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The North Face Toat Q4 (M FLS S/S Crew Neck)

£23.00

This is a super-light, 68g (men’s size L)  top that delivers a close fit, relatively long length and flatlocked seams to keep comfort levels high. It’s ideal for lightweight enthusiasts and as it packs down small it makes for a good back-up layer in your rucksack.

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Icebreaker Bodyfit 150 Atlas

£30.00

Merino wool is a great natural fibre, and if you like fitted, lightweight T-shirts then this is a great buy. Icebreaker makes some excellent, easier-fitting tops that require a less athletic build. But this is an excellent top that’s great all year. Made in China, it’s the cheapest merino wool offering here, combining top-quality and excellent value.

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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PARAMO CAMBIA ZIP-NECK

£35.00

Review: Good length sleeves and hem, and the double-sided fabric feels soft and has plenty of give in it. Cuffs are a bit baggy, though. A reversible top with one side providing more warmth and the other better moisture management. The latter performed better, wicking superbly and drying slightly quicker than the winner. Smellier and not as warm, though. VITAL ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Regatta Invent

£35.00

This windproof fleece from Regatta is a good fit, with just the right amount of room in the arms and body. The high collar is nice, but the cuffs are loose and the lining feels a bit scratchy against the skin. Performs remarkably well for the price. Not as warm and wind-resistant as some, so not suited to really cold ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Montane Dragonfly Shirt 2009

£40.00

Some base layers we looked at were designed to cover a number of activities – including skiing and yachting. But the Montane Dragonfly Shirt has obviously been designed for UK walking. Utilising two grades of Polartec Powerdry fabric, the back and arms get high-wicking fabric while the chest and underarms get a stretchier weave, which is tough and enables excellent ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Lowe Alpine Micro Grid

£40.00

This lightweight fleece from Lowe Alpine was a snug fit next to the skin, but a little tight when worn over a lighter base- layer. The collar is a good height and fit, and the elasticated cuffs were easy to pull up and didn’t go baggy. This is a basic top with a medium-length zip and no pockets. The Aleutian ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Rohan Silver Fleece Zip

£45.00

Getting hot and sweaty tends to result in smelly gear, which is none too pleasant whatever the circumstances. The X-Static silver fibres in this fleece mid layer reduce odour by controlling the growth of bacteria. Apart from that smell advantage, this is a useful top for wearing under other mid layers, as it is a thin and lightweight fleece that ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Mountain Equipment Cirrus Jacket

£60.00

This insulated jacket weighs in at 594g (inc 10g stuffsack), which compares well with jackets costing twice its price. It make use of Polarloft insulation and a ripstop nylon shell, and it generally felt robust and warmer than lighter garments. To keep draughts out you get a baffle over the outside of the front zip, adjustable cuffs, a hem drawcord ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Páramo Explorer Pull On

£60.00

Typically of Páramo, this fleece mid layer is dedicated to being functional on the hill. At around 484g it is reasonably lightweight. It can also be worn inside-out if you find it a little too warm. The fabric is very durable and wind-resistant, and will keep light drizzle at bay too. It is a smock design, which allows a large ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Haglöfs Gemini Hood

£75.00

This fleece mid layer just about has it all. At just 304g, it has a hood, which makes it a rare beast – and for me this gives it an edge. The fabric is warm enough for year-round use while the two chest pockets allow easy storage and access to maps on the move while wearing a rucksack. The stretch ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Regatta Seistan

£75.00

More waterproof than soft shell and as a waterproof it performs quite well, with a three-layer membrane fabric, taped seams and a very good, adjustable hood. As a soft shell, though, it fails to provide any real insulation, and is nothing like as breathable as some. It’s very adjustable with Velcro cuffs and a drawcord hem, and the hood is ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Montane Prism

£75.00

This duvet jacket weighs 372g; synthetic insulation; large chest pockets; hood rolls to collar; elasticated cuffs; scoop tail; excellent movement in sleeves; packs into its own pocket; ideal as back-up insulation from spring to autumn. But not as warm as others.

