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Base layers

Altura Dry Mesh Vest base layer – review

Sleeveless base layer performs well, although the cut may be a little odd for some

A quality summer base layer plays an important role in keeping you dry when riding, and therefore plays an important role in maintaining your body temperature and overall comfort as well.

It’s the stated aim of Altura’s Dry Mesh base layer, and they put that into practice with a comfortable, breathable, moisture-wicking offering – though the unusual cut may not be to everyone’s liking.

Altura make a big deal of the base layer’s ‘Dry’ technology, which is supposed to help with moving sweat away from the skin, and keep your skin ‘thermoregulated’ so that your optimum core body temperature can more easily be maintained at 37 degrees. Marketing blurb aside, it does a very good job of all that.

Altura’s Dry Mesh Vest base layer does a good job at keeping you dry and regulating body temperature
  • Specification

  • Price: £39.99
  • Sizes: S-M, L-XL
  • Size tested: S-M
  • Colours: White
  • Website: Altura
  • UK distributor: Zyro Fisher

The mesh panels that can be seen throughout the base layer offer up good levels of ventilation, while the knitted fabric itself feels soft and cool against the skin despite its relatively thick gauge.

Certainly to touch it’s not like those super-featherweight mesh base layers you often see, but instead feels much more substantial. This gives it a little extra feeling of reassurance and warmth when the weather turns cooler too.

However, it does still manage to feel light against the skin, even when working hard to shift the maximum amount of sweat. In an intense turbo session, for example, it performed brilliantly without really making itself known in terms of silhouette or the bulk.

One area it is noticeable, however, is in the cut around the upper body. I have relatively wide shoulders, yet I’ve never experienced such a slim cut that barely covers the chest in this way. I typically like my base layers to feel a little closer than normal, but I can definitely feel the difference between this and other more ‘normal’ cut sleeveless options in my wardrobe.

It’s not necessarily uncomfortable, although it does feel a little odd to have seams where you wouldn’t ordinarily. Considering this is a £40 base layer and the fact Altura only offer two sizes (S/M and L/XL), it’d be worth trying before you buy (or have the option to return), or sizing up larger than normal if you’re bulky across the chest.

Elsewhere, I can hardly complain. The length is excellent if uniform all the way around the hem (so no extended back to speak of), while seams around the arms and neckline are made of a soft elasticated fabric that means rubbing and chafing is no problem at all regardless of the kind of riding you do.

The cut is a little slimmer across the top of the base layer than we’re used to

Those hems circulate your shoulders and neckline closely with a great deal of comfort, and if the high cut on the neck worries you in terms of being restrictive (as it did me with me initially), it needn’t. It’s very flexible.

Additionally, the base layer washes through effectively without shrinking or losing shape – something that can’t always be said of merino-based base layers that many prefer – while the quality of the garment is impressive considering the meshed construction, which itself is not always the strongest in my previous experience.

The overall elasticity is a real plus point here, as is the slightly greater thickness compared to other warm-weather base layers that provides a sense of quality and longevity.

Conclusion

This is a great-performing moisture-wicking sleeveless base layer that, although fairly narrow in its cut in the top half, is comfortable to wear and is definitely up to the task of keeping you dry when you get a heavy sweat on.

Pros

  • Great fabric comfort
  • Very breathable
  • Flexible for both cooler and hotter days

Cons

  • Very slim upper body cut

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