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If you’re looking for a quiver-killing midlayer hoodie that will take you seamlessly from a day of crushing the trails on two wheels, to a raucous evening of crushing post-ride empty beer cans on your forehead* as you dance and cavort around the evening campfire in a futile attempt to impress your riding buddies with the chest-thumping ‘manliness’ you possess…then, man or woman, your search may finally be over.
Showers Pass, purveyors of some of the finest waterproof outdoor apparel in the land, have just launched their new Basecamp hoodie. It’s made from merino wool and, well to be honest I could just stop there, because I’m a big (like, a BIG) fan of this ovine-derived fabric. I won’t though, because I’ve got a whole bunch more to say, so instead I’ll carry on and take an in-depth look at the Basecamp merino hoodie. I think you’re going to love it.
*Ok. Look, I’m just trying to make a dramatic point in a funny way here. Crushing beer cans against your head is a silly thing to do and is likely to hurt you a lot. This would be particularly the case if you mistakenly tried to crush a full can against your head. Believe me, I speak from bitter experience. Drink beer responsibly and always recycle your empty cans according to local regulations. Thank you.
“quiver-killing midlayer hoodie that will take you seamlessly from a day of crushing the trails on two wheels, to a raucous evening of crushing post-ride empty beer cans on your forehead*”
Days out on the mountain bike are, clearly, awesome. Shredding the trails, hitting the jumps…but it’s the post-ride chillout-around-the-campfire time that I really enjoy. Those few hours before you hit the hay when you relive the day’s riding with your friends and they remind you how many times you fell and, literally, ‘hit the jumps’, and how slowly you actually ‘shredded’ the trails. Sigh…
Good-natured joking at my expense aside, I’m always on the look out for clothing that works for both cycling and for apres-cycling, because who wants to pack ‘evening wear’ when you’re going out for a bike ride? With the new Basecamp hoodie, Showers Pass have potentially come up with a winning combination – a midlayer to keep you warm on cool bike trails and evenings around the campfire.
We’re going to take a look at what Showers Pass say about their new hoodie. Then we’re going to take it for a spin and see what it’s really like: how does it perform for long days on backcountry trails? Does it keep you at a comfortable temperature – keeping the chill out without making you hot and sweaty? How does it perform when the cycling is done for the day and it moves into après-ride evening wear? When the sun sets, the ambient temperature drops, the campfire is lit and the beer can pull-tabs are pulled, will the Basecamp give a better performance than you with your drunken dance moves?
Let’s check it out.
What Showers Pass say about the Basecamp Merino Hoodie
“this lightweight mid-layer comfortably moves and breathes with you”
“Great for layering or recovery wear”
“washes easily and maintains its form”
“an all-season versatile staple”
What I like about the Basecamp hoodie
I’ve been testing out the Basecamp hoodie in a men’s Medium size and the Clay color. I’m 5’8” and 180 lbs and tend to wear medium in most top-half garments, including all the Showers Pass gear I’ve worn apart from the Cloudburst jacket (where I opted for a Large instead). The Medium Basecamp fits me well – not too loose, not too tight – and I’m really happy with the sizing. The Clay color looks great. I thought it might be a little ‘shouty’ but it’s actually got a nice laidback vibe to it.
For the men’s hoodie there are two colors available: Clay and Harvest (a yellow color) and five sizes (Small through XXLarge). There’s also a women’s hoodie available, in the same two colors and five sizes (SM to XXL). Whilst both hoodies are made from the same fabric, there are some differences between the two which I’ll take you through now.
There are a ton of great well-thought-out details on the Basecamp that make it a winner for me. The drop hem gives full coverage for your lower back when you’re either reaching for the handlebars or reaching for another log for the campfire. It’s actually not a part of your anatomy that you even notice until you’re wearing a top that isn’t designed with a drop hem – it’s only then that you’ll feel a chill across your spine or, even worse, an icy splatter of water flying up from your back wheel. Yuck.
The men’s hoodie has a hood with drawstring cords and a half zip that looks great and allows you to configure the opening just the way you want it: open it up for sweaty climbs and tighten it up more and more as the mercury drops in the evening. The women’s hoodie has a cowl neck instead, keeping all the chills away from your neck. Cozy.
Both men’s and women’s hoodies have a spacious kangaroo pouch in front. Whilst I wouldn’t recommend this for storing any young joeys, it is ideal for storing all the other little things that you don’t want to leave on the trailside: car keys, wallets, etc. It’s also a perfect spot for keeping your hands nice and warm, though this is probably best left for the evening, rather than out on the trails.
Insanely soft, warm and cozy
It’s made from 95% merino wool – so it’s got great warmth for its weight (the men’s medium hoodie weighs in at only 13oz/380g). It’s not one of those old skool incredibly heavy and bulky sweaters that make you look like Mr Stay-puft, the marshmallow man from Ghostbusters. Instead it feels slimline and super-warm.
