Gear time for Jan. 31

SmartWool full-zip hoody

THE SITUATION: If you’re planning on any outdoor activity this winter, remember that the protection of your clothing all starts with the base layer. That means you shouldn’t skimp on a knockoff brand or cheap cotton material and expect to stay warm and dry.

AN ANSWER: A product like SmartWool’s Women’s NTS Mid 250 full-zip hoody has everything you need: a form-fitting design, wickable fabric for cold-weather performance and flatlock seams to minimize chafing.

Made from 100 percent Merino wool, it will keep your body temperature stable (neither too hot nor too cold) and absorb moisture away from skin and outer clothing layers. That same technology also offers odor control even during intense workouts, and despite wool’s itchy reputation, this hoody feels soft against the skin.

THE DETAILS: The NTS Hoody is designed with the serious outdoorsy type in mind. Features include shoulder panels with strategically placed seams that make it easier to wear shoulder packs and a hood that stays put during intense activities like skiing. Its full front zipper also makes it easy to take on and off. It is available in purple, gray and black, and in sizes extra small-extra large.

PRICE: $130.

AVAILABILITY: To purchase or to find a list of retailers, visit smartwool.com.

Shelby Sheehan-Bernard, Tribune News Service