Baselayers. The first layer of standard layering systems and yet, overlooked by many. After all, who wants to spend a lot of money on something that isn’t going to be seen nor at face value, has much intrinsic value?
Of course, the trick here is the value is easily quantifiable – move sweat away from your skin efficiently and you’ll be a more stable temperature throughout your run. This is the same for the ultra light shirt, almost a hybrid between the two.
Columbia’s Titan Ultra sits in a socialist category, whereby it’s not a baselayer and is very much a warm weather long sleeve, yet in cooler months can be (and was) worm was a baselayer. Extremely light, fast wicking and as important, fast drying, it wicks sweat away well.The Titan Ultra has a relatively loose fit, which will please many, don’t worry, it’s not going to grip to every lump and bump like cling film. There is a drop tail, which I personally like, especially useful when wearing a pack. I often find flat rear hems ride up, leaving your back lumber region exposed.Across the shoulders, there is room to allow for movement, whether running, scrambling or at the opposite end of the spectrum, yoga. Micro flat lock stitching holds the layer together, with no hot spots or skin irritation as a result.
The collar is welcome in the cooler months, providing additional protection to the neck and preventing huge drafts down the rear of the neck, something I still can not get used to!On the rear, there is a small reflective branded detail, but otherwise, as you can see the Titan Ultra is subtle in its design.The half zip is great for optimising ventilation and the puller has a smooth action across all the teeth. Backed by a chin guard, it has never snagged on skin or caught my numerous chest hairs.
Where the Titan exceeds is the choice of materials used. Now, I tested the long sleeve throughout winter and spring, despite it being aimed at predominantly summer months. Wearing it under a waterproof or synthetic hybrid was more than enough to keep me warm.
So the science – OMNI-FREEZE™ ZERO is on the skin side of the fabric. Tiny blue circles contain a sweat activated cooling agent, designed to lower your skins temperature and increase your comfort on the trail. Without a lab and a much more intelligent subject, it’s hard to give this a definitive yes/no. However, I have run relatively cool on the Titan Ultra and combined with being so thin, it allows for strong breathability. How well this holds up to repeated washes is an unknown.Designed to work in conjunction is Columbia’s OMNI-WICK™, for rapid wicking, the two keep you cool. One thing I can definitively say is the Titan Ultra is a fast wicking shirt. As someone who pays close attention to the weather, due to my unique ability to saturate anything I’m wearing, it pulled moisture away from my skin and didn’t hold onto it like a sponge.
Furthermore, the fabrics have a Anti-microbial treatment and in comparison to other next to skin layers I’ve worn, it didn’t stink as much as others have. It passed the post run girlfriend test – walk in the house, say hello, leave it 3 seconds and wait for the reaction…..
As I stated earlier, I wore the Columbia Titan Ultra Half Zip throughout winter and into spring, though for many, this could be a viable option all year round. It’s lightweight, wicks fast, offers ventilation and you don’t need to be a racing snake to fit into it.
As a lightweight long sleeve, that can be worn as a baselayer, it stood up to every challenge I threw at it. There has been no fraying of seams, nor abrasion of fabric in the higher wear areas.
A Titan in its own right.
Product provided by Canoe Inc