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Review: First look – Alpkit Kepler Merino Baselayer Range.

Review: First look – Alpkit Kepler Merino Baselayer Range.

Alpkit Kepler Merino Baselayers.

Alpkit have been on a bit of a mission lately with a lot of new products being drip-fed to consumers throughout the course of the year.
One of these – The Kepler Merino Range – has been on my radar for a while.
I’m a huge fan of merino wool products, I have a fair bit of it in my wardrobe, so I was excited to check out their offerings to see how they measure up.
The benefits of merino wool are well documented, great breathability, quick drying, fast wicking, warm when wet, and extremely resistant to odours. In recent years it’s become the de-rigueur product of choice for most outdoor users and manufacturers.
With the likes of Rab and Icebreaker retailing some serious high-end performance products the competition is stiff.

Alpkit use 100% Genuine New Zealand – Mulesing Free – Merino Wool in 160gsm weight. On first inspection it is soft to the touch and feels really nice on the skin. The colours are nice too. 
Mens: Tarmac, or blue (All tee’s and boxers), tarmac over blue, and blue over tarmac! (Tee’s only). Four choices and they all look good.
Womens: Eggplant and Lupin. (I’m a man so I don’t actually know what those colours are but I’m certain that all you ladies out there will know immediately, and appreciate them). They look nice too.
All of the products come with flat-locked seams as you would expect these days.
Everything looks and feels well made, always a good sign.
And with Alpkit’s direct sell policy the prices are very attractive. No High Street mark-up’s going on here, just a lot of bang for your buck.

Long and Short Sleeved Tee’s £39.00/£29.00.

I’m a medium (38″- 40″ chest) and the cut is just right for me, fitted but not tight, comfortable. The length is good too.
The long sleeved variety has useful thumb loops; nice for tucking in to your gloves on a cold day.
The only minor concern I have with the tops is the neckline, it’s just a little bit wide and deep for my taste and it might prove to be draughty on the bike. The Rab Meco Tee’s, for example, have a much closer fitted neckline which I personally prefer. Time will tell on that.
I used the short sleeve tee on a recent overnight bikepacking adventure, conditions were variable and it performed really well. I didn’t overheat during steep climbs in the sunshine and it kept me nice and warm on the higher ridges when exposed to a cooling wind. A good start 🙂

Mens Long Sleeve Tee

The Boxers £18.00:

I wasn’t sure about The Boxers at first glance, they are long and have a high, wide, waistband. And then I tried them on. And then I changed my mind.
The fit is great, they really are comfortable. With the aforementioned long legs and high waistband they feel really supportive. I like them a lot. These could well be my new best travel buddy.
(The wife will also be pleased if you strut around the house you in these too! Well, I say that; perhaps she will if you’ve got buttocks like David Beckham.)

The Boxers

The range also currently includes Long Johns and a Draught Excluder/Necktube (Am I allowed to call it a Buff?). I’m fairly certain that Alpkit will be extending the range progressively; I’ll keep you posted on that. I’d really like to see slightly higher necked 1/4 zip tee added to the range, something similar to a cycling jersey would be very nice! 🙂

There is a long way to go, and a lot of testing over the next year or so, before I can say with any certainty that the Alpkit Baselayers will replace my trusted Rab Baselayers but, pound for pound, first impressions are very favourable.
They’ll be having some high altitude adventures in The Himalaya, and be subjected to a lot of Mountain Biking and Trail Running. I’ll report back here when I’m satisfied that they have withstood some rigorous use.
If they can survive Asian laundries they’ll pass the test!

A price comparison with the Rab and Icebreaker brands:

Short Sleeved Tee:
Alpkit – £29.00
Rab – £45.00
Icebreaker – £50-60.00

Long Sleeved Tee:
Alpkit -£39.00
Rab – £50.00
Icebreaker – £60-90.00

Alpkit – £18.00
Rab – £27.00
Icebreaker – £35.00

To view the full range of Alpkit Baselayers click here.

You can also follow them on

See my review of the Rab MeCo Baselayers here

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Mens Short Sleeve Tee
Womens Short Sleeve Tee
Womens Long Sleeve Tee
Long Johns
Draught Excluder/Necktube/Buff

Thank you for looking 🙂

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.

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