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GROUP TEST: Winter Baselayers

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Baselayer group test montage, 4 kbA winter baselayer should be warm, but still breathable. A high zipped neck and long hem are also essential. In this group test we've trialled winter weight baselayers from a number of leading brands.

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 timjones 13 Feb 2017
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

It's a shame that more budget brands aren't included. It would be interesting to see whether the big brands are worth the hefty price tag.

 timmeehhhh 13 Feb 2017
In reply to timjones:

I have been using these tops for some time now and really cannot fault their performance:
https://www.decathlon.co.uk/techwinter-500-zip-mens-technical-t-shirt-dark-grey-long-sleeve-id_83194...
 r0b 13 Feb 2017
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

I used the Alpkit Laika for the Spine Challenger layered over a Brynje Super Thermo "string vest" (shame you didn't review one of them too!). Worked well, although I agree I noticed it ponged a bit too!
 Pina 13 Feb 2017
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

Were none of the testers brave enough to try the Brynje mesh tops?
 nathan79 13 Feb 2017
In reply to timmeehhhh:

Also a fan. I have hooded and non-hood, both are great. I've compared the non-hood one with my Marmot thermo 1/2 zip (~£100rrp but I got it for £30) and there's very little difference in performance.
 timjones 13 Feb 2017
In reply to timmeehhhh:

> I have been using these tops for some time now and really cannot fault their performance:

I've been using Aldi/Crane baselayers for a number of years now and I struggle to see how the more expensive brands could be good enough to justify the extra cost.
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

Unless 'not looking like a sexpest' is a category brynje is really the only answer to best winter baselayer.
 Qwertilot 13 Feb 2017
In reply to ebdon:

The power grid stuff from Polartec might actually be able to debate that in performance terms. They're really fierce with the amount they cut out in the grid pattern so it must have a very similar area of 'stuff' in contact with the skin to brynje.
 Sans-Plan 13 Feb 2017
In reply to timjones:

I agree, budget base layer test please !

I am constantly amazed at the price of base layers, anything from £50 to £100 for whats effectively a long sleeve technical tee is just plain crazy, i just buy whats in the sales as paying full price for them just annoys me......
In reply to nathan79:

I've been plugging the Techwinter shirt for a while, and I think it was me that pointed you in that direction when they were being knocked out at £11.

https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=606789&v=1#x7965999

You said at the time you were going to compare it to the Marmot. It's nice to hear when recommendations work out well.

They seem to have removed my review from their website. It did go up, but they do have a policy of not mentioning other brands, and I think I said something like "near Arc'teryx quality at Decathlon prices". Maybe that's why it got removed.
Dheorl 13 Feb 2017
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

I like skin tight base layers so always just buy what fits best. Guess maybe I should look into it more at some point.
 Tricadam 14 Feb 2017
In reply to ebdon:

> Unless 'not looking like a sexpest' is a category brynje is really the only answer to best winter baselayer.

Agreed. Before Brynje I had to get taps aff at the base of the climb to change into a new dry base layer. Now I just take off the thin wind cheater and replace it with climbing layers, meanwhile making all nearby parties feel so uncomfortable that they not infrequently vacate my route of choice. Win win.
 BnB 14 Feb 2017
In reply to Qwertilot:

> The power grid stuff from Polartec might actually be able to debate that in performance terms. They're really fierce with the amount they cut out in the grid pattern so it must have a very similar area of 'stuff' in contact with the skin to brynje.

I run too hot for tight, long sleeves on walk-ins and I'm a regular wearer of the mesh. However, I experimented with converting a long sleeve micro grid fleece (Rab AL) to short sleeves with the aid of a sewing machine. It works very much like a mesh tee shirt with even more warmth and perhaps only a tad slower moisture transfer. I wear it instead of the mesh on calmer days or for traverses with only short stops when I can save the weight and bulk of the big belay jacket.
 benp1 14 Feb 2017
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

It's specific to the activity though in some ways, and also depends what you're wearing with it

Merino is quite nice to wear if you're not doing anything sweaty, but it holds water too much for anything intensive

That then leads you to slightly thicker synthetic stuff, something powerdry (I also have the Marmot Thermo 1/2 zip) or something from Brynje

Both these latter items are excellent. The Brynje isn't easy to wear for the pub/meal afterwards though...
In reply to benp1:
I'm currently experimenting with the idea that one has to wear a couple of other woollen things over a merino base layer and under a windproof shell, to be able to stay warm enough while damp as the moisture works it's way away from the skin. Creating a warm when damp micro climate.

