Airmesh Teijin Octa fabric is the most versatile fabric I have ever field tested
May 29, 2022 at 4:43 pm #3750594
Mountain Hardwear came out last year with a new shirt called the Airmesh. It comes in various configurations of hooded and zip, etc. On the surface, just looking at shirts, it doesn’t seem like anything fancy. A simple shirt that looks like a sports jersey. But the way this simple shirt performs in various ways is just simply next-level for how light weight it is.
I don’t have the time to articulate this post into a well-written narrative of this new fabric and shirt, so I will just put out a list of thoughts on it so far. I don’t do any lab tests, but the results in field testing have been quite apparent.
- Airmesh uses a unique Teijin Octa fiber that is not only hollow, but also given a star shape to its cross section. This alone is noteworthy, but more so on how they implemented this yarn.
- This material is extremely light-weight. My Airmesh hoody weighs less than 5 ounces. Regardless of any other trait, the weight is incredibly impressive. Not much more weight than my OR Echo hoody, but with the addition of warmth.
- Airflow is outstanding for allowing sweat to escape and the level of this airflow can be altered by simply turning the shirt inside out. The Octa fibers used like fleece on the inside of the fabric allow airflow to come through the holes in the mesh, but when the fabric is turned inside out, so the fibers are facing outward, they fold over when the wind pushes into them, and they then help to slightly block the wind going through the mesh holes.
- Turning it inside out so the fleece fibers are facing outward completely changes the performance and feel of the shirt. When inside out, the temperature is more stabilized in terms of wind and how much it heats up in the sun. Yes, this shirt can drastically change how hot it gets in the sun, just by turning it inside out. When you want minimum moisture and heat dumping in wind, wearing it right side out is more ideal, but at the cost of greater temp swings.
- It works best as a base layer, but also works fine as a mid or outer layer.
- The airmesh is hyper water-absorbent on one side. A dry shirt can be used as a highly effect towel for drying off. Wiping down the tent inside, or drying off after a swim, this thing was born to absorb moisture.
- Conversely, it is also somehow capable of remarkably-fast drying times, especially when worn in a slight breeze. I have never owned a shirt that dries as fast as this does to a point of comfort. Although, the hemming material is more elastic and takes a bit longer to dry at the hood and cuffs.
- On a few occasions already I have used the mesh side of the shirt to dry off my torso after showering or swimming by turning the shirt inside out and putting it on. The mesh side absorbs any water it touches, then I quickly turn it right side out again. The water is now off the skin and on the outside of the fabric while the fleece fibers keep it lifted from the skin and allow heat to trap inside. The shirt can then dry off while wearing it with minimal effect from the moisture that was on the skin. It almost feels like cheating to be honest. I’ve never seen anything like it.
- The shirt gets incredibly hot in direct sunlight when worn as the only layer. When the mesh is on the outside, light can come through the holes. There is enough of an air gap created by the fleece fibers that they help trap that light and convert it to heat on the skin and fabric. This effect is neutralized by turning the shirt inside out. If it is cold out, but the sun is shining, this shirt will transfer a lot of that energy to your body. To a certain degree. If the wind is too strong, it can negate the solar effect.
- Pairs brilliantly with a Fauxdini Dooy wind shell and silnylon rain shell. By itself, it has a lot of airflow and can get cold in the wind, so the wind shirt at 60-80 CFM bumps it up just enough to make a big difference in heat retention. Then with a windproof rain shell, the temp goes up even more, while still providing maximum moisture control.
- When using the Airmesh, OR Echo, Wind shell, and Rain shell together, the heat is about on par with a very heavy 200+ wt fleece all by itself under the rain shell. That’s impressive considering the whole setup with the airmesh weighs a lot less.
- The mesh can be a bit grabby when going through bushes. But when it is turned inside out, the fleece fibers help deflect some of the poky stuff that would otherwise catch. Kind of like a dog fur effect.
- UPF rating is unknown. Would guess probably 10 or less?
- Pairs well with the OR Echo sun shirt either over or under it. I have the Echo for when temps are high and I still need the sun protection. Also nice layer for sleeping when it’s warm out.
