Base layer reviews

Craft Cool Mesh Superlight SL M base layer – review

Super-light mesh base layer ideal for warm weather rides or as part of a winter layering system

Craft’s Cool Mesh Superlight SL M (yep, that’s the full name) is one of those barely-there base layers. It’s so light that, when you pull it on for the first time, it leaves you wondering whether it will actually do anything at all. Thankfully it does a great job in warm weather or whenever you want a super-light base layer next to the skin, wicking sweat away quickly and helping to keep your core at a consistent temperature.

While this is undoubtedly a sleeveless base layer aimed at warm weather riding – that much is obvious from the near see-through mesh fabric – it also has its uses under a long sleeve layer in cooler temperatures, trapping air next to the skin and adding a very light layer.

Most of my riding came over the summer months and I found the base layer to work well across a variety of conditions. Despite its light weight, a couple of summer downpours made me thankful of the extra protection it provided. That’s the trick with a lightweight base layer this. It’s primary job is to move moisture away from the skin and help with cooling, but it still serves a purpose in less favourable conditions.

Craft’s Cool Mesh base layer is a super-light piece with an excellent fit

The base layer has a mesh construction and while I wouldn’t say its wildly better than other top-performing base layers – it’s a fairly simple piece, after all – it certainly does a good job at wicking sweat and helping you to stay comfortable on the bike.

  • Specification

  • Price: £28.00
  • Sizes: XS-L
  • Size tested: M
  • Colours: white; black
  • Website: Craft

It’s also well constructed, with a smooth, folded hem that sits comfortably, while all seams are double-stitched. As a result, the base layer is plenty robust when peeling it off after a long summer’s ride – there’s no sound of stitches popping.

The fit is also good. It’s a close cut and hugs the body well, near eliminating the potential for the fabric bunching up or rubbing. The length is also good, ensuring the base layer tucks securely inside bib shorts, without riding up as some less fitted or shorter base layers have a habit of doing – worth looking out for if you are long in the torso.

The neckline and arms are well shaped and scoop away, again stopping potential chafe points but also allowing for ventilation. The shoulders are wide and hold their shape well with bib straps over the top. The key with the fit is that when riding I barely noticed I was wearing a base layer, except for it keeping a me degree or so cooler and more comfortable.

One minor downside of the test piece pictured is that it’s white, so it will discolour over time. However, being white it does help to reflect bright sunlight, rather than absorb it. Craft do offer the base layer in black, too, although that may cause an aesthetic issue under some particularly thin jerseys.


If you’re after a mesh base layer for warm weather rides, or to use as a lightweight piece as part of a layering system in colder conditions, this is a really effective option. The mesh construction does a good job at wicking moisture and the fit is excellent, too.


  • Lightweight mesh construction
  • Effective at wicking moisture
  • Excellent fit


  • Not much


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