The merino wool is blended with polyamaride (5%) and this helps the hoodie maintain its shape through countless tough bike ‘n’ beer sessions.
It’s described as a ‘midweight fabric’ – what this means in practice is that it works well on rides as either a top layer (on days when the morning is a little chilly, but you know it’s going to burn off and heat up before too long) or as a midlayer over a jersey and below a waterproof/windproof top layer, such as the awesome Syncline jacket from Showers Pass.
No BO stink
One of the most magical properties of merino is that you can wear it for weeks on end, sweating away, and it won’t stink. Literally, I’ve taken a merino Tshirt and worn it for 12 weeks straight before washing it. It still didn’t smell but my wife felt that I needed to get a change of color on my torso for once. Pfft.
Washing is unnecessary but also easy
If you’ve never tried merino clothing before then you might be a little concerned about the washing requirements. Fear not! This is no ‘dry clean only’ fabric and it won’t end up shrinking to the size of a Barbie ‘n’ Ken style garment either. When you get covered in mud on the trails, just pop your hoodie in the washing machine on a gentle cycle in cool/cold water, then lay it out flat to air dry after. Et Voilà! As good as new.
How does the Basecamp hoodie perform for trail riding?
Those are the details, now how does the Basecamp fit the two scenarios we’ve identified: daytime trail riding and nighttime around-the-campfire beer drinking? Well, the 95% merino wool fabric and the hood (either with the men’s zipper and drawstring or the women’s cowl neck) gives a midlayer that just WORKS for so many different days out on the bike. On a Spring/Autumn morning when there’s dew on the grass and a chill in the air, then the Basecamp works great on top of your jersey. Once the sun’s fully up and the temperature is climbing, then you can take it off and stash it in your backpack or tie it around your waist. For Winter riding, then I’m finding that the Basecamp sits nicely between jersey and a rainjacket.
The fit of the hoodie is also great for riding. It’s not baggy, so won’t flap about as you shred the trails but, at the same time, it’s also roomy and stretchy enough that you can move and reach and do important things like grab the brake levers at the first hint of a downwards slope.
The hood fits great under a bike helmet, keeping your head and ears warm, and the drop hem keeps your lower back delightfully chill-free.
Add in the zippered kangaroo pouch, which helps you stash your valuables safely, and this hoodie is a winner for the bike trails.
How does the Basecamp hoodie perform for apres-ride irresponsible beer drinking**?
As the sun drops down to the horizon and we segue into the evening’s activities, the Basecamp continues to perform.
The merino wool soaks up all the sweat from your day’s exertions leaving you stink-free, fresh and fragrant. That’s a big bonus because it means you don’t need to bring a spare sweater (so there’s less to pack) and you also don’t need to change out of a stinky one in the cold and get even colder. Brrr.
Hoods are essential for an evening around the campfire as (1) they keep your head warm and (2) they leave your face in shadow, giving you a dark and mysterious air. And, yet again, the kangaroo pouch is a winner as it now pulls double duty as a hand warmer.
I can’t confirm or deny that the Basecamp is suitable for irresponsible beer drinking. Ahem. Though, I’m afraid I can confirm that it in no way improves your dancing abilities. Even though you will look better wearing it as you dance poorly. Hey ho.
**Please drink beer and any other alcoholic beverages responsibly. Thanks again.
What I don’t like about the Basecamp hoodie
There really isn’t a lot that I dislike about the Basecamp. It’s a great option for days out on the mtb, either as a top layer over a jersey, or as a midlayer on cooler days under a waterproof top layer. It then takes you smoothly from the trails to the post-ride beers ‘n’ campfires without missing a beat. What’s not to like? My wife loves the cowl neck on the women’s style hoodie, though did cast a jealous eye over the half zip and drawstring cords of the men’s style (though, on balance, felt like she’d opt for the cowl neck most of the time anyway) (EDITOR’S NOTE: it’s also likely that she’d steal her husband’s Basecamp whenever the women’s style didn’t match up to her requirements…)
Other than that domestic niggle, the only addition I’d really like to see to the hoodie is to have thumbholes on the cuffs. Because it’s always good to have a little hand protection from those cold beers on chilly nights. But, hey, that’s what a great pair of gloves is for.
The Basecamp merino hoodie is a fantastic midlayer. Checking all the right boxes for fit, coziness and stink-resistance and taking you seamlessly from a day of trail-shredding to an evening of being laughed at by your buddies for your lack of trail-shredding skills. Doing all that without a wardrobe change.
Sadly, it can’t do much for your late-night après-cycling dancing abilities. Apologies.
I’m a big fan of the new Basecamp and it’s my new go-to when I’m heading out for a day of mountain biking and an evening of dancing. I think you’ll like it a lot.