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Reviews > Clothing > Base Layers and Undies > Gordini Lite LS Crew or Princess > Test Report by Tom Callahan

TEST SERIES BY TOM CALLAHAN, November 18, 2008 - March 16, 2009
March 16, 2009



NAME: Tom Callahan
EMAIL: tcallahanbgt AT yahoo DOT com
AGE: 50
LOCATION: Seattle, Washington, USA
HEIGHT: 5' 11" (1.80 m)
WEIGHT: 170 lb (77.10 kg)

For the past 20 years I have lived off and on in Washington State, backpacking in the Cascade Mountains. I get out regularly on day hikes and multi-day trips and usually try to include a good off trail scramble. During the winter I get out snowshoeing at every opportunity. I also enjoy glacier climbing, summiting prominent peaks like Mt. Rainier (14K ft/4K m) and Mt. Baker (10K ft/3K m). My pack weight will range from 15 - 50 lbs (7 - 23 kg) depending on the season and the length and type of trip.



Manufacturer: Gordini
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website:
MSRP: US$ 35.00
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: 6.2 oz (175 g)
Size: Large
Color: Black
Color choices: Black, Charcoal, Chocolate, Denim


The shirt came in its retail packaging. This is a bright orange box and is very eye catching. It prominently displays the Lavawool logo. The Lavawool fabric is a combination of 88% Polyester and 12% Merino Wool. Product information on the box states:

- The warmth and benefits of Merino Wool with the comfort of fleece.
- Employs inherent insulation properties of wool.
- Uses synthetic fibers to wick moisture.
- The natural crimp of wool allows it to bounce back into shape, remaining effective in all weather conditions.
- Outperforms the leading synthetic fabric and 100% wool in moisture management.

In addition to this product information the box has two graphics showing the thermal resistance (warmth) and the quick drying properties of the Gordini Lavawool fabric relative to 100% Polyester Filament (Leading Ski Brand), 100% Polyester Filament (Leading Outdoor Brand) and 100% Merino Wool (Leading Outdoor Brand). In the thermal resistance graphic the "mid-weight" Lavawool fabric is compared to the other fabrics. In the drying properties graphic it compares the "light weight" Lavawool with the other fabrics. As a consumer this information would have been more useful if the same or even both weights of the Lavawool fabric were used in each comparison graphic.

Lavawool Shirt
Lavawool Shirt

Upon taking the item out of its packaging I was immediately struck by the light weight of the fabric. It was almost a bit sheer. While I was expecting this to be a light weight base layer, I didn't expect it to be quite this light. The Lavawool fabric felt smooth and comfortable to the touch. It was not scratchy like a pure wool garment. It was also not as smooth as a silk garment. It felt very similar to base layer garments I have used that were 100% synthetic material and so the feel of this garment is what I expected. The fabric is slightly stretchy which I also expected. The construction of the garment is very sound. All stitching was straight and tight with no loose threads. The shirt has a thin neck band and wrist cuffs which are made with folded over fabric that has been serged. The tag for the garment is imprinted on the fabric.

Neck band and printed tag
Neck band and printed tag


The garment does not require any special care or treatment. The tag provides very simple care instructions: Machine wash cold, tumble dry low. No bleach.


I tried on the shirt and the fit was a bit loose. I have a 40 in (102 cm) chest and will take either a Medium or a Large, depending on the garment and manufacturer sizing. The Gordini sizing chart on the packaging indicates a 40/42 for the Large. So for this test I ordered a size Large. Due to the stretchy nature of the fabric a size Medium would probably provide a better fit. But the size Large is only slightly loose and it fits well enough to use as an effective upper base layer. The Lavawool fabric of this shirt felt comfortable against my skin. The neck band and wrist cuffs also fit well and were not too tight.


This shirt seems like a good basic light weight base layer. It is well made with quality fabric. This fabric is called Lavawool and is composed of 88% Polyester and 12% Merino Wool. The shirt's Lavawool material is comfortable against my skin. The material is a bit lighter in weight than I was expecting. During testing I will be anxious to find out the extent to which this shirt keeps me warm. I will also be testing the garment's quick drying properties when engaged in highly active, strenuous activities such as snowshoeing. In addition to testing these properties I will be checking to see how the garment holds up when worn in the field and to repeated washings.

