Merino base layers at Aldi

An anonymous tip-off the other night drew my attention to the fact that merino t-shirts were on sale at Aldi as part of their ski-wear promotion.

Merino sheep, we hail thee…

Regular readers will know that I’m not averse to cross pollinating my cycling/living wardrobe with garments intended from other purposes (eg hiking, running, loafing, fighting wars, etc) so I duly hot-footed it down to said budget supermarket and took a look.

The base layers are 100% merino wool in what looks to be 150 weight. A great year round weight I’ve found. The quality looks to be up there with icebreaker and redram. They are machine wash and air dry, Henry Ford black and retail for the princely sum of £15.99. I bought two as presents for myself from other people (if that makes any sense). The only problem now is I will have to wait until after Christmas to give them a full road test.

However my brother has also purchased two shirts and vouches for their comfort and itch free nature.

If I were you I’d get thee to Aldi now and brave the mob of outdoor bargain hunters.

Good luck.


Merino Musings: Red Ram Merino Tee Review

Trust me, this is no ordinary t-shirt.

I’m a big fan of merino wool layers for cycling, outdoor and general all-round use and have a number of them in my possession. I’ve got a couple of Icebreaker BodyFit 200 long sleeve layers which I’ve worn day in day out for over two years, together with a couple of grey marl long sleeved merino bases from Thermal Shop, which, though designed with the motorcycling market in mind, are excellent cycling base layers.

Latest addition to the cycling wardrobe is RedRam’s Everyday Merino short sleeved tee-shirt. RedRam use Icebreaker’s own 100% merino wool in their tee shirts but undercut Icebreaker on price, with no obvious compromises. The tee-shirt uses the lighter weight wool, (possibly equivalent to Icebreaker’s 150 weight) which makes for a lightweight and highly versatile base layer that will see usage all year round (at least in the UK climate).

The cut of the tee is tailored yet casual – less snug that the Icebreaker Bodyfit. I take an XL in the Icebreaker yet a Large in the RedRam is a great, casual fit. It’s got a raglan sleeve which avoids seams rubbing under the arms and on the shoulders (great for rucksack users) and makes for a sleeker look. My favourite part of the fit is the extra long length. So many clothing manufacturers spec their items too short in the body (and I’ve not got a freakishly long torso). However the Red Ram tee has plenty of length, meaning that you can confidently reach for high stuff in public without displaying the belly and keep your kidneys warm even when down on the drops on the bike.  The tee shirt wicks away sweat well, doesn’t smell, dries quickly and feels ultra soft against the skin.

Since I’ve owned the garment, I’ve washed it three times, on the standard 40 degrees Celsius cycle using normal powder. It washes great and dries overnight hung on the back of a chair. I’ve also accidently dried it in a warm tumble drier with no shrinkage whatsoever.

In all I’m really impressed with this tee. It looks great, feels great and works well as an everyday item of clothing. Sure, at £35, it’s more expensive than a cotton tee or a polyester base layer, but it’s infinitely better than both.

Verdict: Great fitting, great washing, warm, wicking life-compatible tee shirt.

Review: Icebreaker Oasis Bodyfit 200 Merino Base Layer

Wow! This is a fantastic product! Every cyclist or indeed any outdoorsy type of person should have a couple of these in their wardrobe. 

I’ve been using one for about 3 months now and I’ve got to say that it’s the most comfortable, warm, easy to look after merino base layer that I’ve owned.  

I’ve bought a second one now – one in black and one in a nice mid blue, both long sleeved,  and they are an essential part of my daily riding/living kit. I’ve worn them on shivering cold mtb rides, on daily commutes, in bed, to the pub, to the restaurant and all day in work and they seem to fit in anywhere. You can just sling another layer over the top of them and blend in anywhere. They don’t look overly sporty, no big stripes or logos. They’re soft against the skin, have flatlocked seams and just will not smell, even after shameful back to back wear for days.  

They’re not cheap, at £30-40 depending on where you shop, but they work so well that you only need a few to keep you warm, dry and comfortable all year round. Plus Icebreaker is a company that’s big on sustainability and buying merino means buying non oil dependent fabric. Sure, oil is still used in production and transportation, but every little helps.  

I’m going to add a few short sleeved versions in the lighter 150 weight for the summer, and to layer over the long ones when temperatures turn chilly again.