Rab MeCo Baselayers Review

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Home Forums Campfire Editor’s Roundtable Rab MeCo Baselayers Review

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    Addie Bedford
    BPL Member


    Locale: Montana

    Companion forum thread to:

    Rab MeCo Baselayers Review

    BPL Member


    Locale: The Cascades

    Danny, curious why you only gave a recommended, instead of highly recommended, rating. These have also become my shirts of choice, including when cycling. Other than minor pilling you gave them a glowing review.

    Hendrik Morkel
    BPL Member


    Locale: Finland

    Douglas, it has to do with the BPL Review policy. The article goes through a review panel, were folks will point out stuff. If the author goes for a Highly Recommended, the Head Gear Editor pretty much needs to have the item as well and needs to concur with the author. If that's not the case there will only be a Recommended. At least that's my experience.

    There's somewhere more info on that, but start looking here.

    Joe Clement
    BPL Member


    Locale: Southwest

    Probably got dinged because the Idester liked it. Non-paleo baselayer anyway.

    Ryan Jordan


    Locale: Central Rockies

    Actually, start looking here:

    This page can be linked to from any review rating summary by clicking on "About This Rating".

    The key point of an HR rating is the ability for a product to give us something *meaningful* that no other product has done.

    These are … shirts …

    OK, just kidding. I'm willing to concede that somebody will reinvent the shirt market sometime. But Rab hasn't done it yet.

    Good stuff, though, for sure.

    I'm also wondering if the coco messes with the ability of wool to effectively buffer body temp changes when the shirt is damp. I notice the flash-off effect more when I wear a meco shirt vs. something that's 100% merino without fiber treatments.

    Mary D
    BPL Member


    Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge

    Just wondering why Patagonia's merino wool/polyester blend (80/20) wasn't included in the list of wool/synthetic blends.

    Danny Milks
    BPL Member


    Locale: SF Bay Area

    I submitted this review to the committee as a Highly Recommended product. They came back with the same answer as what Ryan posted above. Our message comes through loud and clear, regardless of the rating: the Rab MeCo layers are awesome.

    Mary – I tried to find a broad range of companies, fabric weights, and blend ratios. I wasn't aware that the Patagonia merino baselayers are actually a blend as well. Thanks for bringing that to our attention. It looks like they have a 80/20 merino synthetic blend in 165 and 220g/m2 weight fabrics.

    Diplomatic Mike


    Locale: Under a bush in Scotland

    You might want to add Montane to the list. They're Bionic range has been out for a few years.

    Gabe P
    BPL Member


    It looks like your base-layer was kind of loose fitting. Was that on purpose, or did it have something to do with Rab's sizing?

    James holden
    BPL Member


    i have a nike wool/synth blend base layer … its more geared to running … but it works fine for most other things

    many active use brands (ie running brands) have such i suspect, often on sale

    Kathy A Handyside
    BPL Member


    Locale: Southeastern Michigan

    Although I read all these reviews of clothing, they really don't apply much to me right now because it seems all the outdoor clothing manufacturers make women's clothes to fit very petite women. I am not petite and I have a very hard time finding outdoor clothing that fits my shape (i.e., I have hips, a stomach, etc. – all those things that, apparently, outdoorswomen aren't supposed to have). Most manufacturers make women's clothing up to size 14 and maybe 16; very few make them beyond that size range (or, at least, I haven't found them yet), and yet when I look at the size range for men, it seems that men can be bigger and still find clothes to fit, unlike women.

    I will be the first to admit that I need to lose weight and am working on that. In the meantime, though, it's difficult to find good outdoor clothing to fit. I'm sure I'm not the only amply-proportioned outdoorswomen out there, though.

    Ah well. It's on to the elliptical trainer for me! I just joined a local fitness club, found a couple of coworkers who also want to workout and am on my way to getting in shape for my trip this summer to Isle Royale!

    Evan McCarthy
    BPL Member


    Locale: Mid-Atlantic

    I love merino wool baselayers and merino wool/synthetic blends even more. If for the durability alone, a little cyborg is good. My personal favorites are from the Icebreaker GT line (a little spandex).

    More to the point . . .

    I picked up a cheap set of Paradox Performance baselayers at my local Costco. There is less than 50% merino wool in their blend but the baselayers still do their job well (feel great, no stink, quick drying, yada yada). Just throwing this out there for the cost conscious folks.

