Chris Townsend is impressed by this innovative base layer

Helly Hansen designed this base layer for sunny weather. It has UPF 50+ sun protection and is made of a fast wicking, fast drying fabric. To provide the UPF without the use of chemicals the fabric is infused with S.Café coffee grounds. The micro-pores on the S.Café grounds reflect UV rays and also absorb odours. As the coffee grounds are embedded in the yarn they don’t wash out.

The main fabric is a bi-component one with a recycled polyester face fabric and a polypropylene inner layer. It feels very comfortable against the skin. I’ve tried it on warm days with no shell and under other garments in cool and wet weather.  Whether it’s sunny or not the garment works well and is pleasant to wear. If it does get a bit damp from sweat in places it dries very quickly. I haven’t worn it for more than three days in a row but it certainly didn’t smell after that time. It also didn’t get clammy, as some synthetics can do after prolonged wear.

I tend to avoid synthetic base layers in very hot weather as I find they stick to the skin and feel unpleasant. This isn’t the case with the Lifa Active Solen which remained comfortable on some of the hottest days this summer. This is mainly due to the material but also I think to the slightly loose fit – described as ‘relaxed – rather than the skin-tight fit of many base layers. The fabric does stretch so moves easily with you. The sleeves can be comfortably rolled up too.

This is one of the best synthetic base layers I’ve tried recently. I think it’ll be excellent year round. The fabric seems durable.

If you prefer a different design there are also T-Shirts (£35), polo shirts (£50) and hoodies {£55) in men’s and women’s sizes plus a singlet £30) in the latter made from the same material.

BEST BUY: This product has been awarded our ‘Best Buy’ endorsement, meaning our reviewer believes it to be one of the best items of its kind available.