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Craft Active Extreme 2.0 LS Base Layer

20 Jun 2017

A versatile and technical base layer which offers nice insulation, sweat wicking, breathability and malleable fit

Cyclist Rating: 

Craft has a good line in active clothing, with the Swedish brand kitting out cross-country skiers, runners and all calibre of gym goers. The Craft Active Extreme 2.0 LS Base Layer is the highest tech offering from the brand for the world of cyclists, and it has a lot to offer.

Using two layers of fabric which contains CoolMax Air, which uses a propellor-like cross-section shape, Craft aims to increase breathability and sweat wicking while not compromising on warmth - the impossibly difficult double act of a good base layer.

The Active Extreme base layer is also light, palpably light, hitting 125g on our scales. That’s apparently down to a new fabric construction that weighs only 100gsm (grams per square metre) rather than 130gsm.

But base layers are not like components in terms of being measured in empirical variables – it’s the feel on the bike and on the road that really matters.


The Active Extreme is, from the outset, a very comfortable base layer. It has a slick smoothness that makes it roll over the skin and then sit loosely and not grip or bunch on the skin anywhere.

The general fit also mixes the mild compression that makes a base layer comfortable with movability and stretch.

While the Active Extreme wasn’t developed explicitly for cycling, it seems surprisingly apt for the application with a low cut at the rear which sits nicely over the lower back when in a tuck on the bike.

As someone with disproportionately long arms to my overall height, I was also happy that the Active Extreme was able to both grip my body tightly and fully extend over my arms when outstretched on the bars.

The arms are a little slacker than the body, comparatively speaking, though, which may irritate some.

While in its long sleeve iteration, the base layer is definitely a bad weather garment, but nicely mixes the demands of a warm rainy day and an arctic mid-December Sunday morning ride.

I wore it often with only a rain jacket on rainy spring rides, as its nicely breathable and offsets the boil-in-the-bag effect of a standard waterproof jacket.

A breathable mesh over the armpits contributes a lot to that ventilation and temperature control.

It found its best use as part of a multi-layer winter outfit, though. It manages to nicely insulate while never overheating or gathering sweat – the CoolMax Air fabric certainly has a detectable effect.

Cool weather 

Its limitation is primarily that it is not equipped to counter extreme weather in itself, lacking the Windstopper material or cosy merino wool that some long-sleeve winter base layers offer.

For my part, I preferred it that way as I’m not prone to becoming particularly chilly, preferring to edge on the side of being colder at the beginning of a ride.

On the whole I consider the Craft Active Extreme 2.0 to sit in an excellent sweet spot for a long sleeve base layer. It certainly adds warmth while controlling heat and sweat nicely, all mixed with agreeable malleability.


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