Woolpower is one of those makes that’s very hard to obtain except at full price. I was put off by the stonking £80 price tag of this gilet but already being the owner of a Woolpower 200 zipneck top and longjohns, I knew what good quality these items are, so I finally saved up and bit the bullet.
The garments are available in black, grey and a vile army green, and also occasionally in red, navy and pink, but I plumped for this grey one for the smart contrast trim.
Woolpower is the brand name of Swedish firm Ulfrotté, and its merino-mix fabric (70% merino, 28% polyester and 2% elasthane) was developed in collaboration with the Swedish military. It comes in weights from 200gsm to 800gsm depending on the garment, with next-to-the-body layers being the thinnest. The synthetic outer of the fabric is smooth and feels like an acrylic knit, while the inner layer is merino knitted in a terry loop fashion to trap the maximum amount of air. Each garment is assembled by one person (in my case, Lise-Lotte Lundstrom) and the garments are knitted in the round, without side seams. The gilet also has no pockets.
I bought the gilet, which weighs 400gsm, to wear around the house and wasn’t intending it for the bike, but one day, I popped my Mountain Warehouse jacket on over it and found it ideal for riding. It’s good and long, although it lacks the very long back of my 200gsm zip-neck top, and the collar is double thickness, giving fantastic protection from whistling winds – I wore it in 7 degree temperatures, including 45kmph downhills and was as snug as a bug. The zip has a chunky, shaped pull that you can grab with cold fingers.
Woolpower garments are very comfortable and almost unstructured in feel – very nice to wear in cold weather, and the cut is unisex so a bit roomy on women. But be aware, the base layers are definitely base layers – they’re designed to trap air, not keep the wind out, so – at least in the garments I’ve tried – they only work when you have windproof layers on top.
I got mine on Amazon, but there are many stockists worldwide.
Woolpower 400gsm gilet: *****