The Lifa Merino is Helly Hansen's warmest base layer with a heavy weight 225g/m2 material. Aimed at getting out and active in cold weather, these base layers keep you warm and comfortable through a unique 2-layer construction.
What makes them unique is the use of merino on the outer combined with Lifa synthetic material on the inner. This is an absolutely genius solution for those with sensitive skin who don't get on with wool no matter how fine or expensive. I fall into that camp, so my choice of base layers is usually limited to synthetics, and hearing about how wonderfully warm other people's merino base layers are can be a bit of a drag!
Being of a sensitive disposition I can tell you that the comfort in the Lifa Merino base layers is absolutely top notch, in fact I'd go so far as to say they're the most comfortable base layers I've ever worn. The Lifa synthetic is placed on the inner for comfort and the merino on the outer provides superior warmth. Synthetic is faster drying and generally breathes better than merino so is a good choice to use for the inner material.
The cut is slightly looser than usual, this will suit some better than others, it could also be argued that this set up isn't optimal for wicking or warmth, but I absolutely love the feeling of a slightly looser cut and don't feel like desperately peeling off the layers at the end of the day as with some other base layers. The three-quarter length bottoms have a generous crotch cup in them in the gent's versions, this sounds like a basic requirement, but the women out there may be surprised to hear that this isn't always successfully implemented in gent's base layers, often resulting in some truly uncomfortable experiences.
The colourway on test has contrast stitching on the seams, this makes the seams stand out and look worryingly chunky, but fear not as all seams are flat locked, meaning they're stitched to sit flat. We haven't experienced any problems at all with rubbing after extensive use in various environments and across lots of different disciplines, including those that necessitate the use of a pack.
The zip on the base layer top allows you to ventilate if needed, but we've found the breathability and wicking properties to be excellent, so the use of it isn't usually required. Although Helly Hansen market the Lifa Merino base layers for use in cold weather they're just as good in milder weather, although the heavy weight material might prove to be too warm for summer use.
The three-quarter length bottoms are perfect for use with ski or snowboard boots, Helly Hansen also offer a full-length version for other activities but we're happy to use the three quarters for hiking and cycling as well skiing and snowboarding.
£135 for the set is expensive but the it's a worthwhile investment for such a high quality base layer set which perfectly marries the benefits of synthetic and merino.