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I am going to be honest before I tested the X-BIONIC ENERGIZER top I had never heard about them and I first thought it was going to be just a different type of thermal top much like a LIFA top however there is a lot more to this item than that. The company that produces the X-BIONIC is called X-Technology and they are based near Lake Zurich in Switzerland and from what digging around I’ve done they are a relatively new company, however in the short time they have been around they won over 200 awards for the X-BIONIC range of clothing alone!!!

I received my top from RVOps within in a couple of days and as ever it was well packaged, even more impressive was the box the X-BIONIC top came in. It looked more like the box for a computer programme than a base layer top. On the box is loads of info and scientific data on how the top performs with lots of pictures taken with a thermal camera of people wearing various items from the X-BIONIC range. Now you may be asking why I’m going on about the packaging so much but it simply comes down to the old adage that “first impressions count” and this is certainly the case, and from the first moment I knew that this was going to be a quality product.

The big selling point for this item is the way in which it regulates the body’s temperature when doing any sort of physical exertion and I’m going to do my best to describe how it does that. Now according to boffins the body performs best when it is at a temp of 37c, to cold or to warm and you won’t perform as well, on the shoulders and elbows there are padded sections with air channels in to aid insulation and prevent heat loss. On the chest and back are 2 areas covered in what X-BIONIC call the 3D-BIONIC SPHERE system, the purpose of this being to cool the body when sweating and to keep it warm when you are not. The big point for this is the fact it only starts working when the body begins to sweat, as sweat forms it is taken away from the skin via small channels to the surface of the top to aid evaporation and help cool the body down. To stop you getting cold once you stop the same system works in reverse by trapping warm air in the same channels to keep you warm, and also helped by the fact that your sweat has been taken away from the surface of the skin. And last but not least there are sweat traps under the arms to take sweat away from the body and again aid in evaporation.

The item I have been testing is the long sleeved X-BIONIC ENERGISER top in black and orange, I have the light version that covers all round use but there are also 3 other types –cool, warm and extra warm. I have not found out much about this even online but I’m going to hazard a guess that in hot conditions you would want the cool version and in colder climates the warm and extra warm one but for every day use this light version has proved fine. Now once you have decided what climate you’ll be using it in you will then have to decide what level of compression you want, there are 3 choices – low, medium or high. I have the medium one which gives a very tight fit and I am of quite an athletic build so bear this in mind when choosing what top to get. This type of fit according to the box is supposed to give a stimulating fit which I was a bit dubious about until I put the top on, once on I instantly felt cold on the areas that have the 3-D BIONIC SPHERE system on namely my chest and between my shoulder blades!!!

I’m not normally a big fan of running in long sleeve tops but in the name of science I donned this top for a quick 8 miles and proceeded to get a bit of a sweat on. The first thing I noticed was that I felt really cool around the area just below my ribs (the area where the air conditioning channels are) and also around my elbows funnily enough. As for soaking up the sweat, I don’t really sweat much at the best of times so really I wouldn’t be able to say if it absorbed it that much but I did find that it wasn’t as damp as the Helly Hanson tops I have worn before. Overall for running I found this top comfortable to wear and it did prevent some of problems associated with running like sweating, chaffing and overheating, so in this area it gets a thumbs up from me.

For a second more military type test I wore the X BIONIC top for a military parachute descent which included the descent and all the build up before hand (at this point it still hadn’t been washed to see how the anti-bacterial properties worked). Whilst packing my container in a hanger I found myself getting quite warm and if I’m honest quite uncomfortable to the point where I had to change into a t-shirt I was feeling that hot. However the top came into its own later in the day, the airfield we were mounting from was very windy and I found myself freezing so I again donned the top and was immediately warmer. Once I had my parachute and all the other associated bits that go with one of these jumps I had expected to start overheating like normal but instead I felt comfortable throughout and this included my time in the aircraft. I probably had the parachute on for the best part of 2 hours and at no point did I feel too hot or too cold, it also stopped a lot of the rubbing that I normally get especially around the side of my hips and on my shoulders. On the tab across the DZ after the jump with all my kit I had expected to get a little warm as I was carrying a fair amount of kit but again the X BIONIC did what it says on the tin and kept me at a comfortable temperature. Although this was quite an unusual test in military terms and not one that would happen everyday I do think that it shows that this top would be fine to wear on exercise and for tabbing etc, after a couple of days hard use the top still didn’t have a smell of body odour what so ever so the anti bacterial claims that are made are well founded so for those away from washing facilities would not have to worry about the top walking off on its own after 1 days use!!!

To finish off this is an excellent bit of kit and has taken the traditional thermal top design and taken it to another level; the uses for it are endless in both civilian and military ventures. The only real downside I can see is the price as £60 is quite steep for what is in its basic form a thermal top, but other than that it is an excellent bit of kit that I would highly recommend to those undertaking any arduous activities – 10/10.

XBionic Energizer Top kindly supplied by RVOps
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