Early last year I had a pleasant surprise when I tested some polypropylene baselayers from Wild Stripes. Those originals have lasted very well and I’ve had some more samples of different designs on test over the last few months as well.
This red and black (menace it’s called of course) delight is the, deep breath, Adult Long Sleeve Zip Neck with Thumb Loops. If it was a band it would be a difficult name to chant at a gig to get them back out for an encore, but it does describe the top perfectly.
We’ve got the same polypropylene fabric as my crew neck and leggings which is fantastic. It performs so well, shifts your sweat quick and dries quicker, all my comments from the previous review apply here too. I’m half tempted to copy and paste it and pretend I just wrote it, but it’s better to be honest and link it.
But, the sleeves were a bit short, and here on the new model not only do we have nice long sleeves, they come with thumbloops. The sleeves have double-fabric cuffs which are a perfect length on me, they sit just nice at the base of my thumb and seal out the cold (or sun) but will still roll up my forearms (photie at the top of the post). The thumbloop is a good size and well positioned with great hand coverage. There’s not too much stretch on the sleeve for me to use the thumbloops comfortably. I can use them with liners underneath or mitts over the top, but they’re too thick for most gloves I think. Not an issue for me.
The zip and collar are also a new feature. The zip is a good mid-chest length and although there’s no baffle behind it, it’s smooth and I haven’t snagged any chest hair or had rubbing at all. The collar is kinda mid-height and is useful, I like collars in summer for sun protection, in winter I seem to be wearing a Buff around me neck more and more. I used to see old guys in the hills wearing red and white hankies around their necks, I seem to evolving into one of them. When the zip’s pulled right up it sits a little down from the top line of the collar so there’s no rubbing or snagging of your chin upholstery. The neck is a nice neat fit, and should be on you too with the amazing amount of stretch the fabric has. I can get my head through the zipped-up neck and it’ll return to normal size every time. That power of stretch and return really makes this fabric stand out, it’s so damned comfy and wearable. The seams all stretch the same way, no flatlocking here and you still can’t feel the seams at all.
It’s smell resistance is fine, I’ve sweated into it mightily on hot and cold days and it stays entirely sociable and pleasant for wearer and companions. A few days and it’ll start to announce itself, but you can wear it for a week and then wash it at 90°C if you have to. Can’t do that with many base layers.
Bottom line is that I love this top, it’s a joy to wear, performs perfectly and it looks gallus. All we need now is some long legged boxer shorts to match.
Holly got sent a Kids Long Sleeve Crew T-Shirt and matching Kids Long John to test. I was worried, the girl likes to be a princess or a mermaid most of the time, would I get her into tech baselayers?
As it turns out, after she got them on for the first time, she was fine. They layer well so when we’re on outdoorsy trips she can wear her regular or mountain gear over them and she doesn’t complain and I know she’s going to be comfy whatever.
She slept in these when we camped last year in Glen Coe and to my amazement, kept them on the next day without complaint as well. Normally she’d be lobbing stuff away and demanding a clean issue from the quartermaster, but the fabric was dry, comfy and odour free, so she must have been quite happy. Can’t fool the wee yin, so that’s as high a recommendation as I can find you for the kit.
The stretch in the fabric means that these still fit her although she’s grown about three feet since she firts got them, so there’s a potentially economical choice here as well.
Big brands? Not all the good stuff has the power of A Logo behind it.