Since the late 1990s, Smartwool has been using the finest quality of wool to make extremely comfortable base layers. This wool is called merino, and it’s produced in the southern hemisphere where the particular range of environmental conditions encourages the sheep to grow a unique type of wool to stay comfortable. Merino fabric is extremely comfortable to wear with a good degree of stretch to allow a good fit. More importantly it is extremely good at controlling the growth of bacteria so you can wear Smartwool clothing for weeks without it becoming smelly, making this ideal for longer expeditions as well as nipping into the pub after a weekend in the hills. The long-sleeved design and high collar with a zip means the Smartwool Microweight Zip T is flexible enough to be worn throughout the year. It also moves moisture away rapidly, although it performs best in mild conditions rather than more extreme situations where it can wet out (saturate) if you become too sweaty. But for the average hillwalking weekend in the UK, a Smartwool base layer is ideal as it is comfortable when hillwalking and not smelly afterwards.
Material 100% merino wool
Colours silver grey/heather strip, royal stripe, black (men’s); black, peony, silver grey heather (women’s)
Sizes S-XXL (men’s); XS-XL (women’s)
Weight 189g (men’s L)
The Smartwool Microweight Zip T is the best base layer for odour control of those we looked at.
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine June 2012