Apr 18, 2014 at 9:29 am #1315816
Hi folks, hoping you can offer some recommendations for a baselayer shirt. Looking for one that hopefully will do it all for a High Sierras trip in July. I'll want to wear this 24/7 for 9 days as my shirt during the day and baselayer/sleep at night. I'll be in Yosemite including relatively low and extremely hot (Pate Valley/Grand Canyon of Tuolumne, 4k elevation and triple-digit temps) up to peaks at 11k+ and camp probably above 10k at least a couple of nights, so chilly evenings and potentially some cool daytimes.
Not sure if one shirt can even do it all given the range of conditions. I'll want it to keep me cool and dry during the day and also provide enough warmth when chilly to act as a baselayer. (For warmth top layers will be only this shirt, UL down sweater, and DriDucks rain jacket. If needed I could add a short-sleeve T or windshirt but hoping not to.)
What I'd like:
• long sleeve
• low stink
• prefer athletic fit
• not too fragile but durability not a big issue, not much brush or rock abrasion
• neutral on sun protection, good to have but extra SPF not necessary
• neutral on zipper
• neutral on hoodie
• Not sure if a 120-150 merino will work or will it wear too hot
I appreciate any recommendations you have, thanks!Apr 18, 2014 at 10:37 am #2094329
Does a 100% merino wool shirt that has SPF even exist??
The Icebreaker Bodyfit 260 Tech Top is absolutely my favorite heavy base layer and the SunPrecautions Ultra Athlete shirt is the best on the market for sun protection, at 100+ SPF. (my review of the ultra athlete shirt)
Either of them and the Montbell Tachyon Wind Jacket and you have yourself a very sweet combo for anything but full on rain/snow.Apr 18, 2014 at 10:38 am #2094330
@namelesswayLocale: Mid Atlantic
I've recently got a Cap 4 Hoody. If I were in your shoes had had one "shirt" to bring, that would likely be it. It's got a pretty long zipper so I can easily ventilate it. I really like the hood/balaclava feature – it really stretches it's comfort rating.
Mine's black, however, and I think I'd prefer the lighter color if I were to get it again.Apr 18, 2014 at 11:22 am #2094346
every shirt/fabric has some type of SPF… it is a matter if the company wants to pay for the people to test and certify it. testing costs money which gets passed on to you.Apr 18, 2014 at 11:54 am #2094354
@skomaeLocale: northeastern US
Been using the TNF Ampere Hoodie from their new Mountain Athletics collection. I really like it. It dries wicked fast, the sleeves roll up easily, and the hood adds a nice touch of warmth when you need it.
I won't say it's low stink yet, but it doesn't seem any worse than any of my other synthetic base layers.Apr 18, 2014 at 12:37 pm #2094368
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
I'm a big fan of polycotton button up shirts for reliably dry weather.Apr 18, 2014 at 1:22 pm #2094380
@regarrettLocale: Lost in the mountains
I love my GoLite Manitou l/s shirt.Apr 19, 2014 at 8:36 am #2094552
I think you couldn't go wrong with a smartwool microweight:
Warm enough for a baselayer, but doesn't get too hot. Fits under everything. And I find it the softest of the microweight wool. Wicks. Warm when wet. Resists stink. Resists fire. Durable. Hard to beat.Apr 19, 2014 at 9:10 pm #2094705
@missingutahLocale: Smoky Mountains
Has SmartWool changed their material within the past 7 years or so?
I'm almost ashamed to say it, but I've been using the same SmartWool shirt for the past 7 years or so. I think it was a microweight, but certainly their product line has changed since then.
I don't think mine is as body forming as the most current line. I like a looser shirt. The Capilene has the right fit I like, but the materials are more irritable than I prefer.
Any suggestions for a shirt with the same req's as OP but no zipper, no hoodie, and not sport fit?Apr 20, 2014 at 7:25 am #2094744
Thanks for the replies everyone.
John and Matt, I'm surprised at your recommendations for heavier layers (260 merino, Cap4) considering part of my itinerary will be so hot (>100F a real possibility), are these shirts OK for that kind of heat? I was thinking 150 merino or lighter or a Cap1 type material would be better.
Stephen and Reggie, wasn't familiar with the Ampere or Manitou, will look at those.
David, a lightweight Smartwool was definitely on my initial list, along with Icebreaker, Rab, Stoic, and similar. Also preliminarily looking at some of the synthetics like Cap1.Apr 20, 2014 at 8:29 am #2094757
@mocs123Locale: Southeast Tennessee
IMO heavy wool and cap 4 would be miserable at those temps. I would consider a nylon hiking shirt like the rail riders adventure shirt or Eco mesh though they wouldn't provide much warmth at night. I would also look at really light wool or wool blends such as pat wool 1 . If you go with cap I find cap 2 cooler then cap 1Apr 20, 2014 at 10:35 am #2094781
@annapurnaApr 20, 2014 at 10:55 am #2094784
This probably isn't what you want, but I had that same criteria when I did the HST/JMT. I used a tight fitting underarmour heat gear long sleeve. I only had to add a capilene over it a couple of times during cooler mornings and if I hiked past darkness.Apr 20, 2014 at 12:43 pm #2094797
If you pick only one shirt to keep you comfortable in both hot and cold weather you will end up miserable because there is no such garment invented (yet.)
Instead, as others have suggested, bring a thin, loose fitting, nylon, long sleeved shirt for great sun protection and comfortable hot weather hiking.
