Ortovox Rock'N'Wool Pant - Women's Review
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.
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.
We absolutely love the breathability of this bottom. With its thinner construction, it keeps the skin super dry.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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