By Sam Aplin
Sizes: 6-8 10-12 14-16
Size tested: 6/8
The Women’s Merino Trail Vest from Scottish manufacturers, Findra, is a stylish, yet fully functioning Italian blended Merino top that’s perfect for use as a baselayer as well as looking pretty cool in the trail centre café.
Stylish is one way to describe the Merino Blend Trail Vest top. Lightweight and completely versatile is another. In fact, it wouldn’t look out of place in a high street fashion store. FINDRA have seamlessly shaped Womens specific performance mountain biking attire into something of a performance orientated fashion statement. Or performance lifestyle, as Findra like to call it. Either way, it works well.
The Vest Top is refreshing in its simplicity as the rustic style reflects the natural beauty of its environment and a rugged, resilient spirit. At the same time, the functional qualities of the Trail Vest Top are maintained to the highest level.
Seamless it is, too! Aesthetically, the Merino Blend Trail Vest Top reflects the raw and natural culture of off-road riding, with its loosely cut arms and neck line allowing for complete freedom of movement. Thankfully, there are no seams to be seen, maximizing the soft touch of the Coolmax and Merino Mix material as it moves freely with the body.
Twisting and turning through the trees, it’s not just your wheels that feel the heat either - the engine (you!) needs to feel free to roll with the rubber, and as a natural wicking base-layer in cooler temperatures, the Trail Vest Top absorbs and wicks sweat away incredibly well.
The women’s specific cut means that the Vest Top is figure hugging, yet loose enough that it hangs very slightly adrift from the skin to allow the body to breath. The textured V detail at the front around the neckline, as well as the pattern change around the arms allows for plenty of extra ventilation.
Detailing is slightly thinner and more delicate, the edges of the top are practically unnoticeable; however the mix of material of the Vest Top is so lightweight and breathable anyway that those functional features seem only an added bonus!
The vest is extremely comfortable to wear as a baselayer on cooler days, with no irritation as the core temperature lifts; however, it is also versatile enough to wear as an outer layer with a thicker, long sleeved top underneath for extra warmth.
In contrast, it even looks great on its own, so if it’s a hot day and you know you are in for some tough climbs, or if you are out for a social ride with friends, it will provide you with the utmost comfort on the bike. Plus, you won’t look out of place on your coffee shop stop!
I found that carrying a hydration pack on my back to be no trouble either. The shoulder straps of the Trail Vest Top, as well as the shape of the material around the chest, are just wide enough to protect the skin from the backpack straps if the top is worn solo.
Even with the weight and pressure of a water filled bag, the Coolmax and Merino Mix material remains cool and comfortable with zero itching.
The sizing of the Merino Blend Trail Vest Top is quite generous in the length and loose fitting around the shoulders and underarms, so it is worth opting for a slightly smaller size to accommodate for that, particularly for the petite female.
However, there is no bunching of material whatsoever, no matter how much movement it endures. The extra length means it hangs in place without riding up and baring the skin.
The Trail Vest incorporates a longer length tail design at the back than at the front, catering for performance level riding including the more aggressive mountain biking positions. If you thrive on throwing yourself downhill with your chin between your knees, you’re covered!
In summary: the Women’s Merino Trail Vest Top performs perfectly for all types and levels of rider, no matter what the conditions.
Functional yet fashionable, FINDRA have reached the heights of comfort, in or out of the saddle, and when it’s movement, comfort and versatility that matters, the Trail Vest is top notch!