managing editor mary murphy wearing the 1/4 zip ARTILECT baselayer and smiling
(Photo/Jason Hummel)

ARTILECT A/SYS 1 Wool Base Layer Review: Optimized Layering for Chilly Adventures

A base layer designed with 50% more durable wool, fewer raw materials, and sustainable manufacturing? Yes, please.

ARTILECT may be a new brand (as of January 2021) but it has hit the ground running. Already, the Boulder, Colorado-based company is bringing some great apparel to market. Best of all is its new A/SYS 1 and 2 layering system.

The A/SYS category consists of a few different layers, all made with various weights and blends of Nuyarn Merino wool (a 100% renewable fabric).

In short: The inaugural season of ARTILECT’s apparel collection starts with the basics: a base layer system. We got a few layers in advance to wear throughout winter, spring, and fall to put the system to the test. And we’ve already fallen in love. This base layer set’s zoned paneling for superb breathability and a balanced, warm feel. You’ll pay slightly more for the brand’s special wool fabric, but we think it’s worth it — the ARTILECT layers had what we were looking for.

ARTILECT A/SYS-1 Flatiron 1/4 Zip Base Layer Review

managing editor mary murphy wearing the 1/4 zip ARTILECT baselayer
(Photo/Jason Hummel)

First off, all of ARTILECT’s base layers use Nuyarn Merino Wool, which is third-party proven to be stretchier and more sustainable than standard 100% ring spun merino (according to independent testing by AgResearch, New Zealand). It’s got 35% more stretch and 35% more loft. It’s 50% more durable, dries five times faster, and uses 30% fewer raw materials in spinning.

The entire A/SYS-1 and A/SYS-2 collections use responsibly sourced and certified non-mulesed Nuyarn wool.

That’s all to say, the layer was made with high use and equally high durability in mind. Yes, it’s soft, fairly light wool — but overall, it proved to be a capable base layer for all-day and multiday use. We definitely noticed the stretch and quick-drying factor, not so much the loft — it seems on par with other similar weight base layers.

I tested this dusk blue Flatiron 185 quarter-zip base layer top, as well as the matching base layer bottoms. The 185 refers to the weight of the fabric. I’d put this in the lighter-weight category — best for milder conditions when you want something warm but also breathable.

While it’s marketed as a quarter-zip, the length of the zipper feels longer — stretching from the top of the collar to just below the sternum (for a size small on my 5’8″ frame).

I tend to be pickier about the weight and touch of fabrics I’m donning before crawling into my sleeping bag. There are very few base layers I’ll sleep in — and these are one of them. The base layer bottoms are the perfect balance of soft and warm, but not too warm. I definitely attribute these layers’ ability to breathe and dump warmth better than others to the zoned mesh panels.

ARTILECT Flatiron 185 Specs

  • Fabric: 100% Nuyarn wool
  • Fabric weight: 185 gsm
  • Features: Half-zip front (top), high collar, thumbholes, zoned mesh paneling (top and bottom)
a close up of the zoned mesh on the Artilect systems baselayer bottoms
A close up look at the zoned mesh panels on the ARTILECT Systems base layer bottoms; (photo/Mary Murphy)

Conclusion

With a price range of $85-125, ARTILECT is definitely aiming to be a player in the higher-end performance apparel market. The base layers we tried were warm yet breathable, soft, and of really nice quality.

Most notably, I wore my A/SYS-1 zip base layer 5 days in a row on a ski trip. I never washed it — just hung and aired it out in between. The merino did its job because it didn’t smell at all. Most recently, I wore the set overnight backpacking in 30-50 degree weather.

I also really appreciate the muted color options and general style of these base layers. They are versatile — from exercise to office or morning ski to après — and they were super easy to layer with various midlayers and jackets.

If you don’t already own a merino blend base layer, and want to invest in one that’s comfortable, durable, and made with as few raw materials as possible, check out ARTILECT’s A/SYS collection. Mine have lasted from last winter, to spring, into fall, and I haven’t been disappointed with the performance so far.

Check Price at ARTILECT

gear tester and author Steve Graepel wearing the Ortovox Rockn Wool base layer long sleeve as he carries skis
The Best Men's Base Layers of 2022
We tested the best men's base layers of 2022 with options for every budget. Top picks include Patagonia, SmartWool, and more. Read more…

Mary Murphy
By

Mary is the Managing Editor of GearJunkie and is based in GearJunkie's Denver, Colo. office. She has a degree in English and journalism, and has a background in both newspaper and magazine writing. Her outdoor interests span from running to sport climbing, from landscape photography to skiing to pack-paddleboarding. If she's not writing, you can most likely find her at the top of a fourteener, or in a local bakery.