LTR - SkirtSports TRIKini Tank Top - Pam Wyant
- LTR - SkirtSports TRIKini Tank Top - Pam Wyant
Long Term Report - September 30, 2008
Field Conditions and use:
In early August I wore the SkirtSports TRIKini tank top on an 8 mi
(13 km) day hike in Shenandoah National Park. The trail was mostly
shaded, with a few exposed sunny areas. Terrain varied from smooth
soil to exposed roots and rocks. Temperatures were in the 80 F (27
C) range, and I wore the TRIKini as my only upper body layer and
carried a day pack relatively heavy with water, at around a 10 lb
(4.5 kg) total weight. I tucked a energy gel pack in the bra pocket.
In late August I wore it on a two day section hike of the Appalachian
Trail in Shenandoah National Park, which included two day hikes
interspersed with an overnight at one of the park's campgrounds. I
wore a day pack while hiking, loaded similar to the prior trip. The
first day was a 10.4 mi (16.7 km) section of trail consisting of
similar terrain as the earlier August trip, with temperatures in the
70 F - 80 F (21 C - 27 C) ranges. The trail was mostly shaded, but
with two longer exposed sunny areas. The second day was a shorter
2.3 mi (3.7 km) hike, with similar temperatures. The trail included
a short section of dirt interspersed with root and rocks, and a
longer section with soil and grass underfoot and tall grass and
bramble bushes along the sides, including blackberries in bloom which
were being visited by scores of bumble bees! Due to the warm
temperatures, I again wore the TRIKini as my only upper body layer
while hiking, even though I was a little worried about the proximity
of some of those bees! With a nice campground shower house nearby, I
took advantage of the opportunity to clean up in the evenings and don
fresh clothing and did not wear the TRIKini in camp.
Photo - Hiking in the TRIKini in Seneca Creek area
Also in late August/early September, I wore it on a weekend (3 day/2
night) backpacking trip in the Seneca Creek area of the Monongahela
National Forest in eastern West Virginia. While the days were warm
(70 F - 80 F/21 C - 27 C), the evening temperatures dropped quickly
into the 50 F - 60 F (10 C - 16 C). Most of the trail the first and
last day was shaded, and I wore my fully loaded, around 20 lb (9 kg)
GoLite Quest pack. The second day was actually day hiking from our
base camp, and included some sunny meadows. I wore my Quest pack,
but compressed it to carry only water, food, rain gear, and the
typical 'essentials', estimated at around 10 lb (4.5 kg). While
hiking I wore the TRIKini as my only upper body layer, but added a
light wool top over it in the evenings for warmth, and also added a
light down jacket in the early mornings until I started warming up.
I found the TRIKini dried nicely in a reasonable time after the
exertion of hiking, and wore it to sleep in as well as for hiking.
In fact, I never took it off the entire weekend.
I also wore the TRIKini on four short (3 mi/5 km) day hikes in
western West Virginia, on old, rough dirt semi-maintained county
roads. Temperatures ranged from 60 F to 80 F (16 C to 27 C). These
were 'packless' trips, carrying only water, an energy bar in my cargo
pants pocket, and an energy gel in the bra pocket. On these hikes, I
sometimes wore a light weight long sleeved nylon shirt over the
TRIKini, but ended up shedding it soon after warming up.
Experiences and conclusions:
I have been surprised by how well I have come to like hiking in the
SkirtSports TRIKini tank top. I normally like to hike in short
sleeved shirts in warmer weather, both for comfort from pack straps
and buckles and for coverage from the sun or scratchy branches along
the trail. I was pleased to find that I did not experience any
chafing or discomfort from either my day pack straps or my GoLite
Quest pack straps. Because I have noticed chafing with other
sleeveless tops (and with some short-sleeved models), I mulled it
over a bit and decided that this must be due to the fairly good
coverage of the armhole area of the TRIKini.
One thing I did not like as well was that I felt my pack straps got
somewhat sweatier since there was not as much shirt fabric absorbing
the sweat in the armpit area. This wasn't a huge issue - I simply
ended up rinsing out my pack after each trip, which probably isn't a
bad idea to get rid of the salts that build up from sweating against
the back of the pack anyway.
A positive from the lack of fabric in the armpit area is that I did
not have as much sweat build up on my shirt and it was therefore less
smelly than a sleeved shirt. In fact, odor did not build up very
badly on the shirt at all. On my last backpacking trip, our group
posed for a photo on the last day, and the lady standing next to me
made the remark "I don't know how you do it, but even after three
days you don't stink". I laughed and said her nose must not be
working properly, but after thinking about it, I do believe there was
less overall odor build up with the TRIKini than many other shirts I
I also liked that it was very easy to wash salts and sweat off of my
arms and most of my back at the end of each day since I did not have
sleeves getting in the way. I had hoped to use the TRIKini as a
swimming top on a backpacking trip, but that just did not work out.
While it was hot we were busy hiking in areas away from water holes,
and when we were near the waterholes, the temperatures dropped too
much for me to be comfortable in getting soaked through and then
sitting around while I dried out. I found it nearly as refreshing
though to be able to wade out a bit and splash off thoroughly without
worrying about getting wet sleeves. The little bit of splash that
landed on the top dried relatively quickly.
The TRIKini seemed to wick very well. I never felt dripping wet with
sweat under the tank top and felt it absorbed and dispersed the
moisture very well.
The TRIKini was very pleasant to wear. I liked feeling that I had a
full range of motion in my arms and shoulders when I wore it. I had
not realized how much even a loose fitting sleeve can sometimes
restrict motion, but noticed a remarkable feeling of freedom in the
shoulder and upper arm area with the TRIKini. Another positive was
the built in bra. Normally I wear an athletic type bra when hiking
and backpacking, but I found I really liked the less structured built
in bra - so much that it was even very comfortable to sleep in, which
is not something I can say about my separate bras. Even though it
wasn't very structured, it felt supportive enough for backpacking and
A neutral feature was the bra pocket. Although I used it a few
times, I was always conscious of what I had in there, and it did make
the fabric lumpy in that area when I had anything in it. When it's
empty it is not even noticeable, which is why I consider it neutral -
okay, but not a feature I like or need. I could see that it might be
more useful if I were a runner and did not have a pack or cargo
pockets handy to carry a snack or a lip balm, but as a backpacker it
adds no real value.
The only real negative about the TRIKini was that it did become
rather grungy looking on the white trim in the back and around the
armholes, and I was never really able to get it fully white again
even though I used a couple of brands of laundry pre-treatment and
did some hand scrubbing. The stains appeared to be mainly from my
day pack which is an inexpensive older model, and seemed to bleed
color onto the trim. If I were purchasing another shirt, I would
likely go for a darker color this time around. I would like to see a
somewhat wider choice of fabrics available to choose from, maybe one
or two solid colors, since I'm not a big fan of bold prints.
The labels on the neck and near the hem have peeled significantly,
and the one on the back is starting to peel slightly, but I don't
feel this adversely affects the shirt.
Overall, I have to say that I really like the SkirtSports TRIKini
tank, and will definitely consider replacing this one with another
when the time comes for it to be retired.
Comfortable, with good range of motion and decent bra support
Ease of splashing off sweat salts while wearing
Bra pocket not very useful to me
A wider choice of colors/patterns (including more neutral or solid
colors) would be nice
Stains remain on the white trim (result of my choice, darker trim
color is available in other color choices)
This concludes the test series.
Thanks to SkirtSports and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to
test the TRIKini Tank.