Odlo Kinship Light Crew - Women's Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Odlo Kinship Light consists of eco-friendly Tencel fabric that creates a soft feel next to your skin. The ventilation graphic is not only aesthetically pleasing but also works to release moisture and enhance breathability. This ultralight layer performs well, does not trap any detectable odor, and we had no issues with durability after a month of testing.
To test each base layer for its specific level of warmth, we recorded our experiences with these layers on adventures that took us from multi-pitch rock climbs to trail runs during the often unpredictable change of season. We were mindful of the weight of each fabric, noting whether a layer would be considered light, mid, or heavyweight. The Tencel fabric of this top is noticeably different from the rest. It's ultralight but enough to keep our core warm while climbing in the shade (when layered over) during the fall or breaking the wind from the North during a trail run.
The Odlo Kinship Light is designed to deliver performance in motion. Made from 84% Tencel (which is a brand name; the fabric's generic name is lyocell) and 16% Polyamide fabrics of botanical origin, these highly technical fabrics feature natural thermoregulation. The Kinship is exceptionally lightweight, we even found ourselves double-checking to make sure it was still tied around our waist after the sun came out during a training run this fall. We were impressed with the amount of warmth we were able to achieve during activity but we would not recommend this layer as a stand-alone piece nor would we recommend this for sedentary activity. Think: thermoregulation while in motion.
Almost as important a metric as warmth, the base layers on the market today are designed to keep you warm while offering advanced technology to wick moisture away from the skin and evaporate through the ventilation within the fabric.
The Odlo Kinship Light is capable of keeping you warm while releasing excessive moisture from the body through the seamlessly constructed design graphic which not only makes you look fast but allows the fabric to dry quickly due to excellent ventilation. This top dumps heat and wicks away moisture very well, which is a large reason why we love it for fast-paced activity.
Comfort and Fit
When considering a new base layer, not only should it keep you warm and breathe well but it should also fit your body and feel comfortable next to your skin. While the Tencel fabric has a silky soft feel next to your skin, it does not have the same level of cozy comfort as a merino wool layer. However, the fabric is so light that it's easy to forget you are wearing a base layer at all.
The Odlo Kinship Light is meant to hug your frame perhaps a little tighter than you would consider wearing for a stand-alone piece. The European fit allows the layer to trap the heat your body creates during activity while being thin and breathable enough to release sweat and prevent you from overheating. One complaint we have about this layer is that the thin Tencel fabric does not have enough structure to maintain its shape if you pull the sleeves over your forearm. However, one cycle in the washing machine seemed to give shape to the fabric once again.
In order to test for this metric, we consider how easily we could layer over or under these base layers. While we noticed that the merino wool often created a static cling, the Tencel fabric that the Odlo Kinship Light is constructed from performs well in this category. The Tencel material has a smooth texture and the weight of the fabric is very thin and ultralight making it easy to layer over. We should mention this is another reason not to size up on the Odlo Kinship because one of the intentions of the snug European fit is for easier layering and actually enhances this top's performance.
We found it quite easy to layer over this base layer, whether throwing a vest on top to keep our core warm while on a trail run or by throwing another midweight base layer on top if we were headed out for a long day exposed to the cold weather elements. We do not recommend wearing a shirt under this top, though, as it is designed to be your first layer.
For this metric, we consider the overall construction of the base layer, from the thickness of the fabric, the weight of the fabric, as well as its ability to release odor. Similar to merino wool, the Tencel fabric contains natural anti-odor properties that prevent the layer from retaining odor. After weeks of testing, from long runs to multi-pitch climbs, we don’t notice any smell and are impressed with this Tencel fabric that creates another sustainable option besides merino wool.
While we did not experience any durability issues during testing with the Odlo Kinship Light, it is not to say we didn’t try. Perhaps not its intended use, but we wore the Odlo Kinship while climbing in Yosemite this Fall. We took this layer through multiple chimney pitches that require you to essentially gain upward progress by opposing the other side of the rock wall. We were impressed when we noticed the Odlo Kinship showed hardly any signs of wear and tear, even after moving through chimneys and sharp rocks. Even though the Odlo Kinship survived what we’ll call the chimney test, we believe it should be considered an ultralight layer derived from botanical materials that perhaps might not be as durable as a thicker synthetic layer.
If you are looking for an ultralight layer that will keep you warm during the change of season or high output cold weather activities, the Odlo does not disappoint. This technical layer is one of the more affordable options that we tested and we are happy with the value it presents.
The Odlo Kinship Light is a great ultralight option when seeking a base layer that will hug your form, breathe well, and dry quickly. Easily layered over, the Tencel fabric provides a comfortable base for high exertion activity. While not as warm as the other base layers we tested, we love that the Odlo Kinship Light is the best for performance so as to not overheat while increasing your heart rate during cold-weather activity. These key features made the Odlo Kinship stand out amongst the competition as our top lightweight performer.
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