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Ortovox Rock'N'Wool Pant - Women's Review

A good looking merino wool base layer with top lightweight performance
Ortovox Rock'N'Wool Pant - Women's
Photo: Alpenglow Gear
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $110 List
Pros:  Warm for the weight, great breathability, cute colors and style, sustainable company model, dries quickly
Cons:  Expensive
Manufacturer:   Ortovox
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 17, 2020
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79
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 10
  • Warmth - 30% 7
  • Breathability - 30% 9
  • Comfort and Fit - 30% 8
  • Durability - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The women's Ortovox Rock n' Wool 185 Pant became our go-to model for aerobic activity in cool to cold weather. This base layer teeters between lightweight and midweight bottoms. It is as thin as the lightweight layers we've tested, and it breathes among the best of all options. The 100% merino wool construction wicks away moisture sufficiently and dries very quickly. It's also a bit warmer than traditional lightweight bottoms. When hiking, running, and lounging in this piece, the fabric retains its shape and continues to perform even when wet, dirty, and unwashed for over a week. The reinforced material at the knees offers more abrasion resistance to high wear zones. This is a great choice for any woman seeking lightweight wool bottoms with extra durability features.

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Pros Warm for the weight, great breathability, cute colors and style, sustainable company model, dries quicklyAll season wear, breathable, will keep you dry, warm, improved fitFleece lining is comfortable, elastic fit, amazing value, cute style, very durable, wicking abilityAmazing breathability, comfortable on the skin, great fit, good warmth, affordable, cute colors and designsExcellent value, very warm, breathable, cute color options, comfortable waistband, versatile fit
Cons ExpensiveLacks durability when worn aloneHigh water absorptionLess durable than previous versionStretches out over time
Bottom Line A good looking merino wool base layer with top lightweight performanceA versatile merino wool bottom for year round useOur favorite bottom with a fleece-lined interior and versatile performanceA synthetic long underwear bottom with exceptional value and versatile applicationsA merino wool pant that offers an excellent value
Rating Categories Rock'N'Wool Pant Merino 250 Bottoms Rho LT Bottoms Capilene Midweight... Merino Thermal Pants
Warmth (30%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
Breathability (30%)
9.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
Comfort And Fit (30%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
Durability (10%)
7.0
7.0
9.0
9.0
5.0
Specs Rock'N'Wool Pant Merino 250 Bottoms Rho LT Bottoms Capilene Midweight... Merino Thermal Pants
Material 100% merino wool 100% merino wool Torrent fleece (84% polyester/16% elastane) 100% recycled polyester 100% merino wool
Fabric weight (g/m²) 185 g/m² 250 g/m² 150 g/m² N/A 250 g/m²
Our weight class assessment Lightweight Midweight Midweight Midweight Midweight
Measured Weight (size medium) 6.0 oz 7.3 oz 5.8 oz 5.6 oz 7.8 oz
Cuts avaliable Full length, boot length 3/4 length, full length, onsie (full body w/ hood) Full length Full length Full length
Smelly over time? No No No Yes No
Odor control fabric Naturally odor resistant Naturally odor resistant Polygiene anti-odor finish HeiQ Fresh Naturally odor resistant

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Ortovox Rock 'n' Wool is a high-performing merino wool base layer (185 grams per square meter) with lightweight appeal. While it offers a nice thin layer of insulation, it's not the warmest but kicks butt in the wicking and drying game. If you prefer thinner base layers, this one is just that but offers a little more warmth than a traditional lightweight layer. It's perfect for layering on a hike or while climbing your next mountain. Just be ready to throw down some cash as the price is high.

Performance Comparison


Canoeing in Northern Ontario never felt so good with the Ortovox...
Canoeing in Northern Ontario never felt so good with the Ortovox Rock n' Wool bottom layered underneath our hiking pants. It provides insulation from the cold, metal seat on this cool fall morning.
Photo: Amber King

Warmth


Built with merino wool, this bottom offers sufficient warmth for the ski hill and cold weather in the winter. While it's designed as a midweight piece, the bottoms actually feel pretty lightweight, doing a great job at wicking away moisture from the legs to keep you dry and warm while skiing. To us, it lands between traditional lightweight and midweight layers in terms of warmth.


The Rock 'n' Wool offers an impressive amount of warmth for its low-density fabrics that are pretty thin. While the bottoms don't provide the best insulation on their own, it's best to layer with an insulated pant if you're sitting on the ski lift. If you plan on cross-country skiing or backcountry skiing, a snow shell with zippered vents will do. To make sure you are warm, it's important that the layers you wear above it offer the opportunity to ventilate well. This piece is best seen as a layer that'll wick away moisture but won't offer a whole lot in terms of insulation during sedentary activities.

