So what should you be wearing this season? I have taken a look at some of the Cragging Tops that are available this year and have split the review down in to 3 main categories – ‘Bouldering,’ ‘Sunny Bolted Rock’ and ‘UK Multi pitch.’ This is just a guideline and I am not saying that you can’t Boulder in something that is in the Multi-pitch category. Equally the stuff featured for Sport climbing may well be suited to multi pitch routes in the UK … if we have a decent summer.
I have tried to avoid being subjective – yellow may be your favourite colour and just makes me look anaemic – but equally I have tried to include general comments, where appropriate, that extend beyond just wearing this stuff for climbing.
As usual it has been a pretty difficult task as there is a lot of great stuff out there. There are no marks out of 10, no clap-o-meter or star rating and an item that is ‘fab’ is not necessarily any better than one that is ‘great.’
Trendy, loose, hip, baggy … in no particular order
Crimp Hoody (£44.99) XS-L A comfortable and warm hoody, with a good length, for between problems. Franklin.
Womens’ Flight Print Marla Vest UK8-16. With UPF block and Dri Release this has great wicking performance but unfortunately is cut a little like a sack. Berghaus.
Serenity UK8-16. A versatile lightweight windproof jacket with DWR finish for those inbetweeny days but lifts up when reaching. Stylish look. Wicky lined. Berghaus.
Cuffia Knitted Hat (£17.99) one size fits all. It’s a wooly hat. E9.
Boulder Girl Tee (£19.99) XS-XL It’s a fitted tee shirt. E9.
Men’s Long Sleeve A5 T-Shirt (£23) It’s a l/sleeve tee. A5 series from The North Face.
Tiggerty Raglan Tee (£25) UK8-16 Long sleeve tee. It’s well made, hard wearing and in nice colours with a great design. Trendy too. Fat Face.
Airlee Sweat (£39.50) S-XXL Great looking bouldering top. Fat Face.
Bevin Tee (£27.50) S-XL Hard wearing l/sleeve tee. Fat Face.
Yenta Ribbed Beanie (£15) One size fits all. Soft and comfy. Fat Face.
Xanadu Stretch (£50) S-XL Looks great BUT it’s well itchy. Prana.
Rubble T (£25) S-XL A great looking top with a generous cut. The only thing problem is that you need to put it on a Cold wash or it WILL run and turn EVERYTHING else a variety of colours from pink to purple (even my black socks went red!!). Even on a cold wash it bled everywhere – not exactly 21st Century technology. Bouldering / Bolted. Prana.
Women’s Mustique Top (£15) XS-XXL A very comfotable but basic l/sleeve tee. Sprayway.
Women’s Spirit Hoody (£40) XS-XXL A really nice looking hoody in a midweight wicky fabric. Sprayway.
Micro Zip Top UK8-16 A nicely fitted versatile ultra light micro fleece with a zip front. A little short in the arms. Thaw.
Technical Hoodie (£50) XS-XL It’s a great looking hoodie but I did have problems with the zip a few times. Moon.
100% Tee (£35) UK8-16 It’s a tee shirt. Moon.
Women’s l/sleeve Top (£45) UK8-16 Sportwool l/sleeve top. Warm for such a thin garment. Trouble is you can’t get the sleeves up. Moon.
For chilling out or knocking around town.
Cabo Snap up (£40) S-XL Smart aprés boulder shirt. Prana.
Del Dios Shirt (£40) S-XL Smart aprés boulder shirt. Prana.
Original Zip top (£80) S-XXL (Women’s XS-XL) It’s warm, expensive but lighter than a fleece. Icebreaker.
New Age Jacket (£100) XS-XL The Velcro tabs are the wrong way around on the cuffs and the hookie bits will knack everything else in the wash. And the pockets are a little low. Apart from that it’s ace. Also suited to Multi pitch routes. Mammut.
Sunny Bolted Rock
Great gear for getting a tan in.
One Move Logo Tee (£16.99) S-XL Great fit with an unobtrusive yet stylish logo. E9
Tulipano Sun Hat (£19.99) a one size fits all sun hat. Quite thin material and we weren’t able to test it in mega bright weather so be careful on sunny days, especially if you are prone to getting burnt. E9.
Top Out (£29.99) XS-L Good fit but quite a short cut. The inner bra is great and it has a stylish ‘racer’ back. A smart item and nice design. Franklin.
Men’s Body Map Tee (£30) S-XXL In ‘Aquaduct’ fabric for moisture management but it feels a little itchy. Looks more like a cycling or footballers top. Sprayway.
Women’s Active Tee (£25) XS-XXL A fitted tee in wicky fabric but the material is rough. Small for it’s size and quite a short cut. Sprayway.
Shanti Sport Top (£35) XS-L New for 2004 from the Women’s ‘Activewear’ range. Built in shelf bra. Nice fit. Good length. Flattering cut. Ultimate women’s climbing top? Prana.
Athena Sport Top (£30) XS-L Their best selling item and you can see why. Lovely soft material. Built in Coolmax bra. Another flattering top. Prana.
Seamless Mapped Tank (£35) XS-XL Quite a comfortable stretchy top. Bra a little smaller than some of the others but at least it doesn’t ride up. Snug fit. Shame that the care instruction are on a GIANT label under the shoulder strap. Nike ACG.
