Craft Active Extreme WS Long Sleeve Baselayer
Simple ideas are often the best and that definitely applies to this brilliant baselayer from Swedish manufacturer Craft. Their Active Extreme baselayer is a great piece of kit in its own right but, with the addition of a Gore Windstopper fabric to the front, it’s become one of my most used items of clothing throughout this winter.
Its 148 g weight for a large is competitive with many non-windproof synthetic base layers and the fit is perfect. It’s figure hugging to enhance wicking and, essential for cycling, is long in the lower back and arms. The fabric is super soft against your skin and the elasticated ribbing feels supportive without being restrictive. A fairly high neckline is also welcome in cold conditions.
Out freezing road rides, it performed really well underneath a winter weight cycling jersey and a softshell jacket. The extra layer of wind proofing was always appreciated on long descents and, despite some hard work on climbs, it’d always be bone dry when I got home. On slightly warmer days it allowed me to shed a layer and made temperature regulation far easier than with a standard baselayer. Descents that’d normally have me reaching for a windproof gillet were comfortably tackled in just the base and jersey.
It’s been excellent for running too and, especially in this recent Arctic blast, has had plenty of use. On days down to 0 C it’s perfect on its own when working hard and, when working into a cold wind, noticeably takes the bite away. As on the bike, when my running partners were donning gillets and windproof jackets but then overheating on climbs, I was able to keep going without worrying about clothing adjustment. I got a real sense of sweat leaving my back and evaporating while my front stayed warm. I reckon it’ll see action all the way through spring on blustery days.
Despite its relatively lightweight and soft feel, it’s not showing any signs of wear and has been used with a reasonably heavy pack. It also hasn’t developed the nasty pong that can be the downfall of synthetic baselayers. It’s not cheap at £50 but it’s going to get 3-season wear both on the bike and running and looks like it’s going to last.
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