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Moving into our new house in Slovenia in the middle of winter was hardly ideal; we were a little worried that the oil fuelled heating system was on its last legs and we feared it might not work at all, leaving us in a chilly old house. We already owned some warm base layer clothing but invested in some more, among my purchases this long sleeved top by Helly Hansen.
It's made from merino wool and Lifa, a man-made fibre developed by Helly Hansen. Lifa is not only great for keeping you warm, it retains less water than other fabrics (apparently up to 40 times less) which means your body temperature won't drop as quickly when wet. Lifa is also resistant to bacteria and it's incredibly lightweight. An additional advantage for me is that the use of Lifa in combination with the wool reduces the likelihood of irritation from the wool, a problem I've had with pure wool base layers. With a fleece top over this one I was warm enough in a freezing house while our heating was being repaired.
The design is very simple but that doesn't mean there has been lots of attention to detail employed here. In order to prevent chafing all the seams are over locked which effectively tucks the loose edges away making them tidy and smooth. The crew neck is just the right height so I can wear another layer with a collar over the top without feeling choked. The sleeves length is good, coming down to my hands and the cuffs are finished but not bulky which can be a problem when layering up. When going out into the snow I like a base layer with thumb holes so I can prevent the sleeves riding up but for indoor use I'm happy without. The front and back panels are also a slightly longer length which means you have no gaps between the top and your bottoms and there's sufficient fabric to stay tucked in. It's gently fitted to be snug but the design still allows for unrestricted movement making this ideal for winter sports.
It washes well in the machine and dries quickly, going back to its shape. I bought mine in 'glacier', an ice blue, but it's also available in other colours and patterns.
£55 from Helly Hansen's website, £43.95 through Amazon (not including delivery)
Helly Hansen Womens Warm Ice Crew. Womens Base Layers. Helly Hansen Womens Warm Ice Crew Autumn/Winter 11 Helly Hansen Womens Warm Ice Crew Autumn/Winter 11 - Merino wool blended with Lifa delivers exceptional warmth and dryness in the coldest environments. Our HH Warm Ice Crew neck baselayer pr ....