WINTER TRAIL
WINTER TRAIL

In December 2021, we traveled to the American Southwest to field test our Fall-Winter Essentials. The desert in the winter presents a wide range of temperatures and conditions which we figured would allow us to properly ascertain the extent to which our fabric technologies can endure, perform and protect in harsh environments.


During the trip, we experienced freezing rain, whipping winds, and even snow, traversing the extraterrestrial-like terrain anywhere from sunrise to sunset, with runners Mike and Ellis equipped solely with our Essentials. With proper layering, a cold weather layering system can be created with our Essentials that shields against unforgiving temperatures and hostile conditions, all while remaining weightless and kind to the skin.

Field Guide to Cold Weather Layering Systems

Runners more frequently tend to overdress rather than underdress for trips in cold conditions. When selected mindfully and efficiently, however, two to three layers should be plenty to get you through runs in most temperatures and conditions — just so long as you understand the basic principles of layering and the functionality of the fabric technologies comprising your kit.


A Satisfy Cold Weather Layering System can be broken down into three layers: base, middle, and shell. We will take you through the principles behind the function of each layer and offer ideal options for each, allowing you to customize your own cold weather layering system. For longer trips through truly cold conditions, especially in the desert or mountains, even if you don’t wear all three layers at the outset, it’s a good idea to have them with you. Layers can easily be removed as you heat up, but you can’t put on layers that you didn’t bring along — and if something unexpected happens, it’s always good to be prepared.

Base Layer (wicks sweat from skin)

A good base layer acts as a constant 'second skin' that provides a layer of warmth while absorbing and evaporating sweat to keep you warm and comfortable. Our CoffeeThermal™ is a multidimensional stretch fabric that provides gentle compression and is knitted with coffee-charcoal infused fibers, making it naturally heat-retentive, bacterial and odor resistant. Find our CoffeeThermal™ in a long sleeve top, full length tight, and 8” inseam short.

Middle Layer (insulating layer; protects from cold)

Placing a second layer over top a base layer serves to block wind and, with the right fabric, trap body heat that would otherwise escape. One of our most versatile fabric technologies, CloudMerino™ is the lightest merino wool in the world, weighing just 112g (for reference, a cotton T-shirt weighs 160g). Sourced from Japan, the silky soft fabric’s porous fibers lift sweat away from your skin to prevent clamminess and dries quickly in wet conditions as the creases of the wool trap your body’s heat. Layered over top of CoffeeThermal™, these effects are only amplified. CloudMerino™ is also an excellent choice as its own layer, as its thermoregulatory properties perform equally well in warmer conditions.

The same principles apply as the CloudMerino™ T-Shirt. The Long Tee can be worn on top of a CoffeeThermal™ Base Layer for further coverage and warmth depending on the conditions or be worn as its own layer. The reason we use merino wool is for its warmth to weight ratio. With the long tee weighing under 150g, it is simply unrivaled in this. Through much research and testing, we have been able to develop the lightest possible merino fabric without sacrificing its innate thermoregulating properties. To reiterate, CloudMerino™ has a natural loft that traps heat very efficiently amongst its fibers, making it warmer than any synthetic fabric of comparable weight. And again — it also performs wonderfully in the heat as merino naturally regulates body temperature efficiently.

For colder conditions, GhostFleece™ is unrivaled. With greater resiliency and fast dry times, this synthetic fleece-like fabric is unfathomably light and warm. Offered in a longsleeve top, the construction details of the garment have all been meticulously considered. The fit of the garment is deliberately boxy with a mock neck. This silhouette allows for airflow into the torso, preventing overheating as the fabric is truly that warm, and the mock neck prevents too much body-generated heat from escaping. For extra warmth, you can tuck this into your waistband. The sleeves have thumbholes as a means for extra warmth and Rippy™ ripstop nylon patches. This combination of Rippy™ on GhostFleece™ creates an insulation system with advanced breathability designed to keep you warm and dry in cold and windy conditions and works beautifully on its own. Layered over top of CoffeeThermal™, however, you will be impervious to the cold.

