Hands-on Gear Review

Minus33 Ossipee Review

Price:  $66 List | $65.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Very warm, good temperature regulation, easy layering, affordable
Cons:  Limited durability, uncomfortable wrist cuffs, longest drying time
Editors' Rating:   
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Material:  100% 18.5 Micron Merino Wool
Weight:  5.3 oz
Odor Control Fabric:  Yes
Manufacturer:   Minus33

Our Verdict

True to its name, the Minus33 Ossipee is a crew cut midweight 100% merino wool base layer that is quite toasty! With proper layering, this base really will keep you warm in really cold temperatures! Despite our love for its warmth, temperature regulation, and layering ability, we really disliked aspects of its fit, durability, and drying speed. The cuffs around the wrists are stitched and aren't very stretchy, the durability was a bit lame - showing piling and stretching out after just one winter of use, and the drying speed was SLOW. As a result, we would recommend it for day trips or wearing around town but don't think it's the best option for any water sports. Wear this is a stand-alone piece on cool weather hikes and runs, but if you anticipate warmer weather during the day, don't be afraid to layer a tank top underneath. The price is just right at $60, making this one of the most affordable merino wool layers.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Long Underwear and Base Layers for Women

Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Amber King

Last Updated:
Sunday
May 10, 2015

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The Minus33 Ossipee is an affordable midweight merino wool base layer that has great temperature regulation and warmth. Being the slowest to dry and one of the quickest to wear out, we wouldn't recommend it for wet or abrasion laden adventures.

Performance Comparison


Amber King  the author  chose to wear the Minus 33 on this splitboarding mission on a spring day on Ophir Pass in the San Juans. She wore this top on its own while hiking to the summit and as part of a layering system on the descent.
Amber King, the author, chose to wear the Minus 33 on this splitboarding mission on a spring day on Ophir Pass in the San Juans. She wore this top on its own while hiking to the summit and as part of a layering system on the descent.

Warmth


The Minus33 is a warm base layer that will keep you very warm on a blustery winter day when it's integrated into a layering system . Moreover, while testing on a cold night in the high desert of Moab, UT we found it provided ample warmth as a stand-alone piece, similar to (but not as warm as) the SmartWool Merino 250 Base Layer Crew - Women's when we nestled down in our sleeping bag. While climbing on the windy day after our cold night, we noticed that we weren't as warm as we were with the Arc'teryx Rho LT Zip - Women's. We attribute this to the fabric knit not being as tight, meaning a loss of heat.

When the wind and snow comes out of nowhere  it's important to have a layer that will keep you toasty by wicking the moisture away from your body.
When the wind and snow comes out of nowhere, it's important to have a layer that will keep you toasty by wicking the moisture away from your body.

Breathability


We were really impressed with the 100% merino wool's ability to regulate heat during early morning runs and hikes. It kept us cool when it was hot and warm when it was cold. Climbing in the shade of Moab's towers, we found ourselves constantly transitioning from blazing highs to brisk, breezy lows. During these temperature swings, the Ossipee was able to keep our body temperature steady without causing a sweat or a shiver. If you're looking for a long underwear top with a wider range of temperature regulation but significantly less warmth as a stand-alone piece, check out the Icebreaker Oasis - Women's.

Allowing heat to exit fast  we felt the wind through this merino wool layer as Amber  the author  rappels off Gunsmoke on the Maverick Buttress in Moab  UT.
Allowing heat to exit fast, we felt the wind through this merino wool layer as Amber, the author, rappels off Gunsmoke on the Maverick Buttress in Moab, UT.

Layering Ability


In comparison to synthetics like the Patagonia Capilene 3 Crew - Women's, the Ossipee was not as easy to layer. But among the merino wool layers, it came in second. The face fabric isn't as grabby as the Smartwool's fabric, making it easy to take layers off and put them on without dealing with stuck shirts and exposed skin. Being bulkier than the Oasis, it wasn't as easy to layer thicker and tighter shirts over top. But overall, it's a functional and good layering option.

