"The Women's Merino 160 Long Sleeve Zip Tee is a mid-weight baselayer tee optimised for warmth, temperature regulation and multi-day use."
Multi-day use, you say? How about 35 days of mountain bike touring in the Himalaya, with just soap and cold water (when you can find it) and the joy of hot showers a dream away? That was the challenge - so the Merino certainly had a job on its hands! During my time in Nepal, this baselayer, combined with the Merino 160 Pants acted as my pyjamas, evening wear, cold weather riding kit under shorts and even as a towel.[caption id="attachment_28091" align="aligncenter" width="900"] Rachael in Nepal. Credit: Huw Oliver[/caption]
I chose a slightly bigger size for the top than I normally would from Rab because the slim fitting baselayer would also be used as a riding jersey. The zipped version gives lots of temperature flexibility thanks to the deep venting chest zip, but I also like the long sleeve crew which is 40g lighter for those who are wanting something really light.
I was most impressed with how fast drying it was. As we were traveling super-lightweight, I often used the baselayer to dry my hair, but for lack of any other clothes had to put the top straight back on afterwards. Luckily, it dried so fast next to my skin that I wasn't wet for long and could sleep easy and warm.[caption id="attachment_28092" align="aligncenter" width="900"] The Merino Baselayer being put to the test. Credit: Huw Oliver[/caption]
I gave these baselayers a couple of 'washes' during the trip - meaning I rubbed some dubious local soap onto the dirtiest bits and rinsed in cold water. I'm not sure how clean they came out but they never seemed to smell too bad considering the amount of effort I was exerting whilst wearing them each day.
This baselayer has had a hard start in life but the fabric has held together well, no balling or thin, worn patches. It washes well at 30 degrees and maintains its shape after spinning or wringing (unusual for merino wool from my experience). The pants are not quite thick enough to wear on their own with any modesty but they are low profile and easy to wear under trousers.
Since returning from Nepal, and after a good wash in the washing machine, I have worn these base layers working through the Scottish winter and they have kept me cool on the walk-ins, warm when eating lunch and smelling fresh even after 5 days of straight use. No small task.[caption id="attachment_28093" align="aligncenter" width="900"] Credit: Huw Oliver[/caption]