- Always hand wash and hang dry this stuff. The fibers will come out in the dryer.
- The chartreuse “Starfruit” color doesn’t seem to attract any bugs. I usually have a force field of bees swarming around me this time of year when wearing brightly colored shirts, but this one seems immune.
I will add more thoughts that I may have missed in additional posts to this thread.
Overall, I think it’s neat stuff. :)May 29, 2022 at 6:50 pm #3750605Matthew / BPLModerator
What types of conditions would you bring this along in? based on your descriptions above, maybe it’s easier to state when you wouldn’t bring it along. 🙂May 29, 2022 at 6:59 pm #3750607
I would say the upper end of the temp range, for me, without much wind, is 65-70F by itself. With plenty of wind, higher than that. In the sunshine directly, it then goes down from there 5-10F depending on inside-out or not.
There are absolutely no days in which I have encountered where I would not have airmesh with me if out all day or multiple days. I would though probably try different airmesh models to see how they differ.
I would also like to see them make airmesh pants. A full airmesh suit would be just off the charts incredible. I have two airmesh hoodies, one in XXL. The XXL has enough fabric on it I could cut it up and build my own airmesh pants. I am VERY tempted to do this. The arms are already large enough for most of my legs, so wouldn’t take too much sewing.May 29, 2022 at 7:07 pm #3750608
Whoops! THIS IS WRONG. I meant to say maximum, not minimum. Can’t edit original post.
When you want
minimummaximum moisture and heat dumping in wind, wearing it right side out is more ideal, but at the cost of greater temp swings.May 30, 2022 at 6:07 pm #3750680
Mountain Hardwear has them all on sale right now, if anyone was curious to try out the AirMesh shirts.
I’m also a bit perplexed that there isn’t much talk, it seems, going on in this forum about this fabric. There’s a lot to geek-out over it. :)
It’s honestly some of the most novel stuff I have encountered since synthetic fleece came out decades ago.May 30, 2022 at 8:43 pm #3750692BlackHatGuySpectator
@sleepingLocale: The Cascades
There was a discussion (among other fabrics) here.May 31, 2022 at 9:52 am #3750728Brad WBPL Member
Grabby with brush, low UPF and more warm than Echo Hoody, I’ll stick with Echo.Jun 7, 2022 at 11:35 am #3751429
The AirMesh is not designed to be an alternative to an OR Echo as a sun shirt. It’s a thermal layer than can also dump heat and moisture when opened up. Actually, the two shirts work very well together. I’ve been using them combined nearly daily. The Echo also isn’t a shining example of snag resistance. I have 3 of them and they pull threads super easy.
Been using mine a lot so far and not any signs of wearing out at all. Quite a bit more durable than the alpha direct style fleece I had before.Jun 8, 2022 at 10:12 am #3751505Erik HagenBPL Member
@ewh100Locale: SF Bay Area
Same for me, I use it as a midlayer paired with a Rab Pulse Hoody. That, with a wind jacket, makes a great versatile combination. My size medium is a scant 4.4 oz and has replaced my Macpac Alpha, mainly for weight savings but also more comfortable. Haven’t used it for any bushwhacking yet but thanks for tip on turning it outside in.Jan 3, 2023 at 9:20 pm #3769188
I bought an MH AirMesh shirt recently and have been impressed by it’s comfort-to-weight ratio. It’s an excellent shirt; better than grid fleece for me. Half the weight, too. It weighs less than a sun shirt and is warm down to at least freezing (under a windshirt). It has become my favorite insulation layer.
I came here to see what others thought of it. I’m with you, YoPrawn, in thinking that it is vastly under-reported.Jan 4, 2023 at 6:02 am #3769201
Some more thoughts:
1. It breathes better than Alpha Direct 90 or 120 when super active. Probably equal or slightly better than AD 60. This is in overall sweaty feel, and not completely tied to CFM.
2. Quite a bit more durable in regular use. My AirMesh has hundreds of days on it.
3. I wear it every day, even in middle of summer until it gets to 60-70+ degrees.
4. I no longer have to ever carry a camp towel or hand cloth to dry my body or hands. The AirMesh shirt takes care of it and can be worn to evaporate the moisture away.
