Riding a motorcycle in all weathers and altitudes from Argentina to Alaska, the need for an insulating and breathable baselayer I can wear beneath my motorcycle jacket, and keep wearing out of the saddle, was a legitimate one.
The SmartWool Men's NTS Light 195 Zip Tee has an active fit, which means there’s no excess fabric ruffling up when worn underneath an outer layer. It also boasts a thoughtfully sculpted side panel to remove any chafing caused by a side seam. Unlike those baselayers made from nylon and polyester, I especially like the more natural fibres of the merino wool construction, wicking away moisture to keep me comfortable and dry without sweating, in the most inclement of conditions. Worn daily in temperatures ranging -7 degrees Celsius up to the mid twenties, this piece is built to last and I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending it highly.
This practical baselayer has proven to be ideal throughout my travels in the Americas, either when worn as a thermal layer in my travel clothing, or alone. An active fit with good stretch and recovery allows the garment to remain flush against my body without crumpling beneath other layers, allowing a good fit, performing its function of keeping me warm and dry and then returning to how it originally looked without bagging. Amazingly, I’ve worn it for several weeks and found that it doesn’t offend easily—superb for guys that loathe the chore of washing. A great all-round baselayer for those that spend a lot of time engaged in the outdoors.
As a long distance traveller with room for the most minimal of capsule travel wardrobes, the SmartWool Women's NTS Mid 250 Zip Baselayer keeps me warm when temperatures drop to rude, cosy when the wind chill tries to burrow through me like a worm and incredibly—as double-duty items always are—is just as effective when worn as a mid-layer or alone. I also appreciate the front zip for ventilation and adore the feel of the fabric against my skin; it’s super soft and doesn’t snag easily against all the Velcro fastenings of my luggage with which it comes into contact.
Furthermore, after being machine and hand washed countless times, there is no colour fading or bobbling; either one for me, ages the garment overnight. Tried and tested in Colorado’s winter wonderland, I couldn’t have been happier with this intelligent garment. Above all, it boasts an exceedingly high ‘warmth to weight’ ratio, which for women that particularly feel the cold but still like to keep the luggage load light, is a great choice in the travel ensemble.
The biggest draw of the Peter Storm Women's Stretch Shorts is their ability to pack down to almost nothing. Living out of two motorcycle panniers and a roll bag dictates that I pack small and light, whether I want to or not. Complete with two front zipped pockets, perfect for my keys, credit card and tissues, the trousers are a practical navy, so hide the dirt well when hand washing only gets you so far. Although I don’t wear the shorts beneath my motorcycle trousers, I could as they’re anything but bulky and afford all-day comfort. They’re my ‘Go to’ shorts after being astride the bike and because they’re quick drying, tailored for the more active legs and showerproof, fit the bill on non-riding days to boot.
Thanks to its unique construction and Enduro Wool blend, the Women’s Endurance Trekker Socks are designed to keep feet warm, dry and happy. They are great when worn all day long in Gore-Tex boots (or without for that matter) to wick away the moisture, and are just as much a godsend when your feet are particularly nesh like mine, suffering from the cold when temperatures drop. I don’t care where I am, how stunning the scenery is through North America—if your feet start to complain, then I can’t concentrate on much else. Cupped and padded underfoot, I’ve stayed comfortable during every season in these feats of fabric engineering.
Largely combed cotton intertwined with Coolmax fabric, Bridgedale Active Light Hiker Socks are designed to enhance the performance of your hike, by wicking moisture away from the skin, allowing the foot to breathe and stay dry. Even in warm environments. Do they live up to their technical claims? Absolutely. I’ve already put mine to the test by hiking through the desert in Arizona. There’s reinforcement in the sole, heel, toe and ankle, allowing your feet to stay supported and content during your outdoor endeavours. Perfect for just about any outdoor backcountry pursuit, I adore my Bridgedales and wouldn’t trek the myriad miles I do without them.