We’ve just received a Be Active Extreme Baselayer from Swedish brand, Craft, from their 2015 range. We know that Craft don’t mess around when it comes to baselayers; we tested the 2014 version previously. Perhaps everyone would take baselayers very seriously if they too had to endure a cold, Swedish winter. Craft’s continual development of the humble baselayer is nothing but good news for us cyclists whose bodies also have endure extremes, not just due to climate, but brought on by rigorous training and constantly pushing the limit.
These new Craft baselayers are designed to wick away moisture in every conceivable condition whilst keeping your body at the optimum comfortable temperature so you can still perform, even when wearing a heavy winter jacket.
Craft have been at this a long time, so their tops have been refined over nearly four decades and are engineered to be functional, body-temperature management garments, during all intensities of exercise.
They tell us that the combination of fabric structures and knitting techniques interact to efficiently transport moisture away from the skin and distribute it on the outside, where it either evaporates or is passed on to the next layer of clothing offering optimal performance and comfort.
The Craft range of baselayers consists of the three categories: Stay COOL, Be ACTIVE and Keep WARM.
It’s often counter intuitive to think that wearing a baselayer can actually keep you cooler than just wearing a cycling top alone in really hot weather but it’s true and the new Stay Cool baselayer is designed to do just that; ‘keep athletes cool while exercising in warm conditions, indoors as well as outdoors’.
It features a unique multi-channeled, fibre construction that is said to actually ‘pull perspiration vapor off the body to keep it cool’. The Cool is designed to provide optimal freedom of movement and perfect fit, presumably to ensure you can wear it with the tightest of aero cycling kits.
Be Active Extreme is the baselayer we have been sent for review. Sounding like something emanating from the Met office, the Be Active baselayer claims to create ‘an optimal microclimate for endurance in fair and cold conditions’. Its made of ‘highly functional fabrics that offer moisture transport and body-temperature management at the highest level’. That sounds pretty serious. Then you realsie that this technology was one of the first developed by Craft and that they have been perfecting it since the mid-1970s with athletes in the Olympics, World Championships and so on. No wonder they come across all Heineken-commercial-like, when they describe the Active baselayer as ‘probably one of the most successful baselayer collections in the world’.
So that only leaves the coldest of conditions and the Keep Warm baselayer ‘ensures excellent body-temperature management and comfort during workouts in sub-zero temperatures’. These baselayers use two fabrics: Warm and Warm Circular Knit Wool, both developed to allow athletes to perform in really cold conditions. As such and bearing in mind the slower ‘winter training’ speeds in cycling, these baselayers have been developed for both high- and low-intensity activities.
There is also Warm Wool Junior, a Merino wool fabric for the kids that contains a small amount of polyester which keeps them warm even if (when) they get wet. Sorted.
Check back soon to see how we get on with the Be Active Extreme baselayer we have in for review.
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