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Mountain Hardwear Monkey Man Zip T

£75.00

This fleece mid layer weighs 498g (size L); Polartec Thermal Pro provides more insulation than some other fleece mid layers; Powerstretch side panels for extra-close fit and freedom of movement; chest pocket; elasticated hem; drawcord collar; very fluffy style. But not as practical as some others (no large pockets; Powerstretch does not extend over shoulders), not as fashionable as some ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Páramo Torres Gilet 2010

£75.00

The Torres Gilet can be used for layering over a Páramo waterproof garment or worn directly over a base layer. Either way it will deliver fast and light insulation to the torso without being weighed down by sleeves or a hood. DesignAs with all gilets there are no sleeves, and unlike other jackets here there is no hood either. The ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 0
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Montane Puma

£90.00

This provides a different kind of soft shell experience from some other jackets, but it is quite suitable if you want something beyond what a normal fleece can offer. It is made from a fabric that is more wind- and water-resistant than a conventional fleece and it also feels far more durable. Under the arms you get more conventional stretch ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Berghaus Infinity Light

£100.00

The infinity Light, as the name might imply, is a really light, easily packable insulated jacket. It is constructed using some of the best materials the industry has to offer. The jacket includes a women’s-specific model, and this offers a cut that is nicely fitted. It folds neatly and easily into the internal pocket, and is so small you should ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Montane Flux

£100.00

This insulated jacket is a sound contribution from Montane, consisting of Primaloft fill and a jam-packed list of features. To start with, the Flux has one of the best hood designs. It not only draws in around the face and has a wired peak, but it also fits over a helmet and still cinches in at the neck. When the ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Rab Photon Hoodie

£100.00

This insulated jacket is a shining example of good, functional gear. The first thing you notice when you put it on is that it feels great to wear. The soft and light Pertex Microlight fabric and the Primaloft fill make the jacket really comfortable and warm when on, which is just the ticket on a cold, blustery crag! After you’ve ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Montane Prism 2.0 2010

£100.00

The Prism 2.0 is the lightest insulated jacket in the Montane range and now it uses 40g/m2 Primaloft Eco insulation so that it reduces its impact on the planet. The shell is windproof, while the weight and bulk are low enough to make this a warm and comfortable jacket for general hill use. Unlike some insulated tops it also features ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 0
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Rab Vapour-Rise

£100.00

This soft shell jacket from Rab is a good fit, with plenty of adjustment at the cuffs and hem, and has a rustle-free hood that is a delight to wear. The soft Pertex outer and fleecy pile lining make a very comfortable combination. Beyond criticism in cooler, nastier conditions, and would win a winter test hands down. But it’s a ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Montane Prism (2013)

£100.00

Long a stalwart of good kit and prices, Montane’s Prism is another example of kit purpose-built for the UK. Insulation is Primaloft Eco, which – while not as soft or thick as Premium Primaloft One – uses 50 per cent recycled fibres. It’s still good, warm and adds a pleasing earthy tick, and a weather-resistant Pertex Microlight outer offers further ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Páramo Torres Smock

£100.00

This duvet jacket has a generous body size, designed to be worn over another jacket; synthetic insulation; tunnel waist pocket; fixed hood; XS-XXL size range; medium level of insulation is ideal for UK; map-sized chest pocket; very durable fabric. But 838g is a bit heavy; sleeves tended to ride up a little; some may prefer a jacket to a smock.

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Rab Vapour Rise Smock

£100.00

This soft shell weighs 574g; exceptionally breathable fabric; micro wicking lining adds comfort and insulation; good water repellency; rollaway hood; excellent sleeve movement; map-sized chest pocket; elasticated and Velcro cuffs. But waist pocket easily obstructed; not as durable or water-resistant as others; no stretch.

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Montane Dyno (2012)

£100.00

The fabric is less rubbery and less stretchy than some and there’s no fleecy lining. It’s also very thin, so it’s pleasingly lightweight. It’s not fully windproof, but general wind-resistance is good and breathability excellent. The tighter fit, coupled with this fabric construction, makes this one of the best jackets for removing moisture close to the skin. Adjustment is very ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Snugpak Sasquatch

£110.00

This duvet jacket uses Softie Premier insulation and provides a high level of warmth for this price; hood rolls down to collar; made in the UK; two hip pockets; very long in body; good price for level of insulation.  But 996g is heavy; cuffs are elasticated rather than adjustable; hood cannot be removed; sleeves ride up easily and long body ...

  • LFTO.com rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4

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