    Ben Pearre
    BPL Member


    I know that this is "just a baselayer", but I'm curious: for the same weight, and across various moisture contents, how do these fabrics compare in warmth to pure wool? For example, do I have to carry a heavier midlayer to make up for the less wool? Probably not noticable in practice… or is it?

    Martin RJ Carpenter


    Think the slightly loose fit is intrinsic – they don't really stretch all that much. Certainly quite a lot less than 'normal' merino, presumably due to how its woven. No problem at all if they fit :) (unless of course you insist on skin tight base layers.).

    Kristin Tennessen
    BPL Member


    Locale: Bay Area

    Kathy, I have a difficult time finding excellent-fitting female gear as well, and I blame it on our "4th dimension" which creates a wider variety of female body types. Thus, harder to standardize. Please don't let outdoor companies dictate what is an appropriate body type!

    Ben, I don't carry a warmer midlayer when I choose MeCo over merino. I feel my Icebreaker GT (pictured in the water test photo above) is slightly warmer, especially in direct sunlight, but I don't notice a significant difference with a layer on top.

    Ismail Faruqi


    I wonder how the 165 would perform in warm weather. Any comment from anyone using it?

    Danny Milks
    BPL Member


    Locale: SF Bay Area

    Mike – Montane Bionic is already on the list of other wool/synth blends on the markets.

    Evan – Thanks for pointing out the availability of other blends, probably significantly cheaper.

    Ben – Based on my experience, there is no noticeable difference between the MeCo blend and straight wool of the same weight. However, MeCo handles moisture better, so I could be about as comfortable in warm weather with the slightly heavier 165 g/m2 MeCo as I would be in 150 g/m2 wool.

    Ismail – As I said above, you can get away with wearing a slightly heavier MeCo fabric in warmer weather than you would a pure merino layer. I would be comfortable hiking in the Sierras during the summer with a 165 LS Zip Tee. However, my dream would be a 120 weight hoody. That would be light enough for hot weather but the hood would add instant on-trail adjustability.

    Gabe – I think the shirts fit me really well – snug but not too tight. But, the MeCo fabric seems to relax a little with every use, and then tighten up again with each washing. As we only washed them every 10-15 days of use, chances are that the photos show the shirt in the temporarily relaxed state of dirtiness.I hope that makes sense. I find the same thing happens with my pure wool layers too. Martin's post is also correct – there is slightly less stretch with the MeCo than with merino blended with a small percentage of lycra or similar stretchy synthetic fabric.

    Robert Cowman
    BPL Member


    Locale: Canadian Rockies

    wash merino wool or merino blends with a pair of jeans(buttons and zippers done up) to rub the pilling off. Icebreaker and Ibex recommend this for their garments.(as the last sales meeting i went to for both these in september)

    And Arcteyx Rho LTW is a blended fabric as well as the eon LTW

    Danny Milks
    BPL Member


    Locale: SF Bay Area

    Thanks for the advice on washing wool with a pair of something more abrasive. At the time of testing, our clothing was mostly wool plus a pair of light synthetic slacks and a Montbell Thermawrap (which we rarely washed). So, yes, we were washing our MeCo and wool stuff together without anything like jeans.

    Also, I wanted to add to my comment above that the necks on these Rab pieces are loose. This is not unique to just the MeCo, as their Microlight Down vest and jacket are also like this. My guess is that Rab uses strong climbers as their models for deciding the fit, and these climbers have thicker/stronger necks than a regular joe like me.

    Danny Milks
    BPL Member


    Locale: SF Bay Area

    To add a little detail to Evan's post above:
    Costco sells mens and womens baselayer tops and bottoms. They cost $25 and are composed of 9% merino and 91% synthetic fabrics. Evan states that he has good luck with the odor-control of these layers, which is great. Still, I find it hard to believe that 9% merino adds a noticeable difference. Anybody else have experience with these Costco budget blends?

    Kostyantyn Grinchenko
    BPL Member


    Where can I buy Men's Rab MeCo 120 Long Sleeve Tee in US? Google lists only UK sellers.

    Edward Barton


    I think places are still in the process of bringing in summer inventory like the 120s. You can get them at full price ($60) from in OH if you call or email them, or wait a couple months. Prolite and gearx should have them before too long…

    Danny Milks
    BPL Member


    Locale: SF Bay Area

    I know these three companies should have MeCo baselayers:,, and

    Though as the above post mentioned, they may be temporarily out of stock.

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