I bought two of the previous available Endura BaaBaa Merino Baselayer and lived in them through lockdown. My flat was being renovated, and I had plywood for windows. They helped me keep a resemblance of warmth. That version was 100% Merino wool and had a slim fit that you’d have happily worn under a short sleeve cycling top i.e. not too flappy.
In my fear that I’d wear through them, I looked to buy more. Sadly, the same ones were no longer available. The “Merino” had become a “Blend”. I caved and gave the new one a go, adding it to a Wiggle order to see how it would go.
The Endura BaaBaa Blend Baselayer was expensive, around £45 (I’d picked up the previous two in a sale) and on arrival and unpacking you can feel the quality. It’s weighty and has a very soft finish. Although branded as cycle-specific, a nice casual top too.
Fit / Sizing
I bought an XL. I’m 5 ft 10 inches (178 cm) with a 42 inch chest and 34 inch waist. I weigh 90 kg. I would say the XL is on the large side for me. As a casual top underneath a t-shirt or a hoodie, it’s perfect. As a base layer that’s open to the elements, it will be flappy. There are no cuffs around the wrists, so you may get a bit of airflow up your sleeves. The fit is square and allows plenty of room for movement. If you wanted something closer fitting, I would go a size down.
The Endura BaaBaa Blend Baselayer has the feel of warm soft brushed cotton. It feels great and quite luxurious. It’s made up of 20% Merino Wool and 80% Lyocell. Lyocell is a synthetic fibre made from reconstituted cellulose. From the touch, you would have no idea the baselayer contains synthetic fibres. Even though all merino tops claim to be itch-free, they are always a bit scratchy. The BaaBaa Blend Baselayer is definitely itch-free.
I haven’t worn this top whilst out on a ride, but I’ve worn it in low temperatures (around 5 degrees C) and windy conditions under a couple of other layers and it was plenty warm. I’ve also used it whilst travelling. I tend to get very hot in airports and on planes but was nicely surprised by how comfortable I felt (not too hot). The BaaBaa Blend Baselayer offers good temperature regulation. The base layer would be good worn underneath a soft-shell jacket when on the bike.
Odour Control / Wicking
Both the merino and synthetic elements of the top lend themselves to the wicking side of things so the top keeps you dry and stays warm. The merino part provides some odour control. I have not worn the top in anger and got highly sweaty, however, I have worn it whilst active and travelling for 5 days straight and there was no smell after this time.
Washing and Drying
The base layer is described as “Easycare machine wash”. I think this means to wash at 30 degrees C (i.e. you don’t have to hand wash it). I have washed it several times at 40 degrees and have had no issues with shrinkage or misshaping. If you’re careful to reshape after the wash, there are no issues. Although a mix of wool and synthetic fibres, the baselayer comes out of the wash with the heavy feel of a cotton top. Although not as quick-drying as full merino or polyester tops, the Baabaa Blend base layer dried (indoors) across an evening and overnight and was ready to wear the next day. It’s unlikely to be the case if hand washed and drip-dried (in a temperate climate).
The Endura BaaBaa Blend Baselayer is now my go-to casual top when the temperature drops a little and I want some warmth without the bulkiness of a hoodie or a jumper. The feel is soft and completely itch-free and yet has the merino properties you’d normally look for. I wear it casually due to the roomy fit. Although Endura is a cycling-specific brand, the BaaBaa Blend Baselayer would be a great base layer for skiing, snowboarding or walking. Great for any outside activity where you want to feel warm and comfortable. Although I’ve not worn it for a full bike ride, I would recommend going a size down for a tighter fit or wearing your normal size under a soft-shell jacket due to the lack of cuffs and fit.