This concludes my Initial Report of the Gordini Light Weight Long Sleeve Crew Shirt. Please check back in about 2 months for my Field Report.



During this phase of testing I wore the Gordini Long Sleeve Crew Shirt on 2 overnight trips and 3 day hikes. All these trips were in the central Cascade Mountains.

The first overnight started at 2,200 ft (670 m), camped at 5,000 ft (1,500 m) and the next day scrambled up a peak with a high point of 6,600 ft (2,000 m). Temperatures ranged from a high of 50 F (10 C) to a low of around 30 F (-1 C). It was overcast and windy the first day. The second day was perfectly calm and sunny.

The second overnight, I started around 1,500 ft (450 m) and camped at 4,000 ft (1,200 m). Then the next day hiked up to a high point of 6,400 ft (1,950 m). It was a mixed bag of broken clouds, mist, drizzle and rain for both days on this trip. The first day's temperatures ranged from 45 to 30 F (7 to -1 C). The next day temperatures remained right around 30 F (-1 C).

One of the day hikes I started out at 1,800 ft (550 m) and had an elevation gain of 3,900 ft (1,200 m). Temperatures were around 50 F (10 C) at the start under partly sunny skies. At the high point it had begun to cloud up and temperatures were around 40 F (7 C). There was just a slight breeze all day. I started out on bare trail and hiked up into several feet (about a meter) of snow and although I had snowshoes with me, didn't yet need them as the snow was well packed down from other hikers who had been up the day before.

Right before Christmas I went out on a day trip. I was able to hike the packed snow in boots for the first 1/2 hour, then the snow became deep and soft enough to warrant snowshoes. That day it was clear and calm at the start with temperatures around 10 F (-12 C) at an elevation of around 1,500 ft (450 m). As I gained an elevation of around 4,500 ft (1,400 m) temperatures had dropped to 5 F (-15 C). It later became windy on the way down and temperatures stayed steady at 5 F (-15 C).

My last day trip was at a time of high avalanche hazard in the Cascades. So on that day I did a loop trail which started out at around 500 ft (150 m) and had an elevation gain of just less than 1,000 ft (300 m). Temperatures were around 35 to 40 F (2 to 4 C). It was a cloudy day with rain off and on such that the trail became a wet slushy mess. But better that than to risk avalanche hazard terrain at higher elevations.


I have been very pleased with the Gordini Shirt. The Lavawool material has felt comfortable when wearing next to my skin as a base layer. I never experienced any rubbing or chaffing, even after a long day in the field. The shirt has kept its shape, not getting stretched out. The neck, sleeves and cuffs have retained their elasticity, even after repeated washings.

This shirt has kept me comfortably warm throughout testing. I wore the Gordini Shirt as a base layer under my long sleeve hiking shirt (70% nylon/30% polyester). Then, depending on conditions, I have added a soft shell jacket or a rainshell as an outer layer. When wearing the Gordini shirt as a base layer underneath my hiking shirt I found that at temperatures down to about 45 F (7 C) I was comfortable around camp. But above 45 F (7 C) I would start to overheat when hiking on a steep trail, especially with a full backpack. I found that I am comfortable wearing the Gordini Shirt under my hiking shirt to around 30 F (-1 C) when on a moderately strenuous trail. While out on a snowshoe outing in deep snow on steep terrain temperatures dipped to 5 F (-15 C). I was surprised that I remained comfortable when wearing the Gordini Shirt under just my hiking shirt. I was working really hard and the base layer nicely wicked away perspiration, coupled with the wool for insulation this really helped keep me from getting cold. To clarify, I stayed comfortable as long as I was moving on the steep terrain, especially when it was my turn to break trail. Not surprisingly I did get chilled when stopped for lunch break at which point I donned a warm parka.

Still warm @ 5 F (-15 C)
Still warm @ 5 F (-15 C)

It has been a bit of an odd winter so far in that I have not experienced much in the way of temperatures in the 25 to 15 F (-4 to -9 C) range. This is due in part to the weather pattern we have experienced and also due to avalanche hazard which has kept me a lower elevations at times. I expect to experience temperatures in the 25 to 15 F (-4 to -9 C) range during the Long Term Testing phase.