Womens’ Event Tank (£30) S-XL Inner bra is a nice size and is in wicky Dryflo for comfort. Well fitted top with a nice flattering back and stretch panel for ease of movement. Good length. Lowe Alpine.
Wicka Vest UK8-18 A fitted Coolmax vest with quite a short cut. Goes a bit bobbly with time. Thaw.
Rock Top Tank (£30). XS-L A full length stylish halter top. Bra section very short and straps a little too thin. Mountain Hardwear.
Women’s Tech Tee (£35) UK8-16 Made from Sportwool to keep you cool. A really nice looking tee shirt. Moon.
Victoria Shirt (£33) S-L Womens’ fit zip neck shirt. Great material and a nice fit with no restriction of movement. Terra Nova.
Sonoran Polo (£35 s/sleeve £37 l/sleeve) S-XL From their ‘High Performance’ range. Totally unflattering and unstylish. Terra Nova.
Sahara Tee (£26) XS-XL Another strange cut – crap neck. Terra Nova.
Agility Shirt (£20/£25/£30 – s/sleeve, ¾sleeve, l/sleeve). S-XL. (Women’s XS-L) It’s stretchy, ultra-lightweight, durable, quick drying, stylish and has UPF 40 sun protection. Mountain Hardwear.
For those longer routes if you don’t want to be wearing you ‘Sunny Bolted Rock’ tops in our changeable climate
El Cap Shirt (£45) S-XXL (Also S-XL for Women). Good body and sleeve length and a zip for ventilation. Wicky. A5 series from The North Face.
Ice Station (£25) UK8-16 A really nice microfleece. Fat Face.
Hybrid Zip Turtle A multi fabric close fitting wicky top. With extra breathability under the arms this is a warm yet versatile top. And it’s long enough to keep your nads warm. Helly Hansen.
Women’s Versa Zip Jersey (Also Men’s prices and sizes). Thick and wicky, styled and stylish, practical and verstaile. Warmer than your average base layer but with a zip front for versatility. Helly Hansen.
Men’s Litespeed Jacket (£100) S-XL. A windprooftop with a wicky lining. Not the most stylish colours around but a great piece of kit nonetheless. Sprayway.
Microlite 3 Pull On (£40) XS-XXL Ultraight windproof top that packs in to its own chest pocket. Zip front for venting but it’s got elasticated cuffs so not so versatile. Sprayway.
DRY X tops. (From £37.50 to £45) Available as s/sleeve or l/sleeve, zip or crew and in Mens’ and Womens’ fit. A high perfomance anatomical base layer with a deep front zip for venting off and great armlift without the rest of the top riding up. With silver fibre it keeps you cool in summer and warm in winter as well as shielding you from UVs and keeping it odour free. Karrimor.
Dri Fit Mapped Crew (£30) S-XL A loose fitting but nice looking base layer that worked well. Nike ACG.
Infinity Lite (£100) XS-XXL. The belay jacket. The bizz for those grim days when you are with the world’s slowest climber. Berghaus.
X-Static Top S-XXL and UK8-16. A non smelly, fast wicking lightweight base layer that performs excellently. Berghaus.
Inferno Windshirt S-XXL. (Womens’ version – Ember Windshirt UK8-16) Windproof and breathable. Slightly heavier than other windproof tops. Velcro cuffs for extra breathability. An extra small velcro pocket within the chest pocket for coins and keys – nice touch. Berghaus.
Tempest jacket S-XXL. (Womens’ version – Cyclone UK8-16) A packable windproof jacket for active use. Nice high accessible pockets when you are wearing a harness or rucksack. But it’s cut a bit sack like. Berghaus.
Tech-T Available as s/sleeve or l/sleeve, zip or crew and in Mens’ and Womens’ fit). Nice and light yet warm and wicky. Berghaus.
Event Zipneck (£40) S-XL Like the feel of material, v comfortable to wear, Quite a stylish cut. Lowe Alpine.
Dryflo T-shirt (£25) Men’s & Women’s S-XL. Comfotable basic wicky tee. Very lightweight and a good long cut. Lowe Alpine.
Enduro Vest UK8-16 Comfortable but quite a short cut. Made from Atmos fabric it is lightweight and wicky. Thaw.
Mojave Polo (£33). S-L. A Womens’ fit Polo. Old fashioned design (can’t even be described as retro). Very unflattering. Terra Nova.
Kalahari Shirt (£25 s/sleeve £27 l/sleeve). XS-XL. A unisex t-shirt for active wear or as a base layer. Great material – crap design. Terra Nova.
Men’s l/sleeve Top (£35) XS-XL Can’t get sleeve up over my popeye forearms. Great look. Moon.
Men’s l/sleeve crew (£35) S-XXL (Women’s XS-XXL). Warm but with no zip for venting off it is not so versatile. Icebreaker.
Ben Moon 0114 249 1821
Berghaus 0191 516 5600
betaclimbingdesigns 0114 221 8332
Fat Face 02392 441100
Franklin 01629 580484
Helly Hansen 0115 960 8797
Icebreaker 01572 772437
Karrimor 01254 893000
Lowe Alpine 01539 740840
Mammut 01286 872222
Mountain Equipment 0161 366 2715
Mountain Hardwear 01572 724499
Nike 0800 056 1640
Patagonia 01629 583800
Prana 01457 877081
Sprayway 0800 605050
Thaw 01389 756409
The North Face 01539 738882