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This summer base layer provides excellent ventilation and moisture transfer to keep you comfortable on even the hottest rides.
Craft make some great base layers. Their winter base layers are far and away my favourites for the off-season and this lightweight option is another top performer.
When I say 'lightweight', at 56g this is almost floaty light. It's made from polyester with just a little (5%) Lycra in there to add some extra stretch. It's a mesh structure with large, round dimples that let loads of air through.
It scores really highly for pulling moisture off your skin and shifting it outwards – in that respect it's right up there among the best I've ever worn. I've used this base for training rides on many days when the temperature has been in the high-20s and it rarely feels damp and virtually never sticks uncomfortably to your skin.
The cut is slim. You want a base layer to fit closely so it can do its job effectively and the stretchiness of the fabric you get here means it'll reach around any bulges you might have without trouble. Check out Craft's size chart to make sure you get the right option. I did and mine fits perfectly. All the seams are flat-stitched and you won't even notice them in use. There is one humungous label stitched into one of the side seams but a pair of scissors will soon sort that out.
The design of this base layer has remained pretty much unchanged for ages. I have one that I've used over the past four or five summers and it's still going strong with few signs of wear. I have it right here so, in the name of science, I'll do a quick sniff test on it for you...
The result is in. It smells of... Persil. It hasn't taken on that Essence of Changing Room that ruins some elderly base layers.
With a reasonable price too, I really haven't got anything negative to say about this base layer.
Super-light summer base layer with excellent ventilation and moisture-transfer, and a reasonable price too.
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Make and model: Craft Cool Mesh Superlight Sleeveless Base Layer
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?
Craft say this:
"Provides superior cooling and freedom of movement during workouts in warmer conditions.Stay Cool baselayer is designed to keep you cool while exercising in warm conditions or indoor. The garments feature unique multi-channeled fiber constructions that effectively pull perspiration vapor off the body to keep it cool. A 3D construction ensures optimal freedom of movement and a perfect fit. In addition, Stay Cool baselayer resists odors and stays cleaner longer."
It does an excellent job of keeping you comfortable in summer conditions.
I've got one that must be into its fourth or fifth summer by now and it's still going well.
Extremely lightweight... not that a few grams are going to make any difference to your speed but they will make a difference to your comfort.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The ventilation and moisture transfer.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing. It's a great base layer.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, I have done.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Without doubt.
Age: 41 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: time trialling, 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 over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.