I've been using the original ColdGear since I bought it three years ago. I'll admit, I didn't think there was a better base layer on the market. In fact, I've given Under Armour's ColdGear as a gift to several family members and they just rave about its effectiveness.
So, when I saw the design of the Metal, I was intrigued and skeptical about its effectiveness. Could it really improve on my tried-and-true ColdGear? I was going to put it to the test and find out.
The Metal differs from original ColdGear with ventilation zones to release heat and regulate temperature. The zones are in notoriously high-heat areas, specifically the sides and underarms. The outer fabric is also improved with diamond-faced ColdGear to help moisture transport and lock in warmth.
My first field test with the Metal had me hooked. I was goose hunting in west-central Nebraska on a windy day. The temperatures didn't top 20°F outside the blind, but the heated blind was toasty warm. That type of temperature change is a challenge for any layering system. I wore only the ColdGear Metal top, my ColdGear bottoms, a hybrid wader top and my 5mm waders. I layered intentionally light to put the base to the test.
After walking in and breaking ice, two strenuous activities where I didn't expect to be cold, I was pleased that I wasn't overheating either. If I had layered more heavily, I surely would have broken a pretty good sweat, especially breaking ice. When we settled into the blind and stopped moving, I was ready for the cold to set in.
My first expectation, especially in goose hunting where you're raising your arms a lot to call, flag and shoot, was that my underarms would get cold because of the new construction. They didn't. In fact, I couldn't tell the difference between the ColdGear fabric and the Metal fabric once I had the garment on. My arms moved a little easier, especially since the Metal is a slicker fabric, but there was no noticeable temperature difference.
While we didn't shoot a bunch of birds, we were still moving in and out of the blind throughout the morning. I was pleased that I never felt chilly or overheated during any of the activities. When we called it a morning and went to the house for lunch, I left the Metal top on and was pleased with its feel. It wasn't wet from perspiration and I wasn't overheating in the house either. Heck, I didn't even need a blanket for my midday nap.
The afternoon hunt had us change tactics. We switched to field hunting so I traded the waders for a pair of jeans, kept the ColdGear bottoms and the Metal top along with my hybrid wader top and headed to a temporary field blind. Again, I was layering light intentionally. I was trying to get cold, but I didn't.
The afternoon hunt was fairly stationary with minimal calling and movement. We had a small Mr. Heater in the blind, which was adequate for its size. I thought I would need the extra heat, but I really never did. The two layers were more than enough for the conditions.
The only downside I can see with the ColdGear Metal, especially for someone like myself, is replacing a perfectly good ColdGear base layer. However, if you've used ColdGear, you know how effective it is and you might be looking to expand your selection. If you are, I highly suggest the Metal.
Click this link to purchase: Under Armour Metal ColdGear Mock T-Neck