The Giro Base Pockets base layer comes with three pockets in the lower back that allow you to carry your ride essentials comfortably even when you're wearing something other than a cycling jersey over the top.
I know what you're thinking: why on earth would you want pockets in a base layer?
That's what I thought, but when you use this base layer for its intended purpose, the idea makes a lot of sense.
If you're wearing a cycling jersey you just use the jersey's pockets to store all your gubbins, obviously, but the idea here is that you can wear this base layer under an outer layer that's not necessarily cycle-specific.
So, for example, perhaps you're riding into town for work or to meet friends and you don't want to wear full-on cycling kit. It can be awkward to cycle with things like your phone, wallet/purse and other essentials in the pockets of your normal trousers and/or shirt.
You could take a bag, of course, or you could sling all that stuff in the rear pockets of this base layer and carry it comfortably without it swinging about or getting in the way of your pedalling.
The base layer is made from a lightweight, textured polyester/elastane fabric that moves sweat away from your body well and dries very quickly. It's stretchy enough to fit closely on a variety of body shapes without feeling tight.
The inherent stretch means you wouldn't want to put masses in the pockets or they'll start to sag, although Giro's Skeletal Pocket Construction – essentially a less stretchy reinforcing band at the top of the pockets – allowed me to carry everything I needed for urban rides comfortably enough: a mobile phone, cash, a little repair pack, and so on.
The pockets are the USP here but, putting them aside, this is a very good base layer anyway. As I said, the fabric deals with moisture well and the seams are flat stitched throughout. There are no seams on top of the shoulders, they're positioned to the front and to the back, so if you do need to carry more stuff than the pockets allow, there are no ridges to dig in underneath your bag straps.
I've used it as a normal base layer on training rides too and you really don't feel the pockets.
All in all, it's a very good solution if you want to carry bits and pieces on your ride but don't, for whatever reason, want to wear a cycling jersey.
Base layer with pockets for carrying essentials when you're wearing something other than a cycling jersey over the top
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Giro Base Pockets
Size tested: Medium - White
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?
Giro say, "Crafted with our Skeletal Pocket Construction, the men's Base Pockets shirt securely stashes your riding essentials while retaining a comfortable, stretchy fit. A new way to carry your on-bike necessities, this innovative base layer easily lets you layer what you want over it and still have the storage you need."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Giro say this about the fabric and construction:
79% Polyester / 21% Elastane
Next to Skin Fit
Flat Seam Construction
Skeletal Pocket Construction
3 Rear Pockets
Moisture-wicking / quick-drying
The seams are flat-stitched throughout and Giro's Skeletal Pocket Construction (see review) limits the amount of stretch when you have the pockets full.
Reinforcement at the tops of the pockets should add to the longevity.
It's a good fabric that shifts sweat well and the flatstitched seams don't rub or cause annoyance.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It does what it's supposed to do, allowing you to carry ride essentials more comfortably than if you had them stuffed into the pockets of everyday clothing.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The pockets are an interesting USP and the design works well.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
Putting pockets in a base layer sounds like a strange idea but it works well if you don't want to wear a cycle-specific jersey over the top for any reason. Yes, it's easy enough to do but I can't remember anyone else doing it before. In terms of score, I'd say it's a 7, pushing an 8.
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.