Gear review: Salewa Ortles Cubic baselayer

Recommended Price: £80 (currently discounted online)
Weight: 210g (men’s large)

New for this winter, the Salewa Ortles Cubic is a warm fleecy baselayer which I’ve been testing since November. The Ortles is made from Polarlite Fine Grid – a stretchy, warm baselayer fabric; the inside is covered with tiny soft squares which help to trap air, whilst the outer face is smooth – it’s very comfortable worn next to the skin. The raglan sleeves, non-irritating seams and general stretchyness ensure that movement is unrestricted. The cut and general construction quality of the Ortles is excellent, and I expect to get many years of use out of this. There’s a half zip at the front that enables you to keep cool when you are working hard on an ascent, but there’s no mistaking that this is a winter-weight base.

One of the Ortles’ most interesting features is the Polygiene silver salt treatment it’s been given. I’ve worn many items of gear with treatments that claim to reduce smell, so I initially took this with a pinch of salt (ahem!). We’re often away in the hills for 3 or 4 days at a time, based out of a campervan with only basic washing facilities, so as a tough test I decided to wear the Ortles for a whole trip. Normally I feel the need to change baselayers every day, but I was very surprised that even after 4 days in the hills – and three evenings in the confined space of a van – the Salewa Ortles still didn’t have any noticeable odour. Polygeine say that this anti-bacterial treatment is permanently integrated into the fabric, won’t wash out and will last longer than the Ortles itself, and I’ve found that it has continued working on trip after trip.

To me, this is just about the perfect baselayer for a Scottish winter, but does it justify the high recommended price tag? Although I instinctively baulk at paying such a price for a baselayer, the Salewa Ortles Cubic is going to give years of hard use – I’d say that, with its excellent odour control technology, it is worth it. It’s actually available online for significantly less, making it an excellent choice.

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