Wendy put the Rab Merino+ 160 Long Sleeve Crew Base Layer to the test by going sky diving and tyre pulling in Wiltshire at the weekend!
This weekend was the weekend I’d planned to try out my new Rab baselayer.
It may be the middle of November, and we’ve had a few frosty starts, but the main problem was that it was forecast to be a lovely sunny day!
I was expecting Rab’s usual technical spec along with wearable design and attention to what really matters when facing the elements. - what does this mean? What base layer was it?
Test 1. Sky Diving
I love to jump out of planes. It’s an addictive mix of freedom and concentration. Add to that a little bit of fear – you are 13,000ft above the earth – and you’re about there.
A perfectly still and sunny November day is the perfect day for skydiving. I learned in the winter, so I knew it would be cold. On the ground it’s sweater weather. In the plane it gets steadily colder until you reach altitude (no heating or pressurised cabins here). And then the door opens. The temperature outside the door at 13,500ft yesterday was ‘f-ing cold’ according to one member of staff. That equates to about -15, temperatures it’s difficult to find in the U.K. anywhere else.
It’s about at this moment that I usually start to regret the whole idea on the basis that’s it’s just too cold. I had my base layer on, with a t-shirt and fleece and finally my jumpsuit. It was the warmest I’d been on a winter jump – apart from my hands, which even in gloves were numb from about 10,000ft. I was out the plane and holding onto a rail as soon as the door opened, followed by two fellow jumpers. After that, you’re so focused on the jump that you don’t really notice the temperature till you land.
Test 2. Tyre Pulling
Back on the ground, I needed to set up and test my tyre-hauling gear. This is the closest thing you can get to hauling a pulk (special sledge which is used to haul camping gear on cross-country ski expeditions) without snow. You wear a special harness which then connects to your tyre – and off you go. It was pretty warm after five minutes, so I was in just my base layer and soft-shell trousers.
The trick, I’m told, is to pull from the waist, not the shoulders, and to try and keep as upright as possible. I could barely lift the tyre, and dragging it was fine initially, but I could feel it in my legs pretty quickly. So this is why you need to practice. If I’m going to be doing this for 8-10 hours a day, I’m going to have to focus on leg strength and endurance.
Even on the flat Wiltshire roads it was tough going but although I was warm I didn’t get sweaty. I can see me needed more padding on the shoulders as it was starting to rub even after twenty minutes or so. Apart from the neighbours thinking I’m crazy, a great first day tyre-hauling!!
- Smooth, seam free and comfortable next to skin
- The body is long enough for you to tuck into trousers and/or provide decent coverage over the waist
- Sleeves were just right - not too long or too short
- Can wear in the city if it's cold
- Good choice of colours
- The silky feeling when first put on doesn't always feel cosy
- More expensive end of base-layer market
Ratings by categories
- Warmth: 9/10
- Comfort: 10/10
- Style: 9/10
- Value for money: 8/10
Would you recommend it to a friend?
Yes! As most of my friends are not afraid of winter training and this will definitely help!