I'd imagine it's not the kind of thing you want to do in high mountains where any moisture turns to ice easily/quickly...
Post edited at 14:33
In reply to benp1:

> Merino is quite nice to wear if you're not doing anything sweaty, but it holds water too much for anything intensive

When merino became common maybe 10-15 years ago I went to using merino almost solely for ice climbing, hiking, ski touring etc. but I did always have some synthetic layers that I wore for winter cycling. I came around to your way of thinking too that it merino doesn't dry quickly enough, so in recent years particularly for ski touring I've gone back to Helly Hansen quite often! When you start the day with 800-1000 mtrs of skinning up, I get really hot in anything but lousy weather so synthetics are better. Since moving back to the UK I've found that for walking in to winter climbs I can do alright in merino - it might be a bit soggy at the base of the route, but often dries out as your gear up etc. Some of the wool-synthetic mixes seem to work, I've reviewed some Rab MeCo stuff and have been pretty impressed with it - it does seem to hit that sweet spot of not getting pongy like synthetics but drying quite quickly. Fine to wear but not quite as soft as pure merino though.

I've been a bit sceptical about the idea of winter weight base layers - having generally thought a thin close fitting base was best than some kind of micro fleece mid layer over it but the I bought years back from MEC one of their hooded thick base layers/thin midlayers and was impressed with that both next to the skin or as a jumper. The Marmot Neothermo I reviewed in this review is very similar and does work very well - it's just a shame about the price! I've also seen the Decathlon ones that Captain Paranoia mentions and they do look very good value and rather similar to the Marmot (or indeed my MEC one and also an old Patagonia R1 I have), but I haven't actually worn one so don't know what they are like in terms of fit and wicking. I think the Alpkit one that I reviewed here is great value, even if Decathlon do things for less, although I think I will use the laika more over a thin base (quite often a merino tshirt - then you don't whiff by the end of the day), but it does work well next to the skin.
 iksander 16 Feb 2017
In reply to timjones:

They're cheap because they don't pay for advertising on climbing websites
In reply to TobyA:

> I've been a bit sceptical about the idea of winter weight base layers

The problem with thicker base layers is that they wick up, and hang on to quite a bit of moisture, isn't it?

Even though they wick away from the skin, into the bulk of the fabric, it's still there. So if it gets cold, and you press against it, you get a horrible cold, wet feeling, particularly down your back...

Thinner base layers don't have the 'reservoir' layer they can wick away and soak into, so they hold the moisture closer to the body, and it is thus encouraged to evaporate. Trouble is, that means that you tend to feel wetter all the time...

A toss-up between feeling warm and a bit damp most of the time (thin layer), or getting a bit of a cold shock every now and then with a thicker layer.

The MEC T3 is the lightest weight PowerDry I've seen, so it wicks nicely, but there isn't much 'reservoir' to hang on to much moisture.

The Techwinter things have a more solid outer 'reservoir' layer, and so can fall foul of the cold, clammy shock problem. No more so than other similar fabrics, though.
 John2 16 Feb 2017
In reply to TobyA:

I find merino base layers excellent for ski touring. If it's really hot I wear just the base layer, if it's a little cooler I wear a light softshell on top. It has to be pretty cold before I put any goretex on.
In reply to captain paranoia:

I agree with you, thick are warmer but take longer to dry, thin feel damp but dry quicker.

For that reason, I usually walk in with a lightweigh top, change into an Eclipse Hoodie. Usually change back to lightweight top to walk out, which cold/damp at first, drys quickly once moving.

I also have a Patagonia Cap 4 Hoodie, which hits the sweet spot versus wicking/warmth, hood too small to go over helmet (it's only flaw).

Stuart
 mrphilipoldham 16 Feb 2017
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

I swear by my long sleeve Adidas 'climawarm' base layer. Dries like a puddle in the Sahara, even under layers and cost less than £20 from Sportsdirect.
 timjones 17 Feb 2017
In reply to iksander:

> They're cheap because they don't pay for advertising on climbing websites

That thought had crossed my mind

I guess it's all good as long as eneough people are influenced by ntheir advertising.
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

Shame no indication as to whether female fit version of each of these is available. Generally mens fitting tops don't work as well for women due to the obvious differences in shape. Its a shame that again a review that is entirely male-centric.
1
Dheorl 17 Feb 2017
In reply to gingerbex:

> Shame no indication as to whether female fit version of each of these is available. Generally mens fitting tops don't work as well for women due to the obvious differences in shape. Its a shame that again a review that is entirely male-centric.

It mentions in every single spec list whether they're available for women and the sizes which are available.

