Craft PXC Thermal Top

Posted Dec. 22, 2010, at 7:55 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 12:21 p.m.
PXC Thermal Top. outdoors for STROUT
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PXC Thermal Top. outdoors for STROUT

Craft is a name that has been around since 1977, designing clothing for athletes that helps regulate body temperature through ventilation, insulation and protection in every climate.

Here’s what the company calls its Craft Principle: “An intensive training session will result in the body producing a considerable amount of sweat. This is just how it should be and a confirmation that you are pushing your limits. If you are not wearing functional clothes, the sweat will remain in place and block the pores, causing your body heat to rise. Eventually the clothes will turn into a damp, cold and heavy envelope, relentlessly hampering your performance.

“If you are wearing functional clothes, however, the skin will stay dry and you will be able to perform at an ideal working temperature. Craft’s functional clothes, in up to three layers, create a perfect microclimate and provide the basis for optimal performance. Each layer is equally important and complements the rest of the chain.”

Let’s clear the air, upfront. I’m not a high-performance athlete. At one time, 40 or more years ago, maybe. But not so much today. But still I can sweat, and getting to that stage doesn’t take nearly the exertion that it did all those years ago.

So I didn’t feel totally unqualified when a representative from Craft asked if I wanted to check out one of their “layers.” I opted, I thought, for a base layer, but got instead a mid-layer, the PXC Thermal Top. Now, this isn’t what we nonathletes might consider a thermal one, but then, we’re not too aerobic.

Here’s how Craft describes the PXC: “Perfect as a second layer when the temperature dips below freezing or as an outer layer on sunny calm days, the PXC Thermal Top is as versatile as you are. Stretch fabrics allow your body to move freely and comfortable, while a brushed inner fabric provides warmth and moisture management properties. Featuring a longer back for better coverage while skiing, two way front zipper for ventilation, two back mesh pockets, one chest pocket, pre-shaped collar.”

I wore this piece for a number of activities as a base layer during a month of cooler weather. It fits like a second skin, only one that’s made of 92 percent polyester and 8 percent Spandex. The deep front zipper indeed provides for good ventilation, while the elastic mesh placket keeps your skin from being exposed to the elements. The silicon grip hem at the back performs well in keeping the tail in place.

And yes, the top did move moisture away from my skin, and no, I did not feel clammy. Once or twice, when we had rainy weather and it was on the warmer side, I wore it under rain gear that was not breathable, just to test its moisture-handling properties. It moves perspiration vapor away from my skin. The cooler inner surface of the rain gear caused it to condense back to liquid and soaked the inside of the rain jacket, yet my skin remained comfortably dry.

So if you’re looking for a great top for winter biking, running or cross-country skiing, the PXC Thermal Top from Craft is worth serious consideration. For the rest of us who are looking for a good, all-around cooler-weather mid- or base-layer, it’s a good choice as well.

For more information on Craft visit www.craft-usa.com.

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