December 11, 2011

Gear Review - RedRam Merino Thermal Underwear

Like some other folks out there, I was contacted by the folks at RedRam toward the end of last summer to give their thermal undergarments a try...and about it.  Not really being a long underwear guy (especially bottoms) I figured to myself "why not," it'll be snot freezin' cold around here soon enough anyway.

The claim..."Everyday Merino"

Well, that time has come.  While it's not quite cold enough for snotsicles, it's been getting down into the 20s and 30s at night, and when I've gone out fishing recently in the mornings, it's been bitter, at least until the sun decides to get it's butt in gear.

For testing/review purposes, I was provided a black long sleeve top and a pair of black leggings.  As I mentioned in the first paragraph, I've never been a "leggings guy" but have been known to use several different types of baselayers - from brands like Under Armour, Eddie Bauer, you know, stuff like that.

Here are the pros and cons, as I see them.

PRO:  Let's cut right to the point.  My biggest concern was, "how are wool bottoms going to interact with my junk?"  I think of wool and immediately itchy, scratchy sweaters come to mind, and...well...wasn't looking forward to the prospects of some nasty chafing below the equator.

I don't know anything about merino wool sheep, but they must be only fed marshmallows and sleep on space age memory foam beds, because these tops and bottoms are damn soft.  No irritation down there.  Enough said.


PRO:  Feel aside, do they keep you warm?  Yes.  I wore them fishing twice.  The first day the thermometer in the car said 29 degrees on the way to the stream, the other day it said 35.  By the time I got there and suited up, I'm sure it was a touch warmer, but not much.  As a base layer under a pair of jeans and a hooded sweatshirt, I was good to go.  Simply put, I wasn't cold while outside at all.

CON:  When I got back to the house later in the afternoon, I thought I was going to melt.  We keep our house like 65-70 degrees depending on the time of year and I couldn't strip the RedRam's off quick enough.  I was totally overheated in these things.  Breathable?  Yes.  "Everyday Merino?"  No.  I didn't find them comfortable as part of a layered outfit in climate controlled environs, then again I was wearing the long sleeve & long legged versions.

PRO:  They fit pretty true to size.  You can never tell with stuff like this that's supposed to be worn generally close to your skin to retain heat, but you don't want to look (or feel) like a sausage in them.

In "normal human" clothes, I usually wear a size XL t-shirt and depending on the manufacturer a 34 or 36 waist jeans.  I'm about 6 foot, 205 lbs.  For this test, I wore an XL top and size L bottom.  Here's the men's size chart, for reference:

CON:  While you can wash 'em with the rest of your clothes, they require line drying.  C'mon, really...line drying?  I'm not Amish.  At least they're not dry clean only.

So, to close...what did I think of them?  I liked them.  I actually liked them a lot and would recommend them to others.  As their claims state, they're not itchy; actually very comfortable, and I didn't comment on any odors because I didn't notice any.  I'm not sure if I'd wear them as "everyday" underwear, (I prefer loose boxers) but would not hesitate on the occasions I go out fishing, shoveling snow, or anything else out in the cold.  Don't believe me?  Check out some other folks' reviews HERE and HERE.

The RedRam undies tested in this product review were provided to me at no cost, but hold a retail value of $57.99 each for both top and bottom.  I currently hold no association with RedRam whatsoever, however they are welcome to send me additional garments made from the wool of marshmallow-fed sheep anytime.  As with all independent gear reviews at Troutrageous!, I try my best to keep my reviews honest and unbiased. If something is good, it deserves applause; if it sucks, I'll let you know that too. It ain't in my interest to steer you wrong, so why waste the time in doing so?


  1. Is that you pictured in the underwear? :-)

  2. Merino wool is pretty awesome stuff. I have lots of Smartwool leftover from my working at REI days. I don't get overheated, but then again, I always run cold.

    p.s. @Mike...I was wondering the same thing about the photo. ;-)

  3. @Mike & e.m.b.

    Yes. I know it's difficult to identify me without my "WTF" t-shirt on. :)

  4. Now that is a review I wouldn't mind doing as I grew up wearing those and still do.
    Anyway you did a very nice review, thanks.

  5. Erin, I second your endorsement of Smartwool apparel. A pair of their socks are warming my toes as we speak!

  6. Nice model...whoever it is! Baaaa...Nice review.

  7. @Rick Kratzke
    Thanks for the compliment Rick. I'm glad I now know what underwear you're rockin'! :)

  8. @Mike
    Hey you it with the Smar....well you know what I mean. This blog post is brought to you by REDRAM EVERYDAY MERINO WOOL THERMAL UNDERWEAR. Not the other guys... :P

  9. Have you tried them back on after the line-drying? I like my bath towel line-dried so that it's like tree bark. Wonder if I'd be down with that on the underwear front.

    1. They're still soft after line drying. They've got that going for them. As for your towel...

  10. Thanks for the support, Mike! No tree bark here, John...even after line drying. All the best, Darren Glassman, RedRam GM

  11. You are surprised that wool should not be put in the dryer?? c'mon really?

  12. C'mon really? No I'm not surprised, but it's still a "con" on the pro & con scale. There are other undergarments that can conveniently go in the dryer. These are not one of them.