Shell Layer (shields from wind and water)

When the first two layers have been optimally selected, a third layer should be the last and outermost shell layer. The shell layer should block water and wind and have good mechanical strength. Ideally, this layer is breathable and lets moisture through to the outside while not letting water and wind pass through from the outside to the inside. Our SilverShell™ Packable Windbreaker is wind and water repellent, constructed of a structured fabric interwoven with metal threads, which makes the fabric reflective as well as resistant to tearing and ripping. Ventilation zones line the entirety of the arms, beginning with an opening at the underarms for maximal breathability, allowing body-generated moisture to escape and preventing overheating. Due to the nature of the SilverShell™, this particular iteration of our Packable Windbreaker works to trap an increased amount of body-generated heat, making it ideal for more extreme conditions. The nature of the weave of the fabric makes this garment truly block both water and wind. For a more breathable option, read next on our list.

Our TechSilk™ is made in France by a 100 year-old silk mill who started developing and producing technical fabrics in 1970. It has the feel of silk and is extremely lightweight, yet resilient. Our TechSilk™ Packable Windbreaker offers similar wind and water blocking properties as our SilverShell™ iteration, however the TechSilk™ is much more breathable and gentle against the skin. Whereas the SilverShell™ completely blocks, the TechSilk™ is water and wind repellent. This is a better choice for standard windy and rainy conditions in moderately cold conditions, as it allows for increased ventilation and doesn’t trap as much body-generated heat.

Bottom

We know runners who will wear shorts into temperatures 30ºF / 0ºC and below and those who wear tights 50ºF / 10ºC and above. However, for most, in temperatures 30ºF / 0ºC and below, it is good to understand that cold weather contact on bare skin can cause constriction of blood vessels, thereby negatively impacting oxygen delivery to your muscles, often making short shorts (on their own) a less than ideal option when it’s very cold. With the same properties as the abovementioned CoffeeThermal™ Base Layer top, our CoffeeThermal™ Tights act as a second skin for your legs. To reiterate, these tights provide a layer of warmth and protection from cold weather while absorbing and evaporating sweat to keep you warm and comfortable. Our CoffeeThermal™ is a multidimensional stretch fabric that provides gentle compression and is knitted with coffee-charcoal infused fibers, making it naturally heat-retentive, bacterial and odor resistant. A good pair of leggings provides protection from the cold without compromising mobility.

For when full length tights are too much, the CoffeeThermal™ 8” Shorts strike a goldilocks zone of providing just the right amount of warmth and coverage without risk of overheating. For temperatures 40ºF / 5ºC and above, long tights may not be necessary. Retaining the same naturally heat-retentive properties as the Base Layer and Tights, the 8” lining of these shorts is comprised of CoffeeThermal™ fabric. Additionally, we have combined this with a proprietary Justice™ brief liner and Rippy™ shell. Modeled after medical technology, Justice™ is highly durable and resilient, but has the haptics of silk and an incomparable lightness. It stretches naturally in every direction, is highly breathable and dries astonishingly quickly, preventing bacteria from mixing with your sweat and staying odor free. The perfect fabric for support of your delicate area. The Rippy™ shell is essentially indestructible and ultralightweight. Commonly used in parachutes and military gear, ripstop is a structured fabric utilizing a special reinforcing technique that stops rips from spreading once they begin. During weaving, some reinforcement yarns are woven in a crosshatch pattern, giving the fabric its unique appearance. This makes it a more functional, aesthetic, and visually striking fabric ideal for tactical use—especially in situations where a tear might develop.

Last but not least on our comprehensive Cold Weather Systems Layering Guide is our Justice™ 10” Trail Short. These shorts are unique in our offerings of bottoms in that they are the longest length we offer before venturing into full length tights territory, are fully constructed of our proprietary Justice™ fabric (more on this in a moment), and are our only short that provides some compressive properties. Our Justice™ is a unique synthetic fabric produced in France. These shorts should be able to provide enough coverage for temperatures as low as 30ºF / 0ºC. As mentioned previously, Justice™ borrows from medical technology and as such is highly durable and resilient but retains the feel of silk and an incomparable lightness. It stretches naturally in every direction, following the body movements while staying breathable and water repellent. This is important to note because just as a good pair of leggings provides protection from the cold without compromising mobility, these longer inseam option bottoms do the same. Unlike our other shorts as well, the shell Justice™ fabric is actually attached to the liner, which caress and compress the thighs, preventing blood vessel constriction and increasing oxygen delivery to your legs. They get the “trail” label for their increased storage capacity, featuring a 6 pocket system that allows you to carry nutritional needs on trips of high intensity and longer duration.




These are all optimal suggestions for each layer involved in creating your very own cold weather system but is by no means exhaustive or complete. Feel free to take these principles and experiment with some of our other Essentials.

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