Mid Layer Review — Dynafit Thermal 2.0

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | May 10, 2012      

Adventure travel is a refiner’s fire. Airline weight limits engender ruthless choices. Jetlaged hotel room organizational challenges mean too much clothing confuses, rather than helps. Thus, this winter I refined my backcountry skiing clothing down to a simple system I like for both travel and homeland use.

Since a Dynafit press event in 2008 Iv'e used this as my 'thin' layer.

Since a Dynafit press event in 2008 I've used this item they call a 'Thermal' as my 'thin' mid layer.

For my upper body, I swap between two base layers. When it’s warm, I use a basic button collar sun shirt. If colder I use a thin wool or synthetic zip T. On top of the baselayer I like a thin, form fitting fleece or wool sweater. Add a thick down or synthetic puffy (depending on climate) and a reliable but lightweight shell — that’s the system.

I’ve found the most difficult of those layers to obtain is the thin fleece midlayer, as I don’t want pockets, it has to have athletic fit, and I want full zip. One of the best items I’ve found for this is the Dynafit Thermal. I first got turned on to this simple ‘sweater’ at a Dynafit press event in 2008 when they gave them out as swag. Those first-gen ones had a funky zipper back pocket that was useless if you carried a backpack, along with a funny looking front vest cigarette pocket that dominated the appearance (everyone in Italy smokes, hence the ciggie pockets in nearly everything). I cut the back pocket out of mine, and wore it till the seams began parting and the fabric wore thin as my socks. Time for a new one. Luckily, Dynafit still sells the Thermal in an improved version. No back pocket, and a mellow looking front pocket. New layer acquired, photos below.

Older model to left, upgrade to right has nicer front pocket, no rear zipper.

Older model to left, upgrade to right has nicer front pocket, no rear zipper. Made with Polarlite Dynastretch, thumbholes in nice long sleeves, trim fit. Women's version has a hood, which is also a desired feature for this layer -- too bad they don't make a men's version with a hood.

Getting my new Thermal from Dynafit inspired me to look around for other form-fitting full zipper ‘sweaters.’ Not much out there, but I did find one other item I’ll blog about soon. Till then, I’m strutting around in my new Thermal showing off my male model moves and knowing I’m prepared for my next travel adventure.

None of our favorite etailers are carrying this item presently, to shop for it just google it. Come autumn, availability will increase.



9 Responses to “Mid Layer Review — Dynafit Thermal 2.0”

  1. Mike May 10th, 2012 7:17 pm

    I have been looking at the OR Ferrosi Hoody for a similar layer, but I am concerned even lightweight softshells will not be breathable enough. Agreed it is very difficult to find full zips in this weight, especially with a hood.

  2. Freddie May 11th, 2012 5:44 am

    Mountain Equipment do a really nice athletic fit 100 weight fleece with a hood:


    it does have pockets though…

  3. Lou May 11th, 2012 7:51 am

    Having no pockets is one of my requirements for the mid-layer, so I rejected a lot of choices…

  4. Ralph May 11th, 2012 9:17 am

    I always wear a long-sleeved shirt, even in warm weather. I like having the solar protection, it eliminates a bit more sunscreen. I find the difference in sweating is fairly minimal.

  5. Aaron May 11th, 2012 3:42 pm

    This is a little off topic but did you saw a groove into that K2 tip to take Dynafit skins?

  6. Lou May 11th, 2012 5:04 pm

    Yes. To take any skin with a tip elastic, in this case some Dynafits. My favorite attachment method, mainly because they’re so incredibly easy to rip skimo race style…

  7. Nick May 12th, 2012 1:53 pm

    If you can find one on sale or don’t mind paying Patagucci prices, I think another good midlayer is the Patagonia R1 Regulator fleece jacket. It might be a bit thin for some but it is a nice combination of stretchy snug fit, high breathability, and great warmth to weight ratio. It also packs down nicely. I have a size 40 chest and am 6’2″, 182 lbs. I normally wear a L in jackets to get the right sleeve length, but in Patagonia stuff I normally go for a medium since sleeves usually are longer than normal and their larges are often huge in the chest. But be careful, their sizing seems to vary from year to year, which can be frustrating. If it is not warm enough, you could go up to the R2, but I’ve never quite liked that as much.

  8. Nick May 12th, 2012 1:56 pm

    Ooops, forgot to add that the R1 does have side pockets in addition to a chest pocket – not good for Lou – but they are all very snug to the body so don’t seem to interfere at all with layering on top. I actually think that is why it is such a nice versatile jacket for traveling. You can also wear it for other uses when a pocket might be nice.

  9. David P May 14th, 2012 10:27 pm

    Patagonia also makes an R1 pullover that has a very long chest zipper, so while its not the full zipper that Lou likes, it’s nor hard to provide adequate venting. It doesn’t have side pockets, but does have a well designed single chest pocket, which I really like. Although Lou suggests those are for the cancer-stick smoking Europeans, I find it’s perfect for a small tube of sunscreen and my reading glasses, which in my presbyopic state have become essential for me to read a map. The weight and stretch of the fabric is just perfect for me.

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