At first glance this is an impressive beast, combining the best of an old world woollen thermal with modern design features like 3D seamless construction. It’s a mix of 51% merino wool and 49% recycled polyester and incredibly comfortable to wear. The fit is loose with plenty of stretch in both body and arms, and it’s the only baselayer in this roundup with a cosy, close fitting hood which folds around the neck to become a sort of snood (remember those?). The ‘air’ version incorporates a gridded loft to the fabric, which is super soft, non-itchy and incredibly warm for its weight. Like other grid fabrics, it wicks moisture brilliantly because of the expanded surface area. Because of the loft, and because there is no ventilation zip at the neck, the Capilene Air is not a top I’d use outside of winter conditions in an active setting. It has, however, become my default sleeping layer for camp all year round! Weight around 200g.
▶ Best for: Winter mountaineering, cold weather walking, camping.
▶ Verdict: Environmentally conscious, very warm and comfortable but in need of a neck zip.
Review by David Lintern @davidjlintern