First Ascent Expedition 1/4 Zip Base Layer

First Ascent’s Expedition 1/4 zip base layer is a piece to keep you warm on the coldest of days. It’s made

First Ascent Expedition Base Layer 1/4 Zip. Photo courtesy of First Ascent.

from Polartec PowerDry Fleece, which is warm fabric, yet it doesn’t feel heavy. The fabric is created in a grid construction which trims the bulk of the material down while still providing the wearer with good insulation and warmth on cold, cold days. This is particularly important for us ladies, since our bodies run colder than men’s bodies. This base layer wicks moisture quite well, keeping you dry and warm when you are exerting yourself on an approach or climbing a pitch. The 1/4 zip allows the wearer to vent during high exertion moments, such as hiking in or climbing a pitch of ice, then you can zip it up for added warmth belaying, if the winds pick up, or if the temps drop. The cut of the shoulders and arms allows for good movement while climbing, yet is still a flattering form fitting cut.

First Ascent Expedition 1/4 Zip Base Layer

This base layer recently has been a frequent friend of mine on many an ice climb. On “warmer”, by ice climbing standards, days I’ll wear just a wool cami, the FA Expedition Zip base Layer and my softshell jacket over top. On colder days, I’ll wear the cami, a mid-weight base layer, then the FA Expedition Zip base layer, and finally my softshell over all the layers. Whether this piece is the only base layer or layered on top of another shirt, it still fits fell.

I’m someone who runs cold; who runs cold by women’s standards. Warmth is key for me when considering base layers, and the FA Expedition base layer delivered when I needed it most, on a -15 deg C ice climb in Canmore, Canada. It was so cold out that any water splashed on your clothes it instantly froze. After a few hours of climbing my gloves were frozen solid because of the bits of water freezing to my fingers as I climbed. For such a cold day I wore my wool cami, a mid-weight base layer, the First Ascent Expedition 1/4 Zip base layer and my fleece lined softshell. And to my pleasant surprise I didn’t freeze. In fact, I was comfortable. This base layer delivered insulation and warmth when I needed it on that day.

It’s also important to note that First Ascent has thought of us petite ladies and made this base layer small enough, with a true X-Small.

One point of improvement for this base layer is to add thumb loops to the sleeves. Not everyone loves thumb holes, but I find them very useful when layering form fitting pieces. Also, would love more colors! It comes in a beautiful maroon and gray (not so interesting), but would love to see a wider range of colors.

Overall, I recommend this piece for a warm single layer or to layer over other layers on very cold days.


~ by Genevieve Hathaway on January 13, 2011.

One Response to “First Ascent Expedition 1/4 Zip Base Layer”

  1. I just bought their 1/4 zip as well (but it’s a lightweight one not fleece) and I have to agree it’s awesome! Their fit is really good and perhaps mine is a newer model b/c it has thumb holes.

    Have to agree on the colour choice though. My only options were black or white. I suppose it does match everything but I really do love colourful pieces!

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