One of the problems I faced when packing for my West Highland Way hike was not really anything to do with what I would wear to hike in or sleep in, but rather what I would wear in the evening when not doing either. I didn’t have space for anything else in my pack, but I wanted to look presentable when heading to the pub. It sounds silly but this is something that bothered me; feeling comfortable in the evening is all part of the daily recovery in getting ready for the next day. I needed something that could double up – a useful and comfortable layer for hiking, and a decent looking top for the evenings. And warm, it had to be warm.
Walking the West Highland Way. Hiding my base layers under my waterproofs.
Enter the Stalk 100% merino top from Trespass. Designed as a base layer for skiing and other outdoors activities, the long sleeves and half zip make it super practical both as a next-to-skin and as a mid-layer for extra warmth when enjoying the outdoors in the colder months. It is very soft and comfortable, has a flattering shape, and is perfectly usable as an outdoors-to-indoors top when you want something that looks respectable for the pub after a day out in the hills.
Trespass Stalk Women’s Merino Base Layer
Merino wool has naturally high wicking properties to help you stay dry, which is handy when undertaking activities that might make you sweat a little (or a lot!). I’m thinking Devil’s Staircase here..! That sweat might also mean you’re pleased for the antibacterial finish that combats bacteria and keeps you feeling fresh and comfortable – a definite bonus. I’m becoming much more environmentally conscious as I get older, too, and the natural fibres of the merino make me feel like I’ve made a better choice than I might have with a polyester or other man-made thermal top.
Trespass Stalk Women’s Merino Base Layer. Photos taken after several washes!
And it worked. It did everything I needed it to do. It is noticeably soft and therefore felt great next to my skin as I hiked; helping me control my temperature without the rather annoying “layer on, layer off, layer on again” problem when hiking in the hills. The half zip helped, but it was the merino wool material it is made from that did most of the work. It also made for an ideal mid-layer when camping, adding warmth and cosiness under my Themoball jacket. And it also looked “smart” enough to wear as a jumper on the evenings we spent eating and socialising in one pub or another; over a tee and with my leggings I looked like anyone else out for dinner.
Enjoying Arthur’s Seat in gale force winds, but not cold thanks to the Stalk merino base layer!
The top hasn’t been confined to my hiking specific gear, either. I’ve been wearing it for the cycle commute to work now the autumn temperatures have firmly arrived, and have even worn it as a “nice” top at the weekends. It’s it good when one piece does so many things? Thankfully the top washes well (but be careful how, it’s merino wool!) and dries quickly so I can keep wearing it over and over again.
I chose the medium sized top in the grey/blue colour. It fits my UK10/12 frame comfortably and with some room to spare, which is handy as I have generally been using this as a mid-layer rather than the advertised base-layer in practice.
I promise I’m wearing it… underneath the very much needed waterproofs!
Being 100% merino wool (and super soft merino at that), this top comes in at a weighty £79.99 direct from Trespass. (Although it is on sale at the time of writing with 50% off – £39.99 is much more affordable.) This is a lot of pennies to spend I know, but it has proved its worth for me already, and I can just tell that it will last me a long time and be a part of my winter wardrobe for years to come.
Thank you to Trespass for gifting me the Stalk Women’s Merino Base Layer for my West Highland Way adventure.