Merino base layers are to prefer over synthetic ones for all but the hottest summer days. Unlike the itching wool sweaters you remember from your childhood, Merino wool is soft and not itchy at all because it is made of wool fibers from Merino sheep which are much thinner (<20 microns) and suppler than conventional wool fibers. European manufacturer Lasting Merino makes base layers with some of the thinnest and softest Merino wool available – only 16 microns! I was thus very excited to receive and test a long-sleeved base layer for women in return for an unbiased review. As I have been using it non-stop since spring, I can safely say that the Lasting Merino 160 Atila Base Layer is suitable for:
- Everyday life
The Atila base layer is made of 100 % ultrafine Australian Merino wool fabric with a density of just 160 g/m2, which must be said to be a lightweight fabric indeed. Although the wool fibers used are just 1.5-2.5 microns (one micron equals 1/1000 of a millimeter or just 1/100 of the width of a hair strand) thinner than the fibers used for the Formal Friday t-shirt (17.5 microns) and Isobaa t-shirt (18.5 microns) you can actually feel difference if you run your hand over the base layers one by one. The Lasting Merino 160 Atila Base Layer can really boast of using the softest material! Besides the softness, the 100 % Merino wool fabric of course offers all the other advantages of the natural material such as anti-microbial properties which help to minimize odor, breathability, and the ability to maintain your body’s natural temperature, whether the weather is warm or cold.
I have been using the base layer all the while from our hiking holiday in Norway where the temperatures were soaring just below 30 ⁰C and to now (December) where it is freezing outside. Now, I would of course have to pair it with a warmer mid-layer to stay warm in the outdoors. With regards to (all-around) sustainability, it is worth noting that Lasting produces within Europe which means that the workers behind your garment have been paid and treated fair. Also the Australian sheep have been treated well as they are certified mulesing-free. The Merino fabric itself has been tested free of harmful substances according to the Oeko-Tex Standard 100.
Comfort, sizing and fit
According to Lasting’s sizing scheme I should be a size M, and the Atila base layer does fit me perfectly. Unlike its short-sleeved cousin the Lasting Merino 160 Back t-shirt previously reviewed, it is not too tight in the shoulder area and the sleeve length is just right too, stopping just above the end of the ulna bone. It has flatlock seams all-around which are particularly crucial for a snug-fitting base layer worn next to the skin as rough conventional seams would quickly destroy the comfort of the otherwise super soft material.
The sleeves are so-called raglan sleeves, which mean that they are joined to the torso of the garment with a diagonal seam that extends from underarm to neckline. Thereby, there is no seam in the area where the straps from a backpack would be weighing down on your shoulders and thus you avoid chafing. Other comfort-enhancing details are that the washing instructions are printed on the inside of the fabric rather than on annoying labels, and that logo tags are stitched on the outside of the Atila base layer – at the left cuff and bottom hem.
Washing and drying
The Lasting Merino 160 Atila base layer should be washed at 30 ⁰C (or lower) on a gentle cycle in the washing machine or – if you have the patience – by hand. Hand-washing will always take less of a toll on delicate fabrics like wool and silk, but is becoming increasingly rare in the modern world where time and convenience is of the essence. If you do go into hand-washing any (wool) garment, be sure to flush it a few times with clean water after the initial cleanse with a wool detergent to get all of the soap out. In any case, the Atila base layer should be hung to air-dry as tumble-drying will ruin most wool fabrics.
I simply can’t say anything bad about the Lasting Merino 160 Atila base layer as it just ticks all the boxes for a comfortable and functional base layer! My only ‘critique’ would be that it should be available in more colors than now, where you can only get it in dark grey (like mine) and teal. The Lasting Merino base layer is very good value for the money as it retails for much less than comparable 100 % Merino wool base layers from the big brands like Icebreaker and Smartwool. So, if you are looking for base layers, I do recommend checking out the options from Lasting Merino.
If you have any questions about this product, drop me a line in the comments below.