Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Product Review: Indera Mills ColdPruf and HydroPur Performance Thermals
Bitter cold. I hate you. Frigid wind. You suck. Still, every year that I hunt in cold temperatures I get chilled and I want to do something about it. It's partly because I am getting older and also because the gear that I have used isn't up to par with below subzero temperatures. My last trip to New York allowed me to field test some cold weather gear from Indera Mills.

I have used thermal underwear for many years, but the folks over at Indera Mills have some of the most comfortable thermal underwear around. I wanted to use something that would work well throughout a range in temperatures and I was able to field test two different types of thermal underwear: Indera Mills ColdPruf Performance Base Layers and HydroPur Performance Thermals. These are rated for cold temperatures and also for scent control. The label for the ColdPruf says it 'Wicks & Evaporates Moisture [and] Controls Odor'. It did wick the moisture away, but reducing odor? It also says that the activity level needs to be 'Medium to High' in order to work properly.

Here is some info from their website regarding the HydroPur:
Independent laboratory tests have shown that Delcron HydroPur Fiber exhibits significant efficacy against odor-causing and unsightly microorganisms along with superior moisture management. What’s more, both the moisture management and antimicrobial properties are integrated into the fiber during the polymer stage and are permanent.

How Does It Work?
On untreated surfaces, bacteria find their way. They reproduce and continue reproducing, causing foul odors, discoloration, corrosion, etc.

On surfaces treated with AlphaSan antimicrobial, bacteria still find their way. However, they get an extra special dose of silver ions. The silver ions mess with their metabolism, and the bacteria are history.
The first few days I was in New York the temperatures were cold. It rained, snowed and the wind was unrelenting. For these days I chose to use the ColdPruf performance base layer which was rated for the 'Cold to Very Cold' weather. First off, these things are super comfortable. I have worn long johns for years and those are ok, but they are thick and cumbersome at times. The ColdPruf top and bottom fit like a glove. Now I know what a super hero feels like in tights. No super powers here though, unless you count doing battle with a buffet line. You really do need to prepare yourself for wearing these layers. I could feel the heat retention shortly after putting them on. Anyone who hunts the cold weather knows that you don't want to sweat, but you want to stay as warm as possible. It's a very fine line and the Indera Mills line is deceiving. It is very thin material, but it was very warm during activity.

The thermal underwear performed extremely well. I wore the ColdPruf Base Layers for two days, the HydroPur Performance Thermals for two days and one day I combined the two because it was frigid and I was sitting in a stand for hours. There was also a 30 mph wind and it was gnawing into my bones. I wasn't ever disappointed in the ability to keep me warm. The only things that got cold on me when I was there were my fingers. Other than that I was very happy with how well the Indera Mills line worked. The long johns I used to wear became itchy after a few hours (and yes, I washed them first). The ColdPruf Base Layers and HydroPur Performance Thermals did not feel itchy. Honestly, I really didn't feel them at all once they were on. I do think the scent control feature is almost non-existent. As a human, I sweat and I stink. I didn't do any extra long hikes in New York, but you could still smell the stink on me. I don't think the reducing odor part worked well at all. Then again, I don't think any article of clothing can do that. In regards to the quote from their website (see above), I don't think it really holds water. The bacteria on my armpits won that challenge.

On a side note: My wife ran the Long Beach Turkey Trot 10K on Thanksgiving morning and needed something warm to wear. Although my ColdPruf shirt was a bit large on her, she wore it and said she never felt cold. It was less than 50 degrees at our house the morning of the race and even cooler with the breeze by the ocean. She gave it two thumbs up.

I do have one important negative issue to report. I was wearing a few layers over the ColdPruf Base Layers. Combine that with some short hikes and two very large holes appeared in the inner thigh region of the bottoms. With the gear being that thin I wasn't surprised, but I also expected the gear to be strong enough to last more than five days without showing signs of wear. I was extremely disappointed in how they held up.

The Indera Mills gear is about half the price of the some of the other top-rated cold weather gear out there that I am looking at. I think the gear that I tested is good for cool-to-cold weather, but when you have to wear multiple layers that can cause wear (holes in the underwear) then you get what you pay for. I think that I'll be purchasing a more expensive base layer that will last a long time, but it will not the Indera Mills brand.


  1. Thanks for the honest review, Al! I've never heard of Indera, but it doesn't sound like this particular product would stand up to what I use it for. I've been wearing the same Under Armour Cold Gear for over three years and have yet to experience a wear issue. I'm hesitant to switch unless I know the new product will hold up that well. I just hate the AU price tag! But, like you said, you get what you pay for, I suppose.

  2. Those are exactly my thoughts, Brian. I have some UA base layer gear that I purchased as to compare the two and the UA holds up extremely well, and we are constantly hiking into the mountains out here for great distances. I haven't seen a stitch pop out of it yet. The Indera gear is very warm and holds heat well, but it can't withstand the abuse I give it.

  3. Thanks much. I'm not a hunter; I'm looking for a baselayer for cold weather cycling. I'm going to give the Coldpruf a try as I won't put it through the abuse that you guys do ;)