Cons: Material is not midweight
Manufacturer: Ridge Merino
Compare to Similar Products
Ridge Merino Aspect Midweight - Women's
|Price||$75 List||$55 List|
Check Price at REI
|$44.85 at Backcountry||$55 List|
$54.99 at Amazon
$49.95 at REI
|Pros||Affordable, thumb loops, long cut, easy to layer over top, soft and durable fabric||Affordable, thumb loops, soft fabric, great fit, durable||Affordable, durable, great drying speed and breathability, wind-resistant||Affordable, warm, breathable, thumb loops, 1/4 zip design improves ventilation||Excellent wicking power, breathable, super cute design, comfortable fabrics against the skin|
|Cons||Material is not midweight||Tightly woven fabric doesn't breathe very well, smelly||Not as cozy or warm as Merino wool||Odd fit, traps odor||Poor durability, requires specific maintenance, see-through with lighter colors|
|Bottom Line||This affordable base layer features ultra fine Merino wool fibers that are super comfortable next to your skin, effectively wick away moisture, and remain odor-free||This durable base layer features a soft and stretchy fabric and a slim fit for a variety of activities, all for an affordable price||An affordable, durable, and highly breathable synthetic base layer||This blended polyester and Merino wool base layer provides warmth and breathability at a fraction of the cost||A comfortable and very lightweight silk base layer that requires care so as not to damage|
|Rating Categories||Ridge Merino Aspect...||REI Co-op Midweight...||Patagonia Capilene...||Carhartt Force Heav...||REI Co-op Silk V-Neck|
|Comfort and Fit (20%)|
|Layering Ability (20%)|
|Specs||Ridge Merino Aspect...||REI Co-op Midweight...||Patagonia Capilene...||Carhartt Force Heav...||REI Co-op Silk V-Neck|
|Fabric Weight||Lightweight||Midweight||Midweight (147 g/m²)||Midweight||Silkweight|
|Measured Weight||6.0 oz||7.5 oz||5.2 oz||7.8 oz||2.4 oz|
|Material||84% Merino wool, 16% nylon||92% polyester, 8% spandex||100% recycled polyester diamond-grid double knit||81% polyester, 19% wool||Ribbed silk|
|Avaliable Cuts||Crew, 1/4 zip||Crew, 1/2 zip neck||Crew, 1/4 zip neck||Crew, 1/4 zip||V-neck, cami|
|Odor Control Fabric||Naturally odor resistant||None||HeiQ Pure odor control||Naturally odor resistant||None|
|UPF (sun protection)||50+||50+||No||No||No|
|Fit||Slim||Fitted, true to size||Fitted at top, loose around hips||Fit is small, size up||Loose and fitted, true to size|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Ridge Merino Aspect features a soft and cozy Merino wool and nylon blended fabric with a longer cut and discreet thumb loops that enhance the warmth of the layer. The slim fit traps body heat while the fabric efficiently wicks moisture away from the skin during high-intensity pursuits. Durable and thoughtfully placed seams give this top structure, and our testers found the smooth material easy to layer over the top. While not the warmest layer that we've tested, nor a midweight as advertised, this is a great next-to-skin top for the base of your cold-weather layering system.
While a little too thin, in our opinion, to be considered a proper midweight layer, our testers still appreciate the warmth capabilities of this slim-fitting base layer. Constructed from 84% Merino wool and 16% nylon, the Aspect helps insulate you from the cold while also allowing heat to escape the fabric, offering a versatile design that traps body heat but is not too warm. The layer features functional thumb loops that cover the palm of your hand should you need to trap a little extra heat in your extremities.
During a crisp day on the cusp of fall, we appreciated this layer when the wind picked up, and the sun began to dip below the horizon. We consider it the perfect layer, not too hot when at high elevation in the sun, but just enough to keep us comfortable in exposed areas when the winds pick up. Our testers love this layer for in-between seasons in the desert when you need more insulation but not so much that you get soaked on your hike. The Aspect is also a great choice as the first line of defense against those cold winter temps when layered below other technical fabrics.