Plus a nice wool or fleece layer that will come in handy in the colder parts of your trip.Apr 20, 2014 at 3:18 pm #2094812
Agree with Katy. Would bring the thinnest long sleeve shirt you can find with a big zipper so you can get cool air on your neck when you want to dump more heat. I'd either layer with a short sleeve shirt, or a thin wind vest or other thicker base layer.
That thicker base layer you can then also wear in the night. Wash main shirt in water and let dry overnight.
The Outdoor Research Echo Zip l/s Tee is among the thinnest shirts I've seen. Certainly thinner than for example Capilene 1. Could be a good option for you as your main base layer.Apr 20, 2014 at 5:35 pm #2094827
@namelesswayLocale: Mid Atlantic
There is the act of getting cooler during the day vs the act of staying warm enough while sleeping. If I'm too cold at night, I won't sleep well – thus impacting my next day.
I'd likely use a traditional windshirt (Squamish) with the cap 4 hoody underneath for the nights and mornings. Once it warms up, keep the windshirt on and kick off the hoody. At least a windshirt is typically fully ventable. John Albea spent zillions of miles walking in his Montbell Dynamo windpants. Why not do the same with a windshirt?
In all honesty, I would still justify the extra several ounces for a simple long sleeved shirt to better handle the moisture control, however.
There ain't no silver bullet in this case, imho.Apr 21, 2014 at 5:19 am #2094901
I loooove my Rab MeCo 120 longsleeve shirt! It's a merino and "Cocona" blend. Won't stink and should handle the conditions you're looking for. The fit is great too! Athletic but not as tight as the SmartWool Microweight (looking at the picture at the REI site).
edit: The sleeves are not too snug so in hot weather I can pull them up and they stay up. Also they're long enough to really cover my wrists.
AnttiApr 21, 2014 at 6:50 am #2094912
@dbogeyLocale: East Coast
Big fan of the Railriders Men's Equator-HT Top with Insect Shield. Used a light weight Outdoor Research Echo Tee and the Railriders shirt. This was taken after 6 days on the Sierra High Route. We had temps in the high 80's and lows in the 40s Shirt dries very quickly and was a nice base layer.
Their customer service is tops in my book.Apr 21, 2014 at 7:09 am #2094918
@stingray4540Locale: South Bay
I don't have experience with other brands, so you may do just as well with those, but my micro weight long sleeve Smartwool shirt is my single favorite piece of gear. Most of my backpacking is in the Sierras or coastal mountains. Because I don't like to lather up with sunblock, I wear my smartwool 24/7, even in the hottest part of the day. Only on one occasion was it hot enough for me to switch to a short sleeve button up shirt with shirt unbuttoned.
As long as you wear it as part of a layering system in the cold it works great. But, don't expect it to keep you warm all on it's own. My usual layering system starts with the smartwool, then a synthetic button up, then puffy, then rain jacket. That has kept me pretty comfortable down to almost freezing nighttime lows, and I expect I could make it to freezing no problem as I don't think I've ever had to wear every layer yet.Apr 21, 2014 at 7:18 am #2094919
I really have not found a 'hiking shirt' that breathes well and was under $50. I also think it is silly to spend more than that on a shirt that will take abuse. That includes thin wool shirts that you usually have to baby. For me poly and the blends stink but I still use a loose fitting lightly colored thin polycotton blend button up dress shirt for the warm temps and sun and bug protection. It stinks some but less than anything I have come across. If it is hot or warm out you can wash it in a stream and have it air dry on you to cool you down. To help mitigate the stink I also trim my arm pit hair way down and that helps alot also. Not the best in cooler temps but you have an UL Down shirt and shell with you that you can put on and I find those keep me pretty warm while moving down to freezing or right below. People also treat you different if you wear a collared dress shirt also. $15 for a new one from JC Penney or a few dollars at a used clothing store.Apr 21, 2014 at 8:01 am #2094933
@dandruLocale: Down Under
I normally use a short sleeve adventure merino top as a baselayer and then a lightweight fleece to remove moisture.Apr 21, 2014 at 8:03 am #2094934
@stingray4540Locale: South Bay
I'm not sure what you mean by "baby", Brett, but I don't treat my micro smartwool any different than my other clothing. Although, I only use it for hiking and I only get out a few times a year.Apr 23, 2014 at 6:40 am #2095513
I really appreciate everyone's replies. For those recommending a loose-fitting nylon-type shirt, that's what I've been wearing, while carrying a baselayer top for sleep and warmth layer if needed but was hoping to consolidate that to one garment. I understand that won't be as warm as 2 layers, but if it's warm "enough" with a down sweater and light rain layer then I'm inclined to pare down.
If there really is no such thing as a single do-it-all layer for my needs then I have some choices as to what layer to add: windshirt, sunshirt, s/s tee, lightweight fleece, etc.
I have already been looking at the likes of the Smartwool NTS 150, Rab Meco 120, Icebreaker 150, and OR Echo. Interesting comment about Cap2 being cooler than Cap1. Will let you know what I come up with. Thanks again for all the input.Apr 23, 2014 at 7:48 am #2095537
@mocs123Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Cap 1 has a much tighter weave, so I find there to be a lot more airflow through Cap 2, thus making it cooler and faster drying.Apr 23, 2014 at 8:01 am #2095541
You have already had the recommendation, and said that you were eyeing the Echo, but just thought I would pitch in.
The Echo LS Zip T-Shirt ticks all the boxes, I hike in one from 45 degrees on up. It is light, dries very quickly, you can push the sleeves up and unzip all the way when warm. You can zip up all the way when cool. I have worn the same one for up to 7 days straight.
Standing around in camp below 50-55 or so and you would want something more substantial, but while hiking it is great.
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