Please review and accept my application for the Icebreaker Skin 200 Long
Sleeve Shirt and Bodyfit 260 Tech top.
Name: Rebecca Sowards-Emmerd
Weight: 125 lb
Email: rebecca at backpackgeartest.org
Location: Sunnyvale, CA (on the peninsula between San Francisco and San
Most of the time I am a weekend warrior style backpacker, although I like to
get out on longer trips a few times a year. California has such variety in
scenery and terrain that I am never lacking in a place to visit, and most
weekends find me off in the mountains exploring new (to me) trails and
peaks. I follow lightweight, but not ultralight, backpacking techniques,
but am known to carry a few luxury items from time to time. In addition to
traditional backpacking I enjoy snowshoeing, skiing, and snowcamping, as
well as long dayhikes, geocaching, and peak climbing. These activities are
enough to keep me busy year-round in the great state of California.
This is the time of year that offers a wide variety of conditions in the
state of California and I like to get out to several different locations. I
get out on a regular basis year-round, usually fitting in one to two weekend
trips to the mountains per month, along with local dayhiking on the weekends
where I don't feel like driving all the way to the Sierra.
Later this month, I will be taking a nine day road trip down to the deserts
of Southern California for some dayhiking and car camping. We'll work our
way into Nevada where we plan on more dayhiking, camping, and maybe some
climbing thrown in for fun. This is a great time of year to visit the
desert - it is nice and cool (downright freezing at night), and usually
cloudy so there is no intense sun. Our hikes in the desert are often
off-trail and I am really rough on my clothes thanks to the plants and
rocks. We'll also be in rocky desert terrain, working our way through
canyons and sliding among the sandstone.
In the month of December, I have to keep a close eye on the weather patterns
in the mountains - if there is some good snow I like to get out for an
overnight snowshoe or ski trip at least once before Christmas. Snowy days
in the Sierra can be cold, stormy, windy, and dangerous (we encountered
nearly 4 feet of snow on an overnight freak storm last December, a situation
I hope to never be in again), or delightfully warm and sunny (yes, I've
snowshoed in shorts!) I also like to take an overnight trip to the Point
Reyes National Seashore every December, as it is usually nicer there in the
winter than in the summer, which can be quite foggy.
After the new year, the next several months are prime snow conditions in the
Sierra and Southern Cascades. I plan to get out to Tahoe, Yosemite, Lassen
National Park, and Mount Shasta on regular overnight cross country ski and
snowshoe trips, as well as day trips in the same areas. I will likely be
in the snow two weekends each month.
The alternate weekends will be spent in my local Bay Area, where winter
conditions are rainy and mild. I usually try to get in an overnight trip in
one of the local state parks, and do quite a lot of dayhiking in the local
hills. Although we get more warm and sunny days than the majority of the
country, most of the winter days are cold (50s and below) with heavy
overcast and rain. I really enjoy dayhiking in the redwood forests in this
kind of weather - it's my favorite time of year to be out.
DURABILITY: I'm rough on my outdoor clothes. Reeeeaaallly rough on them. I
glanced through my arsenal of outdoor clothing and couldn't find anything
more than a couple of months old that wasn't snagged, stained, ripped, or
otherwise damaged in some way (though still perfectly usable). In addition
to hiking and backpacking, I geocache, and this leads to quite a bit of
bushwhacking, which in turn leads to a lot of this damage. I also hike in
mountain terrain that is naturally rough on clothing (and all gear). I
have some tops that have worn thin where pack straps rub against my
shoulders and hips. The material of the Skin 200 top is lightweight, and I
wonder how it will hold up to my regular use and abuse, especially the pack
straps and plants I am likely to encounter on the desert trip. The Bodyfit
top is thicker material, but I have similar concerns about the durability.
MATERIAL: I usually wear synthetic base layers, but don't appreciate the
odor. For the past two winters I have used softshell wool lined pants and
have been impressed by their comfort, durability, and remarkable ability to
stay clean and unstinky. I am curious about the performance of these tops
vs the synthetic tops I am used to, particularly the stink factor!
WASHING: One of my bad habits is not paying attention to washing
instructions. I tend to throw everything in the wash and dryer together
without sorting by washing method. I'll pay attention to the washing
instructions early, but as the shirts get used they will probably be tossed
in with everything else. Fortunately the washing instructions match my
normal washing techniques, so hopefully I won't accidentally hurt the tops.
Can they survive this lack of care?
FIT: I like my base layers to fit snug. The website views of these shirts
show a snug fit on the models. According to the sizing information, I would
be a size small. Do they fit snug, but not too tight? Are they too baggy
for my tastes?
COMFORT: Comfort is obviously the most important thing with outdoor
clothing. These shirts must be comfortable as a base layer that can be worn
alone, or layered with other tops and jackets as conditions require. I have
an Icebreaker top that has the zip like the Bodyfit top, and the stitching
itches my upper chest, so this is someting I would be specifically concerned
Legal Mumbo Jumbo:
I have read the survival guide v.0609 and previous versions approximately
2,314,935 times since joining BGT and I agree to follow all the requirements
that are expected of me as a tester.
I am only involved with one test at this time, which has yet to arrive.
This is the Red Ledge Convert Fleece vest.
I've been testing with BGT for several years now, and all of my test reports
and owner reviews can be found here:
The following two are more recent examples of reports that I have filed:
Granite Gear Nimbus Latitude Ki Pack (summer 2005)
Sierra Designs Electra Sleeping Bag (winter 2005-2006)
Assistant Director of Product Reviews
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