Finisterre Merino Wool Base Layer Top £25 from Finisterre
Alternative from Endura £30
Alternative from Howies £40
Alternative review: Finisterre Wool Base Layer
Warm when wet
isn't a glamorous piece of kit, it won't attract women or make you look
cool. Made from very fine wool fibres found on Merino sheep, it will
help keep you warm even when you're sweating under your waterproof
jacket however. Your base layer is as important as the other layers in
your clothing system, it must transport moisture away from
your skin, whilst not chilling you and stay warm whilst it does. This
is a pretty tall order and best not left to a random T Shirt or even an
old cycling top. If like me you've spent a lot of time in the mountains
you may have noticed the sheep out there, they don't have Goretex
jackets and yet they spend every night out in the worst of it.
understood this centuries ago and woolly jumpers have been popular
since the early days of life in sodden Britain. The only downside of
wearing wool next to your skin was that the coarse fibres make some
people itch and I'm one of them, so it was with some trepidation that I
went out on my test ride wearing the new Merino Wool Base layer from
Itchy and Scratchy?
no, it wasn't and that was with an unhealthy preconception that it
might be, I was impressed. So it doesn't itch and doesn't look amazing
(what base layer does?) but does keep you warm when it's wet and
comfortable if things warm up a bit. It won't smell either, those
clever sheep evolved anti-microbial fibres perhaps to avoid sending
their malodorous pong out to every predator in the region.
a three season base layer then this is a success and it's certainly one
of the cheapest on the market at present. Traditionally prices are cut
either by cutting quality or cutting the meagre pay of Mongolian
Whistle children below starvation levels. Not so with Finisterre who
take a highly ethical stance avoiding sweatshops and for this reason
this top is made in Portugal.
Other systems to consider
is a recent trend towards mid layers with a built in base action such
as the Gore N2S (Next To Skin) jacket. An impressive piece of kit I
have to say that in the winter at least it is out performed by a
seperate base layer like this one from Finisterre. This would seem to
be because it just doesn't sit close enough to your body to completely
avoid drafts from chilling your damp skin: a sheep would not be
impressed. Having three layers also allows better adjustment of
temperature in the rain, with a combined base/mid layer you can't
remove just the middle layer on a warm, wet day which can make you
overheat. Overheating makes your body expend considerable energy trying
to cool you resulting in a feeling of 'going backwards' on the climbs.
Why should I buy one?
- It's cheap for the quality
- It keeps you warm
- Ethical Manufacture
- Will not irritate
- Will not get smelly easily
Why should you not buy one?
- You're allergic to wool
- You're looking for a fashion item
like you're on comission?
Cynical lot... we're not.
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