The Craft Active Extreme Crewneck baselayer is an excellent option for keeping you dry and warm during off-season cycling.
In my opinion, Craft's off-season base layers are the best by far. If I have a big ride coming up at the weekend, I always make sure I have a Craft base washed and ready to go, and this one is the best of the lot for most conditions.
The Craft Active Extreme base layer is comfortable as soon as you put it on because it's thin and lightweight and there are no seams in the body. The seams around the shoulders and down the arms are flatlock stitched so you're barely aware of them.
The polyester fabric is ribbed and super stretchy so pretty much everyone will get the close fit that's vital for a base layer to work effectively. I'm tall and pretty skinny and I found the arms and body to be long enough to avoid exposed skin.
The best aspect of the base layer's performance is its ability to keep you feeling dry during a ride. Craft reckon this is down to the six-channel fibres they use against your skin and the hollow fibres on the outside that transport moisture to your next layer of clothing.
I couldn't vouch for the mechanisms involved but I can tell you that the base layer does a great job of shifting sweat away from your body.
It also helps provide a decent level of insulation although, to my mind, that's not such an important consideration because you can always adjust your outer layers to get the level of warmth you're after. I might swap to a warm merino base layer in really cold conditions – when the temperature is very close to freezing and I want all the warmth I can get – but I find the Active Extreme works brilliantly above that level.
Excellent base layer for keeping you dry and comfortable on off-season rides
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Craft Active Extreme Crewneck baselayer
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Comforts your body in zones you need it
- Soft and breathable crewneck
- Seamless torso, ergonomic fit
- Thin, lightweight and extremely elastic
- Flatlock seams that follow body movement
- Perfect cool and excellent dry effect
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Craft have this to say on the fabric:
Active Extreme is made of a thin, lightweight and elastic fabric that keeps you dry and fresh throughout any workout in fair and cold temperatures. Its ergonomic 3D construction ensures a perfect fit and optimal freedom of movement for extreme performance.
HEXA AND HOLLOW
A HEXA channeled fiber (six channels) against the skin enhances moisture transport and cools the body down, whereas a hollow fiber on the outside of the fabric offers insulation and transports moisture to the next layer.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It performs superbly. Definitely my favourite off-season base layer.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Its ability to shift moisture away from the body.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, and I have in the past.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Definitely.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
This is an outstanding base layer; easily the best of its kind available, to my mind. It comes at a decent price too.
About the tester
Age: 43 Height: 190cm Weight: 75kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.