Arc’Teryx has long been known as a purveyor of quality kit: they put a lot of thought into the workmanship of their products, and keep their gear lean and nonsense-free. The Arc’Teryx Rho LT Zip base layer is supremely comfortable: its fit is on the close side, forcing the soft-feeling microfleece layer against the skin for excellent wicking action; and it’s infused with silver to react with sweat and reduce odour (or, as Arc’teryx puts it, ‘backcountry stench’). The zip is a good length, the seams are in an off-the-shoulder position so they don’t rub and the sleeves – despite being a close fit down – don’t ride up. It shifts sweat brilliantly, stays warm when wet and is particularly good for hot, sweaty conditions. It looks good, too. But the Arc’Teryx Rho LT Zip base layer has been designed with both skiing and mountaineering in mind, which means certain features present in, say, the Montane are missing and others are unnecessarily present. That pocket might be useful for a ski pass, but walkers will find it annoying as it sits right beneath your rucksack strap and is too small for anything much beyond a credit card. At this price every feature has to excel, and while this may seem a small gripe and it is generally very good, a shirt that costs £75 really has to fry the competition. You get what you pay for in terms of quality, but it’s not enough: a lower price would have made it a more serious contender.
Fabric Rentex Powerflex (90% polyester 10% Lycra)
Colours black, mahogany, dark titanium, gold (men’s); black, hemlock, wasabi, Bermuda blue, white tea (women’s)
Sizes S-XXL (men’s); XS-XL (women’s)
Weight 175g (men’s size S)
Made in Canada
Stores in the UK 18
Verdict: The Arc’Teryx Rho LT Zip base layer is very comfortable, made to exacting standards and great for summer, but pricy.
Review by Simon Ingram
First published in Trail magazine October 2009