FIELD REPORT SUMMARY - January 19, 2009

Overall I have been quite impressed with the Gordini Long Sleeve Crew Shirt. The Lavawool fabric is very light in weight and at the start of testing I wasn't sure how warm the shirt would keep me. I've found it keeps me comfortably warm in the range of conditions I have encountered here in the Pacific Northwest. The shirt effectively wicks away sweat and dries quickly which adds to my comfort. After repeated washings and drying this garment has retained its shape and still fits me well. I look forward to continuing to use this base layer during the Long Term Testing period.

This concludes by Field Report of the Gordini Long Sleeve Crew Shirt. Please check back in about 2 months for my Long Term Report.



During this phase of testing I used the Gordini Long Sleeve Crew Shirt on 2 winter day hikes in the Cascade Mountains, a 4 day backcountry cross country ski & snowshoe trip to a hut system in the vicinity of Mt Rainier and an overnight climbing trip to a peak in the Olympic Mountains. Temperatures during these trips ranged from 15 to 40 F (-9 to 4 C). Weather I encountered was a mixed bag of rain, freezing rain and sunshine. Elevations during these outings ranged from 1,000 to nearly 6,000 ft (300 to 1,800 m). Daily elevation gain or loss ranged from 1,500 to 3,900 ft (450 to 1,200 m).

Out in deep snow during testing
Out in deep snow during testing


During this phase of testing I have continued to wear the shirt as a base layer under a nylon hiking shirt. In cooler conditions I would also don a soft shell jacket. On outings when the temperatures were consistently around 20 F (-7 C) I was very comfortable wearing the base layer under my nylon shirt with a soft shell jacket outer layer. But knowing that I would get warm, to the point of overheating, when wearing the Gordini shirt, nylon shirt and soft shell jacket at temperatures above 35 F (2 C), I ended up doing some good field testing while wearing the base layer and just my nylon shirt.

On a particular outing I had the sleeves of my nylon shirt rolled up and my lower arms were quite comfortable covered by only the base layer. Upon reaching a high point along the way the wind began blowing around 20 mph (32 km/h). The air temperature was around 40 F (4 C) so this equated to a wind-chill of around 20 F (-7 C). Under these conditions I quickly became chilled when stopped. I learned the Gordini shirt is truly a base layer because it did not break the wind at all. Once I rolled down my sleeves I was quite comfortable, even while sitting and having something to eat.

I also used the Gordini shirt as a base layer under my Gore-Tex shell jacket in rainy wet conditions. This combination worked out well. The base layer nicely wicked away sweat, keeping me from feeling clammy in my rain shell. That coupled with the thermal protection kept me quite comfortable at temperatures down as low 25 F (-4 C). During that day I reached an exposed portion of the trail and encountered winds of 20+ mph (32+ km/h) and blowing snow. Under these conditions I was fine as long as I was moving, but would become chilly when standing still for any length of time.

In addition to using the Gordini shirt while on the trail, I also used it when sleeping during backpacking trips. The shirt was very comfortable and I stayed warm in my 20 degree sleeping bag when temperatures dipped down to 20 F (-7 C).

Repeated washings did not affect the shape and fit of this shirt throughout testing. The sleeves did not shrink at all, the shoulders did not stretch out and the cuffs always fit snug. Also, this garment has not retained any unpleasant odors from all the use it has been put through during my testing.

Warm and comfortable on clear cold day
Warm and comfortable on a clear cold day


At the conclusion of Long Term testing I am just as pleased with the Gordini shirt as I was at the end of Field Testing. The Lavawool fabric is a very light weight material and provides a great degree of comfort and warmth. Plus it is also very effective in wicking away sweat which contributes to its comfort. The Gordini shirt is also very comfortable to wear for extra warmth when in camp and while sleeping. I plan to continue using the Gordini shirt as my base layer for future backpacking trips.

- Light weight
- Good thermal protection
- Wicks away moisture and dries quickly

- Does not afford any protection from the wind

This concludes my Long Term Report. My thanks to and Gordini for the opportunity to test this garment.

This report was created with the Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Read more gear reviews by Tom Callahan

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