tasc Performance Bamboo+Merino Performance Base Layer
SS Shirt Level A
Test Series by Andy Henrichs
October 27, 2012
Initial Report - 6-27-12
Long Term Report - 10-27-12
Name: Andy Henrichs
Height: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight: 185 lb (83.9 kg)
Email address: andyhenrichs(at)gmail(dot)com
City, State, Country: Boulder, Colorado, USA
Most of my backpacking has
been in the mountains of Colorado and the deserts in the
southwestern US. I have gone winter camping several times but I still prefer
backpacking in the warmer months. Most of my trips are 2-3 days, but I have
taken several trips of 5-6 days. In the summer of 2004, I was fortunate enough to
have thru-hiked the 476 mi (766 km) Colorado Trail over 35 days. Recently, I have been
leaning towards the lightweight side of the spectrum.
Manufacturer: thriv NP, Inc. (tascperformance.com)
of Manufacture: 2012
MSRP: Not Available
Manufacturers Stated Weight: Not listed
Measured Weight (size L): 5.0 oz (141.7 g)
The tasc Performance Level A Short Sleeve Base Layer
The tasc Performance Bamboo+Merino Performance Base Layer SS Shirt Level A is a T-shirt constructed of 65% viscose from bamboo, 30% merino wool, and 5% elastane. It's a very lightweight garment (I can actually see through it when it is stretched slightly). According to the packaging, the "A" stands for All Weather. It states that this category is intended for all conditions, intense activity, and serves as a lightweight regulation layer. Other features described on the packaging include:
Comfortable - The most comfortable performance layer on the planet.
Dry - Transfers moisture away from the skin and dries fast for top performance in all environments.
Regulating - Works with your body and adapts to keep your temperature stable in all conditions.
Anti-Odor - Bamboo and Merino fibers naturally resist odor for protection that doesn't fade over time.
The shirt itself is a solid color (black) with exterior gray stitches circling both underarm panels. These gray stitches also run along the front and back of the shoulder. There is a screen-printed-type tag in the usual interior location of the shirt with a logo, size, material information, and care instruction symbols. The care instructions are: machine wash cold, do not bleach, tumble dry low, and iron with low heat. Additionally, there is a small patch sewn to the lower left exterior of the shirt with another logo. This piece of material also advertises that the shirt is constructed of bamboo and merino wool.
The inner tag
|The lower left patch
The material feels very soft to the touch, but seems slightly itchy when I actually put it on. After wearing it for a just a few minutes, I really didn't notice the itch anymore. The two things that stand out the most to me while wearing this shirt is its length and its snugness. The shirt extends about 7.5 in (19 cm) below my waist. I rarely wear my shirt tucked in while I'm active, but I've found that this shirt will stay tucked in regardless of how far above my head I'm reaching. As I mentioned previously, this shirt is more snug than I was expecting. I have a 42 in (107 cm) chest and, according to the sizing chart on the packaging, the large Level A shirt is designed for a 42-44 in (107-112 cm) chest. The shirt material blend is quite stretchy and, despite its snugness, is not uncomfortable. Maybe this snugness will just be motivation for me to get outside more often and drop a few pounds. The large underarm panels seem well-designed in that they eliminate any stitches in the underarm area, which will hopefully minimize or eliminate chafing.
One of the generously-sized underarm panels
Long Term Report
I've been able to wear the tasc Performance Bamboo+Merino Performance Baselayer SS Shirt Level A on a significant number of outings during the test period. I wore it on a three-day backpacking trip into the San Juan Mountains of southern Colorado. Elevations on this trip ranged from 8200 ft (2500 m) to over 14000 ft (4000 m). Unfortunately, the weather was less than ideal, with a fair amount of rain, significant cloud cover, and strong winds for most of the trip. Temperatures rarely got above 65 F (18 C). As such, I was often bundled up with the tasc shirt serving as my baselayer. My next backpacking trip was an overnight trip in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of Colorado. I spent most of my time on the west side of the range, and I didn't get very deep into the range. Elevations on this trip ranged from 8000 ft (2400 m) to 9500 ft (3000 m) and the weather was much nicer, with only brief afternoon showers. Temperatures ranged from 40 F (4 C) at night to over 75 F (24 C) during the day. My final overnight trip was into the Gore Range of central Colorado. This was a later-season trip at elevations ranging from 8500 ft (2600 m) to 12000 ft (3700 m) and temperatures ranging from 20 F (-7 C) to 70 F (21 C). There was barely a cloud in the sky all weekend and only a light breeze when up high. In addition to these three backpacking trips, I work the tasc shirt on approximately 10 additional outings, in a mixture of activities such as day hiking, rock climbing, and mountain biking.
Wearing the tasc shirt while bushwhacking in Colorado
Field Observations and Summary
Overall I've been quite happy with this tasc shirt. It's comfortable, breathes well, and dries quickly. I've worn this shirt while doing activities ranging from mountain biking, to backpacking with a heavy pack, to lounging around the campfire. It has been quite comfortable, and I haven't noticed any chafing in the underarms or under backpack shoulder straps. The initial itchiness I mentioned in my IR has persisted despite numerous washings. As I mentioned in my IR, the itchiness only lasts for the first 10-15 minutes of wearing the shirt, so it really hasn't been a concern for me. Other than that, the shirt moves well and I haven't felt restricted in it. I had some initial misgivings about the snugness of the shirt, but either it has stretched slightly, I've slimmed down a bit, or I don't notice the snugness after I've started hiking. It really hasn't been an issue for me during the test period. Like other wool shirts I've worn, the tasc shirt seems to wick moisture away from my skin quite well and dries fairly well. I have swapped it out for a dry shirt upon reaching camp on several occasions, and I have found that it dries in the sun generally within 30 minutes. The durability of this shirt has also been impressive. A good amount of my hiking or backpacking time was spent bushwhacking through forests, and I'm pleasantly surprised that I haven't had any snags or pulls on the shirt. I think that speaks very highly of the construction.
Given the color of the shirt, I've been quite impressed with the temperature regulation it provides. I usually try to avoid dark-colored clothing, as I'm usually plenty warm while active, but this shirt is light enough that the dark color doesn't seem to contribute to me overheating. The one downside of the dark color is that it seems to accentuate the inevitable salt stains from sweating. They're not very aesthetic, but a dunk in the water helps to alleviate them. Despite claims of anti-odor protection, I've found that I can detect odors alternating between normal body odor and that of a wet sheep after backpacking trips. These odors aren't overwhelming or even very strong, but they are present and noticeable on a fairly regular basis. After washing the shirt, the odors disappear as expected and it smells like new. While on that topic, washing the tasc shirt has been a breeze. I've simply washed it in cold water and hung it out to dry and I haven't noticed any shrinking, snags, or other issues.
more form-fitting than I generally prefer
Thank you to tasc Performance and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this shirt.
Read more gear reviews by Andrew Henrichs