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Reviews > Clothing > Shirts > Columbia OmniFreeze ICE SST Top > Test Report by Kurt Papke
Columbia OMNI Freeze ICE Baselayer
|Height:||6' 4" (193 cm)|
|Weight:||230 lbs (104 kg)|
|Email address:||kwpapke at gmail dot com|
|City, State, Country:||Tucson, Arizona USA|
||Men's Baselayer Lightweight Short Sleeve Top
|Year of manufacture:||2012|
||US $ 55.00
also available in Black and Compass Blue
||90% polyester/10% elastane|
|Sun Protection Factor
also available in extra-small, small, medium, large and
Measured: 163 g (5.75 oz)
Specifically not a feature of this product is Columbia's
Omni-shadeTM sun protection, nor does
the manufacturer supply an SPF rating for the shirt.
I found the care instructions printed on two hefty labels
attached to an inside seam near the bottom of the shirt.
They were printed in about seven languages, which is why the
labels were so substantial. I'm pondering whether to snip
them off to save weight and the possibility of chafe, but I don't
want to end up with a frayed mess, so I'll hold off until I see if
it is an issue.
The care required for cleaning is not atypical for my other white
polyester garments. I did not see on the website how many
times I should be able to wash the shirt before the Omni-Freeze
active functionality is impacted.
The next morning I went out for a 30-minute run with the
shirt. It was about 9AM, temperature about 80 F (27 C),
humidity 10% RH. I worked up a pretty good sweat, but the
shirt was nice and cool. I did not have a recurrence of the
prickly feeling from the prior day, I suspect because I was
sweating enough to keep my skin moist. It dried very quickly
after I completed my run.
It will not be easy for me to ascertain objectively just how much
the Omni-Freeze feature is contributing above and beyond the
normal evaporative cooling exhibited by wicking fabrics. All
I can say from my first experience is it was very comfortable.
||Terrain/ trail type
|May 28, 2012
Mountains in the Coronado National Forest near Tucson,
|Very steep high
||Sunny, 62-84F (17-29 C), 7-15% RH
|June 3, 2012
|Sunny, 62-74F (17-29 C), 11-19% RH||3100-5200 ft
|June 15-16, 2012||Santa Catalina Mountains in the Coronado National Forest near Tucson, Arizona||Samaniego Ridge
|Sky Island ridgeline||Sunny, 60-85 F
(16-29 C), 5-25% RH
|June 21-23, 2012||San Francisco Peaks in the Coconino National Forest near Flagstaff, Arizona||Mt Humphreys
|Forests to mountain peak tundra||Sunny, 50-80 F
|July 27-28, 2012||Santa Rita Mountains in the Coronado National Forest near Tucson, Arizona||Vault Mine
|Sky Island canyon||Partly cloundy, 60-85 F (16-29 C), rain at night||5500-7300 ft
This was a 3-day 2-night backpacking loop hike consisting of the
Kachina, Mt Humphreys and Weatherford trails in the San Francisco
Peaks, including a summit of Mt Humphreys. As in my prior
hikes, the shirt was worn beneath my hiking shirt, so I couldn't
get a good picture of it.
Once again it performed excellently as a baselayer. On the
long drive home (5 hours) from the trailhead, I took off my hiking
shirt and just wore the baselayer in the car. I had the air
conditioning turned off for quite some time due to the mountain
driving, and external temperatures were hovering at around 100 F
(39 C). Though of course in Arizona it is a "dry heat", I
was still comfortable in my vehicle at this temperature with the
I have washed the shirt after every use, this last one being no
exception. I was surprised when I returned from the hike how
clean it looked, despite the dusty conditions. It does wash
up nicely, though I am careful to put it in with the "whites", and
air dry it.
Finally, I had a chance to wear the shirt on a backpacking trip
without a long-sleeved shirt over the top. I left late in
the afternoon, and hiked back in the cool of the morning.
The weather was exceptionally humid for Arizona, and I arrived at
my campsite on Friday night with the shirt dripping wet with
sweat. As is visible in the photo above, the trail is on a
substantial grade, and the climb up to Agua Caliente Saddle was
I hung the shirt overnight from a suspension rope on my hammock,
but it did not dry completely because it rained quite hard that
night. When I put the shirt on in the morning after
breakfast it was a little damp, but my body heat seemed to dry it
out within minutes.
The shirt got snagged a number of times on branches that
obstructed the trail, but no damage was sustained.
I wore the shirt on several morning road bike rides and 45-minute
runs. It performed very well as an ordinary athletic shirt,
though all such uses were early enough in the morning that sun
protection was not a factor. The humidity has been quite
high for Tucson during the second month of use, and especially on
my runs I was literally dripping sweat when I finished. I
continue to be impressed with the quick drying times for this
The Omni-Freeze short-sleeve top has been an excellent performer
in situations where I have not needed sun protection, or where I
was willing and able to wear it as a baselayer beneath a garment
that provided sun protection. It wicks exceedingly well, is
smooth to the touch, and keeps me as cool as I have been in a
shirt. For a bright white shirt worn in dirty, dusty
conditions it has cleaned up immaculately.
I cannot say objectively how much the Omni-Freeze technology has
contributed above and beyond the natural evaporative effect.
If I can figure out some what to measure it during the Long Term
test period, I will do so.
This concludes my Field Report.
||Terrain/ trail type
|September 23, 2012||Catalina Mountains in the Coronado National Forest near Tucson, Arizona||Pima Canyon
|Sky Island canyon||Partly cloudy, 78-91 F (26-33 C), 15% RH
|October 14, 2012
||Catalina Mountains in the Coronado National Forest near Tucson, Arizona||Mt Lemmon Trail
|Sky Island mountain top
||Clear, about 60 F (15 C)
|October 21, 2012
||Catalina Mountains in the Coronado National Forest near Tucson, Arizona||Linda Vista
||Clear, about 70 F (21 C)
|October 27, 2012
||Tortolita Mountains near Tucson, Arizona
||Alamo Springs Trail
|Canyon rim and wash
||Clear, 55-75 F (13-24 C), 20% RH
The sun is now low enough in the sky that I have no concerns with
using the shirt for several hours with nothing over the top.
This hike is also up a canyon bottom, so for most of it I was in
the shadows. The main test for the Omni-Freeze on this
outing was snag resistance. The trail was very overgrown
after a wet monsoon season here in southern Arizona, and I was
constantly catching the shirt on overhanging acacia and other
shrubs. The good news: no damage sustained.
The weather has also dried up enough where the shirt is not
soaked while I am hiking. That is one of the variables
hiking in this area: wicking shirts stay pretty dry due to the
rapid evaporation even when the temperatures are still pretty
This was a pleasant stroll to catch a bit of the fall color at
the mountain summit. I began the hike with a long-sleeved
shirt over the top of the Omni-Freeze, and removed the over-shirt
at the halfway point. My temperature was pretty much optimal
along the entire hike.
A pleasant Sunday morning
hike up the bajada at the foot of Pusch Ridge. On the top I
wore only the Omni-Freeze as pictured in the photo at left.
We were in the shadow of the mountains almost all morning, so it
was fairly cool, but with the substantial altitude changes of the
trail I still managed to work up a sweat which the shirt handled
I have gotten great use out of this baselayer. In addition
to the hikes listed above I have used it numerous mornings as a
running top, which is when I sweat the most. It has
laundered well, remaining bright white after dozens of
washes. It has been very durable, surviving many snags
without a run nor pulled thread.
Future use: I intend to continue to use this in hot weather as a
cool, wicking shirt for conditions where sun exposure is not
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