Arc’Teryx Base Layer

May is the time of year that I prep for the Vancouver 100 – one of the harder 100km races, despite being within sight of downtown Vancouver for most of its length. This year, there is a lot more snow than in past years, but the temperatures at low elevations are fairly warm; add to this that I am planning to do it self-supported this year, and I am going on a wardrode revamp that would make Paris Hilton proud (if she wore foot-shaped zero-drop shoes, and designer labels like “Salomon” and “Black Diamond”!!)

As part of this, the past weekend I did a 30km test-run with two new pieces of clothing from Arc’Teryx – the Phase AR “boot-cut” tights and the Phase SL t-shirt. And they are both coming for a run on the Northshore!

In the Arc’Teryx language “Phase” is the range of moisture-wicking base layers for interval activity, “AR”
means “all-round” or a midweight layer, while “SL” means “super-light”.


Phase AR boot-cut (three quarter length kinckbocker) tights.

These are very similar to my older Arc’Teryx running tights, except a slightly heavier fabric,
and missing the gel/key pockets. They were very comfortable – they stretch and carry easily, and I found them comfortable both for the cool morning start, waiting around to get going, and also later in the day in the warm sun.

The only problem I had was chaffing in the crotch after 20km or so. A light chamois and a more form-fitting cut (like in triathlon shorts) would solve this problem nicely… in the meanwhile I will run with my tri-shorts underneath.

The heavier fabric is a good mid-point between my older tights, which would be a bit light plunging-stepping through snow in the late evening, and my winter running tights, which would be heavy to carry and too warm for the other 95% of the course. These tights will probably be a good choice through most of the night sections and the snow patches.

Another great addition would be pockets… specifically mid-size pockets on the thighs and waist pockets like on the old tights. This would make them full running apparel.

Phase SL short sleeve crew-neck t-shirt.

As always, Arc’Teryx shirts look sharp. Nice cut, nice choice of fabric colours. All of
which means about nothing out on the trail… but there are other aspects to consider, like sweat retention and nipple-chaff.

To combat every runner’s beloved bloody-nipple, I got this piece a little tighter than usual – not quite rash-guard/porn-star tight, but form-fitting – and it worked well. There was no rubbing under the arm-pits (always a concern for… umm… more robust runners like myself), and the shirt moved smoothly with my body.

Initially the fabric felt like it was getting soaked, which was concerning. But pretty soon it got into the groove, and ended up feeling like it was holding less sweat than most my tech shirts.

There isn’t really much more that can be said about a t-shirt that is comfortable, doesn’t result in blood, and which I wouldn’t be embarrassed to be wearing if I meet Anna Frost on the trail…


(Up-coming reviews: the 2017 Salomon 12 litre running vest, and the 350 lumen thumb-buster Storm headtorch.)

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