Ortovox Rock'N'Wool Pant - Women's Review
Cons: Expensive, potential durability issues
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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 performance. 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. The Rock 'n' Wool offers a lot of warmth of its low density. While the bottoms don't offer the best insulation on there own, it's best to layer this base layer with an insulated pant if you're simply hiking or sitting on the ski lift. If you plan on cross-country skiing or backcountry skiing, a snow shell with zippered vents would work well. In order 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.
We absolutely love the breathability of this bottom. With its thinner construction, it keeps the skin super dry. The merino fibers are built in a way that easily grabs sweat or moisture, and evaporates quickly through it.
When wearing this model on a run, even when it got wet with snow, the fabric dried 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 to its thinner design.
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 pretty comfortable. It offers a good amount of stretch that isn't too tight, providing a versatile fit for lots of women of different shapes and sizes. The material on the band is not padded like other super cozy base layers, but it 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 fairly true to size, being long enough for those with longer legs. 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 the sizing, unlike other thicker merino wool bottoms we tested.
After wearing these bottoms for the last few months, we haven't noticed any durability issues so far. We've washed it several times, and the fabric hasn't pilled, nor have we seen any snags or holes in the fabric. 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.
That said, the thinness of the fabric does concern us a little bit. We have also tested the long-sleeve top of this model, and we noticed some holes develop after wearing it with a backpack. Given this is the same wool, we can't award it top marks for durability…yet. We will continue testing it to report back. However, after a few months of wearing it continuously while hiking, running, and lounging, it's done well so far!
This is one of the most expensive base layer bottoms tested. While it does host cute colors and neat design, none of its performance features surpass other (slightly) lower-priced contenders. That said, 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. However, if you're simply looking at the performance of the product, there are better-priced options out there with similar or marginally better performance.
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 or durable 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 values of Ortovox worth investing in.
— Amber King