Soft, warm and comfortable, Smartwool's base layer impresses

Until relatively recently most of us spent a lot of the winter wrapped up in nylon base layers. While great for keeping you warm and reasonably breathable they would invariably develop a smell after a few days that you would never get rid of until you chucked it in the bin when its life was run. Can’t imagine you would be finding many of these on Ebay!

However, a phenomenon from the southern hemisphere has meant that a lot of us use a wonder fabric, an extra breathable natural fibre: Merino wool. Smartwool is a company founded on the slopes of New England by ski instructors who embraced Merino after struggling to find suitable clothing for keeping warm, and have developed a nice range of tops and socks over the past 15 years.

The Smartwool NTS Midweight Crew is a classic Merino wool long-sleeved baselayer; NTS stands for Next-To-Skin, and this is Smartwool's top of the range baselayer made from highly breathable Merino wool fabric with flatlocked seam construction. While the Merino is of top quality, it is the flatlock construction that makes this such a good item of clothing; the fit it extremely good.

Its not often you get the opportunity to test things so extensively, but this winter has proved to be the ideal testing ground. As well as featuring on pretty much every mountain bike ride since I got it, it had been used for walking, running, even under a wetsuit for a spot of New Year surfing and used for a week of snowboarding without washing and under work clothes and even under a suit.

We all have a bit of kit that remain at the front of our biking wardrobe, that gets fished out of the washing basket because it has not made it through the wash before its needed again, even when there are other bits of kit that could be used.

So why wear this when other Merino layers are clean and ready to go? Well for one it doesn’t get smelly and is naturally antimicrobial, don’t you know. And because of the cut and flatlock seam construction, it doesn’t loose its shape like other base layers. It’s also a bit longer than other base layers I have, meaning that you avoid any unwanted draughts too.

It fits really well, it keeps you warm and it looks good too; sure it might be little bit more pricy that some bases out there now, its built to last and you really do get what you pay for with this one. Not only that but it is but it is made out of ethical Zque Merino wool, so you know its come from happy sheep; herded by happy sheepdogs.

A great piece of kit.

£45.00 from www.smartwool.com