Kit review: Craft Active Extreme 2.0 baselayer
Craft have launched a new Active Extreme 2.0 baselayer that they claim is “engineered to make athletes lighter, faster and better”.
Version 2.0 builds on the successful baselayer Active Extreme, which was worn by 38 medallists at the Sochi Winter Olympics 2014.
Key to the baselayer’s performance is a double-layer fabric featuring CoolMax Air that offers great air permeability and rapidly drives moisture from the skin.
Apparently, “the fibre surface area is bigger than generic wicking cross-sections”, so providing a larger surface area for movement of sweat.
In addition, the 2.0 Craft baselayer is 20g lighter than its predecessor.
Other features include 3D fit and body-mapped mesh panels, flat seams and a range of colours, including a reflective version for extra visibility.
The collection comes in several colourways, including a fluorescent and reflective version for extra visibility when wearing the 2.0 as a single layer.
The long-sleeved top is priced at around £36 in a range of outlets.
On test: Craft Active Extreme 2.0 baselayer
I have the women’s size small and it’s a very neat fit. I would imagine it’s meant to be a neat fit so that’s fine. However, if you prefer not to have every indentation, curve and bulge of your physique on show you might choose a larger size! The arm and body length are excellent though.
The neat fit is good for performance factors, however, and many athletes will probably wear another t-shirt or top over the baselayer so a tight fit isn’t too much of an issue.
I also have very sensitive skin and I found the baselayer to be a bit itchy at the seams. I doubt many people would have this problem but I thought I should mention it.
Aside from these grumbles the top is superb. It’s extremely lightweight and does a great job of keeping you warm, yet not sweaty. I wore it for a day’s mountain hiking and also for several long-ish runs and I stayed at a great temperature and never felt damp.
There are areas under the armpits, where you sweat the most, that have larger holes for allowing the sweat vapour out.
Of course, it does depend on what you are wearing over the top. If you have a non-wicking upper layer this will constrain the breathability and wicking potential for the Craft baselayer but on the whole I found it to be really good.
If you wanted to have a spare baselayer with you in your rucksack this would take up very little space although I think it’s best just to pop it on at the start of your training session or outing and leave it on until you get home. It works that well.
I would wear this for walking, running, skiing, cycling and generally just when I need a baselayer for warmth.
The claim that the top will make athletes “lighter, faster and better” does seem a bit silly but maybe it’s fair to say that if you feel comfortable you will perform better.
Also, I did find that the top got a bit whiffy after a day’s wear. This is because it’s synthetic. For less whiff you would want to choose Merino or Yak wool, I’d suggest.
For a good quality baselayer that does a great job of body temperature management £36 seems like an okay price to pay for the Craft Active Extreme 2.0 baselayer. You can shop around to find cheaper. See Craft Global Sportswear.