Trekmates – Merino Contrast Zip Top

Headless Bob, our model

In my best Geordie accent… “It’s day 12 in the GearWeAre house, and Andy is still wearing the same top. The other housemates aren’t yet avoiding him”.

I really have been wearing Trekmates’ Merino wool base-layer now for 12 days (with a couple of days off in the middle), doing a variety of things from hiking to sitting at a desk, and there’s not a wiff of BO about it.

Y’see, Merino wool is interesting stuff in that it’s naturally anti-bacterial due to the fatty acids in each strand, and as such don’t let your armpit bugs breed and get stinky.

I’m a BIG fan of woollen garments, for their ability to feel cool during the day and then warm as evening sets in, because I’m rarely embarrassed by them smelling, and because they’re lovely and soft against my delicate manly skin.

Trekmates have taken Merino wool (very fine wool which isn’t itchy) and made a full-sleeved top out of 190g weight fabric. That’s about the same as a standard cotton T-shirt, in thickness terms.

Well-fitting with nice long sleeves

I love the styling of this top. Its distinctive orange (white also an option) lines down the arms set it apart from a lot of other base-layers, meaning that you don’t feel like you’re wearing pyjamas when you take your jacket off.

The high-neck and zip-shield keep out the draughts, and if you’re caught in an unexpected shower the top will shed the first few drops of water (oils in the wool), and then insulate you if it gets saturated, meaning you won’t get as cold as you would if wearing cotton.

I have actually washed this top, on a normal washing cycle, prior to wearing for my epic “research” period. It survived unscathed and didn’t stretch or shrink.

Wearing it is a pleasure – it’s very soft and moves around with your body easily. The sleeves are long, and come with thumb-holes so it doesn’t ride up when you don a jacket. The torso length is adequate to tuck into trousers and not leave a bare patch when you bend over.

High neck with comfy zipper

SUMMARY: This is a very comfortable and well-made baselayer which looks good and washes well. It has survived a very long period of wear without washing extremely well, and has been great both in warm and cold environments. The RRP is pretty spot-on for a Merino top.


  • AlexE

    Hi Andy,

    Thanks for the review, how well does this top resist rubbing / wear? Can you slide the sleeves up your arms if the going gets warm?



    • It will bobble fairly quickly being a fine merino, but mine is still working well despite looking a little bedded-in.
      I can slide the sleeves up, but it depends how big your forearms are, I suppose!

  • Flick

    Not being very savvy with such gear, is this meant to be worn with or without an inner layer (e.g. vest or t-shirt)? Thanks! Visiting Switzerland in December and will be visiting the mountain regions so thinking of buying this.

    • I find it works best either against the skin, or above another merino base-layer.