The shirt should read “We went to Bavaria but all we got was this techy top” but actually we had to pull out of the trip at the last minute, but Jon from Outdoors Magic flew the Magic flag with pride and was even decent enough to lend us this sample when he came back.
N2S stands for Next2Skin, and it’s essentially a laminated Windstopper base layer. For the full details and nice pictures head for Outdoors but essentially it uses a ‘water hating’ layer next to the skin, with a water loving layer between that and the Windstopper membrane. The idea is sweat is carried straight through the first layer leaving the skin dry and into the soggy layer where it can then evaporate through the Windstopper.
This has been done before with Mountain Hardware’s Transition tops but the Gore N2S is lighter and a lot silkier in feel, though still firmly in the “Star Trek fabric of the future” synthetic category.
In fact it’s the most embarrasingly logo covered ‘euro’ jersey we’ve seen in a long time, but we’ve swallowed our vanity and the scorn of fashionable riding cronies and worn it nearly every day since we first got handed it. Time and time again we’ve fished it back out of the washing basket as the day unfolds into another of those, ‘might rain, might get sunny, definitely windy in places’ days that typify most of Britain’s weather.
Gore claim it’s as breathable as a normal base layer or technical jersey, but it’s hard to tell as the windproofing reduces the cooling breeze effect, meaning we were definitely sweatier than a normal jersey if the hammer went down. Sweating never reaches that ‘trickle / stream down the back’ stage though and the speed at which you dry out again is very impressive, backing up their breathability claims. The long front zip helps ventilation and there are mesh panels on the back just below the shoulder blades which suck cooling air through under your armpits from the front – great for cooling but not so good for riding behind. Like most Windstopper garments, water resistance is good enough to hack through fairly hefty showers and prolonged drizzle without the need for a more protective layer over the top.
Like the Transition gear, we couldn’t really see the point in such a “jack of all trades, master of none” garment at first, but the more we ride the less we wear anything else. No more peering out of the window trying to work out what the weather will do next, no more extra vest to keep out the breeze, and no more irritating layer on, layer off stops as climatic indecision goes through it’s full range of options.
Zip down to hoik up the hill, and then no sudden soggy chill as you blast down the other side, it really couldn’t be simpler. With a thermal layer underneath it’ll take you deep into autumn, and with arm warmers on standby it’ll handle even the most changeable ‘summer’ days. It also works fairly well as an underlayer, providing a useful weather proof core to less wind resistance outer layers such as fleeces.
The downside is that it won’t be available till next spring, and if MH Transition is anything to go by it won’t be cheap either (their short sleeved tops are £90). However if you’re looking for a single amazingly versatile layer, that cuts kit faff and “just in case” clothing cargo in one stroke then N2S will be well worth saving your pennies for.
Amazingly weatherproof but surprisingly sweat shifting shirt. The closest we’ve come to the “top for all seasons” that the British weather demands. Start saving now though.