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Review: Rab MeCo Base Layers

Review: Rab MeCo Base Layers
RAB MeCo Base Layers

Rab MeCo 120 Tee in use during the 2013 Yak Attack in Nepal.


MeCo is Rab’s incarnation of the now ultra-popular Merino Wool used in active base layers. Merino products are generally hard wearing and in particular have fantastic odour resistant properties; meaning that they can be worn for extended periods between washing, if necessary, without becoming unpleasantly smelly.

RAB says:

New MeCo fabric is an intimate blend of 65% ethically sourced Australian Merino wool combined with 35% recycled polyester with Cocona® activated carbon technology.

Cocona® fabric is made using natural technology. Activated carbon is derived from discarded coconut shells and other natural micro porous particles. These particles are contaned within the fibre and can not wear out or wash off. Cocona is extremely breathable and accelerates evaporation – making them ideal for use in baselayers.

Cocona® absorbs a wide range of odour molecules within the activated carbon and aids the natural anti bacterial properties of Merino wool. The major benefit of MeCo blended fabrics is the vastly reduced drying time for these fabrics, this makes them excellent for use as a year round base layer and also saves washing and drying time.

Neil says:

I’m not sure about all the techno-babble, but I do know one thing, It works!

I have now been using the Rab MeCo range extensively for over 18 months under a wide variety of conditions in all seasons.

From high intensity Mountain Biking & Himalayan Trekking, through to Trail Running, Climbing, Snowboarding, Travelling, and day-to-day use. I even used the Meco 120 long sleeved tee for the 2013 Tenzing-Hillary Everest Marathon.

Rab currently produce a small but useful range in a variety of weights and styles.

Short & Long Sleeve Tee’s, and Pants in the lightweight 120 gsm.

Long Sleeve Zip-Tee and Pants in the mid-weight 165 gsm.

Long Sleeve Zip-Tee in the heavyweight 250 gsm.
Plus Boxer’s, Liner Gloves, Beanies, and a Balaclava.

I have used all of the Tee’s and Pants in both the lightweight and mid-weight ranges.

The lighter weight 120 series has, as you would expect, seen the most extensive use both as a base later in cooler conditions and as a technical wicking layer during high intensity exercise.
The 120 Tee was particularly effective during the very hot (36c) early stages of The Yak Attack Mountainbike Stage Race in Nepal, proving that it is equally versatile in such conditions.
They are supremely usable on anything from cold winter hikes to hot summer trail runs. My tee’s are showing minor signs of abuse but considering how much use they have had it is hardly surprising and barely noticeable. Certainly the best product of it’s type that I have used. 
The Rab Aeon Tee was my first choice for travelling and I still use them, but the Meco’s odour resistance now makes them my firm favourite.

I have used the heavier weight 165 Zip-Tee and Pants in very cold conditions (as low as -30c) in The Himalaya at over 5000mts on four separate occasions, in conjunction with a good layering system, and was kept comfortably warm at all times; even under times of high exertion. The long zip offers useful ventilation when required.
That said, it proved equally at home during cold snaps in the British winter.
At one point during a particularly cold February spell in the Everest Region I wore them day and night for five days straight with no noticeable odour; I couldn’t say the same for my friends!

Everything in the range has flatlock, low bulk, seams and I have found them to be barely noticeable with zero rubbing or hotspots on long days carrying a heavy pack. They look smart too which means you don’t look entirely stupid when retiring to the pub after a good day in the hills.

Rab have recently released a 250gsm version of the Zip-Tee for very cold conditions, I think that it might actually be too warm, unless you are thinking of heading for an Everest summit bid!
So, in conclusion, they are a nice slim fit, hard wearing, warm and cool, wicking, fast drying, and highly odour resistant. Another 5 star product from the Rab stable.

I won’t be swapping them any time soon.

Rab also offer them in both Male and Female specific fit.

To the casual buyer the prices may seem a little on the high side but considering what you are getting for your money they offer fantastic value. A high-end product with high-end performance that will provide years of hard service.

The Short Sleeve 120 Tee’s retail around £40
Long Sleeve 120 Tee – £45
Long Sleeve 165 Zip-Tee – £65
Pants 120 – £40

Trekking towards Dingboche, Solu-Khumbu, Nepal. May 2013.
Finish Line, Tenzing-Hillary Everest Marathon. May 2013. Long Sleeve Tee 120.
In the shadow of Ama Dablam, Nepal.
Long Sleeve Tee 120
Long Sleeve Zip-Tee 165
Short Sleeve Tee 120

About The Author

Neil Cottam

Neil is the founder of Chase The Rainbow. He has spent a lifetime exploring the outdoors, from a childhood climbing trees and scrambling his bike around old pit heads to hiking in the Himalaya and backpacking around Europe and Asia.


  1. Mitchell Wallace

    Thanks! What size did you grab for the 120. Just curious how tight the fit is supposed to be.

  2. Neil

    Hi Mitchell.
    I'm a pretty standard Medium – 38"-40" chest. They are a slim fit but not tight. I suppose "fitted" is the correct description.
    Hope this helps 🙂

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