5. If you buy an XXL hoodie on sale, you are in effect buying several yard of Teijen Octa fabric for $20-30 a yard. You can make your own leggings or gloves or whatever out of the material for a decent price on the XXL size. If the fabric sold for the same price, people would buy it for MYOG, so just buy it in a different form.
6. AirMesh pants are the SHIZ-KNIT! (Use arms of XXL as pant legs)Jan 4, 2023 at 8:09 am #3769215Jon SolomonBPL Member
When I used it I found it got smelly much faster than Alpha Direct. Curious if you’ve had different experience or have any tips about reducing the funk.Jan 4, 2023 at 9:24 am #3769220
Mine sort of has a smell, but not quite like my OR Echo shirt gets. Nothing that has bothered me or others, yet. I even went months without washing mine.
Might have something to do with the hollow fibers if yours is staying in funk town.
I would agree that alpha direct might be a bit less smelly when used as a base layer, but I find it still ends up like most synthetics — a little funky.Jan 4, 2023 at 9:25 am #3769221Jon SolomonBPL Member
Good to know. Thanks.Jan 4, 2023 at 9:32 am #3769226
Interesting. I’ve worn wicking polyester for years and never experienced any smell. You people do let your clothes air out at night, right?
Stephen Seeber has posted some amazing threads. He didn’t like AirMesh as much as AD, but I am clearly different from him. Even his highest-MVTR-with-pitzips jacket is nowhere near as comfortable as a Ferrosi hoodie under most conditions (for me). I don’t doubt his science or his tests, but I am not persuaded that MVTR is everything, or even the most important thing, when it comes to comfort. Perhaps you are saying something analogous in your comment about breathing not being the same as CFM?
All I can say for sure is that AirMesh is an absolutely brilliant fabric. Blows any grid fleece out of the water.Jan 8, 2023 at 8:42 am #3769540John S.BPL Member
My size large half zip weighs 135 grams (4.76 oz).Jan 8, 2023 at 9:10 am #3769542Justin WSpectator
Sounds like a nice fabric. I tend to be a cheap b@stard though with clothes and most equipment, so until I find something on a really good sale or clearance, I’ll just have to envy it from afar. Meanwhile, I recently found a hooded baselayer (which I plan to use as a midlayer over a hooded fishnet baselayer) made primarily out of hollow nylon yarns which weighs 3.4 oz in the s/m size, which was 25 dollars not including shipping.
While nylon is a bit cooler fabric than polyester, I like that it develops less odor and the odor that it does eventually build up is relatively easy to fully wash out of. Plus the fibers being hollow help to offset its higher thermal conductivity as compared to polyester. (That, and you don’t really notice a fabrics thermal conductivity until its pretty wet anyways, since it is the air between the fibers provides most of the insulation).Jan 25, 2023 at 11:21 am #3771401
Justin, don’t worry about it. Airmesh is remarkable for its insulation:weight ratio. However, the difference is small between Airmesh and any old fleece you may have lying around.
To me, Airmesh is only really noteworthy if you were already shopping for a thermal baselayer.
For that matter, two or three layers of Summer-weight wicking polyester shirts work just as well (except slightly heavier).
Alpha Direct may breathe better and appears to be equally lightweight, so that is an alternative if you can find it. Airmesh might be more durable.Jan 25, 2023 at 5:35 pm #3771435Justin WSpectator
Thank you for the run down Bill. As far as baselayers go, I’m pretty happy with my fishnets. Other style baselayers I tend to use for mid layers since I primarily hike from late fall through to early spring part of the year. I’m a big fan of polypropylene baselayers for mid-layers because of how light, warm, and how quick they dry (the odor is less of an issue when using them as a mid layer vs a baselayer). And usually very reasonably priced (except for the Helly Hanson brand).
But I’m open to trying new things when they are or become reasonably priced.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Our Community Posts are Moderated
Backpacking Light community posts are moderated and here to foster helpful and positive discussions about lightweight backpacking. Please be mindful of our values and boundaries and review our Community Guidelines prior to posting.