Monday, November 5, 2012

Gear Review: EMS Power Dry 1/4 Zip

The EMS Power Dry 1/4 Zip
My friends over at Eastern Mountain Sports sent me one of their Power Dry 1/4 Zip shirts a couple months ago and asked me to let them know what I thought about it.

This had the potential of posing an ethical dilemma.  What if I hated the damned thing?  What if it was a piece of crap that immediately settled on the bottom of my drawer?  What if it put a pox on humanity and brought about the apocalypse?  What would I do?  Say nothing?  Write a scathing review?
Luckily, my potential moral pickle was avoided when I discovered I actually liked it.

The EMS Power Dry 1/4 Zip is a very simple, yet well designed piece.  No pockets, secret compartments, bells or whistles, as none are needed.  It is meant to provide some insulation and not get in the way.

While most thin fleece shirts make a good outer layer over a short sleeved shirt, few can excel at also functioning as a base layer.  The ability to wick and pass moisture being the key, it's hard to find pieces you can trust that will keep you from turning into a soggy mess on the trail.

The Power Dry is designed to fit well, and wasn't baggy or bulky.  This also meant that it looked nice.  I can wear it with jeans when I'm off the trail and not get a disapproving glare from my more fashion conscious wife.

I've worn it on a number of occasions, most notably on my recent trip to bike and hike Bondcliff in the Pemigewasset Wilderness.

The Power Dry 1/4 Zip in action.
I broke it out when we got up high and temperatures dipped into the 50's F.  Even though we were in the sun and hiking pretty hard, I didn't get clammy or too hot: not even where I bunched up the sleeves to expose my forearms.  It was so comfortable that I left it on on the way down the mountain where the temperatures approached 60F.

Given that it is a light layer it is not meant to act as a windbreaker, and indeed, I could easily feel the harder gusts when we were up on the ridge.  That said, it functions well as intended: a baselayer that is stylish enough to wear as a long sleeve top when you're back in town having your post-hike burger and beer.  I look forward to wearing it on my ski tours as a baselayer on those extra-cold mornings.

So, this turned out to be a win-win.  I got to write about a piece of gear that I appreciate and EMS doesn't have to block my article from Google searches.

Now if the folks at Jeep would stop sending me crappy vehicles, maybe I could write a review on one.

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