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Video Review: Craft Active Baselayers

Take a closer look at two of the most advanced baselayers that Craft has ever made, the Active Comfort and Active Extreme 2.0. Although the Active Extreme 2.0 is built around a decidedly more aggressive fit, both have become instant favorites for our tester, whose experience in this realm is considerable, to say the least.

Andy Clark reviewed Craft’s Active Comfort and Active Extreme 2.0 baselayers, and here are his thoughts:

Let’s start with the obvious: Craft is the gold standard, the benchmark by which all other baselayers are measured, and every active apparel maker on earth has been chasing Craft for decades.

I’ve got a drawer full of just about everything they’ve ever made, along with baselayers from everybody else and the stuff I got seven or eight years ago from Craft is still a cut above. So I was pretty psyched when the new Active Comfort and Active Extreme gear showed up

I got a long-sleeve version of each one, and while they serve different purposes I can tell you that regardless of the application, Craft has once again raised the bar for baselayer performance, fit, and comfort.

The Active Comfort is a pretty revolutionary product because they’ve never really made a non-elite level baselayer. It’s a great crossover top, perfect for cycling or anything else. Like all Craft baselayers, it’s almost completely seamless, but this one has a semi-relaxed fit, so it can accommodate a broader range of physiques.

It’s still a highly technical garment, made from 70% polyester and 30% polyamide (which is a synthetic material that retains heat when wet and wicks and dries very quickly). And Craft’s body-mapping construction ensures it works extra hard where it needs to. But the best thing about it is how incredibly soft it is. It’s silky enough to sleep in.

The Active Extreme 2.0 is a completely different beast. It was designed in partnership with elite athletes who needed a first layer that worked really hard when their engines were running at max output. This is the baselayer you’ll find under long sleeve jerseys at cold spring classics, Olympic Nordic events, and under the skin suits of speed skaters and cyclocross stars.

If you took a microscope to the fabric, you’d see propeller-like shapes. That’s the calling card of Cool Max Air, an advanced textile that only a few brands are utilizing. Now, the little propellers don’t spin, of course, but they do provide a much faster evaporative cooling effect and it’s knit in a way that creates small air channels between you and the fabric to trap heat while you’re in the red zone on a cold day.

In light of this, the Active Extreme 2.0 is meant to fit very close to the body all over, which it accomplishes via a seamless torso, and because it’s completely Lycra-free it’s not compressive or restrictive. Craft also folds in their summer weight Superlight mesh under the arms and at the cuffs. And I love the placement at the cuffs because that’s typically an area that has a lot of garments intersecting and overlapping.

Between the two, when I was riding found myself reaching for the Active Extreme more often, mostly because it’s been like twenty years since I lifted a weight or whaled on my pecs, and the Active Comfort was a touch too loose in the chest for cycling. But for a quick trail run or hike on a cool morning, I was throwing on the Active Comfort, and tended to keep it on for the rest of the day.

When it comes to temperature range, though, I think the Active extreme has it beat. I used it under short sleeve jerseys on 50-degree mornings, and still felt comfortable when the temp went above 70. And, when I used it on colder mornings under a long sleeve jersey, I didn’t feel too warm. I think you’ll find that it’s ideal because you can wear it much earlier and much later in the year.

If you have questions about Craft baselayers, please give us a call or send an email to sales@competitivecyclist.com.