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Quest for T shirt
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Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Quest for T shirt on 08/19/2013 17:49:24 MDT Print View

Currently I have a synthetic Rebook t shirt which is a great fit and does a reasonably good job of moisture management. The only perceivable downside is that after the first 24 hours on the trail it/I smell like @$$ flavored corn chips.

I then proceeded to purchase a Patagonia merino wool t shirt from The material is excellent and doesn't itch at all. The only problem is that (I can only assume) some tool with narcissistic personality disorder (probably worked for Abercrombe and Fitch in a prior life) thought it would be great to make them skin tight. That would be awesome if I was sporting six pack abs but I ain't.

I then read reviews about Minus 33 and ordered one off of Amazon. Fit is great and wears like a normal T shirt. The only problem is that it's four times heavier than the Patagonia merino wool T shirt and I thought I was going to overheat while standing in an air conditioned house. Threw that shirt in with the rest of my ski gear.

Of the three options, I'm good with smelling like @$$ flavored corn chips but I'm still on the prowl for a new t shirt.

Can someone please point me towards a t shirt which:

1) is merino wool (or doesn't smell like holy hell after the first day)
2) fits like a normal t shirt
3) is light weight

EDIT: I mistakenly ordered a mid weight Minus 33 shirt when I should have ordered a lightweight.

Edited by IDBLOOM on 08/22/2013 06:33:08 MDT.

Desert Dweller

Locale: Wild Wild West
T shirt on 08/19/2013 17:59:31 MDT Print View

I have been on the same quest. Got the Minus33, but dang it's HOT! Mine went into the winter closet also. Ibex tends to be thinner but I have no idea how the fit is, and the weave tends to be striped. Haven't sprung for one of those yet.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: T shirt on 08/19/2013 18:06:30 MDT Print View

Yeah I missed that about the Minus 33 shirt when I was researching it. I guess the whole "Minus 33" should have been a clue. I've already invested > $90 and still haven't found a winner so I'm a little gun shy about ordering the next without better end user reviews.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: Quest for T shirt on 08/19/2013 18:11:13 MDT Print View

BPL reviews seem to indicate that Icebreaker Tech T Lite shirts have become more of a relaxed fit and now run true to size. Anyone who's purchased one recently care to weigh in on this?

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Quest for T shirt on 08/19/2013 18:14:28 MDT Print View

Have you tried a polyester/cotton blend? I find that they dry fast enough and don't smell too bad.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Quest for T shirt on 08/19/2013 18:17:21 MDT Print View

I heard that if you wear cotton while backpacking you'll surely die!

All joking aside I haven't but I'll look into it. I don't dispute that there are better materials than cotton but that's what we were issued in the military years ago.

Any particular brand you'd recommend?

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
My goto synthetic t-shirt. on 08/19/2013 18:21:20 MDT Print View

I've used these around town, in the gym and on the trail:

"Diamond-knit 93% nylon/7% spandex for lightweight stretch and support
Wicks away sweat to keep you drier, cooler
Antimicrobial treatment to stop stink"

quick dry, not heavy or overly warm at all. While traveling, I can wash in a hotel sink and dry them overnight. At $24 each, they aren't expensive like outdoor and high-performance sports wear. Duluth Trading does quality work clothes, mostly, but some of their synthetic undies and shirts have BPing applications.

Their trademark cotton t-shirt promises to end "plumbers butt" by being 3" longer. Those of us with Irish ancestry (short legs, long torsos), find them handy even when not swinging a pipe wrench under the kitchen sink.

Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
"Quest for T shirt" on 08/19/2013 18:22:25 MDT Print View

I hear you- I have also found that most Merino wool shirts are made to be "form fitting" which isn't desired or flattering on all bodies (such as mine). I order mine 2 sizes larger to counter that, then it fits like a normal shirt.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: My goto synthetic t-shirt. on 08/19/2013 18:33:48 MDT Print View

I'm still on the prowl for a merino wool t shirt but I ordered one from Duluth Trading. Wearing body armor creates a unique brand of funk; when it starts to smell like roast beef I send it through the car wash. We can get a poly blend shirt from our uniform distributor but they don't help with the funk.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: "Quest for T shirt" on 08/19/2013 18:35:37 MDT Print View

Going a size or two large may be what I have to do Dena. I see that Icebreaker goes pretty large if you order from directly from them so I'm pondering that as an option.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Quest for T shirt on 08/19/2013 18:39:21 MDT Print View

Smartwool and Icebreaker both seem to be a boxier "American" fit but may be short in length (in all fairness I have a long torso and short legs). My Ibex experience is that its more of an athletic "Euro" fit, which seems to also be true for Patagonia base layers and anything in their alpine line. IO Bio is also more of an athletic fit.

The problem isn't that things don't run "true to size". The problem is the vanity sizing the fashion industry likes to use. Today's medium would've been a large or even an extra-large a few decades ago. Measure the waist of your favorite pair of jeans and it'll be anywhere from 2-4" larger than the numeric sizing would otherwise indicate.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Quest for T shirt on 08/19/2013 18:56:13 MDT Print View

Thanks for the input Chris.

I think this product review has sold me on Icebreaker:

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Quest for T shirt on 08/19/2013 18:58:29 MDT Print View

Thanks for the reminder, Ian.

I had to look for my military issue green cotton t-shirt.


Bruce Whittle
(bwhittle) - F

Locale: Midwest
Quest for T shirt on 08/19/2013 19:01:32 MDT Print View

I have also been on the quest for a non-stinky shirt. At Philmont a little over a month ago, I took 2 shirts to try, an Under Armour heat gear shirt and an Icebreaker wool T-shirt. I started with the AA (it was a loose fit shirt but in my normal size). I made it through 6 days wearing the same shirt and never switched to the Icebreaker - I was surprised and amazed. And... it was even an olive green color and not some bright neon. I certainly did not have the same experience with synthetic shirts in the past, especially with Columbia shirts. Best thing is that the AA shirts are only about $20 and dry quickly. I think my search is over!

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: Quest for T shirt on 08/19/2013 19:01:52 MDT Print View

Ibex U-Sixty T Shirt

Regular Fit
150 g/SM Merino Wool (very light and then)
No Stink
Made in USA

Desert Dweller

Locale: Wild Wild West
T shirt on 08/19/2013 19:02:53 MDT Print View

Cute video. Made me laugh! :-0

Edited by Drusilla on 08/19/2013 19:04:20 MDT.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Quest for T shirt on 08/19/2013 19:19:10 MDT Print View

Ian I own several Icebreaker shirts and like them very much,but now that I have seen the video you posted a link to I have to run out and buy more!

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Re: Re: Quest for T shirt on 08/19/2013 21:15:02 MDT Print View

I just ordered an Icebreaker t shirt from Backcountry along with the synth shirt from Duluth trading company.

Thanks all

Matt Weaver
(norcalweaver) - F

Locale: PacNW
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Quest for T shirt on 08/19/2013 22:02:50 MDT Print View

Icebreaker Tech T Lites are great. Fit like all my regular shirts, soften up nicely after 1 wash, no funky athletic techy design cues or stitching, just a solid true to size lightweight 100% merino shirt.

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Quest for T shirt on 08/19/2013 22:15:45 MDT Print View


Another + for Icebreaker Tech Ts. Mine are not form-fitting but are a little more athletic-cut than many standard t-shirts. I don't like big baggy sleeves so I like the cut of the IBs. I bought both of mine on sale online, waiting until I found a decent sale price before buying. They are expensive at full price.

Btw, thanks for ruining my dinner. My wife made a wonderful a$$-flavored corn chip casserole and now I can only think of you after a day of sweaty hiking.