Hiking Tops.


Let’s talk Hiking Tops!

When you are hiking you really need to wear the correct clothing to give you the best comfort and performance possible, you want to just enjoy the hiking experience without the discomfort of incorrect gear. I will try and help break down different items that I have tried and tested and hope it might help you in the decision on what would work for your hiking journey.

To start with the type of garment you wear is determined by the environment and weather conditions you are in. Typically, you are going to want something that feels not only comfortable, but it needs to perform well too.

As I have been hiking for a very long time now I have tried and tested many different styles of hiking garments, some that work well and some not so well. Over time I will add to this on what my thoughts and the types are. There is nothing worse than spending a lot of money on a piece of equipment that doesn’t live up to what it is supposed to do. The following should give you a base line to look at when choosing and as we go along I will break down some of those technical words they throw at you and just make you confused.

This is what you need to look for

  • Quick-dry shirts and tops are just perfect, a garment that is light-weight and easy to wash and dry.
  • A fabric of breathable material and has wicking properties.
  • Material that is of Merino wool or of a synthetic base – NOT made of COTTON as this doesn’t breathe.
  • Material of good UPF ratings, even in the cold environments.
  • A material of good durability.
  • Needs to resist odour.
  • A garment that keeps you warm in cool weather and cool in warm weather.
  • Easy for layering. Layering is a good way to deal with the changing weather conditions when out on the trail.
  • You want to look good as well.

Brubeck Athletic Short Sleeve Top (ladies)

I really love hitting the trail and just being comfortable without the worry of issues like being too hot or a top being itching just not sitting right and riding up your back under the pack. Lets not forget about the smell! when you hike long distances you want one that doesn’t kill the wildlife with the smell! We all have experience tops that just don’t work and honestly, I am always on the lookout for one that does so I can just concentrate on enjoying my hike.

Well I think I have found my all time favourite top! I will be road testing it a bit more to really put it through its paces but so far it ticks all the good boxes!

  • I stayed cooler! (yes, won’t lie I did sweat but my body temperature just didn’t feel as hot)
  • The top has air ventilation zones in all the right places.
  • Dries almost instantly. After taking my pack off yes I had a wet back but it dried straight away so I wasn’t sitting with a wet back for too long.
  • There are no seams, so you don’t have any itchy, tickley bits from the seams digging in.
  • Fabric is so incredibly soft you don’t even feel like you are wearing anything.
  • No smell! I sat at the pub with friends after hiking and didn’t clear the room! Now that has to be a good thing.
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Do note I am wearing my sun sleeves with the top.

Let’s break it down

Fabric Features

  • This top is made up of 62% Polyamide, 38% Polyester.
  • Thickness: 152 g/m2
  • All of the Brubeck Athletic products have an anti-bacterial as well as anti-allergic qualities.
  • they are seamless from two-layer technology and a breathing textile.
  • Has ventilation Zones in the areas where you commonly find moisture build up.
  • Not too snug fitting so is designed for airflow and ventilation during physical activity.
  • Has a great range of colours that are fade resistant.
  • Has reflective elements on the front, back and sleeves which is great if you are a runner.

Followers of my site can receive a 10% discount from any purchase through The Hiking Society use this special code TWOBYTWO10

Certainly, for me this one is proving to be a winner and I will definitely be investing in another for more adventures.

 

The Ice Breaker Women’s Sphere Tank Top, Short Sleeve Low Crewe and the Long Sleeve Hood.

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I love all three of these tops as they are so light weight and extremely comfortable like you are not wearing anything constricting. I find I don’t sweat as much in them and I can layer all three depending on the weather.

Let’s break them down

Fabric features

  • Icebreakers Cool-Lite jersey fabric. This fabric is a combination of Merino Wool and Tencel, (Lyocell) a sustainable fabric which is regenerated from wool cellulose.
  • Icebreaker also add their corespun fibres from nylon that they wrap in the merino to add to the durability of the fabric and help make it feel softer. As merino wool alone isn’t as durable I found this brand and method seems to work well.
  • They say it is odour resistant and breathable and I find any fabric made from merino is.

These three tops are great for conditions of warm to hot and humid. You can use them as a light weight base layer piece to keep warm in cold conditions when you add additional layers on.

I do recommend these tops as I have had no problems with them. They wash well and keep their shape. I don’t put into a dryer (I don’t own one) but they do when I compare to other garments dry super quick. Easy to hand wash on the trail. They have been durable as I find a lot of the merino tops tend to get holes very quickly from your back pack buckle these tops don’t. I have worn them for up to 3-4 days straight without washing (I know gross) and they don’t seem to smell too bad. This is a great thing when you are on a multi day journey.

What I don’t like is the price but hey all the good hiking gear sadly is expensive. I tend to wait for sales and use any gift cards I am given when it’s my birthday, so I can afford it.

Helly Hansen X-Cool T-shirts

I have a number of these shirts and find then to be quite good and have worn them on a variety of tracks in many conditions. They are not my favourite but do the job.

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Let’s break them down

Fabric features

  • The X-Cool technology that Helly Hansen use is based on using an X-shaped cross-section fibre. This fibre is to draw away sweat and moisture from the skin and extend the wet area of fabric surface as big as it can possibly go. Their theory on this is the wider the area it enables the sweat/moisture to dry faster and evaporate quickly in order to prevent clothes from sticking to the body, in this process then the vapor should cause a physical phenomenon of Heat Absorbing reaction. This is to keep the fabric cooler and provide a touch dry and cooler experience during physical exertion.
  • The fibre is also built with many micro-spaces inside the yarn to enable air flow and therefore makes the fabric breath.

