The Craft Fuseknit Comfort Turtleneck is a baselayer and neckwarmer in one, but good for more than just deep winter. A surprisingly versatile performance and long, slim fit make it an excellent choice on days from cool to freezing.
- Pros: Warm, good fit, stops draughts around the neck, useful emergency face-chill protection
- Cons: Front hem doesn't rise, not as luxurious as some
My main concern with this baselayer was that, if temperatures rose mid-ride, I'd be desperate to remove the neck tube (as I would with a Buff or similar) – but obviously be unable to. In reality, the high neck did an excellent job of sealing out draughts and adding warmth without ever threatening to boil the blood reaching my brain.
Temperature is easily regulated by unzipping the neck of your jacket/jersey, as the fabric is not especially windproof. It's also fairly thin. I found this top comfy up to around 10C, beyond which I wouldn't choose a turtleneck anyway, while with further layers it played its part down to zero and below.
If you get into a really cold windblast, the neck has a large perforated patch at the front, letting you pull it up across your nose and mouth without it going soggy. The light, stretchy fabric stays in place well (even when I just hooked it up onto my chin, which I preferred) and gives a small but useful boost in protection – even when utterly sodden during a prolonged downpour at 4°C.
Overall fit is slim and accurate, with good length in the arms and comfy, secure cuffs – perfect for pulling from below your jersey for extra sealing with gloves. Sweat wicking is average, and comfort levels remained the same from bone dry to soaking wet. I was occasionally aware I was wearing it as, while the slightly rough recycled polyester is never uncomfortable, it stops short of luxurious or cosseting.
The Fuseknit is 'bodymapped' with noticeably different textures in the armpits/sides for enhanced breathability, and supposedly fewer seams than most. All I can say is that I didn't notice either one way or the other – warmth and comfort were both perfectly fine. It doesn't get especially humid under the pits, and those seams that exist (either overlocked or flatlocked) are entirely comfy.
If there's a niggle it's that it's a little long at the front hem, the rear isn't dropped. The hem is folded over and flatlocked, and while it's comfortable despite the extra thickness, it reaches low inside Lycra shorts and can lead to Visible Baselayer Lines, if you care about such things.
If the fabric were a little softer and thicker this could be an outstanding deep winter baselayer, but it would lose versatility. As it is, it's good for everything from pleasant autumnal days (as a single sub-layer) to hideous winter storms (in combination with mid-layers). It even looks good, with a stylishly low-key logo, and the five sizes are available in red or grey.
High necks are reasonably rare, though Lusso's Bioactive Thermal Polo is taller than many and really impressed our tester – plus it's around £5 cheaper. Craft's own Active Extreme 2.0 CN LS also did really well at £36, while B'Twin's (again high-ish necked) Aerofit Windproof is something of an outlier at £25 – spend some of your savings on a cheap necktube online and you'll be good to go.
Dependable three-season baselayer that effectively blocks draughts, but thin fabric needs decent mid-layers as you near zero
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Craft Fuseknit Comfort Turtleneck
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Craft says, "Soft and stretchy jersey with turtleneck and seamless Fuseknit design
"Aiming to explore the frozen winter landscape? Then heat things up with the soft and stylish Fuseknit Comfort Turtleneck, which offers extra protection on your frosty adventures. The garment is made of lightweight, warming yarn for optimal thermoregulation and provides excellent moisture transport to keep your body dry and comfortable. In addition, the jersey features the innovative Fuseknit technology, which combines seamlessly knit parts with ergonomic and strategic seams to create soft and supple garments. The result is fewer seams and a smooth, chafe-free and highly comfortable experience. The turtleneck can be used both as a traditional double-layer turtle and as a neck gaiter if the need for added armor arises"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Craft list these features:
-Bodymapped with different structures for optimal thermoregulation
-Seamless Fuseknit design for optimal comfort
-Recycled polyester mix
-Fabric 67% Polyester 31% Polyamide 2% Elastane
Neatly and strongly stitched.
Stays warm and comfy whether wet or dry.
No reason it won't last years.
Skintight fit that's not restrictive anywhere. Non-dropped tail and broad, double-thickness hem aren't ideal for cycling, but caused no comfort issues at all.
Right where you'd expect for a wintry long-sleeve base.
Comfortable if not luxurious against the skin, while the neck is great for blocking draughts in jackets and jerseys.
Not especially cheap, but will work in autumn and spring as well as winter.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Air dries without going smelly, so it's good for multi-day rides. Washes without issue.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Warm and comfy whether wet or dry, and wicks as well as most things.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
High neck blocks draughts and adds warmth, but never so much that you wish you could take it off.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Could be softer and potentially thicker for serious winter protection.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Few long-sleeve baselayers are below £35, while plenty are £50 or more, so £40 isn't bad.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's versatile, comfortable and fits well, but the fabric stops short of being luxurious and there are a few cheaper long-sleeve options around. It's a 'very good' 8 rather than being exceptional.
About the tester
I usually ride: GT GTR Series 3 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mountain biking