This base layer offers excellent breathability and thermoregulation thanks to its mostly Merino wool construction. The air-permeable wool fabric is reinforced with Ridge's (m)Force Technology which helps to speed up the drying time should the fabric hold onto any moisture generated during intense and cardio-inducing adventures. Our testers benefited from this feature and noted the ability of the Aspect to successfully wick moisture away from the skin and release it through the thin fabric.
During a one-hour trail running test in the Eastern Sierra, we got sweaty on the uphill but noticed that the Aspect dried almost instantly as we picked up speed for the downhill. Whether worn on its own or within your layering system, our testers are confident that this layer will effectively manage any sweat produced during those training days in the mountains, keeping you dry and comfortable enough to stay focused on your goals.
Comfort and Fit
The Ridge Merino Aspect features one of the longest cuts of any base layer that we tested. Our lead tester especially appreciated this feature when wearing the layer below a climbing harness, noting that it never came untucked or required adjustments, even after a long multi-pitch rock climb. The sleeves reach all the way to the wrist without any bunching, and the neckline is positioned perfectly to preserve body heat. While the fit is slim and tight, it never restricted our range of motion.
This is also one of the softest base layers we've tested, thanks to the premium ultra-fine 18.5-micron fibers that feel cozy next to the skin. The thoughtfully positioned flatlock seams also increase the level of comfort offered by the minimal design. The design team thought of everything in terms of printed or removable labels to reduce itching and improve comfort. They even strategically placed the seams in a location so as to prevent any chafing when wearing a backpack. We really have nothing to complain about here; the Aspect offers a very functional fit for a variety of activities and is cozy enough to become one of your first choices for a day of relaxation during those cold winter months.
The Aspect is no trouble to layer over, thanks in part to thumb loops that help hold it in place when suiting up for your next mountain adventure. The smooth and thin fabric allows midweight layers or fleeces to fit comfortably over the top without grabbing on and requiring tons of adjustments.
Perhaps our only complaint is that the Aspect is best suited to go at the base of your layering system. Tank tops and sports bras fit easily below it, but due to the slim fitting design, anything that we layered beneath with sleeves was quite difficult to adjust and often restricted our range of motion. This is not surprising and is often the case with lightweight layers. The Aspect is the perfect true-base layer for your cold-weather kit, and the smooth Merino fabric is great when adding layers over the top.
Our testing team really put this layer to the test, taking it on long mountain trail runs and multi-pitch alpine rock climbs, which often abrade the fabric of more sensitive Merino wool constructions. We even took the Aspect up long and abrasive sandstone rock climbs. We were impressed at how well it held up on these missions, and the flatlock seams give us confidence in their long-lasting design.
We noticed no fabric piling nor seam dysfunction with this layer. We assume this is because of the reinforced nylon construction and the (m)Force Technology meant to enhance overall durability. While we experienced no issues during our testing period, we can imagine that the thinner Merino wool construction may not hold up as well as its synthetic competitors in the longer term.
Should You Buy the Ridge Merino Aspect Midweight?
This base layer is available for an extremely competitive price. This is an excellent choice if you're looking for a soft and cozy layer that effectively traps heat and wicks moisture at the base of your layering system. Significantly more affordable than its Merino wool competitors, the Ridge Merino Aspect offers more thoughtful and functional features than its modest price tag would suggest.
What Other Women's Base Layers Should You Consider?
If you're interested in another crew cut constructed from 100% Merino wool fabric, check out the Icebreaker Merino 200 Oasis Crewe, which offers a little bit more warmth. If you're after a Merino wool blend with more focused ventilation for high-output winter pursuits, check out the Smartwool Intraknit Thermal Merino. Or if you're looking for more versatility and are willing to invest in a superior design, check out the highly-featured Black Diamond Solution 150 Merino Quarter Zip.
— Trish Matheny
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