Dave our Exeter store manager gives his thoughts on this Synthetic base layer range
Rab name has long been synonymous for quality insulation and in more recent years, their waterproofs have been really popular. They now have a specifically designed range for mountain running named Skyline. The base layer side of this range is named Sonic. Boasting short sleeve in 2 versions (normal and ultra), long-sleeved zip necks for both men and women and even a vest for women and boxers for men. I was lucky enough to be asked to test out the Sonic Tees.
I have never been a particular fan of merino products and despite the benefits I do not like the feel of merino garments on my skin, so I would always prefer a synthetic T-shirt over a merino one. At first look the Sonic looks like another lightweight tee nothing ground breaking. As you would expect from Rab its well made from good quality fabrics but it was when I went for my first long run, I discovered what a nice piece it is.
The Sonic range is made from Motiv™ Aero fabric, a lightweight polyester, which wicks away moisture, dries fast and has an odour control treatment. What really impressed me is the construction.
The sleeves are constructed using a method called raglan which means the sleeves go all the way up to the neckline improving movement which in turn reduces chaffing and prevents the top from riding up. The stitching on the garment is very fine and low bulk, which once again reduces any chance of chaffing but remains robust enough to keep it looking better for longer.
One of the benefits Merino has over some synthetic base layers is its antimicrobial properties, the Rab Sonic has an odour control treatment that does this and after several washes and 100s of miles has not wavered.
I imagined that my primary use the Sonic range would be for running, not because it is not suitable for walking but purely because I run more than walk at the moment. In terms of sizing with most brands such as Montane I am a medium and with Rab I vary between a medium and large, as I wanted this to be close fitting I opted for a medium and its perfect for me.
Despite the Ultra version of the sonic having laser cut holes under the arms and in the back of the neck I did not notice the difference in breathability between the 2 models, however the Ultra is a closer more technical fit, and has reflective details for night running.
I took part in the Exmoor Ultra and Dartmoor in a Day and used the sonic tee due it being very warm. On some of my training runs, like the Dartmoor 600’s, I used the LS Zip which I have found more versatile having the sleeves with thumb loops for the cooler more exposed tors and the deep chest zip provides a great way to cool down once in the valleys.
Both garments wick moisture away from the skin as you would expect and are still comfortable even with a pack on. On our recent Taunton Leisure’s crossing of Dartmoor, I used the Sonic Tee for all 3 days of the trip experiencing warm, cold, wet and dry weather and the top performed well admittedly better on the warmer days. Even at the end of the trip the anti-bacterial odour control worked I might have smelt, but the tee did not.
As you would come to expect from a lightweight top it is not particularly robust, due to user error and poor pole positioning on my running vest I very quickly rubbed a hole in the side of one of my tops so do be wary.
On occasion I would climb indoors in the Sonic Tee but during the winter months I did not use the Sonic as much as it does not retain much heat at all and I think found that other base-layers such as the Montane Dart range worked better for me. As soon as it gets warm again, I was straight back into the Sonic Tee.
My verdict is if you want a base-layer for summer use to keep you fresh and dry for those sweaty days take a look at any of the options from Rabs Sonic collection, I just hope they bring out a men’s tank in the future as I will be first in line for one!