BAM’s newest fabric, NOVEA, is a blend of bamboo and Naia™, which the brand claim is faster to dry than previous iterations and is used in the Novea Crew Neck. The heavier fabric isn’t as fast drying as other, more ‘technical’ base layers in this test, but it still served the purpose and I stayed comfortable throughout.
Price: £55 | Weight: 204g (women’s size 12) | Materials: 59% Bamboo Viscose, 32% Acetate, 9% Elastane | Features: supersoft natural fabric | Sizes: 8 – 16 | Men’s version: Yes | bambooclothing.co.uk
When the top did get wet, in heavy rain, the fabric felt quite cool on my skin, but the drying time was still reasonably fast – within 10 minutes or so when worn. Overall, the fabric performed well at regulating my core temperature from winter through to late spring.
The Novea crew neck is very soft and tailored with a generous stretch which meant a perfect fit for me. It was the most comfortable in this test despite being one of the weightier fabrics. At first glance, I thought it was more akin to a winter base layer but came to find it very breathable and moisture-wicking when I did perspire. I’d reach for this on multi-day hikes happily – the natural fabric seems to control odour well.
For me, the thumb loops are also a plus point, and the best-fitting in any base layer I’ve tried. Even when worn on full-day hill walks using trekking poles, I barely noticed them.