Gear Review: Ultimate Direction Race Vests
Ultimate Direction started back in 1985, designing a waist pack specifically to carry water bottles…
We spend our days running in the mountains, walking in the fells and playing with the kids and our nights under canvas. Getting our clothing right is crucial, yet tricky! We tested out Howies’ Merino base layers, both on the trails and in the tent, to see how they perform.
Sim tested: Men’s Short Sleeved Base Layer (RRP £45)
Normally I have to compromise with a t-shirt. On one hand I want it to look good, which in my opinion means well cut and a nice simple design. On the other, I want to be able to run in it, so it needs to be made from a fabric that performs well when I’m working hard. Finally, I also want to be happy with my purchase, so not only does it need to be really good for what ever I intend to use it for but it must be produced ethically and sustainably.
This t-shirt doesn’t compromise: it ticks all the boxes and I love it! I’ve been wearing it almost every day since I got it; I’ve worn it as a normal t shirt, I’ve run in it and I’ve even swum in it. The Merino fabric is so fine that it really is not itchy at all and its natural odour resistance has meant that I’ve been able to go on a long run and then wear the same top to a meal with my parents without comment! It’s a fitted design, which is flattering and holds its shape well, without flapping or rucking up out running. Made from a lighter-weight Merino wool than their standard base layers (160Gsm vs 180Gsm) Howies have really thought about the design of their running range and the seamless shoulder construction makes it more comfortable to run in, even when carrying a rucksack.
Jen tested: Women’s Classic Base Layer (RRP £49)
I love this base layer. It’s probably the most comfortable I’ve ever worn: super-soft, no itchiness and well-fitting all over without being in any way restrictive. At 180gsm it’s a nice weight for an all-rounder; warm enough for wearing next to the skin on chilly evenings in the tent, but light and breathable enough for running on the trails in cooler weather or walking in the hills with the kids. Howies also do a ‘light’ version at 160gsm which I’d probably go for if I was choosing a baselyer solely for running. The red and grey stripes are fun and look great whether you wear it on its own or under a short-sleeved top. Being 100% Merino it’s also naturally antimicrobial and odour-resistant, and Howies insist on non-mulesed wool that’s kinder to the sheep that grow it. All in all a top-of-the-tops base layer for all day, every day adventures.