Review: Stay warm in Gramicci’s NPT Winter Wonder organic cotton/hemp baselayer pants
This winter, retire your old bulky baselayer and replace it with Gramicci’s Winter Wonder pants, new this season from the company’s NPT (natural performance technology) athletic line.
The Tahoe (men) and Aquarius (women) pants are made from a blend of hemp, organic cotton and Spandex to give them an athletic, trim fit that goes under just about any pants without bunching. (Women’s: 53 percent hemp/42 percent organic cotton/5 percent Spandex; men’s: 53 percent hemp/44 percent organic cotton/3 percent Spandex.)
Both styles feature flatlock seams to prevent chafing and are naturally odor resistant.
The men’s style is clearly baselayer, but the women’s style could be worn as leggings or yoga pants in a pinch. I tested the leggings in the company’s darker violet color, and didn’t notice any sheerness factors that could cause unfortunate wardrobe malfunctions. But Gramicci reps — after another company’s unfortunate bum show — err on the side of caution.
“I think it totally depends on the person, the situation and the color of the legging,” they say. “Especially since we have a yoga legging made specifically for all sorts of athletic activities.”
So how did the pants hold up when the temperatures went down?
Fit: One of the best features of the women’s pant is that it comes in numbered sizes (2 to 14) and three inseam lengths (regular, short and tall), giving you a really customized fit. I’m 5’6″ and 133 pounds and the size 6 regular pants fit comfortably close without being tight. They do loosen up slightly with wear, so be cautious if they’re a tad roomy at the beginning. On the women’s pants, the wide waistband makes them extra comfortable and helps eliminate the “muffin top” that some leggings create — no matter how skinny you are. The men’s pants don’t come in as many sizes, but you do have five options from small to XXL. They all have a 32″ inseam and a standard elastic waistband.
Quality: These pants are the fourth product from Gramicci that I’ve tested (read the first two here and here) and they fit the high standard I now expect from the company. The seams are straight and even, the material is high-quality and, except for some potential slight color fading, I expect them to hold up and look the good even after several seasons of use.
Washing: I wash all my running gear in cold water, and typically hang to dry, despite the label giving me permission to put these pants in the dryer. But I have dried the base layer and its slightly heavier capri counterpart (the Chute) without any casualties. If anything, putting them in the dryer shrinks them back to their original size.
Cons: These pants wick fairly well, but do not dry fast. I’ve run in both the Aquarius pants and the slightly thicker Chute capris. Both pants work well when it’s cool and dry, pulling the moisture to the outside, but on wet days they get really clammy. I would not recommend wearing these if there’s a chance you’ll be out in wet conditions. If you’re anticipating a wet hike or rainy day, I’d opt for a quicker-drying synthetic instead. If I were going to wear these more often as exercise pants, I’d want a drawstring. They stay put just fine for walking and hiking, but for high-intensity activities, I’d opt for an exercise-specific pant.
Verdict: I was pretty sold on these pants already, but at half the price of their costlier baselayer aisle mates, it makes them even better. While I wouldn’t wear them in questionable weather or into the far reaches of the backcountry, they’re still great for all-day wear, yoga, lounging … now if only they were work-appropriate …
Women’s: www.gramicci.com; $58 (on sale for $37)
Men’s: www.gramicci.com; $55 (on sale for $33)
Get the matching tops
Women’s: Organic Solid Teddy Winder Wonder baselayer shirt; $58
Men’s: Endurance Organic long sleeve; $46
Sara Davidson is an ultrarunner and our resident women’s gear destroyer.