Recently Go Outdoors sent me a Berghaus base layer to review. The base layer is from the Active range of technical clothing and was a new and unfamiliar shirt to me. Because it is a “next to skin” item of clothing the feel and touch of the material is very important, especially if you are going to wear it for long periods. The Berghaus Active LS Baselayer Zip Top feels great. My initial reaction was really positive, even just unwrapping it is a pleasure because it is so soft to the touch and you know immediately it is going to be comfortable to wear. It has flat seams to avoid chafing and this confirms that a great deal of attention to detail has gone into the design and manufacture of this base layer.
How do Berghaus describe it? They say –
The Berghaus Active LS Zip Top is a long sleeved baselayer designed for periods of activity or use in any conditions where you need warmth, sweat and odour resistance. Designed with Berghaus's own Argentium fabric which is quick wicking and breathable, the Berghaus Active LS is supremely easy to care for and will also keep you dry and cool, making it perfect for backpacking, or those who work out daily and need gear that can dry off quickly.
Baselayers are critical pieces of clothing because you wear them next to your skin to help keep you warm and dry or cool and dry and they do this by wicking away moisture instead of retaining it the way some tradition materials may do. They may be worn on their own or, more likely in the UK in winter, under a fleece or other mid-layer but they still have to do the same job and work in the same way.
I found this to be a comfortable, close fitting base layer that wicked away moisture easily when I wore it under a fleece inside a waterproof shell when fell running in the Lake District the other weekend. I don’t have any doubt about its ability to work as an effective base layer because we encountered quite difficult conditions – fierce hail, sleet and rain storms when keeping warm was difficult and climbing steep slopes in sunshine when keeping cool was a challenge. After a couple of hours running it was almost completely dry, having wicked away all my perspiration, and I was dry when I took it off.
Thermal Underwear will do the same job, in the same way, but when the weather is a bit warmer this base layer will really come into its own – not just a base layer, this a long sleeved technical t-shirt with big wicking panels to keep you cool. Just in case they can’t provide enough cooling the zipped neck, which helps keep you warm in winter, will open to increase the cooling even more. Beyond that, long sleeves with thumb loops help keep your hands warm and the discrete, secure key pocket at the back will keep your house or car key safe – as I said at the start, the attention to detail is obvious and these are further examples of the thought that has gone into this shirt. I haven’t been able to test its odour resistance but it does everything so well I don’t doubt it will do that too.
Finally, this shirt looks good too – so wearing down to the pub won’t be a problem either.