Will Ross, January 30, 2012
When your central heating fails and the temperature at home slowly dips below freezing, there’s only one way to go: layer up. In an effort to solve a desperate situation that my sieve-like windows couldn’t contain, I opted for a few nights in the Malik and Marvin from Canadian winter brand Orage until I could insulate my room with cut-outs from a foil emergency blanket and bubble wrap.
Perhaps my second testing of Orage’s products was more conventional. After a handful of nights in my comfy cacoon, I took the baselayers to Whistler, B.C. to put them through a more rigorous testing over glaciers, through trees and comfy pillows of a more powdered constitution. During my stay in Whistler the conditions were varied; on some days rain fell hard on the lower slopes while howling winds on the Blackcomb Glacier dragged the wind chill well down below -10° Celsius, ideal parameters for a pair of baselayers.
The first thing I noticed with the Malik and Marvin was just how comfortable they were to put on and wear. Matched by a loose fit, the soft inner lining makes these thermals a pleasure to put on in the morning, even when water is dripping down the window panes. For me, wearability is a huge factor when it comes to baselayers for long days on the mountains. Even after three machine washes each, the Malik and Marvin continue to demonstrate how a relaxed fit can encourage use, especially given the importance of the de-robing ritual at lunchtime on the mountain.
Nevertheless, don’t let the loose fit deceive you of the performance of these thermals on the slopes. Owing to the loose fit and lightweight thickness of the Malik, you don’t get that uncomfortably visible backsweat that can complicate bar-side manoeuvres and booted shuffles. Instead, air circulates well through the garment, wicking away moisture from beneath the garment. The Marvin is classed as a midweight baselayer that allows for a variety of positions on the leg and hip.
As far as wearability goes, you can’t beat the comfort of the Malik and Marvin. While they don’t have the attacking fit of baselayers used in endurance and contact sports, the pair act as a handy couple in powder fields and the variant conditions expected on a mountain.
Orage’s Environmental credentials
Unlike the many freeride and freestyle brands that focus on aesthetics and mountain fashion, Orage has placed an emphasis on limiting the environmental impact of their business. The Montreal-based company has implemented measures in responsible sourcing of materials according to recognised Bluesign standards, using environmentally friendly fabrics and effective management of operations at the warehouse and offices. The Marvin is deeply embedded in this commitment, being made of 100% post-consumer recycled bottles that tell a story about this impressive layer.