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2018’s best base layers, softshells and fleece jackets

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April 2018 Issue

Layer up and stay warm with these base layers, fleeces and softshells designed for active use in the harshest of environments.

Base layers

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Montane's Primino base layer ($159) has flat-locked seams for reduced chafing and next-to-skin comfort. Photo: Dennis Radermacher

Montane Primino 220 $159

Blended fabric incorporates the comfort and odour resistance of merino with quick-drying Primaloft yarns. Articulated arms, flat-locked seams and a tailored fit provide next-to-skin comfort. 254g. www.furtherfaster.co.nz

Earth Sea Sky's Stealth base layer ($189) is made from a bi-component fabric that disperses and then wicks moisture for quick drying. Photo: Dennis Radermacher

Earth Sea Sky Stealth $189

With a close-fitting balaclava hood, three-quarter-length zip and Polartec Power Grid fabric, the Stealth is a thermally efficient base layer with a hi-loft surface that reduces weight yet increases warmth and compressibility. Bi-component stretch construction provides efficient wicking and quick-drying. 220g (m); 210g (w). www.earthseasky.co.nz

Softshell Jackets

Arc'Teryx's Gamma LT Hoody features two-way stretch, articulated patterning and underarm gussets for freedom of movement. Photo: Dennis Radermacher

Arc’teryx Gamma LT Hoody $379.90

A light, durable and versatile softshell with two-way stretch, articulated patterning and underarm gussets, a helmet-compatible hood, and a streamlined fit for comfort while wearing a harness or pack. Windproof, breathable water-resistant. 454g (m); 465g (w). www.bivouac.co.nz

Macpac's Fitzroy has seam-sealed shoulders and hood to keep out the worst of the weather. Photo: Dennis Radermacher

Macpac Fitzroy Softshell V2 $399.99

Stretchy, breathable and critically seam-sealed with a high degree of water resistance, the Fitzroy is designed for wet routes. It comes with two large external chest pockets with YKK AquaGuard zips, a helmet-compatible hood with stiffened peak and a longer cut to prevent cold spots. 590g (m); 510g (w). www.macpac.co.nz

The North Face Apex is a fully waterproof softshell. Photo: Dennis Radermacher

The North Face Apex Flex GTX $500

Gore-Tex fabric combines with a stretch-woven exterior for a waterproof and breathable softshell. Active fit, adjustable hood, waterproof front zipper, covered hand and chest pockets, pit-zip venting, Velcro adjustable cuffs and cinch-cord at hem. 680g (m); 465g (w). www.thenorthface.co.nz

Women’s Fleece Jackets

Photo: Dennis Radermacher

1. Merrell Women’s Everlong FZ Tech Fleece $199

Featuring M-SelectWick, the Everlong fleece wicks moisture from the skin and has an elastic hem, thumbholes, flatlock comfort seams and invisible zip-secure pocket. Featuring underarm ventilation panels and stay-safe reflective elements. www.merrell.co.nz

2. Fjallraven Women’s Keb Fleece Hoodie $345

Made from a wool and recycled polyester blend with elastane stretch and durable G-1000 Eco canvas reinforcements on the shoulders. It features a moisture-wicking brushed lining, fitted hood, hand warmer pockets, chest pocket, full-length zipper and protective chin flap. 430g. www.fjallraven.co.nz

3. Patagonia Women’s Better Sweater Jacket $229.99

Featuring a wool-knit face and soft fleece lining, stand-up collar with zipper garage. Front-forward seams and rear princess seams provide a contoured shape. It has two zippered handwarmer, two inside pockets and one sleeve pocket. Fair Trade Certified sewing. 454g.  www.patagonia.com.au

Men’s Fleece Jackets

Photo: Dennis Radermacher

1. Merrell Geotex 1/2 Zip $179

A fluffy waffle fleece that wicks moisture, warms and breathes. It features flatlock stitching, a lockdown centre front half zip, zip-secure chest pocket, thumbholes and Lycra binding at cuffs, hem and collar. www.merrell.co.nz

2. Patagonia Men’s Lightweight Synchilla Snap-T Pullover $209.99

This hip-length fleece is made from 80-85% recycled materials. It features a four-snap nylon placket, stand-up collar, Y-Joint sleeves for mobility and a large chest pocket. 405g. www.patagonia.com.au