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Reviews > Clothing > Shirts > Dakine Ridge & Upland Crew > Test Report by James E. Triplett
DaKine Ridge Crew
Mid-Weight Base Layer Pullover Shirt
by James E. Triplett
Initial Report - January 9, 2009
Field Report - March 23, 2009
Long Term Report - May 29, 2009
Personal Biographical Information:
I am an
experienced hiker, backpacker, and camper, and am gaining more
experience with winter camping every year. I hike every day,
backpack when possible, which leads to many weekends backpacking and
camping each year. I try and take at least one annual
backpacking trip in addition to many one to three-night weekend
trips. My style can best be described as
not at the cost of giving up too much comfort. I generally
in a tent, and seem to be collecting quite a few of them to choose from.
Additional DaKine Ridge Crew information:
(from the DaKine website)
January 9, 2009
The DaKine Ridge Crew mid-weight base layer pullover arrived in perfect condition. My first impression is that the Olive Chop Shop pattern is very intriguing. The various shades of green, and the detailed repeating pattern, make this garment stylish and attractive, not to mention quite unique in appearance. The inside of the fabric is lighter colored and is soft to the touch. The DaKine logo is embroidered in on the lower left side. The shirt is manufactured in Taiwan.
I didn't really have any expectations other than what I could see in the picture on DaKine's website. The web page has very limited information (only what is in the bullets above), and the shirt arrived with only two hang tags, which didn't add anything to what I had already learned from my research, other than one additional line on the AEGIS Microbe Shield anti-bacterial fabric treatment. The AEGIS tag states that Microbe Shield is "the revolutionary bonded antibacterial technology", and that it "provides protection against odor, staining, and deterioration caused by bacteria, fungus, and other microorganisms".
I couldn't find a sizing chart on the DaKine website, so I requested an extra large size, and it seems to fit well. Lying flat, the Ridge Crew appears a little boxy to me, and in fact when trying it on I wished it was a little bit longer. I'll see how well it stays tucked in and whether or not the length is any kind of an issue. The appearance isn't that of a shirt that is too short, but it's just not quite as long as what I am accustomed to. Otherwise the shirt seems to be well constructed with heavy seams which are evenly stitched. The solid color poly mesh pit vents are unobtrusive and are definitely "vents" as I can see through the holes in the mesh easily when holding the shirt put in front of me. I hope the vents work well, and I am anxious to see how they perform when I use different layering techniques.
Initial Report Summary:
The DaKine Ridge Crew mid-weight base layer pullover makes a statement with the combination of its somewhat wild pattern, and its warm color scheme. It is unique, and maybe not for everybody, but I like it! The shirt exhibits solid materials and workmanship, and is comfortable to have on.
Unfortunately, the website, as well as the packaging, provide almost no information on the shirt. This is a shame for such a cool shirt. For a backpacking base-layer, which can be used in extreme conditions, I would like to know more about its properties. Also, I could never get the "purchase now" links on the website to get me anywhere.
I look forward to getting out on the trail in the Ridge Crew. I am particularly interested in the pit-vents, and the "protection against odor" attributes of the shirt.
March 23, 2009
I have continued to wear the DaKine Ridge Crew shirt on a daily basis. Daily for hikes of 2 to 4 miles (3 to 6 km) in the woods near my home, and three 1-night backpacking outings. One to Pinicon Ridge Park near Central City, Iowa, and two to Palisades-Kepler State Park East of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In total, this has probably amounted to about 100 hours of wear (including a couple of 24 hour stretches) for the field testing period. Many of the day-hikes in January and February have been snow-shoeing excursions.
Shortly after Thanksgiving we received a blanket of snow, and the ground stayed white almost all winter. From the middle of December through the middle of January there was a stretch of 27 days where the highs were below freezing. But the amazing period was during the second week of January, where we set an all time record low, for any date, of -27 F (-33 C). And the following day we broke that record, with a -33 F (-36 C) low. I would estimate the temperature range of actually wearing the Ridge Crew while hiking to be from 35 F (1.7 C) down to -30 F (-34 C), using various layering.
Fit and Comfort:
As described in the Initial Report section, the Ridge Crew fabric is rather soft and comfortable. I really have grown to like the vented armpits as I sometimes overdress on cold winter mornings. I haven't had any concerns with itchy tags or any other source of discomfort while wearing the shirt. The only issue I've had is that the shirt is plenty wide, but not long enough, in my opinion. It hangs slightly past my waistline, but offers no butt coverage, which I like in a base layer, especially in the winter. The picture below shows that raising one arm over my head makes the hem rise above my waistline. If they were building a custom shirt for me I wouldn't hesitate to ask for and increased length of four inches (10 cm), and a reduction in the width of two inches (5 cm). The sleeve length is perfect! I have worn the Ridge Crew around the house, untucked, and this is maybe the best fit scenario.
I have worn the DaKine Ridge Crew shirt as a base layer, and as a second layer. As a base layer the wideness of the shirt causes some mild bunching under a slightly tighter second layer. A looser second layer works better. Also the shortness of the Ridge Crew can allow the hem line to rise up under another layer, but this hasn't been overly problematic. As a second layer the Ridge Crew works pretty well, as it has the size to accommodate another layer underneath, and then the hem can hang more naturally with the next layer being a jacket or shell, rather than another shirt. Unfortunately the pit-vents don't seem as effective when there is another layer underneath.
