View Full Version : Smartwool lt wt zip-T

04-05-2006, 11:33
I'm considering trying the light weight, not silk weight, Smartwool zip-T shirt, but I'm wondering about the effective temperature range, particularly in warm weather. At lower temp's, I'd just add a fleece or a windbreaker. At what warmer temperature would a lighter weight, maybe supplex shirt or something like a Rail Riders shirt be a good move? 60, 70, 80 degrees? The collective experience of the Whiteblaze community is most appreciated. :sun

04-05-2006, 15:30
I wore one of those in the Rockies during a freakishly warm September trip. It breathed much better than a synthetic and dried quickly, but I still wouldn't wear one above 65. The humidity was low where I was, so that may lower the high end of the temp range in the Appalachians.

It's a very subjective thing you are asking, of course. I sweat like I am getting paid for it, so you might be comfortable into the 80's. Temp ratings on clothing are as silly as those on sleeping bags. YMMV.

Smartwool may have fixed this problem, but in the early days some people had a body chemistry reaction with their clothing that caused a reek worse than any synthetic. By my second day I kept looking around for the goat following me, but I eventually determined that I was one of the lucky ones for whom Smartwool just stank.

I stick to synthetics now.

04-05-2006, 16:51

You advise, “I'm considering trying the light weight, not silk weight, Smartwool zip-T shirt ...”

First things first. I haven’t tried one. Feel free to ignore everything I write about this.

I would probably prefer to hike in Smartwool socks than most synthetic socks, but I prefer a particular synthetic socks.

The first piece of techno-weenie backpacking gear I ever tried was a “silkweight” polypropylene long sleeve shirt, in winter. It convinced me there was something of value to the technology.

I’m not thrilled, however, with “silkweight” polypropylene shirts in summer. A layer of slime seems to be created and maintained between my back and my pack. I prefer the heavier “lightweight” polypropylene shirt in summer. I either don’t feel the slime as intensely, or the fabric provides more space and my sweat evaporates, or something else entirely which I haven't figured out. I just know it feels better, to me.

In winter, oddly enough, I prefer the lightest “silkweight” shirt. You would be logical to presume a silkweight shirt wouldn’t be as warm as a lightweight shirt; and you’re right, at least by my experience.

Perspiration cools you. Period.

In summer, evaporating sweat makes you feel better. In winter, being wet and not being able to get dry can be deadly. I need a shirt in winter which will get sweat off my skin. I then add outer layers to warm me, which will not impede too much moisture from evaporating.

I haven’t answered your question directly, but you may wish to consider the merits of different fabric performances, and weights, and not just focus on their temperature value.

04-06-2006, 11:46
I may pass on the shirt, especially given Jaywalke's comments re: trail stank!:-?