Written on: 11/05/2009 by blamonge23 (23 reviews written)
Zip can chafe
Expensive... Yeah, but you do get what you pay for!
Do away with the Smelly Helly's, forget about IceBreaker and be prepared to see other brands boasting merino base layers step aside as the 2009 Arc'teryx Rho LTW baselayer top batters more brands than a back street chip shop with a grudge.
Made with a unique blend of spandex and pure New Zealand Merino wool sourced from MAPP, the Merino Advanced Performing Programme, this base layer top featured a snug fitting cut which, is trim around the waist with an elongate length in the body. The sleeves come at a good length too and are also not too tight around the arms. They can also still be pushed up to allow heat dumping on long walk in's. Merino wool is especially effective as it not only has a great warmth weight ratio, it is naturally anti-microbial, thus highly resistant odour, much more so than chemically treated synthetic tops and wont wash out with prolonged use as it is a property of the material.
The top also features Arc'teryx's no-lift gusseted under arms, which greatly increases mobility which is even further enhanced by the mechanical stretch within the fabric itself. Furthermore this neat little package features a small, laminated, zip chest pocket which is ideal for stashing cash, telepherique tickets, lift passes or even a small mobile phone.
The only downside is the nature of the 1/4 front zip and collar. The zips plastic nature makes it quite sharp at the edge so it can rub. But, it does allow for venting when you're running hot. Also the collar is quite flimsy, it wont stay upright with the zip open and it can be abit tight around the neck when the zip is fully done up. I have no real concerns about this, it just requires folding down when the top is worn as a standalone layer with the zip undone.
And finally the price, well yes average UK rrp of £75 does beat two shades of doggy poop out of your wallet, but as I will always say, with Arc'teryx gear you do get what you pay for, especially if it is made in Canada (Others will argue, but there IS a difference in the quality of gear by Arc'teryx coming out of China).
From experience, compared with Patagonia and IceBreaker, the Rho LTW just does it all and better with superlative fit, freedom of movement and weight. I would love to see a thicker version for use as a mid-layer so I can ditch my Patagonia ones.
Thanks for reading,
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