In our testing, we took it climbing, hiking, camping, and skiing. Through it all, it proves to keep us dry and wick when wet. We appreciate the added warmth it also provides with its 100% merino wool construction.

Warm but thin, they offer sufficient warmth and excellent...
Warm but thin, they offer sufficient warmth and excellent breathability when layered under a pair of shorts on a winter run.
Photo: Amber King

Breathability


We absolutely love the breathability of this bottom. With its thinner construction, it keeps the skin super dry.


A look at the fabric made of merino wool, or 'Rock n' Wool' that...
A look at the fabric made of merino wool, or 'Rock n' Wool' that wicks away moisture and transfers it away from the skin.
Photo: Amber King

When wearing this model on a run, even when it got wet with snow, the fabric dries out quickly. Like many merino wool layers, it needs appropriate ventilation to ensure it stays dry. If you intend to wear it underneath a pair of snow pants, be sure they have zippered vents or a breathable design if you plan on sweating. Of the merino wool base layers tested, this offers some of the best drying speeds and breathability that we've seen due in part to its thinner design and the inherent benefits of merino wool.

This is a super breathable layer given the thin construction that...
This is a super breathable layer given the thin construction that easily transports moisture and dries quickly.
Photo: Amber King

Comfort & Fit


We fell in love with the cute, contrasting colors of this base layer bottom, a refreshing change from the all-too-common grays and blacks typical of long underwear. The fabrics are soft to the touch and feel good to wear all day. We chose to wear them a lot while running and hiking. Even after wearing them during these sweaty activities, we'd come home and chill out without changing the bottom.


Chilling out at the cottage after a long day hiking and canoeing at...
Chilling out at the cottage after a long day hiking and canoeing at the cottage in Northern Ontario. These bottoms are comfortable for all-day wear.
Photo: Amber King

Given the thinner design, it's not as cozy as thicker merino wool contenders, but we appreciate the warmth it provides even when a room is cold, or winter is blowing hard. The fabric offers good structure and doesn't sag after using it for several days on end. We also appreciate that no smells accumulated after wearing it for over a week without washing it.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
A look at the overall fit of the Ortovox pant. Cute design and fun...
A look at the overall fit of the Ortovox pant. Cute design and fun color combinations. The fabrics are stretchy and don't stretch overtime.
Photo: Amber King

The waistband is also comfortable. It offers a good amount of stretch that isn't too tight with a versatile fit built for all types of women. The material on the band is not padded like other super cozy base layers but still feels good for all-day wear.

The waistband is comfortable with flat seams on the interior. It...
The waistband is comfortable with flat seams on the interior. It offers the right amount of stretch that isn't too tight or loose.
Photo: Amber King

The seams are flat and the fabric doesn't chafe, even when your skin is sensitive, cold, and dry. The fit is true to size, being long enough for those with longer limbs. The cuffs at the bottom of the pant are also quite stretchy. So if you have bigger calves, the fabric will stretch out to accommodate. That said, there is a seam at the cuff that does limit its sizing.

Durability


After wearing these bottoms for the last year, we've noticed only a couple of fabric snags. We appreciate the reinforced knees that add to the durability of these pants, especially if you find yourself kneeling a lot while in the backcountry.


We appreciate the extra fabrics at the knees, a higher wear zone...
We appreciate the extra fabrics at the knees, a higher wear zone when layered under a pair of pants.
Photo: Amber King

While we were concerned about the thin nature of the fabric, we're surprised at how well it's performed. It's been layered underneath three different snow pants, taken up prominent mountain ridges, and shimmied through some rocky terrain. Overall, we deem it to be pretty durable (thus far). We will continue our testing and report back if any glaring durability issues surface with continued use. So far, we've used these base layers for over a year without any failures.

Testing durability on a snowy day in the mountains.
Testing durability on a snowy day in the mountains.
Photo: Amber King

Value


Ortovox is a pretty rad company that manufactures all of its products from sustainable sources and is part of the 'Fair Wear' group that promotes safe and healthy working conditions for workers. If you're willing to invest in a company with these values, then we'd say it's worth the extra money. The lightweight performance is another factor to consider when looking at value. There's no other option that breathes as well, is as comfortable, or looks as cool.

Conclusion


The Ortovox Rock n' Wool bottoms for women are super stylish with great performance. This is a top performer in our review because of its great thermoregulation and comfort. It offers lightweight performance (even though it's advertised as a midweight base layer), doing great work wicking moisture away from the skin to keep you dry. While it's not the most insulative base layer bottom, it's perfect for high-intensity activities on cool to cold days. Unfortunately, it comes with a high price tag, but you might find the value of Ortovox worth investing in.

Amber King