Kari Traa: Scandinavian Brand Born with Tradition
Kari Traa is not typically a household name in the US. However, in Norway Kari Traa is not only a brand, she is also a 3 time Olympic medalists in free-style skiing. Kari Traa has expanded her brand from beanies and headbands into a brand that offers base layers, active wear, outerwear, and shoes. The Kari Traa brand entered the US markets in 2015 and after a few weeks in a pair of the Rose collection base layers, I feel like it is a brand that you will hear more from in the future.
Kari Traa’s mottos such as, “Dare to Play” and “Everyday is a Baselayer Day” exemplify the brands mission and is compatible with many outdoor enthusiasts. Having a women’s specific brand that pays attention to the cut of its’ garments and inclusion of fun colors and patterns is bound to continue to grab attention.
This past month I have been sporting the Kari Traa Rose H/Z and Pant. The Rose collection features a beautiful Scandinavian geometric pattern that makes me think of big fluffy snowflakes. The idea for the Rose collection was born from a Scandinavian rug that hangs on the wall of Kari Traa’s family Norwegian cabin. The Rose collection features the H/Z (half zip) and pant that will be reviewed here, as well as a button up long-sleeve top, capri base layer, hooded long-sleeve base layer, beanie, and head band.
Kari Traa Rose H/Z and Pant Fabric
The Kari Traa Rose H/Z and Pant feature 100% merino wool that is luxuriously soft against the skin and ready for any adventure. In an average week, I wear base layers at least 4 days a week. On the weekend, I have been known to where base layers first thing in the morning, go adventuring, and continue to lounge apre ski in my layers.
The Kari Traa Rose H/Z and Pant have seen at least 15 days of use and I continue to reach for them in my drawer. The Kari Traa Rose H/Z and Pant are naturally breathable and odor-resistant, thanks to the merino. Here is a confession, after washing before wearing (as instructed by Kari Traa’s care instructions), I wore the Rose base layers for 7 days in a row. In these 7 days I skate skied with the H/Z, alpine toured in the backcountry, skinned up the resort (think heavy sweating with a steep uphill), and did laps at the local ski resort riding the lifts. The Kari Traa Rose base layers kept offering cozy warmth and breathability when I needed it.
Rose H/Z Fit and Features
On the first wear, the Kari Traa Rose H/Z fits on the smallish side. It does loosen up as you move around thanks to the 4-way stretch of the wool. The sleeve length is spot on and the longer waist/hem allows you to pull the top over your pants and prevents migration of the top, which can create a breeze along your lower back. The half zip design is a favorite because you can seal in warmth or dump excess heat with the move of the zipper. The side panels and under arms are thinner to encourage temperature regulation.
The Rose H/Z is available in size S-XL and runs true to size. I encourage you to measure and convert to centimeters to ensure you are getting the correct size. The Rose H/Z is available in 5 color combinations, with a few offering fun contrast stitching: Dove (images in the review), Jam, Naval, Lake, and Blush. The Rose H/Z retails for $110.
Rose Pant Fit and Features
The Kari Traa Rose Pant matches the H/Z in terms of fabric and design with 100% merino wool. The side panels of the pant are also thinner to help regulate temperature and this is a nice feature as many ski pants feature outer zipper vents to assist with heat production. The pants feature a elastic waistband that doesn’t dig, yet keeps your pants up with all day comfort. The Rose Pant are a little short on me, which is okay as I tend to gravitate towards capri pants to allow for comfortable socks overtop layering.
Similar to the Kari Traa Rose H/Z, the Rose Pant is available in S to XL and is available in 4 colors, instead of 5. If you are looking for a matching set, the only difference is that the tops are available in Blush, while the pants are not. The Rose Pant retails for $100.
Where to Find Kari Traa
The Kari Traa Rose base layers, as well as 2 other base layer collections are available online here. You can also visit your local ski shop, as 2 in our small town are already carrying the brand. Other large outdoor online sites, such as Backcountry and REI feature select items from the Kari Traa line up.
Final Impression on the Kari Traa Rose Base layers
The Kari Traa Rose base layers provide a soft next to skin layer that can be your outer layer on warm spring-like days (H/Z) or under 3 or 4 other layers on a blustering day. The flat-lock seams are strategically placed for all day comfort and no digging so you can stay focused on your next adventure.