Sunday, February 05, 2023

Winter 2023 Run Base Layers and Handwear Round Up Review: Daehlie, Tracksmith, AppGearCo., Brooks, and WhitePaws Run.

 Article by Sam Winebaum, Markus Zinkl and Mike Postaski

It’s been a long winter already with more rough weather to come. In the article, Sam, Markus, and Mike share some of their 2022-2023 go to base layers and hand wear from Daehlie, Tracksmith, AppGearCo., Brooks, and WhitePaws Run.

Daehlie Compete (Review)

The Compete is a very thin, soft and stretchy base layer for high output endurance activities.

It sits lighter on the skin and is less compressive than most winter base layers with a grid type texture for standoff and moisture transport. My medium fits correctly but as often the case with Dahlie the rear can ride up if not tucked in.

Made of natural and sustainable Merino Wool, recycled polyester and Tencel (derived from sustainably sourced cellulose). It  has some grid-like texture to assist with moisture transport and stand the top off the skin.

Performance is superb. Never clammy, never sticky or cold when the wind picked up and even comfortable after the run drying quickly if even wet at all. Very thin and it is  not designed to “insulate” per say although the merino in the mix helps, but to keep what is next to your skin as dry as possible. And staying dry is the key to staying warm in cold temperatures.  

This is likely the highest performing base layer I have ever used, and I have used many. Even in the low to mid 20’s with just the Vest, I was dry, warm and well temperature regulated and comfortable on the run. It is also an excellent choice for runs in the 30-40   all by itself. Odor resistance is excellent. I wore it for 5 workouts straight with no funky smell and of course it dries quickly.

Its only negative is “stylistic '' , and related to that non sport versatility, as unlike say the somewhat heavier and more body conforming Tracksmith Brighton baselayer  and Brooks Notch reviewed below it is not the kind of baselayer I would wear casually outside of sport but that is not its focus which is pure performance not looks.

Tracksmith Brighton Long Sleeve (Review)

Highly functional and other than the Brooks the only base layer here I would wear as is, so versatile beyond sport. Of course it has the trademark  subtle Tracksmith sash across the chest. This seamless layer is made of  52% Wool, 28% Nylon, 20% Polyester with a fabric weight of

145gsm with the Merino at 16.5g is moderately light but not as thin as some super light wool and synthetic blends which can be fragile. The fabric weight puts it for sure in the light weight side of wool or wool blends so suitable for 3 seasons running wear . The fabric has a pattern of small holes for ventilation making it mesh like (without showing) for extra ventilation

The semi fitted fabric feel on the skin has some texture and stand off, I guess the fabric folks would call it “ heathered”  so it is not a silky smooth slippery feel. The texture and mesh holes allows moisture to move through and evaporate with the fabric not sticking to the skin. Exactly what I look for in a colder seasons base layer with the weight and ventilation holes making it 3 seasons versatile, stand alone, or as things get colder under an outer jacket. 

AppGearCo. 8020 Long Sleeve Tee ($102)

The 8020 is made in the US  of a blend of 80% Alpaca fibers and 20% TENCEL™, a sustainable cellulose fiber also found in the Daehlie long sleeve. Its Weft knit construction is said to “ resist “running” - so if you poke a hole in it while you are in the backcountry, the hole may get slightly larger over time, but you don’t have to worry about the hole turning in to a long “run” as experienced in many lightweight knits.”

The tee is entirely made in the US of responsibly sourced Alpaca yarn from Peru.

The fit in my usual medium is longer and looser than the others here with the Brooks close in my medium with the long tail appreciated. It stays tucked in and doesn’t ride up as the Daehlie with its slimmer fit and shorter rear length sometimes does or is as clingy as the Tracksmith . The weight is on the light side sitting between the superlight Dahelie and the denser Tracksmith and lighter than the Brooks below.  

Out of the package the Tee had a somewhat rough feel but after one wash got softer with the fabric having a more natural subtle “fuzzy” feel on the skin than the others here. This creates standoff and a touch of insulation and also leads to excellent moisture transport and temperature regulation. Even given its highly sustainable and high performance materials and US manufacture,  it is priced above others here but remains a decent  value with year round utility. There is also a short sleeve version of the 8020.

Available at AppGearCo. HERE

Brooks Notch Thermal Long Sleeve 2.0 ( $85 now  $55.25 35% off at Brooks)

The Notch is the heaviest of the base layers here and could be called either a base layer or mid layer. While smooth on the outside it has a linear heavier texture on the inside which provides stand off from the skin and helps evaporate moisture. It is highly breathable for such a heavier layer and less body conforming and wind resistant on its own but is the most insulative of these layers and earned its “thermal” naming in my testing without overheating due to its construction.

The fit in my medium is generous and long, something I appreciate as the tail stays tucked in.

The notch part is two fold. Not only do we have finger holes to bring the shirt over the hands but we also get a watch window on both sleeves. Neat! It includes a small side hem zip pocket.

It has an odor resistant anti-microbial finish which proved somewhat effective and its look and fit allows it to do double duty as casual wear. It is also available in a hoodie version. 

Brooks Notch 2.0 Available at REI HERE

AppGearCo. All-Paca™ Fleece Hoodie ($165.00)

Markus:Most natural wool garments such as your classic Merino shirt are usually a blend out of wool and a synthetic fiber. This is usually needed to ensure that the shirt holds its form and to improve the feeling and softness next to your skin. In that sense, the Appalachian Gear Company All-Paca Fleece Hoodie stands out. It is made out of 100% Alpaca Fiber.

Let’s get the technical specs and sizing first out of the way. My hoodie in size S weighs in at 10.8 oz / 307 g.

