The Alpkit Koulin Trail Tee is a base layer that can conceivably be used as a t-shirt too, wicks sweat from the rear panel well and is nicely shaped – and a bit of a bargain. The styling is undeniably more underlayer than actual t-shirt though.
The Koulin gets a close-fitting cut using two different types of fabric front and rear. The front is solid polyester, whilst the rear is polyester too but in a mesh, and slightly thinner, for maximum breathability.
The rear mesh dries quickly, faster than the front, whilst the front is more robust and offers a better barrier against a breeze or mud splashes. I'd actually be keen to try a base layer made solely from the mesh – it's soft against the skin and wicks well.
The material is treated with Polygiene, a silver-based treatment applied during fabric production. It aims to prevent the growth of bacteria and stop the clothing from smelling so much during and after use. I’m not one for wearing a base layer multiple times, but if you are then this will help delay the pong.
The female-specific cut is a flattering shape with a round neckline, capped sleeves and well placed side panels. There’s a contrasting flatlock stitching throughout to prevent rubbing and, although it lacks the raglan sleeves as you might expect, there's no seam on top of the shoulders either. I didn’t experience any rubbing or chafing whilst working hard or wearing a backpack. Sizing is accurate: I wore a size 8 and I’m usually a dress size 8.
Elsewhere there is a slightly dropped rear hem, although it's not as long as the dhb Aeron base layer reviewed here. It’s worth noting the Alpkit Koulin Trail Tee is a tad shorter in body length too, and works best tucked in to prevent it riding up. If I was being fussy I'd have the body a tad longer, and design the sleeves to reach a bit further towards my elbows too.
There's a tiny pocket at the rear, one I’d be happy to wedge a card in, but not a key – it may well jump out as there is no way to secure anything inside.
At £19.99 the Koulin Trail Tee is a bargain baselayer, and ideal for use under a long sleeve jersey. The styling and the more opaque front section means it doesn’t look out of place when worn on its own either, which only helps its versatility.
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