Ultralight Pedestrian

A minimalistic approach to life, love and the outdoors by foot, bike and paddle

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Bambooskin worn as outer layer on a warm April day

I was contacted last year by a relatively new Swedish company called RevolutionRace. Their motto is awesome fit, great quality and unmatched value. From what I gather from their website, they concentrate on apparel that offer customers hardwearing clothes at affordable prices in a broad range of colors and with lots of zippers and pockets. Not usually my thing, but they were looking to get some of their clothes reviewed by European and Nordic bloggers. We agreed, that I would look over their products and if I found anything of interest in a lightweight category. We could work a deal, where they supplied the item for free, and I would give my honest review and opinion of it from my perspective. I stumbled on their Bambooskin thermal underwear, which at 450 grams for a set seemed reasonably lightweight. My idea was intially to compare it to a set of Aclima Merino Lightwool that I already own and have used for years as thermal underwear. RevolutionRace agreed to my suggestion and this review article is me fulfilling my part of the agreement. All though I was given the Bambooskin free of charge, my review is my own subjective opinion of the set.

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In the chilly mornings I would wear  the leggings under shorts

The facts.

RevolutionRace describes the Bambooskin as a durable year-round set of underwear in a super comfortable bamboo / spandex blend. They proclaim that Bamboo is naturally odorless as well as airy and light. It is comfortable against the body, thanks to 7% spandex in the fabric which gives an elastic underwear with body-hugging fit, that is very important for moisture transport.

They say the set weighs in at 450 grams for a size medium (mine weighs 488 grams for a large). The material is stated as 93% bamboo viscose (see below under innovations) and 7% spandex (synthetic fiber). They recommend it as a thermal set for year-round use in most activities and that the fit is athletic and the sizing normal.

They also state on the website taht the two piece set has the following properties

° Half zip

° Thumb holes in the end of sleeves

° Extra-long sleeves

° Stretch for an athletic fit

° Bamboo lets your skin breathe

° Antibacterial

° Easy to pack, does not wrinkle easily

° Works excellent as pajamas during cold nights in tents

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Weighing in at 488 grams for a large set

Time in use

I have had the set since spring 2018 and have used it on a hike circumnavigating the Island of Bornholm in April. It also came with me for a Packrafting trip in Sweden in August and a November Bikepacking tour in Denmark. I would estimate that I have worn and used the set for a total of 12 days in temperatures from warm April/August days to cold April evenings and wet and clammy November days ranging from hiking, paddling and biking.

Innovations

Bamboo is a natural fiber that is then crushed in to bamboo pulp, and then chemically converted into a compound that can be spun into cellulose fibers that can be used to manufacture bamboo clothing, which in some areas of the world (mainly USA) is also called Rayon. This causes some ethical considerations like occupational hazards with the chemical being used for the process, also leading to some false advertising claims that the fibers are from a pulp of cellulose and chemically derived and therefore not really bamboo anymore, which further leads to the anti-bacterial and odorless claims, as some studies have shown that the fibers no longer retain the qualities of the original bamboo.

There are however many other good benefits of using bamboo instead of wood for instance. It can grow under harsh weather conditions and it grows fast and require very little water when compared to trees. Bamboo crops also require less pesticide and fertilizers and is biodegradable. We like that!

Bamboo or Rayon clothing is therefore an alternative to plastic, which in many ways are more renewable and can be replenished faster than other synthetic or natural fibers.

Many apparel companies have delved into the bamboo category, but it would be a lie to proclaim it as having replaced cotton or polyesters in the consumers eyes. Why that is I cannot say, but perhaps part of that is customers habits and smart marketing.

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Perfect for sitting outside in the April evening setting sun

Quality

The quality of the Bambooskin is good. There seems to be no loose threads and the sowing is also of good quality. The front zipper does the job without getting unduly snagged. I am 187 cm and 86 kg and a size large fit me snugly. All though I have noticed that the set will start to sag after a couple of days use on the trail. After a wash it snaps back to being tighter again. So, for extended use you might want to go a size down if possible. The set comes in a wide set of colors ranging from eyesore to cool looking. In all the quality is very good for the price.

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Used for sleeping on cold nights, notice that the set has begun to sag a little after extended use

Conclusion

Hmmm, this is a bit of a tough one. Originally, I meant to compare the Bambooskin to my Merino Lightwool set from Aclima, and in that regard the Bambooskin fails on all comparing parameters except that it is softer and cheaper. The Lightwool set weigh less for at 380 grams. It is considerably more insulating and warmer even when wet with moisture. The Bambooskin actually feels heavier when wet, all though in all fairness it does seem to dry quicker than the merino wool.

It is also my considered opinion that the merino wool fit is better after prolonged use and that the merino wicks better when doing a strenuous activity like biking. I also noticed that the Bambooskin was not as odorless as proclaimed, but that could be just me, as you tend not to smell yourself after some time.

In conclusion and from my perspective then I would always chose Merino wool over bamboo as thermal underwear for my kind of outdoor activities.

Is this a fair comparison? Maybe not, as the Bambooskin does not proclaim to be better than my Merino wool set, that is just something I referenced it too. So, if I go back and only review the Bambooskin by the parameters set by RevolutionRace, which is that it is a hardwearing thermal underwear for year round use, that retains heat and lets your body breathe under strenuous activities, then yes it does do that to some degree, and even at a very competitive price when compared to other thermal sets. All though I would state that I would never bring it for extended expedition use in winter conditions, as it is simply just not warm enough for that.

So in that view, then yes, I think that the Bambooskin will do the job and fit the requirements for many outdoor people that are in the market for and looking to buy a competetively priced and a good thermal underwear set for most activities.

Where can you buy it:

RevolutionRace is becoming a rather well known brand here in Denmark, and you can look at their other offerings and buy the Bambooskin at their website.

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