Amber makes dinner with the Minus33 layered over her tank top. The fabric doesn't grab like other merino wool layers and is easy to take on and off.
Amber makes dinner with the Minus33 layered over her tank top. The fabric doesn't grab like other merino wool layers and is easy to take on and off.

Comfort & Fit


We really enjoyed wearing this top through a plethora of activities. From backcountry snowboarding to crack climbing in the desert, the Minus33 feels soft and comfortable against the skin. It is also an appropriate length in the torso and arms, is true-to-size, and is perfect for a size 4/6 women. However, we didn't like the shirts cuffs because they were were sewn and not stretchy. As a result we had trouble rolling up our sleeves when it was necessary. Aside from the cuff issue, we think the Minus33 is a comfy layer, and we reached for it often. Though if you're looking for something with a little more stretch in the cuffs with a cuter stiching pattern, check out our Top Pick for Comfort, the Smartwool NTS.

We didn't love the rigid and sewn cuffs of this shirt; they made it hard to roll up our sleeves when we were trying to jam cracks in the desert.
We didn't love the rigid and sewn cuffs of this shirt; they made it hard to roll up our sleeves when we were trying to jam cracks in the desert.

Drying Speed


Of all the shirts tested, this was the slowest to dry. When initially trying to soak it we noticed that it was quite impervious to water; however, once it was saturated, it took a long time to dry out. As a result we wouldn't recommend this layer for any water-based sports like boating or rafting. If you're looking for a quick drying shirt, check out the synthetic Under Armour Base 2.0 Crew - Women's.

Durability


This is where the Minus33 lost some serious points. Stretching out and pilling on the face fabric and seams contributed to it receiving a low score. After a day of crack climbing, the fibers on the arms were ruffled and seemingly destroyed. This is a delicate piece that needs to be treated softly. If you're looking for a more durable wool layer, check out the Icebreaker Oasis instead.

Not picturing all the damage here  but the merino wool fibers are more delicate that synthetic competitors. This is true for most merino wool shirts we tested. Notice the pilling on the seams and face fabric. We don't recommend this for super abrasive activities like spelunking or crack climbing as it will break down fast.
Not picturing all the damage here, but the merino wool fibers are more delicate that synthetic competitors. This is true for most merino wool shirts we tested. Notice the pilling on the seams and face fabric. We don't recommend this for super abrasive activities like spelunking or crack climbing as it will break down fast.

Best Applications


This a great option for most outdoor adventures including a visit to the ski hill, a day hike, or a romp around town. Avoid it for aerobic sports on super warm days and during abrasion-heavy activities like spelunking or rock climbing.

This top's temperature regulation makes it a very versatile option for most endeavors. Wear it hiking and/or skiing up and down your favorite mountain. Feel free to use it for "snag-free" and water-based sports.
This top's temperature regulation makes it a very versatile option for most endeavors. Wear it hiking and/or skiing up and down your favorite mountain. Feel free to use it for "snag-free" and water-based sports.

Value


At $66.00 this is cheapest of all the merino layers and a great option if you are looking for a cozy shirt with great temperature regulation. If you want a better deal for a lower price and you're open to a synthetic, check out our Best Buy Award Winner, the Patagonia Capilene 3.

Conclusion


We really wanted to love this piece but it fell short in a lot of areas. We would recommend the Ossipee as a great and affordable merino option. However, if you have the extra cash, we would recommend your save your pennies for a better performance piece like the Smartwool NTS.

Just straight chillin'! The cozy fabric and great temperature regulation makes the Minus33 a great compadre on most missions. Especially those that involve hanging out in the back of a pick up.
Just straight chillin'! The cozy fabric and great temperature regulation makes the Minus33 a great compadre on most missions. Especially those that involve hanging out in the back of a pick up.
Amber King

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Most recent review: May 10, 2015
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