this synthetic base layer performs magnificently as a thermal bottomOne of the best pair of Merino wool bottoms for those on a budgetThis bargain set of long undergarments is best for infrequent users or light-demand scenariosGrab this set for a little added warmth to your system only if a low price is absolutely non-negotiable
Rating Categories Minus33 Kancamagus... REI Co-op Midweight... Meriwool Merino 250... WEERTI Thermal Flee... Thermajohn Thermal...
Warmth (25%)
9.0
7.0
8.0
4.0
4.0
Breathability (20%)
7.0
7.0
6.0
8.0
8.0
Comfort and Fit (20%)
7.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
5.0
Durability (15%)
6.0
9.0
6.0
5.0
5.0
Drying Speed (10%)
6.0
7.0
6.0
9.0
9.0
Layering Ability (10%)
7.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
7.0
Specs Minus33 Kancamagus... REI Co-op Midweight... Meriwool Merino 250... WEERTI Thermal Flee... Thermajohn Thermal...
Measured Weight (Size Medium) 8.9 oz 7.4 oz 7.9 oz 6 oz 5.8 oz
Material 100% Merino wool 92% recycled polyester, 8% spandex 100% Merino wool 92% polyester/ 8% spandex 92% polyester 8% spandex
Insulation Weight Class Midweight Midweight Midweight Lightweight Lightweight
Odor Control Fabric Naturally odor resistant None Naturally odor resistant None None
3/4 Boot-Cut Available? No No No No No
Fly? No Yes Yes No No
Dryer Safe? Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Listed Fabric Weight (g/m²) 235 g/m2 Not stated 250 g/m² Not stated Not stated

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Minus33 Kancamagus Midweight Merino Wool Bottoms are high quality, warm Merino bottoms perfect for cold weather duties. In fact, we saw few other options equal to their quality in our entire lineup! For such a thick wool layer, they also breathe well, and we wouldn't shy away from some impromptu dawn patrol fast-uphill laps with friends. Being so thick, they may just be too much bottom for when the weather turns warmer. Constructed out of gorgeous, stretch knit, 100% Merino wool fabric sewn throughout with low profile flatlock seams, we found them extremely comfy while on the move in the backcountry or when sleeping in underneath our down comforters back home. The semi-loose fit is perfect for lanky marathoners and CrossFit junkies alike. They may take a bit longer to dry than a lighter-weight layer, and Merino can be more delicate than synthetic, but these bottoms will shine behind the scenes, particularly when protected underneath your favorite tough snow pants.

Performance Comparison


minus33 kancamagus midweight merino wool bottoms - in harsh alpine conditions, a pair of warm long bottoms like the...
In harsh alpine conditions, a pair of warm long bottoms like the Minus33 Kancamagus Midweight Merino Wool Bottoms can be clutch in comfortably trekking across a route.
Credit: Justin Simoni

Warmth


Warmth and coziness are by far the strongest traits of the Minus33 Kancamagus Midweight Merino Wool Bottoms. If you are looking for a pair of long underwear to help keep you warm in wintry conditions above all else, these are a pair you want to seriously consider. After testing them and comparing them with others, we've rated them among the warmest pairs in our test lineup, care of the 235 g/sm, 100% Merino wool knitted fabric used throughout their construction.


The waistband of the Kancamagus sits a bit higher than usual to help with overlapping your upper and lower layers ever so slightly — and even its stretchy elastane is covered in wool fabric. The ankle cuffs are also generously tall to help with preventing these bottoms from riding up while you're skinning up the slope, preventing you from dumping all that hard-earned warmth.

The waistband of the Minus33 Kancamagus Midweight Merino Wool...
The waistband of the Minus33 Kancamagus Midweight Merino Wool Bottoms rides up higher than most.
The ankle cuffs of the Minus33 Kancamagus Midweight Merino Wool...
The ankle cuffs of the Minus33 Kancamagus Midweight Merino Wool Bottoms are longer than most, helping keep them from riding up.
Several features help seal in the heat, like the high waist and secure ankle cuffs.

We used an indoor bike trainer in controlled conditions to test how much warmth was produced during a high-intensity workout. The Minus33's kept us warmer than the vast majority of bottoms we've tested.

The indoor bike training was a clutch piece of equipment to help us compare pairs of long underwear against each other. We felt exceptionally warm in the Minus33 Kancamagus Midweight Merino Wool Bottoms after some high intensity spinning.
Credit: Justin Simoni

Out of doors, we took the Kancamagus on a very early Spring trip on the Continental Divide Trail's “Argentine Spine” segment, which covers some of the highest and coldest parts you'll find in Colorado. We admit to being a bit too comfy wearing them at night that we slept in a bit, neglecting our early morning water-making duties until later in the morning.

Breathability


Bottoms using such thick wool fabric won't land at the very top of the list when it comes to breathability in the lineup, but the Minus33 Kancamagus Midweight Merino Wool Bottoms performed admirably well, especially given their 235 g/sm weight. Still, in our opinion, you'll want to use them primarily for cold-weather excursions rather than when moving through more temperate climes or when tackling high-output activities overall.


The wool knit is just loose enough to add a fair amount of loft, allowing both warm air to be trapped and water vapor to wick away and evaporate into the next layer or into the air if no additional layer is present. We barely remember feeling any moisture against our skin either after a full day of difficult backpacking or when waking up from a toasty bivy. Wool is known to pull moisture away from the skin as well, assisting in our feeling of dryness.

minus33 kancamagus midweight merino wool bottoms - the wool knit of the minus33 kancamagus midweight merino wool...
The wool knit of the Minus33 Kancamagus Midweight Merino Wool Bottoms helps trap air, while allowing water vapor to escape.
Credit: Justin Simoni

Comfort and Fit


The Minus33 Kancamagus Midweight Merino Wool Bottoms are champions of comfort, given how soft the 100% Merino wool fabric really is. At home, we'll unabashedly wear these around the house on lazy mornings. On the trail, we'll wear them until it's just too hot to do so otherwise. We find they help out in keeping warm on those extra-early alpine starts. Velvety wool even covers the top waistband, hugging our hips with floccus goodness. Fit is a little looser than an athletic fit. The tree trunk-like legs of our main tester had room to spare to move freely and without restriction.


Knitted wool like found on the Kancamagus is also seriously stretchy, allowing these Minus33 bottoms to dynamically move with us rather than fight against us. We also loved the tall ankle cuffs that kept these bottoms from getting lost halfway up our ankles when we put on a top layer. Low profile, flatlock seams are found throughout these bottoms construction. We're normally not very sensitive to wool, but itchiness was not even a passing concern, given the quality of the wool utilized. The only design detail we missed was the utilization of a gusseted crotch pattern, which is clutch on any sport you're saddling up: cycling or riding a snow machine, horse, etc. We were extremely delighted to see the Kancamagus is available in a very wide variety of sizes, from XS to 6X — with many tall sizes available throughout.

Potentially cold bivies are something to look forward to with a comfy pair of long bottoms, like the Minus33 Kancamagus Midweight Merino Wool Bottoms.
Credit: Justin Simoni

Durability


100% Merino wool fabric used in pieces like the Minus33 Kancamagus Midweight Merino Wool Bottoms won't ever win the prize for the most durable bottom. But the thickness of these bottoms helps them endure a bit more abuse than most other purely wool options. Still, we'd keep these as a layer that lives underneath other more durable outerwear — like ski pants or running tights — when you're outside.


Our outdoor adventuring did produce some noticeable wear and tear, including a small hole near the butt, probably from sitting on a rough granite rock while changing. We also noticed a few of those flatlock seams beginning to fuzz, which we postulate is from simply washing them in a machine. We don't suspect this fuzzing impacts the structural integrity or strength of the seams themselves.

A small hole naturally developed during our testing from use.
A small hole naturally developed during our testing from use.
Some seams -- especially around the crotch -- developed some...
Some seams -- especially around the crotch -- developed some fuzziness.
We noticed wear developing in the Kancamagus after normal use

Drying Speed


The Minus33 Kancamagus Midweight Merino Wool Bottoms weren't speed demons when it came to drying on the line. The 235 g/sm can simply hold onto a lot more moisture even when spun dry in a washing machine as compared to other long bottoms made of much thinner materials.


The 100% Merino wool should keep moisture away from your skin, allowing you to feel more comfortable even when not dry. Wool also should retain more of its warmth when wet when compared to a synthetic, so even if you're wet from either exertion or climate activities, you shouldn't get overly chilled. One detail that surprised us is that Minus33 OK's these bottoms to be dried in a dryer on low, rather that only au naturel.

minus33 kancamagus midweight merino wool bottoms - the heavy weight of the 100% wool fabric of the kancamagus midweight...
The heavy weight of the 100% wool fabric of the Kancamagus Midweight Merino Wool Bottoms is the main reason that these bottoms take a little more time to dry out -- but also the primarily reason they're so warm and comfy.
Credit: Justin Simoni

Layering Ability


Thick woolies like the Minus33 Kancamagus Midweight Merino Wool Bottoms live their best lives underneath a more durable and water-resistant layer, being too delicate to be useful as a layer all alone outside of a snowed-in cabin or nestled deep in your favorite sleeping bag. Thankfully, these particular bottoms worked pretty well when paired with everything we threw over them. The uber-soft Merino wool feels absolutely fantastic next to the skin, and the outside shouldn't catch on anything but the roughest outer layer you own.


The stretchy knit fabric does a great job moving with you, and the high waistband and tall ankle cuffs keep these bottoms from creeping into places that are hard to fix mid-ski run.

minus33 kancamagus midweight merino wool bottoms - long underwear like the minus33 kancamagus midweight merino wool...
Long underwear like the Minus33 Kancamagus Midweight Merino Wool Bottoms are almost always layered underneath something else, so excelling in layerability is critical.
Credit: Justin Simoni

Should You Buy the Minus33 Kancamagus Midweight Merino Wool Bottoms?


Holistically, the Minus33 Kancamagus Midweight Merino Wool Bottoms score near the very top when compared to every pair in our entire lineup while also being competitively priced. If you're looking for a pair of long bottoms that keep you extra toasty in wintry conditions, it's incredibly hard for us not to suggest the Kancamagus.

minus33 kancamagus midweight merino wool bottoms - no, that's not a giant croissant! rollin up the minus33 kancamagus...
No, that's not a giant croissant! Rollin up the Minus33 Kancamagus Midweight Merino Wool Bottoms really illustrates just how thick and heavyweight the 100% merino wool fabric is!
Credit: Justin Simoni

What Other Long Underwear Should You Consider?


For the price-conscious, the Meriwool Merino 250 Bottom is really hard to beat. Their construction is a little simpler, and they may feel a little scratchier to people with sensitive skin. The Smartwool Classic Thermal Merino Bottom can match beat for beat with the Minus33's, but you may find them even more comfortable, with an additional back panel and gusseted crotch in their design — you may also pay a higher premium.

Justin Simoni