The hoodie is very stretchy and accommodating. I usually wear a more athletic fit and went with size S. It turned out the perfect size for a midlayer and it leaves plenty of space for layering with base layers.

AppGearCo. recommends wearing the fleece with a base layer under it, and I would do so too. Right out of the box, the hoodie is too scratchy next to skin for my taste. Despite the scratchiness, it feels pretty soft for a 100% wool garment. I have washed the hoodie three times and the feeling next to my skin improved quite a bit. 

But I usually only wear it in combination with a base layer. This combo worked out amazing and easily  became my go to for the winter. With only a thin, old Nike Dri-Fit long sleeve, I took it down comfortably to around 14 °F / -10 °C. 

At the same time, the hoodie manages moisture very well and I don’t get sweaty very easily. I need to mention, though, that the fibers get a very distinct smell when they get wet. I didn’t really notice it while wearing it, but more so after washing it. 

Speaking of washing it. You don’t really have to wash it that often anyway. I wore it for about two weeks around three times per week and it doesn’t smell at all. That said, I’m not sweating that much in winter, but the odor control still impressed me.

All in all, it really became one of my favorite midlayers, if weight is not important. I have  the hooded version of Sam’s 8020 tee, which AppGearCo. markets as a Sun Hoodie. Stay tuned for my impressions of it, after I used it during spring and summer in higher altitude adventures. 

Available at AppGearCo. HERE

WhitePaws RunMitts

Mike P:I suffer from cold hands, so I have more different pairs and types of gloves than I care to count. I typically start wearing light gloves around 50F, and have to start wearing 2 layers around 30F. When it gets below 20F, all bets are off and I try anything - usually including a waterproof overmitt just to retain warmth. This tends to lead to sweaty hands, which in turn ends up being cold anyway.

I was at REI, and I stumbled across a new product I’d never seen before - WhitePaws RunMitts. As the name implies, they’re kind of like an overmitt, with a short finger flap that can be folded back. Essential to the design is a lack of thumb holes - really turning your hands into “paws”. The lack of thumbholes, along with the extended cuff design allows you to push them back down your wrists when not using the finger flap. There’s also an inner flap of fabric to hold a hand warmer.

[RunMitts with a lighter glove underneath - the wrist coverage is a big factor in adding warmth]

I’ll admit that it did seem kind of strange, but I’ll give anything a try to keep my hands warm. I took them out for the very first time for a 50K race last weekend - the starting line temp was 9F, rising to the upper 20s after 4+ hours. The RunMitts were excellent! I used the flaps at the start, when I didn’t need my fingers for anything, but mostly kept them open throughout the race. 

Under the RunMiits, I wore a light glove with a very thin windshield (Patagonia Peak Mission). The extended coverage of the RunMitts over my wrist area and the thick material really did a good job of keeping my hands warm. The wrist area is a key heating/cooling area - so keeping that specific area either warm or cool has a great effect on either body temperature and as I discovered - finger warmth. My fingers stayed comfortable throughout the 4+ hours, and equally important- dry and not sweaty.

I highly recommend these as an option if you have issues with cold hands. I’ve been wearing them for all my cold weather runs since getting them. They allow me to wear a lighter glove and still have warmer hands than I would when using 2-3 gloves and/or a waterproof mitt.

Tester Profiles

Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 65 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. 2022 was Sam’s 50th year of running. He has a decades old 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range, if he is very lucky, training 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah. He is 5’9” tall and weighs about 164 lbs, if he is not enjoying too many fine New England IPA’s.

Mike Postaski currently focuses on long mountainous ultras - anywhere from 50K up to his favorite - 100M. 5'10", 138 lbs, midfoot/forefoot striker - he typically averages 70 mpw (mostly on trails), ramping up to nearly 100 mpw during race buildups. A recent 2:39 road marathoner, his easy running pace ranges from 7:30 - 9:00/mi. In 2022 Mike won both the Standhope 100M and IMTUF 100M trail ultras within a 7 week period - both extremely rugged Idaho mountain races. 

Markus from Germany is mainly a recreational runner, currently running about 5 times per week. He runs about 50:50  on trails and roads. He is also an avid hiker with a focus on ultralight and fast. This is where his geek for gear and shoes comes to light. Likewise, he loves the mountains and tries to spend as much free time there as possible.

His only preference in terms of shoes is that they are not too heavy. Other than that, he runs in everything, from zero drop Altras to high stack Vaporfly. Racing times for the 10k are 39:48 min and 1:51:32 for a half-marathon.

Samples (except WhitePaws were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

Find all RoadTrailRun reviews at our index page HERE 
Google "roadtrailrun Shoe Name" and you can be quite sure to find just about any run shoe over the last 10 years

RoadTrailRun may receive a commission on purchases at the stores linked in this article. 
Your purchases help support RoadTrailRun and are much appreciated. Thanks!

Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
FREE 2 Day Shipping EASY No Sweat Returns

EUROPE Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Europe only: use RTR code RTR5ALL for 5% off all products, even sale products 


Men's and Women's SHOP HERE
  • 10% Savings Every Day*  5% Back in Rewards Cash
  • Test Run Shoes 90 Days Worry Free
  • Crazy Fast, FREE Shipping

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
Use RTR code RTRTOP4 for 5% off all products, even sale products

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
FREE Shipping on most orders over $40

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Men's and Women's SHOP HERE


Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by Following RoadTrailRun News Feed

Please Like and Follow RoadTrailRun
Facebook:  Instagram: @roadtrailrun
Twitter: @RoadTrailRun You Tube: @RoadTrailRun

No comments: