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Owner Review - SmartWool Tee - Ray Estrella

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  • rayestrella1
    It is very slow here. I figured I would spark some action. HTML may be found here; http://tinyurl.com/ygp4ao SmartWool Lightweight Short-sleeved Tee Owners
    Message 1 of 8 , Oct 31, 2006
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      It is very slow here. I figured I would spark some action. HTML may
      be found here;

      http://tinyurl.com/ygp4ao

      SmartWool Lightweight Short-sleeved Tee

      Owners Review
      November 3, 2006

      Tester Information
      Name: Raymond Estrella
      Age: 46
      Gender: Male
      Height: 6' 3" (193 cm)
      Weight: 210 lb (95 kg)
      Email address: rayestrella@...
      City: Huntington Beach
      State: California
      Country: USA

      Backpacking Background

      I have been backpacking for over 30 years, all over the state of
      California, and also in Washington, Minnesota, Nevada, Arizona, and
      Idaho. I hike year-round, mostly in the Sierra Nevada, and average
      400 to 500+ miles (640 – 800+ km) per year. As I start my 4th
      decade of backpacking I am making the move to lightweight gear, and
      smaller volume packs. I start early and hike hard so as to enjoy the
      afternoons exploring. I usually take a freestanding tent and enjoy
      hot meals at night. Many of my trips are taken with my brother-in-
      law Dave.

      The product

      Manufacturer: SmartWool
      Web site: www.smartwool.com
      Product: Lightweight Short-sleeve Tee
      Style #: 14-610
      Size: Extra Large
      Year manufactured: 2005
      MSRP: $60.00 (US)
      Weight listed: N/A Weight measured 9 oz ( g)
      Color reviewed: Green
      Warranty: 100% Guarantee

      Product Description

      The SmartWool Lightweight Short-sleeved Tee (hereafter called the
      SmartWool or shirt) is a loose cut t-shirt aimed at outdoorsy types.
      It is made of "100% superfine SmartWool" according to the
      manufacturer, yet inside the shirt near the bottom side is a tag
      that identifies it as 100% Merino wool. On the back of said tag are
      the laundering instructions. They are as follows. Machine wash cold,
      tumble dry low, iron low. DO NOT DRY CLEAN. (I'm a guy, brushing old
      mud from my boots is as close to dry cleaning as I get, they needn't
      worry.) The material is much softer to the touch than cotton but not
      as slick feeling as nylon. I like it.

      I bought my shirt(s) in a size XL to accommodate my height. It is a
      bit baggy on me because of it. The shirts are not offered in Tall
      sizes although I wish they were. It looks like any other t-shirt at
      first glance, (usually the only one I get from most people,
      especially female glancers) but upon more careful inspection it
      reveals itself to be quite a nice piece of work.

      The stitching is some of the best I have ever seen on a t-shirt. (At
      $60.00 US for a tee maybe it better be.) All of the shoulder, arm
      and side seams are sewn with a serge stitch to create both a flat
      and extremely strong seam. I have had many shirts pull apart at the
      shoulder seams from my massive pipes…I mean my heavy backpacks. This
      shirt is still looking good as far as that is concerned. It has
      frayed along the edges of the seams where my shoulder straps have
      rubbed them incessantly, but none have pulled loose. The hems at the
      end of the sleeves and body look from the outside to have two rows
      of stitching, but upon examination inside it is seen that the two
      rows are done at the same time and interlock with each other it
      seems like every other stitch. This would seem to give it some
      redundancy in the event of cutting one of the threads so as not to
      have it run.

      The collar is an example of sewing marvel to me in itself. I made a
      t-shirt in school. The collar was the hardest part and the seam of
      it, while looking good from the outside (my mom was amazed),
      protruded inside where my delicate neck could feel it. (Ever read
      the Princess and the Pea?) The collar on the SmartWool is sewn with
      the same double-run as the hems, but they add an extra fold of
      material folded over again to both the collar and body before
      stitching them together. This results in a seam that looks kind of
      like it has split piping. It ends up being very strong and has
      retained its shape very well, not drooping like many of my shirts
      (and house plants) do.

      Field Conditions

      The SmartWool shirts have been used in San Jacinto State Park and
      Wilderness, San Gorgonio Wilderness and many areas of the eastern
      Sierra Nevada. The lowest elevation seen with them on my back was
      400' (122 m) in Palm Springs California, the highest being on
      Forrester Pass at 13,180' (4017 m). The coldest temperature
      encountered was 28 F (-2 C) near White Mountain, the warmest many
      90+ F (33 C) days in the regional parks of Southern CA. They have
      been worn in cactus covered desert locales, low elevation scrub and
      hardwood areas, pine forests and treeless rock up high. They have
      been rained on, hailed on and mostly sun baked in my pursuit of
      backpacking miles and hiker chicks. (So far miles-thousands, hiker
      chicks-0)

      Observations

      I bought my two SmartWool t-shirts, one short and one long sleeved,
      in late summer of 2005 as part of a move to find the best material
      to combat odor. With the 2005/06 winter season approaching I
      decided to search out some new to me articles of clothing to fight
      the funk. (Winter in my opinion is much worse for clothing-retained
      odor as I am trapped in layers quite often, along with the
      impossibility of washing on the trail.) I purchased three silver-
      incorporating pieces, one more chemical antibacterial treated item
      (I have many), and the SmartWool shirts.

      One concern about them was how they would feel. I always thought of
      wool being itchy like my old hiking socks from the 80s and wool
      button up shirts of the same period. I decided to try it because of
      how soft and non-itchy the company's socks are, of which I have 19
      pairs of varying thicknesses and heights. I was pleased with the
      soft feel of the material. It is softer to touch than cotton.

      When I first got the SmartWool shirts home I washed them. I washed
      them in cold water as recommended and then took them out to air dry.
      They smelled horrible! I think this is what it smells like in New
      Zealand when it rains, a wet sheep. I was thinking there is no way I
      am going to be able to wear this thing hiking. I sweat hard,
      especially while climbing which factors largely into almost all of
      my backpacking trips. After they dried the smell went away, but I
      was still concerned about how they would fare on the trail. It is
      hard enough finding hiking partners without adding Eau-de-sheep to
      my repertoire of olfactory offenses.

      So I took them on a couple of day hikes where they proved themselves
      to be a non-smelly garment. What is more it seemed that they do not
      hold odors too much. The next use really tested this quality out. It
      was another day-hike at the end of October with a twist. The Cactus
      to Clouds hike was called the 5th hardest day hike in America by
      Backpacking Magazine, climbing from 400' (122 m) elevation in Palm
      Springs to the top of San Jacinto at 10,834' (3302 m) in a distance
      of 17 miles (27 km). With the 5 miles back from the peak to the Palm
      Springs Arial Tramway for a ride back down it is a 23 mile (37 km)
      hike that climbs almost constantly for a total of 10,700' (3261 m)
      of gain. I wore both SmartWool shirts starting off at 4:40 AM. By
      5:00 AM I was sweating hard enough to lose the long-sleeve shirt.
      Within another hour the short-sleeved shirt was soaked, a state that
      it would stay in for most the day. As I got above 9,000' (2743 m)
      the wind was getting pretty cold so the long shirt went back on. I
      was still sweating and soaked it also. We took a rest when we
      attained the summit. I had to put a rain coat over both to keep from
      getting too chilled through the wet wool. I lost the coat on the
      quick descent to the tram station. As we were having a well deserved
      beer (OK, two…) while waiting for the tram both shirts were
      noticeably drying out while I sat there. And I noticed that I did
      not smell a fraction as bad as my hiking partner. I had to attribute
      that to the SmartWools as I bet I had sweated at least a quart (1 L)
      that day into my shirts.

      I continued to wear the Smartwools off and on during the spring and
      summer of 2006, always being impressed with the inherent ability of
      the wool to actually win the battle of the B.O. Then I decided to do
      a torture test to the short sleeved shirt as I was planning on
      writing this review.

      I am in the habit of bringing extra shirt, socks and underwear on
      all multi-day backpacking trips. At the end of a hard days hiking I
      try to find a lake to dip in to rinse off the days dirt and sweat.
      Then while I drip-dry I rinse out the days clothing and spread it to
      dry back in camp. Often the drying process will have to be completed
      on my pack during the next days hiking. On my recent four-day trip
      from Onion Valley to Horseshoe Meadow via Cottonwood Pass (east-side
      Sierra Nevada) I decided to wear the short sleeved shirt every day
      without benefit of rinsing out between wearing. I did bring the long
      sleeved SmartWool also but only wore it in camp to let the short
      sleeved shirt have a chance to at least dry out off of my back. Over
      the course of the trip I put in 58 miles (93 km) and 11,100' (3383
      m) of elevation gain in temps that got as high as 90 F (32 C) down
      near Horseshoe. The shirt was soaked every day of the hike. Here is
      a shot at the top of Forrester Pass. The shirt is pretty much solid
      soaked. It is actually a lighter color than it seems.


      By the end of the second day it was getting salt lines on the front
      of it where my backpack's shoulder straps ride. By the last day it
      had salt marks over the whole chest area. (Did I mention that I
      sweat a bit?)

      At the end of the trip I purposely wadded it up and tossed it on the
      extra bed in my room in Lone Pine CA. (Dave had to bail mid-hike.)
      The next day after having a night to get back to normal (if I can
      ever be called normal) I unwadded it and gave it a good wiff. And
      another. I was major impressed. There was no pungent body odor even
      under the arms. It smelled dirty to be sure but was not "funky", or
      sharp.

      On the down side the shirt seem to be a little less durable than my
      other shirts. A little snag on the long sleeved shirt resulted in a
      tear in the sleeve near the wrist. And the short sleeved shirt is
      pilling on the back where my hipbelt rides and the shoulders, along
      with the edges of the seams as mentioned earlier.

      The results of my experience with these has me determined to try
      some thicker models this winter. Stay tuned for the results.

      Pros: Excellent wicking ability, quick drying, superb odor control.

      Cons: Expensive, not as durable as other materials, does not come in
      tall sizes.
    • chcoa
      PLEASE READ THIS EMAIL IN FULL. IT IS MOST IMPORTANT! Thanks for your Owner s Review. It has been added to the Owner Review Queue and will be picked up by an
      Message 2 of 8 , Nov 2, 2006
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        PLEASE READ THIS EMAIL IN FULL. IT IS MOST IMPORTANT!

        Thanks for your Owner's Review. It has been added to the Owner
        Review Queue and will be picked up by an Edit Moderator soon. Do
        not worry if nothing happens with it for several days. All our
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        To assist in this process, if this is your first Owner Review we ask
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      • edwardripleyduggan
        Good Morning, Ray! Here ya go! Ted. BGT OR Editor This ... ### COMMENT: would ...interlock with each other, apparently at every other stitch do? Reads
        Message 3 of 8 , Nov 7, 2006
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          Good Morning, Ray!

          Here ya go!

          Ted.

          BGT OR Editor


          This
          > shirt is still looking good as far as that is concerned. It has
          > frayed along the edges of the seams where my shoulder straps have
          > rubbed them incessantly, but none have pulled loose. The hems at the
          > end of the sleeves and body look from the outside to have two rows
          > of stitching, but upon examination inside it is seen that the two
          > rows are done at the same time and interlock with each other it
          > seems like every other stitch.

          ### COMMENT: would "...interlock with each other, apparently at every
          other stitch" do? Reads better, says the same thing.

          This would seem to give it some
          > redundancy in the event of cutting one of the threads

          ### COMMENT: "in the event one of the threads gets cut" reads better.

          so as not to
          > have it run.
          >
          > The collar is an example of sewing marvel to me in itself.

          ### COMMENT: That is one convoluted sentence. Maybe "To me, the collar
          in itself is an example of a sewing marvel"?

          >
          > Field Conditions
          >
          > The SmartWool shirts have been used in San Jacinto State Park and
          > Wilderness, San Gorgonio Wilderness and many areas of the eastern
          > Sierra Nevada. The lowest elevation seen with them on my back was
          > 400' (122 m) in Palm Springs California, the highest being on
          > Forrester Pass at 13,180' (4017 m). The coldest temperature
          > encountered was 28 F (-2 C) near White Mountain, the warmest many
          > 90+ F (33 C) days in the regional parks of Southern CA. They have
          > been worn in cactus covered desert locales, low elevation scrub and
          > hardwood areas, pine forests and treeless rock up high. They have
          > been rained on, hailed on and mostly sun baked in my pursuit of
          > backpacking miles and hiker chicks. (So far miles-thousands, hiker
          > chicks-0)

          ### COMMENT: Oh come on, Ray--you must have run into one or two comely
          young ladies, surely? At least to say "hi" to? Incidentally, if they
          hear you calling them chicks, they may bop you.<g>

          >

          >
          > One concern about them was how they would feel. I always thought of
          > wool being itchy like my old hiking socks from the 80s and wool
          > button up

          ### EDIT: button-up

          shirts of the same period. I decided to try it because of
          > how soft and non-itchy the company's socks are, of which I have 19
          > pairs of varying thicknesses and heights. I was pleased with the
          > soft feel of the material. It is softer to touch than cotton.
          >
          >

          >

          >
          > I am in the habit of bringing extra shirt, socks and underwear on
          > all multi-day backpacking trips. At the end of a hard days hiking I
          > try to find a lake to dip in to rinse off the days dirt and sweat.
          > Then while I drip-dry I rinse out the days clothing and spread it to
          > dry back in camp. Often the drying process will have to be completed
          > on my pack during the next days

          ### EDIT: day's

          hiking. Over
          > the course of the trip I put in 58 miles (93 km) and 11,100' (3383
          > m) of elevation gain in temps that got as high as 90 F (32 C) down
          > near Horseshoe. The shirt was soaked every day of the hike. Here is
          > a shot at the top of Forrester Pass. The shirt is pretty much solid

          ### EDIT: solidly

          > soaked. It is actually a lighter color than it seems.
          >
          >
          > By the end of the second day it was getting salt lines on the front
          > of it where my backpack's shoulder straps ride. By the last day it
          > had salt marks over the whole chest area.

          ### COMMENT: And you wonder where all the babes...err, I mean
          attractive young ladies...are?

          (Did I mention that I
          > sweat a bit?)
          >
          > At the end of the trip I purposely wadded it up and tossed it on the
          > extra bed in my room in Lone Pine CA. (Dave had to bail mid-hike.)
          > The next day after having a night to get back to normal (if I can
          > ever be called normal) I unwadded it and gave it a good wiff.

          ### EDIT: whiff

          And
          > another. I was major impressed. There was no pungent body odor even
          > under the arms. It smelled dirty to be sure but was not "funky", or
          > sharp.
          >
          >
        • rayestrella1
          Thanks for the edits Ted. I made the changes but will wait to post as the site is down. Ray
          Message 4 of 8 , Nov 7, 2006
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            Thanks for the edits Ted.

            I made the changes but will wait to post as the site is down.

            Ray
          • rayestrella1
            Hi Ted, Do you want me to make a folder sir? I know it was down earlier. Ray
            Message 5 of 8 , Nov 7, 2006
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              Hi Ted,

              Do you want me to make a folder sir?

              I know it was down earlier.

              Ray
            • edwardripleyduggan
              Thanks, Ray. That s fine. Looks good. I was outside this afternoon seam-sealing the Double Rainbow, breathing in those fine mineral spirits (that and fixing a
              Message 6 of 8 , Nov 7, 2006
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                Thanks, Ray. That's fine. Looks good.

                I was outside this afternoon seam-sealing the Double Rainbow,
                breathing in those fine mineral spirits (that and fixing a rotted-out
                windowsill on my house). The former probably explains why I feel a
                trifle out of it tonight, but at least the weather let me do it
                outside, rather than poisoning my entire family. Dammit though,
                thinned Silnet is real hard to keep under control. I have several
                extra-well waterproofed spots, well away from seams.

                By the way, that is one nice mountain you are on in the last image.

                Ted.

                --- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, "rayestrella1"
                <rayestrella@...> wrote:
                >
                > Hi Ted,
                >
                > Do you want me to make a folder sir?
                >
                > I know it was down earlier.
                >
                > Ray
                >
              • rayestrella1
                ... out ... I have a few of those on the Squall 2 also. I used 100% silicone though. Did the silnet work OK? ... That is my nemisis White Mountain. We are
                Message 7 of 8 , Nov 7, 2006
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                  --- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, "edwardripleyduggan"
                  <erd@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Thanks, Ray. That's fine. Looks good.
                  >
                  > I was outside this afternoon seam-sealing the Double Rainbow,
                  > breathing in those fine mineral spirits (that and fixing a rotted-
                  out
                  > windowsill on my house). The former probably explains why I feel a
                  > trifle out of it tonight, but at least the weather let me do it
                  > outside, rather than poisoning my entire family. Dammit though,
                  > thinned Silnet is real hard to keep under control. I have several
                  > extra-well waterproofed spots, well away from seams.

                  I have a few of those on the Squall 2 also. I used 100% silicone
                  though. Did the silnet work OK?

                  > By the way, that is one nice mountain you are on in the last
                  >image.

                  That is my nemisis White Mountain. We are ancient enemies, and she
                  has gotten the best of me many times. Not that trip though!

                  Ray

                  > Ted.
                  >
                  > --- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, "rayestrella1"
                  > <rayestrella@> wrote:
                  > >
                  > > Hi Ted,
                  > >
                  > > Do you want me to make a folder sir?
                  > >
                  > > I know it was down earlier.
                  > >
                  > > Ray
                  > >
                  >
                • edwardripleyduggan
                  ... Pretty good so far as I can tell. The tent s outside, the sealant is dried, and I m waiting for some rain that s supposed to be headed in overnight. I
                  Message 8 of 8 , Nov 7, 2006
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                    > I have a few of those on the Squall 2 also. I used 100% silicone
                    > though. Did the silnet work OK?

                    Pretty good so far as I can tell. The tent's outside, the sealant is
                    dried, and I'm waiting for some rain that's supposed to be headed in
                    overnight. I should know better how it went once we have had some
                    showers. I'm sure there will be a few spots of touch-up needed, and
                    that will let me know where. Henry's instructions call for the
                    silicone to be thinned, so multiple applications *may* be required,
                    but I think I was thorough, other than one small spot I noticed after
                    I had finished cleanup.

                    I have accumulated umpteen (well, 4 or 5) tubes of Silnet, so I used
                    that rather than the 100 percent silicone a lot of folks use. It also
                    thins down OK in mineral spirit, 1 part Silnet to 2 of solvent. I
                    applied with a syringe and a sponge brush, also working the stuff into
                    the seams with my thumb. I was wearing "Liquid Glove" or some such
                    product, so in theory I was protected from the worst effects of the
                    solvent. Not the neatest job, but I've never been particularly good at
                    seam sealing neatly.


                    > That is my nemisis White Mountain. We are ancient enemies, and she
                    > has gotten the best of me many times. Not that trip though!

                    If I make it out in the next year or so, I'll look you up and we can
                    go climb that! I like the looks of it.

                    Best,

                    Ted.
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