Chris Townsend finds a pair of long john base layers that are comfortable and fit well
Over the years long johns have not been my favourite garments, mostly because I’d not found a pair that were really comfortable, which is to say just about unoticeable. Pairs I tried were either too tight, too saggy, too itchy, too restrictive or too sweaty. Thicker trousers seemed the answer for cold weather rather than long johns. What I didn’t realise was that it was the designs and fabrics that were the problem not the type of garment.
This changed last winter when I was making The Cairngorms In Winter film with Terry Abraham. The trousers I was provided with for the film were not really adequate for winter conditions so most of the time I wore long johns under them. After trying and being irritated by a couple of pairs I came across Sub Zero’s Bloo Johns in a drawer and tried them. What a revelation!
They proved near enough perfect, being warm but not too hot, very comfortable, breathable, non-restrictive and still quite fragrant after 48 hours constant wear.
What makes these long johns different from others? I think there are a number of factors. Firstly there are no seams at all as they are made, in the UK, by a clever process called ‘Whole Body’ knitting. As seams can rub and catch as well as usually being less stretchy than the rest of the garment, which in a body hugging one can lead to discomfort, not having them is good for comfort.
Secondly the Bloo Johns have extra stretchy rib knit zones around the waist and on the inside of the thighs. These stick closely to the body and move with you so there’s no feeling of a clinging garment resisting your movement. Then the garment as a whole is made from a very fine merino wool with 6% Lycra added for the waistband.
Merino wool is comfortable over a wide temperature range so overheating is less likely than in synthetic long johns and when it’s this thin merino wool dries quickly when damp. It’s the merino wool that stops them smelling too.
Having discovered how good they are I’ve been using the Bloo Johns a fair bit this winter, finding them ideal under a number of different pairs of trousers that on their own aren’t quite up to winter conditions.
To see the full review click here