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Mid and Base Layers

Howies Munnings 1/2 Zip Merino Top | Review

A super smooth and very efficient merino layer from Welsh active-wear and lifestyle brand, Howies

Why We Chose The Howies Munnings 1/2 Zip Merino Top: Comfortable, ethically produced, high quality.

You can’t underestimate the power of a good baselayer, especially a Merino one. In summer, Merino will keep you cool, and, more importantly, lift the sweat off before sending it into the atmosphere, and in winter it provides that essential layer of warmth. You can wear it for high-tempo activities and also for long slogs where you might have to keep it on for days at a time. Best of all, after all of this it’s not even going to smell too bad, and the same can’t be said for standard synthetic alternatives, that’s for sure.

We could waffle on all day about the properties of Merino baselayers, but of course, what you want to know is just how good this particular one, the Howies Munnings, is.

“I hiked in it all day and slept in it as well… You know you’ve got a good baselayer when you have absolutely no qualms about doing that.”

In short, it’s good, and for a number of reasons. First of all, this is an item that you can count on being ethically made, and out of responsibly-sourced materials. Ceredigion based Howies pride themselves on that kind of stuff, and have done since their foundation way back now in 1995.

Then there are all the right design details. For instance, all the seams are flatlocked, meaning no niggles, the sleeves have a raglan shape to provide the right articulation during active use, there’s a half zip for a little extra temperature regulation and finally, a reflective logo on the front and strip on the lower back which will be useful for night runners.

A half zip gives you a little extra temperature regulation. Photo: Chris Johnson
All the seams are flat locked which means no unwanted rubbing. Photo: Chris Johnson
The Howies brand goes back to 1995. Photo: Chris Johnson

Tester’s Verdict

Will Renwick, Outdoors Magic Editor

“I’m a big fan of merino baselayers and this particular midweight one has certainly performed well for me. I spent about four days living in this, and by that I mean I hiked in it all day and slept in it as well, only taking it off a couple of times to jump in the shower. You know you’ve got a good baselayer when you have absolutely no qualms about doing that. If it started to smell, feel sticky, itchy or uncomfortable, I would’ve taken it off, but no, I was happy to just keep on wearing it. I wouldn’t have wanted to do that in some of the synthetic baselayers I’ve used in the past, that’s for sure.

“I’ve worn this underneath a load of insulating layers in the cold and just by itself when trail running and it’s been excellent. I’ve also worn it simply underneath a waterproof jacket on a muggy but wet day and have found it brilliant for preventing that clammy feeling that you can get when wearing a membrane-lined jacket.

“Another key thing I liked about this is the fact that, after a week of wear without washing, it didn’t seem to lose it shape and start to feel saggy and limp. It still kept close and comfortable. Whether it will last a couple of washes (Merino generally needs to be on a low temperature if you machine wash it) and a long period of wear I can’t say yet I’m afraid. I’ll update this when I know.”

For cold weather running or for part of a layering system. Photo: Chris Johnson

Trade Secrets

Ade Gunn-Wilson – Howies Sales and Marketing Director

“Over the last 25 years designing clothing for outsiders we’ve learned that people want to wear their performance clothing for their sports and their everyday lives as well. By using clean design and 100% merino the Munnings 1/2 zip is crafted to look and perform as brilliantly for sport as with jeans in the office.

“The 100% pure Merino wool construction means it’s breathable, wicks sweat and has natural antibacterial qualities so it won’t stink, so you won’t need to wash it as often. Which is really good for the environment. Especially the one within five feet of you.”

Howies Munnings 1/2 Zip Merino Top

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