FYI, only the first three are men only, save you having to look.
1
In reply to gingerbex:

I think you need to look a bit more closely!
In reply to gingerbex:

> Its a shame that again a review that is entirely male-centric.

Good point, well made. And it's a shame that the manufacturers' sites don't have an obvious 'female version' cross-linkage.

Jottnar: can't see base layers at all
https://www.jottnar.com/uk/womens/

Berghaus
http://www.berghaus.com/womens-thermal-long-sleeve-zip-neck/420082.html

Mammut
can't see an equivalent PowerWool offering
https://www.mammut.ch/GB/en_GB/B2C-Kategorie/Women/Midlayers-and-Shirts-Women/Baselayer-Tops-Women/c...

Rab
http://rab.equipment/uk/womens/baselayer/merino-trade-160-long-sleeve-zip-tee-1

Montane
https://www.montane.co.uk/womens-c15/clothing-c30/next-to-skin-c19/womens-primino-220-zip-neck-p175

Arc'teryx
http://www.arcteryx.com/product.aspx?country=gb&language=en&gender=Womens&category=Base_...

Alpkit
(hah! the original link went to the women's version...)
Here's the mens'
https://www.alpkit.com/products/laika-mens

Salewa website is just about unusable...
http://www.salewa.co.uk/en/ortles-light-fleece-women.html

Paramo
http://www.paramo-clothing.com/en-gb/explore-range/product/?pk=3AEF074E-6315-40E5-842B-662A3A0DD943

ME
no equivalent
http://www.mountain-equipment.co.uk/womens-outdoor-clothing?class=404

Marmot
no equivalent
you do get lots of pretty prints, though...
http://marmot.com/women-tops-baselayer/
In reply to Dheorl:

Fair point in the full description but would be useful to have on the initial info, save having to read through the whole thing. Think would be useful in the initial summary to have an indication straight off. But I do hang my head - yes, lots do have female versions if look through the whole thing. Maybe I'm being over female sensitive.
In reply to captain paranoia:

Thank you
Dheorl 17 Feb 2017
In reply to captain paranoia:

I don't see how it's a good point well made, she just didn't look in the right place.

It turns out, neither did you. Plenty of the companies you claimed have no equivalent actually do, you just didn't look properly. I'm not sure how female cross-linkage would be helpful, as surely women would just be looking in the women's section? Why look in the mens section then try and find an equivalent? I guess if you think it would be useful though that's your opinion which you have every right to.
2
Dheorl 17 Feb 2017
In reply to gingerbex:

I guess it would be. but then again there isn't any information what size any of them come in in the brief rundown either. Looking down through the whole list, a few years ago likelihood is only one of those would have fit me.
1
In reply to Dheorl:

You're an argumentative sort, aren't you? I noticed this when you asked for advice on another thread recently, as did others.

> I don't see how it's a good point well made, she just didn't look in the right place.

It's a good point, because none of the reviewers were women, reviewing women's base layers.

The only mention of 'women' in the article is for the sizes. How about providing links to the women's equivalents, like I did?

Cross-linkage is helpful because it makes it easy for each sex to find the equivalent if there is one. This is especially significant in a hypertext world, where links are followed. If you're going direct to a website, and delving down the hierarchy, not so important.

> Plenty of the companies you claimed have no equivalent actually do, you just didn't look properly.

Would you care to point me to the direct equivalent items where I was unable to find one (Jottnar, Mammut, ME & Marmot)? With your logic regarding not needing equivalent product links, I should have been able to traverse up and down the hierarchy, and find the equivalents. I couldn't.
Post edited at 15:01
Dheorl 17 Feb 2017
In reply to captain paranoia:
I don't intend to be argumentative, I just say what I feel, something I often wish more people did. I was getting slightly argumentative in the thread I imagine your referring to because others were being rather patronising having clearly not read the OP properly.

If you look at the material you'd notice many are polartec type. Normally, as is the case with the ones you couldn't find, these are listed under fleeces or midlayer etc, both for men and women, although as you'll notice in the article Jottnar and Mammut don't make a direct equivalent. For the sake of completeness of this thread it appears the Kira Pro is the closest female version in the case of Mammut (it's what comes up when you search for the name, something that will likely help find the female verisons if you're struggling on the other sites).
Post edited at 15:54
 galpinos 18 Feb 2017
In reply to captain paranoia:

I agree it seems a shame that there are no women reviewers.

ME equivalent:

http://www.mountain-equipment.co.uk/womens-eclipse-zip-tee

Not as deep a chest zip for ventilation but that might be due to modesty issues.

They do do a women's version of the hooded one as well.

http://www.mountain-equipment.co.uk/womens-eclipse-hooded-zip-tee

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