Baselayers are essential for any cold-weather athlete looking to keep in the warmth while simultaneously wicking moisture away from the body. For those seeking a high-quality, functional baselayer, there is certainly no shortage of options, and today we’re looking at products made by Terramar and Champion and picking a winner.
Going head to head will be the proprietary wicking martial for each company: ClimaSense (or CS) by Terramar and DuoFold & Vapor by Champion (side note- trying to keep Champions many, many feature names straight is almost impossible). Both company’s product samples, which were provided to Outdoor Gear Reviews at no cost for the purpose of review, were rigorously tested during trail runs in Park City, Utah, between late January until the end of March. Let’s get started:
- Materials: Both wicking technologies accomplish their goals very efficiently. Most of my testing days sported cold air temperature paired with sunny, cloudless skies, and high vertical gain trails mixed in- ideal conditions to test wicking efficacy. CS and DuoFold & Vapor both lived up to the promise of immediately keeping the warmth in but venting excess heat and moisture later to maintain optimal body temperature. However, Champion edges out Terramar here with a slightly better ability to vent out of moisture earlier on in the work out. Winner: Champion
- Durability: This one is a toss up. As much as I want to provide an answer, both the Champion and Terramar sample products were in such good condition even after two and a half months of heavy use, it’s hard to definitively call one better than the other. Either choice will give you a baselayer that will last a long time even under heavy use. Winner: Tie
- Design: Terramar’s design choices tend to be more restrained and simple, whereas the Champion pieces are bright and loud and brash- or they at least have the options to be. Design, of course, is a purely subjective metric in which to judge a product by, but not an irrelevant one as everyone wants to feel like what they’re wearing is looking as good as possible. And in this case, Champion gives you more visual options to make that happen. Winner: Champion
- Fit: And this is where Terramar eats Champion’s lunch, and not by just a little bit. Champion clearly creates product meant for mass market consumption and that means people who aren’t always thin, trim and lean athletes. Each DuoFold product fit very large, leaving a lot of baggy areas in each garment. It should, however, be pointed out that this doesn’t affected the function of their products, as mentioned in the ‘Materials’ bullet point above. Terramar, on the other hand, is obviously focused on an already highly fit athletic base of customers. A ‘Large’ Terramar product will fit much more appropriately snug in width, leaning towards slim fit, and avoids excess baggy areas pretty much completely. This translates into a better experience while running and moving about. Winner: Terramar
- Price: Champion’s PR person had told me that they aren’t a company that you’ll see on professional athletes. They don’t have contracts with Olympic athletes or superstar sports players. They focus on, in their words, “the everyday athlete”. And as someone who isn’t an Olympic runner, I can appreciate that mostly because their target market doesn’t want to pay ‘professional prices’ for their gear. Champion’s DuoFold and Vapor products are downright affordable, and considering the performance you get for the cost, it’s hard to justify anything more expensive. But in the grand scheme of things, Terramar doesn’t fall on the absurdly priced side of the buying spectrum either. Yes, their products are more expensive than Champion, but it still a far ways offf from top dollar being paid. Winner: Champion
So, who wins this head to head? As is the case with most reviews, the biggest ‘values’ are always in the eye of the reviewer. To me, price generally is the top dictator of what product I will move forward with. All else is secondary, because if I can’t afford it, it won’t matter how well it works. But in the case of Champion vs Terramar, the wicking and heat protection functionality was so good from both companies, price became irrelevant because “the better one that cost more” didn’t exist in this case.
The big factor that helped move the needle towards the winner, however, was the fit. Terramar’s very refined and focused fit for individuals who are clearly niche athletic individuals and not mass market groups made their product the definitively better experience here.
To be clear, Champion’s DuoFold and Vapor wicking and warmth technologies deliver fantastic results. And to get that performance at the prices Champion offers it at make it hard to justify paying anything more. But for the absolute best experience when utilizing a wicking garment, the function and fit of Terramar’s ClimaSense baselayers is difficult to beat. And that’s why Terramar wins this head to head.