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Gear Review: Cabela’s Thermal Zone ¼ Zip Mock T-neck

Cabela’s Thermal Zone ¼ Zip Mock T-neck

Winter Top
Cabela’s Thermal Zone ¼ Zip Mock T-neck
$85 M-XL, $90 XXL, 8 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: M-XXL

I took a five-mile December trail run wearing this long-sleeve top with nothing over it on the day I got it, and since then, I have hardly spent an active day outside without it. I’ve also worn it (with layers over it as needed) skate-skiing, backcountry skiing, and for four straight days on a January ski trip to a backcountry yurt in Idaho’s Boise Mountains. In temps from the low teens to the high 30s, and all kinds of conditions—cold wind, sunshine, and falling snow—I never got overheated or cold. I’ve worn a lot of tops that “zoned” fabrics of different weights in areas of the body, and I’ve never seen one that has such a huge comfort range.

The explanation? Three different weights of Polartec Power Dry fabric are used: the warmest in the core, collar, and upper sides of the arms; a midweight fabric in the torso sides and underside of the arms; and the lightest fabric in the armpits and underside of the forearms. Also, Power Dry really moves moisture efficiently, allowing body heat to dry the top quickly after you’ve been sweating hard. I could wear it in colder circumstances than I expected, because it traps core heat so efficiently, as well as in high-exertion situations without getting chilled from being too wet—even skate-skiing without a jacket in hilly terrain in Idaho’s Wood River Valley, with the temp in the mid-20s. I like the thumbholes and the close fit, which helps wick moisture while having enough space to fit a lightweight top underneath. The antimicrobial treatment prevented it getting too stinky after four straight days in the backcountry.

—Michael Lanza

About The Author

Michael Lanza

A former field editor and primary gear reviewer for Backpacker Magazine, Michael Lanza created The Big Outside to share stories and images from his many backpacking, hiking, and other outdoor adventures, as well as expert tips and gear reviews to help readers plan and pull off their own great adventures.

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photo of Michael Lanza

Hi, I’m Michael Lanza, creator of The Big Outside and former Northwest Editor at Backpacker magazine. Click my photo to learn more about me and my blog. Click here to sign up for my FREE email newsletter. Join The Big Outside now to get full access to all of my blog’s stories. And click here to learn how I can help you plan your next trip.

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