Revellion Short Sleeve Wool Base Layer

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Basic summary: An exquisitely comfortable, buttery soft form-fitting wool base layer from Revellion, an artisanal wool company who produce top end products in low batches. This base layer is part of Revellion’s limited spring collection released in May 2017.

MSRP:  $128

Features:

  • Fabric: 95% superfine (15.4 micron) merino, 5% elastene
  • Triple stitch collar
  • Athletic form-fitting torso and sleeves
  • Anatomically curved waistline hems
  • Contoured side stretch panels
  • Stretchable flatlock seams

Deep dive:

Think of Revellion as the Tesla of wool apparel companies. Their innovative products are quite pricey, but deliver an almost incomparable combination of performance, luxury, and style. They also tend to sell out quickly – and once they’re gone, your only choice is to wait around until the next season’s models are released.

The Colorado-based company is quietly building a fanatical following among endurance athletes who have discovered the exceptional comfort and high performance of Revellion baselayers. Their products are made in the artisanal style, using highest-quality hand-selected materials, avoiding excess mechanical and chemical treatments, and creating products in small batches with attention to detail in every step of the process. The short sleeve shirt we tested is one of only four products in the spring line, which also includes a long sleeve base layer, a headband, and arm warmers. (It’s also worth noting that at this time Revellion only produces men’s apparel, although a women’s line is planned for future releases.)

Revellion’s shirts are made in a form-fitting style with an athletic (read: slim) torso and sleeves. Although they are marketed as base layers, either of the shirts are perfectly suitable as a standalone layer. The fabric moves easily with your body, and the material is stretchy enough to pull on, such as when wiping sweat from your forehead. But the most distinctive element of the shirt is how soft it feels against your skin, even after repeated uses. Some wool products start soft and then become scratchy after repeated washings; we’ve used our shirt for a few months of daily use, and sent it through the washing machine multiple times, and the level of softness has not decreased a bit.  All of the seams are barely palpable, and here’s one example of attention to detail: the placement of the seams and hems on the long and short sleeve shirts are positioned so that they don’t overlap or stack up if you wear one of them on top of the other.

The comfort of these garments is largely thanks to material sourcing, and Revellion has made significant investments in assuring the quality of their fabrics. They partner exclusively with one Australian farm so they have first pick of the raw materials. Their partner farm is a world-renown operation that breeds “happy sheep”: the animals graze freely, aren’t exposed to chemicals or controversial physical treatments, and are inspected twice weekly to monitor their health.  By hand selecting the best merino wool from these animals, there is no need to use softening chemicals in the manufacturing process.

Revellion wool is described as superfine, a designation that identifes fabrics made from pure new wool with a maximum mean fiber diameter. Lower fiber diameter results in a softer feel; think of it like a thread count for your bed sheets. With their hands-on oversight of the sourcing process, Revellion measures their wool fibers for fineness one fleece at a time immediately after the sheep is sheared, and again after spinning and knitting. The resulting superfine merino has one of the highest insulation to weight values of any natural fiber. All the other performance benefits of wool are present in these base layers as well: they transfer moisture away from the skin, and insulate well even when wet. (However, compared to synthetic materials, merino doesn’t wick as quickly, and can run warmer when summertime heats up.) Best of all, the shirts are naturally odor resistant, so you can run in them day after day without stinking.

It’s unavoidable that sourcing high quality materials and maintaining close control over the entire process will result in higher price points. Revellion partially addresses that concern by only selling their garments online and direct to consumers, to avoid traditional retail markups. And while they haven’t been around long enough to determine their durability after years of use, the feel and performance of Revellion garments are enough to make you feel like you’re getting high grade garments at reasonable prices.

The Revellion spring collection is now available at www.revellion.com.

Conclusion

Revellion shirts are the softest and most comfortable merino apparel we’ve ever tested, and the short sleeve shirt quickly became our favorite everyday top for layering under a jacket, or as a standalone layer in moderate conditions. We’d love to see their product line expand to include women’s models and possibly looser fitting shirts without compromising the artisanal approach that creates such high quality.

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About Author

Donald is a physical therapist, California native, barefoot aficionado, and father of three with more than 25 years of experience in endurance sports. He was a collegiate rower at UCLA, then dabbled in marathons and Ironman-distance triathlons before falling in love with ultras in the early 2000s. His favorite locations to run include Marin County, CA, and the Sierra Nevada mountains, and he loves exploring America's National Parks. When he's not training for ultramarathons, he enjoys hiking or slacklining with his family in Monterey County, CA.

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