Rohan Superfine Merino Zip 200 mainRohan might not be the first place you go when looking for running gear, but over the years I’ve found it delivers very solidly indeed when I’ve been looking for base layers or outerwear. Earlier this year I took a look at the Windshadow Jacket and Swift T and I still use both items. That doesn’t happen for everything review, I can assure you!

For the autumn and winter Rohan has sent me its Superfine Merino Zip. If you don’t like the bright fuchsia colour I was sent, then there’s a blue option.

Now, at £85 this is not a pocket money price piece of kit, but it is extremely versatile and well worth considering.

The wicking capabilities of the merino fabric seem pretty good. I’ve not worked up a serious sweat yet during testing, nor used the Superfine Merino Zip 200 in extreme cold, but I’ve always felt cosy, both when wearing it as a base layer and as my only layer.

It feels great against the skin. Merino is a wool, and the mix used here makes the fabric very soft. It could double up as a nightshirt if you get really cold on hiking or walking trips which require a light backpack. Rohan says the material is remarkably resistant to odour, but if you are the type who doesn’t like leaving such things to chance you’ll be happy to learn that it dries really quickly. This means it is easy to wash in the evening for wearing the following day, making it a backpacker’s friend.

Rohan Superfine Merino Zip 200 zip down

The design is great too. As you’d expect from a base layer it hugs the torso nicely – but not too fiercely. Some base layer sizing can be ungenerous but that’s not the case here: I found plenty of play all round, and was especially pleased with the amount of freedom under the arms.

The garment is quite long so it easily tucks into shorts or trousers and shouldn’t come adrift and ride up. The arms are, if anything, a couple of centimeters too long for me. When considering both those comments bear in mind that I am shorter than many people. Still, I think all but the very tallest will find the torso length OK, and for many the arms will probably be about right.

There are thumb holes so you can hook the sleeves in place  – handy if you think they might ride up.

Rohan Superfine Merino Zip 200 arm

The fit runs into the neck rather than stopping below it. I’m not really a fan of any kind of garment round my neck, though obviously when it’s cold this is a real boon. The good news for me is that the soft texture of the merino meant I hardly noticed it at all around my neck. Another plus in this respect is that, as with under the arms, the fit is a little generous rather than really snug.

The front zip is quite long so you can regulate air flow manually if you need to. The zip is well designed too so that you can’t feel it against your skin on the inside, and it is a simple vertical line rather than looking zip-like on the outside.

Rohan Superfine Merino Zip 200 zip up

All this leads me to consider where and how you might wear the Rohan Superfine Merino Zip 200. I’ve come to the conclusion that its versatility really does justify the price.

Yes, it’ll be great as a running, hiking or cycling base layer. It’s probably a good choice for sailing and other watersports too – it dries out really quickly if it gets splashed. And it has other potential uses too. I’ve worn it for gardening as my only layer and it has kept me warm, for example.

Conclusion

The Rohan Superfine Merino Zip 200 might seem expensive, but its versatility means anyone who spends a fair amount of time outdoors on all manner of activities might justify the expenditure because it is a very good all rounder.

Pros:

  • Soft against the skin
  • Well designed
  • Generous fit including under the arms
  • Dries quickly when washed

 Cons:

  • You might have to save up for it

 Score: 9/10

 Manufacturer:  Rohan

SRP: £85