Guest - Not logged in 

Reviews > Clothing > Base Layers and Undies > SmartWool Womens Lightweight Zip T > Owner Review by Andrea Murland

SmartWool Women's Lightweight Zip T
Owner Review by Andrea Murland
March 13, 2012

Tester Information

Name: Andrea Murland
Email: amurland AT shaw DOT ca
Age: 26
Location: Elkford & Kimberley, British Columbia, Canada
Gender: Female
Height: 5 ft 2 in (1.57 m)
Weight: 125 lb (57 kg)

I began hiking frequently in 2006 and have since hiked in Western Canada, Australia, and spent 2 months backpacking in the Alps. I spend most weekends either day-hiking or on 2-3 day backpacking trips, with some longer trips when I can manage them. I also snowshoe and ski in the winter, but don’t have a lot of experience with winter in the backcountry yet. Elevation is typically 500-3,000 m (1,600-10,000 ft), in the Canadian Rockies and the Selkirk, Purcell, and Monashee ranges. I try for a light pack, but I don’t consider myself a lightweight backpacker.

Product Information

Manufacturer: SmartWool
Manufacturer's URL:
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Model: Women's Lightweight Zip T
MSRP: USD $85.00
Colour: Chocolate Print (no longer available)
Other Colours Available: Sunrise, Teal, Claret, Imperial, Black
Sizes Available: XS, S, M, L, XL
Size Reviewed: Small
Listed Weight: None
Measured Weight: 170 g (6.0 oz)


The SmartWool Lightweight Zip T is a long-sleeve, pullover merino wool baselayer with a front zipper. It has a 6.3 cm (2.5 in) collar, and the zipper is 20.3 cm (8 in) long. The Zip T is sewn with flatlock seams for comfort and has a dropped hem at the back for better coverage. The SmartWool logo is screen printed onto the left sleeve.

Smartwool Lightweight Zip T

Field Conditions

I purchased the SmartWool Lightweight Zip T in 2008 and it has been my primary baselayer since then. I have worn it countless times while downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and ski touring. In the summer, I wear this layer for hiking and climbing. I usually end up wearing it to sleep on overnight trips, unless it’s really warm in the summer and I’m not wearing long sleeves for some reason. It has also spent a lot of time stuffed in my pack as a “just-in-case” layer. In the winter I usually wear it as my baselayer, and in the summer I usually wear it on top of a tank top or t-shirt so that I can take it off or put it on as the temperature of the day changes. Overall, I’ve probably worn this shirt several hundred times, and it’s in the laundry for about 2/3 of the loads that I wash. I’ve worn/carried it in conditions down to -35 C (-31 F) and up to 30 C (86 F), and in everything from sunshine to snow and rain. I always hang it to dry.

Smartwool Zip T use


Comfort & Fit:
The Zip T is very comfortable and fits me well; there’s a reason I wear it most often of all my layers! It is fitted without being tight, and slides on easily. The wool is soft and comfortable, though I occasionally have an itchy day. Granted, I have itchy days in other clothes too...thank you low humidity! The flatlock seams are comfortable when I wear the Zip T under another layer.

Warmth & Breathability:
The Zip T is very functional. In the summer it’s the layer that I use for temperature control in the shade or as temperatures drop, before I reach for heavier insulation. I can also hike in it without getting ridiculously hot, and it gets rid of moisture rapidly and dries quickly once wet. In the winter it breathes well, quickly transporting moisture out towards my outer layer. Even if damp, the layer is warm and comfortable. Dumping heat by undoing the zipper works well, especially when there’s a bit of a breeze (either natural or from my motion). I do find that the dark colour can be a challenge in the summer, as it heats up in the sun. I will note that the Zip T offers little resistance to mosquitoes, so I often have to find a thicker layer to cover up with in camp.

A great example of this shirt working well for me was just this past weekend. I was already wearing it from a Search and Rescue call when another call came in. The ZipT handled the sweaty adrenaline rush & gear-gathering, the cooling off while jumping in the helicopter, the sweating as I tried to keep my stomach contents in my stomach while the helicopter was circling the windy ridge, the sweating as I skied and bootpacked my way to the top of the ridge, the cooling off while we waited for an avalanche assessment, the sweating while trying to skin down a narrow track backwards, the cooling off while rigging ropes, the sweating while pulling ropes during the rope rescue, the cooling off while we took down all the ropes, the sweating while we cut down trees by hand for a helicopter landing pad, and finally the cooling down and shivering while attempting to sleep in a cold snowpit for a few hours. I was thinking about the other 6 layers I had on and off at some point, but this layer remained warm, comfortable, and never felt cold, wet, or clammy, so I didn't have to think about it at all.

The Zip T has held up very well to abuse over the past 3.5 years. I haven’t noticed any fading or thinning of the fabric, though I also don’t have a new one to compare to. There is some pilling at the seams, but no loose threads. There are two holes and runs in the fabric, one on my lower back, and one on my right sleeve. The screen printed logo on the sleeve is starting to peel off, but I’m not too worried about that.


The SmartWool Lightweight Zip T is a functional, comfortable, flattering baselayer that handles moisture and temperature control well. I will continue to wear it until it completely falls apart!

Thumbs Up:
Comfortable (not itchy!)
Good durability

Thumbs Down:
Little bug resistance
Small holes starting

Read more gear reviews by Andrea Murland

Reviews > Clothing > Base Layers and Undies > SmartWool Womens Lightweight Zip T > Owner Review by Andrea Murland

Product tested and reviewed in each Formal Test Report has been provided free of charge by the manufacturer to Upon completion of the Test Series the writer is permitted to keep the product. Owner Reviews are based on product owned by the reviewer personally unless otherwise noted.

If you are an avid backpacker, we are always looking for enthusiastic, quality reviewers. Apply here to be a gear tester.

All material on this site is the exclusive property of
BackpackGearTest software copyright David Anderson