Alpkit Merino Base Top // Review
by Emily Pitts
Design, arm length, thumb holes, fit, fabric... everything!
The Alpkit Kepler Merino Base Layer Top is very competitively priced at £39 direct from Alpkit. As an online only company based in the UK they keep prices low by cutting out the 'middleman'. If you want to support an independent UK company then Alpkit is a great place to start.
I love the design of this women specific base layer top. It looks as good on its own after a hard day of climbing as it does at the crag under all your layers. I wear this garment all the time, not just for climbing, because it's a stylish design, which looks good for social occasions as well as for its main function - to keep you warm at the crag or on expedition. The neck design is particularly good; it sits low enough not to get in the way of breathing - useful if you're on a two hour uphill walk-in to a winter climb! Other design details that are brilliant are: thumb holes, long sleeves to fit longer arms, long length to suit people with a long body and stitching in areas where it will reduce rubbing. I like the alpkit logo on the left shoulder too.
The fit of this garment is excellent. They are true to size and designed to be worn snug but not majorly figure hugging, so you can wear it on its own without it looking like traditional thermals. It fits me so comfortably, probably thanks to the unusual stitching design, which makes it fit in all the right places without the stitching causing issues. It's been designed with a woman's body in mind and hence the fit being very good. The stretch of the fabric means that it adapts to your shape while still being comfy.
The design of this product means that it functions brilliantly. It's wicking, so it takes away moisture from your body, helping you to regulate your temperature more effectively. So, it has the expected thermal properties, along with longer arm length, meaning that you can keep your wrists warm - an area notorious for losing heat quickly. It has been completely rub free, so no nasty marks left on my shoulders or torso after wearing carrying a heavy pack. All in all a brilliantly functioning base layer, which is relatively lightweight and with lovely fabric. One of my concerns with merino is the itch factor, as wool makes me itch like mad, but this fabric is sensational - not an itch in sight and it feels great on my skin. the final massive bonus is the smell resistance. When you wear it for consecutive days it smells much less than you you would expect, which I felt was a great positive.
I've washed and worn this base layer repeatedly, because I also wear it for work sometimes, and it has held up exceptionally well. It's been in the wash with all my other clothing and stood up to the rigours of being tumble dried on a low setting very well, which surprised me. It actually first went in to be tumble dried by mistake, so I didn't expect it to survive, but it did and I'm very happy that I don't need to be too precious about how it's washed and handled. However, do pay attention to the washing instructions if you want the very best from your product - I'm not condoning careless handling!!
Value for Money
The majority of merino base layers are much more expensive that this offering from Alpkit, which comes in at a staggeringly low £39. With everything that this offers it is the best base layer I've ever had. On this basis I give it a 5 star rating for value for money.
The people at Alpkit have clearly thought about every aspect of this garment and tested it out to create a beautifully designed and functional garment that is perfectly fit for purpose.
To get hold of one of these lovelies you can go to the Alpkit website.
We think it's a great product - what do you think? If you've tried this product, let us know what you think - comment below.
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Merino Long Sleeve Base Layer Review - Mountain Warehouse