The standard cold weather layering I have adopted is the DaKine Ridge Crew first, followed by a half-zip base layer, and then depending on conditions, a wool layer, and then a wind/rain shell. This has worked well in temperatures well below zero Fahrenheit (-18 Celsius), and with the outer three layers all having zippers, venting under heavy exertion hasn't been an issue.
Care and Cleaning:
The DaKine Ridge Crew shirt is not impervious to taking on odor, especially when worn next to the skin. I have machine washed it per the instructions, and hung it up to dry. After the first washing the shirt became noticeably fuzzy, or pilly, which I was surprised to see. It did become clean and odor free and I have washed it several more times without and further dramatic changes.
Field Test Summary:
The DaKine Ridge Crew shirt is stylish, seems well made, and functions as intended. I like the pattern in the fabric, and the pit-vents are a nice added touch. It is quite comfortable to wear. I was surprised to see it age after the first washing, but this doesn't seem to be an indication of anything wrong, other than loosing the snappy appearance of when it was new. My only real complaint is that it simply isn't long enough.
Long Term Report
May 29, 2009
I have continued to wear the DaKine Ridge Crew mid-weight base layer pullover on a daily basis. Daily for hikes of 2 to 4 miles (3 to 6 km) in the woods near my home, and on three 1-night backpacking outings, all to Palisades-Kepler State Park East of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In total, this has amounted to over 120 hours of wear (including three 24 hour stretches) for the long term testing period. Hiking has been done on grass, rock, dirt, and mud trails, and most of these trails have been flat to gently sloped. All hiking has been done in Iowa or Missouri.
Since the Field Report in March, the temperatures have gone from hovering around freezing up to, on a couple of days, highs above 80 F (27 C). Mostly, however, the temperatures have been pleasant for this long-sleeved shirt, in the 35 to 65 F (2 to 18 C) range. For this phase of testing any precipitation has been in the form of rain, and the humidity has steadily increased as summer approaches.
Fit and Comfort:
The DaKine Ridge Crew continues to be quite comfortable and fits adequately. It is undeniably shorter than it should be, and is in fact the shortest shirt I currently own of any size, even though the Ridge Crew is an extra large. The collar gives ample neck room, and the sleeves are plenty long enough. The fabric is soft and feels nice against my skin. This is good, because unlike the previous test phase, during this phase I wore the Ridge Crew exclusively as a base layer (or only-layer).
Long Term Field Testing:
I have worn the DaKine Ridge Crew for hiking and backpacking during this phase of the test, as well as for other outdoor activities around my house. I have also slept in it and it worked well inside my sleeping bag, not bunching up or causing any unrest during the night.
Wearing the Ridge Crew by itself or under a vest has worked well. The shirt is roomy, but no so much as to bunch up or cause issue with articulating my arms while hiking. Under a vest I have found a nice combination of warmth in mild temperatures, and ventilation when exerting myself. The soft poly mesh pit vents seem to work really well. I have experienced less perspiration in those areas than I am accustom to with non-vented shirts. Pulling my elbows out to the side provides some additional ventilation, which is detectable if there is a slight breeze.
I have been caught in some light rain in the Ridge Crew and it has performed as expected for any polyester double-knit shirt. The fabric is double layer, so even when the shirt was fairly damp I wasn't miserably cold. During most of my encounters with rain I wore a "waterproof and breathable" rain jacket over the Ridge Crew. From my experience most shells claiming to be waterproof and breathable are more waterproof and less breathable, as is the case with my jacket. Having the long sleeves of the Ridge Crew under the rain shell kept my arms comfortable and prevented the jacket from sticking to my perspiring arms.
I've never been convinced that products claiming to have anti-bacterial fabric treatment have offered more odor resistance than those without, but in this case the AEGIS Microbe Shield treatment does seem to work. Some of the less than expected odor retention has come from the change in seasons and wearing the shirt by itself, and thus allowing it to ventilate. However, even taking that into account, I still must say that this shirt retains odor less than expected.
The Ridge Crew has an embroidered emblem above the left hem. It's a nice little logo (shown in the first picture at the top of this report), which has come to serve a purpose. Even thought the cut of the shirt is such that it is easy to distinguish the front from the back in daylight, it can be a bit of a problem in the dark. I know that the emblem goes on the left side, so in the dark I can easily determine the proper orientation of the shirt. I like that.
Care and Cleaning:
I have machine washed and line-dried the DaKine shirt as needed, which has amounted to about six times over the life of the test. The shirt became slightly fuzzy after the first washing, but hasn't deteriorated any more since then. The color has faded noticeably, although not excessively.
The DaKine Ridge Crew has performed well through all the paces I have put it through during this test. The fabric has faded slightly, but it is still reasonably fresh looking, and I still really like the "Chop Shop" pattern on the material. I like the fact that it seems somewhat resistant to odor which allows me to wear it for long stretches between washings. The pit vents are well thought out and perform well. The pit vents and the material pattern are my favorite things about this shirt.
The only negative thing about this shirt is the cut, which is shorter than I prefer. This will cause me to do a trial fit on any future DaKine products before making a purchase. Besides that, I am very happy with this shirt, and if DaKine offered a "tall' size I'd be interested in some more of their products.
This concludes my reporting on the DaKine Ridge Crew mid-weight base layer pullover. Thank you to Backpackgeartest.org and DaKine for the opportunity to participate in this test series.
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