By: Blonde Two
As you have probably worked out by now, both Blonde One and I are great fans of merino base layers. Merino is a natural fabric, gives excellent warmth for its weight and (maybe most importantly) smells good (well nearly good) after a couple of days’ hard walking. I have been interested for a while now to try out bamboo baselayers and compare them with their woollier equivalents. When I went looking for bamboo women clothes to try out BAM didn’t disappoint. They stock everything from bamboo dresses to bamboo yoga pants in 11 different fabric weights, all of which contain at least 68% bamboo viscose (with some cotton and elastane). BAM are very transparent about their production processes, have a look at their Bamboo FAQs here.
BAM sell an impressive range of bamboo baselayers including pretty tops, sensible tops and short-sleeved tops. We were given a choice so B1 opted for pretty with the round neck baselayer in ‘urban flower’ (fab name) and I decided to go sensible (and a bit longer) with the zip neck baselayer in black. I took mine to Ireland with me and it got a good testing in a variety of environments, both indoor and outdoor. Here’s how it compared to merino:
Baselayer Test 1 – Walking in the Rain
Merino is great in the rain because if it does get a bit wet it will wick the moisture away from your body and dry out really quickly. I am pleased to report that my BAM bamboo top did exactly the same thing (and Irish rain is very wet!)
Baselayer Test 2 – Walking Uphill
The problem with walking uphill (apart from looking red-faced and being unable to speak) is that you inevitably get sweaty on the way up and then cold in your sweaty top when you finally reach the top. We had the perfect hill to test my bamboo baselayer with warm rain on the way up and chilly wind (plus a cave-like tomb) at the top. I didn’t even notice the ‘getting sweaty’ bit, which either means that I am suddenly super-fit or the bamboo baselayer was doing all the right things.
Baselayer Test 3 – Dinner in a Restaurant
In a perfect world, a walking top, especially a black one, would also do for a going-out top. This doesn’t always happen with merino as it can lose its shape a bit and be prone to laddering but I did wear my new bamboo baselayer to dinner and, as far as I know, it didn’t cause a stir.
We Blondes will be doing some wet autumn wild camping this week and it will be interesting to see how the bamboo compares to our usual merino tent sleepwear. We will keep you posted but at the moment I don’t seem to be able to take my BAM baselayer off and I haven’t washed it yet since Ireland. Maybe I need some leggings as well!
… and a late addition to the baselayer test… with some help from Storm Brian and a wet night on Dartmoor!
Baselayer Test 4 – Wet and Screwed up in a Bag
Perhaps the best test of any outdoor garment is the, ‘shove the wet garment in a bag and realise you need to wear it the next day’ test. I found myself in this situation with my bamboo baselayer. After a quick drying on a radiator, my top look (almost) as good as new and didn’t smell anywhere near as bad as synthetic top would have done. Judge for yourself… all the photos on this blog are post ‘damp into bag’.
My only negative comment about my new bamboo baselayer would be its length. Being long in the body and of curvaceous shape, I would have liked a couple more inches to give a bit of bottom cover. BAM do, however, stock some longer t-shirts, which might be worth considering as baselayers.
From time to time we Blondes are sent free outdoor products to field test and promote on social media. We will always be honest about our findings and any products we don’t keep for ourselves find their way into our expedition stores. Great for us, great for you and great for our youngsters!