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Finisterre Bora & Vela Bamboo base layers review: comfortable tops that can be worn all year round

The Finisterre Bora & Vela Bamboo base layers – for men and women respectively – are environmentally friendly and incredibly comfortable

Finisterre Bora & Vela Bamboo base layer
(Image: © Finisterre)

Our Verdict

Fairly loose-fitting, supremely comfortable tops, the Finisterre Bora & Vela Bamboo base layers are versatile enough to wear all year round in a range of outdoor scenarios, from hill walking in the colder months to summer camping escapades.

For

  • Highly comfortable
  • Eco friendly
  • Moisture wicking
  • Odour resistant

Against

  • Thermal performance drops when wet
  • No thumb hoops

First impressions

So, what are the Finisterre Bora & Vela Bamboo base layers all about? Born and bred on the coast of Cornwall, with one foot forever in the Atlantic, Finisterre has always been an environmentally conscious company. To this end, in 2020 the brand supplemented their range of merino underwear with several base layers made from bamboo. The male version is called the Bora, and the female garment goes by the name Vela.

A natural product, bamboo is both sustainable to produce and the end product will eventually biodegrade, unlike synthetic poly tops, which will outlast us all and release micro fibres into the water system and food chain every time they’re washed. In addition, vegans can of course wear bamboo garments.

And the material performs too – it’s highly breathable, doesn’t chafe, is naturally antibacterial and pong resistant, wicks moisture away, feels lovely next to your skin, and offers decent thermal properties to keep the wearer warm. On the downside, the thermal performance drops more when it’s wet (especially when mixed with cotton) compared to both synthetics and merino, and it gets quite a bit heavier when damp.

Specifications

RRP: $61 (US) / £45 (UK)
Gender availability: Male (Bora) / Female (Vela)
Materials: Bamboo (68%), organic cotton (28%) and elastane (4%)
Weight: 232g  / 8.2oz
Sizes: S–XXL
Colors: Men’s: Navy & Olive / Deep Blue & Red Clay / Grey / Navy  Women’s: Basil Green / Lapis Blue / Kingfisher Blue
Compatibility: Hiking, biking, trail running, climbing

In the field

We wore this top on multiple trail-running outings on chilly winter mornings, and hill-hiking and walking escapades in slightly warmer conditions. It performed well in both scenarios, although it is better suited to trekking trails than running them.

This is a very comfortable top, with ergonomic flat-locked seams. By design it is looser fitting than many of the other base layers we tested out, which some people will prefer, because it offers plenty of freedom of movement during activities. Others might like a tighter fit, to cut down on material flapping around, and because the warmth levels tend to be a bit higher.

We think thumbhoops would have been a good addition, to stop the sleeves riding up when you pull on a mid or outerlayer. As a long-sleeved top for camping in the warmers seasons, the Bora and the Vela are pretty much perfect. The tops are also available in a short-sleeve version.