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2018’s best base layers, softshells and fleece jackets

Image of the April 2018 Wilderness Magazine Cover Read more from the
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

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