I recently picked up as set of Terramar Thermasense CS Base Layer for women in Purple Heather. I almost didn’t buy them because of the name on the box alone. I know it sounds like a ‘cute’ name, but honestly, to me “HOTTOTTIES” to delineate between the men’s and women’s was pretty much offensive.
It took a bit of time (two visits in fact) to overcome my sensitivities and actually give them a look. Historically it’s been hard to fine ‘good’ expedition weight long underwear for women, more often than not they have thinner waist elastic that has a girly scalloped edge (although I appreciate their restraint at not putting a little tacked on rose on the waistline and neckline) and have a ‘ladies’ cut but when compared side by side with the mens, are rarely the same animal when it comes to the fit and finish.
The “HOTTOTTIES” are not sporting any reflective bling. They are a two layer (but not too thick) outer layer is 70% poly, 30% wool and inner is 100% fuzzy snuggly Polyester. The two part construction makes them less stretchy, they seem to be 2 way stretch vs. 4 way stretch, but the outer layer slides well against the fleece on the inside of my drysuit outer layer (DUI XM250, 450 and Powerstretch)
The cut is nice, I picked out a medium and for once the arms are really long enough. That is another thing I have never understood about women’s long underwear. How is it that the arms are always inches too short. I am no knuckle dragger by a long shot, but finding a set in my size that doesn’t end halfway up my forearm has been a challenge. The torso length is also nice and long, allowing for enough tucking to keep them in place OR enough leeway to wear them alone and a not be a tummy-shirt.
The bottoms have a different type of waist band, one that looks more like a yoga pant. That’s not to say they are the most flattering thing in the world, but so far feel reasonably comfortable. The main seam in the bottoms runs right over my knee cap, and in this case I would have preferred they were not as worried about ‘stylish’. Its a flat seam but were I asked to input, i would highly recommend they shift it over to the outer knee.
They are not the most stretchy long underwear in the world, it won’t be an issue for me in the use case I have planned for them (scuba diving base layer) but I can feel that they might not be my first choice for ice climbing. I would recommend trying them on in the store and possibly going up a size if you need the mobility. I got medium because it assured me no restriction in the shoulders/arms.
I wear long underwear under my drysuit thermals, and in the spring/summer/fall I usually wear a combo of DUI Eco-wear or 4th Element Drybase. I wash my long underwear far more often than my thermals, and therefor although I consider both layers ‘consumable’ in the big picture, I replace my base layer more often.
Something to remember when picking out layers for diving, if it is tight over a bend (say a knee) then it will make that area cold by restricting the blood flow and ‘thinning’ the insulation layer.
On the flip side you won’t want something that is so big that it restricts motion and comfort by bunching up in the wrong places.
So, the jury is still out regarding that seam over my knee, I’ll report back after diving them a few times, but so far they seem reasonable.