From the spring onwards, I’ve been testing base layers from the Czech company Lasting. Lasting is a well-established company which produces base layers and socks for hiking, mountaineering, running and other outdoor sports. They produce both Merino wool and synthetic garments. I tested their Mars t-shirt which is made of polypropylene and the Wapol long-sleeve base layer which is made of a mixture of nylon and Merino wool fibers while my girlfriend tested Lasting’s Merino line.
So, why did I decide to test the Wapol base layer? Well, the thing is that it’s been a while since I have used a base layer made of Merino wool blended with nylon and I was really curious how it will perform on hiking trails compared to other base layers I have (see the Gear Tests section). For the last three months I’ve been regularly wearing the Wapol base layer for hiking, running and mountaineering. I also thoroughly tested it on our hiking holidays in Norway where I wore it on several hikes. Below is the first-hand review.
The Lasting Wapol base layer is suitable for:
The Lasting Wapol base layer is made of Merino wool and nylon fibers. The percentage of Merino wool fibers is 70% and the rest are nylon fibers. Although the fabric is not very thick, the base layer is best for moderate to cold conditions. The first thing I noticed when I unwrapped the base layer was that the fabric is very stretchy, at least compared to pure Merino base layers. I then investigated the fabric more thoroughly and figured out that although the percentage of Merino fibers is more than double that of nylon fibers, the base layer does feel more synthetic than wool-like to the touch. Nevertheless, I found the fabric surprisingly comfortable. It’s indeed much softer and more comfortable than pure polyester or pure nylon fabric.
The fabric varies in density (thickness). The density is higher on the sleeves and lower on the torso which is indeed a good thing as the torso needs more breathability than the arms. Put in another way, the base layer has strategically placed breathable panels. Quite some brands utilize such a design for performance base layers.
Now, when it comes to base layers for sports, it’s important that they are quick-drying (read more about this here), moisture-wicking, breathable and possibly odor-resistant. These are also the qualities I focused on while testing the Lasting Wapol base layer.
I started wearing the base layer for running and hiking in late spring and the first thing I noticed was that it provides really good breathability. The thin fabric on the torso is very porous and thus also breathable. Furthermore, the base layer also dries very fast due to the thin fabric and nylon fibers. It unsurprisingly dries faster than similar garments made of 100% Merino wool. I did, however, notice that it’s not as moisture-wicking as pure Merino wool base layers. It does pull the moisture from the skin to some extent, but after intensive activities my skin was often slightly wet when I pulled the base layer off.
I was very curious how the base layer will perform in terms of odor control. Merino wool is naturally antimicrobial and thus it doesn’t get stinky, while nylon is quite the opposite. Nevertheless, the base layer is very odor resistant. I often wore it for several activities before washing it and it never became smelly.
Comfort, fit, sizing and functionality
I find the base layer very comfortable to wear and so far, I haven’t experienced chafing or any other discomfort. The base layer has flatlock seams and all labels are printed to prevent chafing. The base layer fits tightly to the body but because the material is very stretchy it still provides good freedom of movement. It is also equipped with elastic cuffs and elastic hem. The collar is relatively narrow to provide good warmth in cold conditions. The base layer can be worn as a standalone garment or under a mid-layer such as down jacket, fleece jacket etc.
The Lasting Wapol base layer is available in four different “double sizes”: XXS/XS, S/M, L/XL and 2XL/3XL. At first, I was a bit confused with sizes as I usually go for size M or size L. I decided to go for size L/XL which was the right decision as the base layer fits me almost perfectly. My chest diameter is 98 cm (38.5 in.) and I’m 180 cm tall (5 ft. 11 in.). It’s just a couple of centimeters too long, but I don’t find this a big problem as I usually tuck it into my pants.
Washing and drying
The base layer is machine washable at 30 C and shouldn’t be tumble-dried just like most other performance base layers. It doesn’t have to be washed as frequently as polyester base layers because it has antimicrobial properties. Drying the base layer is also not a problem as the fabric dries super-fast.
The Lasting Wapol base layer combines some of the best characteristics of Merino wool and synthetic fibers. It is breathable, quick-drying, odor resistant and moisture-wicking, although pure Merino base layers wick moisture better. What I like the most about this base layer is that although the fabric is thin (which means extra breathability and shorter drying time), the whole garment feels sturdy and durable. Thin base layers are often prone to tears but that doesn’t seem to be the case with Lasting’s Wapol. So, if you are looking for a base layer for moderate to cold temperatures, I do recommend the Lasting Wapol. It’s a good product for a reasonable price.
If you have any questions about this product, drop me a line in the comments below.