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PolarMax Mountain Skins review
Written by Alex Strickland   
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PolarMax Mountain Skins Topimages/PolarMaxIt's easy to think all base layers are created equal when suiting up in the morning, but nothing can send a day in the mountains south faster that a binding, soggy base that leaves you cold and miserable. When the mercury is plunging, PolarMax's warmest, highest-performance base layer – Mountain Skins – provide immense insulation in a compact, sleek package that feels like a second skin.

The PolarMax Mountain Skins are 90% polyester and 10% spandex with a slick outer side and soft fleece inside so they can be worn comfortable right against the skin or on top of another layer. The trim cut of the top and tights with the fabric's mild stretch keep them close fitting for a variety of body types. Without constricting and although not windproof, the fabric provides a greater barrier than fleece.

PolarMax's fabric is full of goodies, too. Its wicking ability surpasses military standards, pulling moisture away from even the most prodigious sweaters. The Mountain Skins are built to be durable as well, with "pick resistant" fabric to prevent piling and tears.

They also feature Clean Seams and Scent Prevent, two proprietary technologies that gave the top and tights a smooth finish and a distinct lack of funk after a long day of activity. The fabric's smooth exterior can also be counted to repel drizzle and slip beneath other layers without bunching or catching.

Be warned. The PolarMax Mountain Skins are warm, really warm. The ¼ zip top allows for nice temperature management, but for anything outside of below-freezing recreation, it's probably better suited on it's own as a midweight fleece.

The tights might be too much for high-intensity snowshoeing or skinning laps in the backcountry during all but the deepest freeze. When everyone else is huddled by the fire, the Mountain Skins can be counted on to keep you comfortable, warm and dry when Old Man Winter brings his worst.

Polarmax LogoThe PolarMax Mountain Skins Zip Mock retails for $79 and the Tights are $60.

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Alex Strickland

Alex StricklandAlex Strickland was born and raised in possibly the least mountainous and outdoorsy city in America – Memphis, Tenn. Despite the lack of trails and people to enjoy them with, he became a hiker, mountain biker and runner. Today, he's traded up for the Wasatch Mountains of Utah and added skiing to the mix, once someone explained what snow was.

A former newspaper editor in small-town Montana, Strickland enjoys freelance writing and photography for publications around the Mountain West and sharing his love for the outdoors through his work.

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