I have found these T-shirts to be comfortable to wear and they also do wash well keeping their shape. I don’t use a dryer but find they do air dry somewhat quickly. They are very durable and do last a long time.

The downside for me is actually one of their features and that is having the sweat and moisture extend across a large section of the fabric surface. This leaves my back soaking wet and when you stop for a break for any amount of time you get cold very quickly.

Mountain Designs Delta Tees.

This is the T-Shirt I worn when hiking the 1000km Bibbulmun Track. It really got a workout from my trip as it was a 54-day bush walking trip and only saw a washing machine 8 times, the rest was hand washed occasionally. I had two for the whole journey and alternated between them.

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Let’s break them down.

Fabric features.

  • The fabric is made up from 51% Polyester, 45% Tencel (Lyocell) a sustainable fabric which is regenerated from wool cellulose and 5 % Spandex
  • They use a Polartec Delta which is a technique of knit that is formed to increase the airflow, reduce the friction and dissipate heat. This is to result in a more effective cooling fabric that wicks away the moisture from the body quicker and dries quicker also repelling odour and giving you a more breathable product.
  • Odour control is by their Polygiene Odour Control. This is done by using Silver Salt (silver Chloride) to stop bacteria growth that causes the stink. It is made from recycled silver and is safe for your skin.

I found these T-Shirts to perform well considering what I was putting them through. They didn’t smell like other tops and lasted around 4-5 days between wash.  I didn’t get overly hot and uncomfortable in them.

I found they didn’t keep their shape as well as other T-Shirts and didn’t hand wash as easy or come up as clean in the machine. I also have to say they don’t dry very fast either like some of the other types. This was annoying on the track as I would have to hang it on my pack all day while walking. They did wick away the moisture but took forever for the fabric to dry leaving you cold.

driMOTION Active T-shirt, Kathmandu.

These T-Shirts are on my hubby’s favourites list, I personally don’t mind them, but they are not a favourite as it has cotton in the fabric mix. I do prefer the singlet version better than the T-shirt.

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Let’s break them down.

Fabric features.

  • The fabric is made up of 85% Polyester and 15% Cotton.
  • The drimotion fabrics are woven to give effective moisture management of the garment.
  • This T-shirt is designed to keep you dry, cool and comfortable during your activity.
  • Quick dry fabric.
  • Fabric is soft on the skin.
  • Flat lock seams to prevent chaffing.

For me these T-shirts have been a cheap go and I wouldn’t say they are great. My hubby loves his as he finds them comfortable to wear and the fabric feel good on the skin. I agree but find they don’t breathe like other styles, this is more likely due to the cotton in the fabric. I find them heavier as well and drying time so much longer, so when you sweat they don’t wick away very well leaving you wet. The other thing I don’t like is that they tend to not stay fresh smelling for long and after a day or so need to be washed or they stink and stink bad.

The plus side is yes, they feel good on your skin (providing they stay dry) and they are cheap and come in great colours. When washed they do hold their shape as well.

QuickDry T-shirts, Kathmandu.

These T-shirts are just as they say – Quick-dry. I think out of all the tops I have ever worn over the years this on dries the quickest of all.

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Let’s break them down.

Fabric features.

  • The fabric is made up of 85% Polyester and 15% Cotton.
  • The drimotion fabrics are woven to give effective moisture management of the garment.
  • This T-shirt is designed to keep you dry, cool and comfortable during your activity.
  • Quick dry fabric.
  • Fabric is soft on the skin.
  • Flat lock seams to prevent chaffing.

For me these T-shirts have been a cheap go and I wouldn’t say they are great. My hubby loves his as he finds them comfortable to wear and the fabric feel good on the skin. I agree but find they don’t breathe like other styles, this is more likely due to the cotton in the fabric. I find them heavier as well and drying time so much longer, so when you sweat they don’t wick away very well leaving you wet. The other thing I don’t like is that they tend to not stay fresh smelling for long and after a day or so need to be washed or they stink and stink bad.

The plus side is yes, they feel good on your skin (providing they stay dry) and they are cheap and come in great colours. When washed they do hold their shape as well.

QuickDry Singlet, Kathmandu.

These singlets are just as they say – QuickDry. I think out of all the tops I have ever worn over the years this on dries the quickest of all.

Let’s break them down.

Fabric features.

  • The fabric is made up of 94% Nylon and 6% Elastane.
  • The fabric is woven in a waffle style to help create the air flow for breathability.
  • Light weight.
  • Has Ultra-fresh antimicrobial protection so the fabric stinks less and lasts longer between washes.

As I mentioned they are super quick at drying which is always a plus for any distance hiker. I find it easy to hand wash, wring out and hang and on a warm day be dry within ½ hour! Love that feature! Keeps shape really well and the breathability of the fabric is fantastic. I find it does wick away the moisture and you don’t have the stink either, so you can get away with not washing for days if you are not able to. They are not as expensive to buy as other brands so always a plus.

What I don’t like is it comes in two colours only and that is black or white. I personally don’t like white when I’m out on the trail as it is impractical and will stain quicker. I have the black, but this attracts heat and would find it better if they had it in colours. The other thing is it is a singlet and even though I like singlets a lot of hikers don’t as they don’t protect you as well from the sun and your pack may be rubbing against your skin.

I hope this helps with the choosing of T-shirts and do stay tuned as I have more to write about including thermals.

Check out other Gear Reviews – Sleep Gear  Hiking Pants  Socks

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