Helly Hansen Freeze ½ Zip base layer review£49.99

Super-warm underwear

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The name Helly Hansen is synonymous with base layers thanks to the company’s classic stripey-armed Lifa top, which is near-ubiquitous in outdoor sports circles.

The Freeze takes that design and improves it by adding merino wool – which stays warm when wet and doesn’t smell as bad after use as synthetic fabrics – and a zip for temperature regulation.

The combination of wool (57 percent) and Helly’s own hollow fibre LIFA T3 fabric (43 percent) means this top should keep you warm in sub-zero temperatures (with an appropriate mid and outer layer, of course).

We wore the Freeze with just a thin windshell over the top on a snowy December mountain bike ride, and even when our hands and feet were soaking wet and freezing cold, our upper body stayed toasty warm and dry – in fact, we had to pull the zip down a little to avoid overheating on the climbs.

It’s ideal for winter riding, but its sheer warmth means it’ll languish in the wardrobe for much of the year. It’s available in five colours and seven sizes.

CW has been riding mountain bikes for more than two decades now. He's the first to admit he's not the fittest or most skilful rider on the hill, but that doesn't stop him sweating up the climbs to have a blast on the downhills.
  • Age: 38
  • Height: 189cm/6'2"
  • Weight: 70kg/154lb
  • Waist: 32in/81cm
  • Chest: 40in/102cm
  • Discipline: MTB, commuting
  • Preferred Terrain: Big mountains and flowing singletrack
  • Current Bikes: Whyte T-129 S SCR, Stanton Sherpa 853, Pinnacle Dolomite 6
  • Dream Bike: Evil The Following
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston Old Peculier
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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