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Reviews > Clothing > Shirts > Dakine Ridge & Upland Crew > Test Report by Kathleen Waters

DAKINE UPLAND CREW
TEST SERIES BY KATHLEEN WATERS
LONG-TERM REPORT
May 16, 2009

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Kathleen Waters
EMAIL: TheMiddleSister@usaring.com
AGE: 58
LOCATION: White Lake, Michigan USA
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 4" (1.63 m)
WEIGHT: 125 lb (56.70 kg)

I started hiking in 1998 after an eye-opening climb up Hahn's Peak in Colorado. Hooked, I return to Colorado often. I've hiked/snowshoed glaciers, rain forests, mountains and deserts in domestic and exotic locations, including Iceland, Costa Rica, Slovenia and Death Valley. At home, I plan for 2-3 hikes of 6-8 mi (10-13 km) weekly and one weekend hike monthly. Weekday hikes take place in Pontiac Lake Recreation Area, a mixture of heavily-wooded moderate hills and flat terrain. Weekend hike locations vary. My hiking style is comfortable, aiming for lightweight. Current pack averages 25 lb (11 kg) including food and water


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Dakine
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.dakine.com
MSRP: US$40.00
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: 7 oz (198 g)
Listed Sizes: S, M, L & XL (women's)
Size Tested: M
Colors Available: Black, Jade, Signal, White
Color Tested: Jade

Material: 100% Double-knit polyester, poly mesh underarm vents, AEGIS Microbe Shield anti-bacterial fabric treatment
Insulation: Midweight
Made in Taiwan
Dakine Upland Crew
Picture Courtesy of Dakine

LIMITED LIFETIME WARRANTY (North America) "DAKINE offers a Limited Lifetime Warranty against manufacturing defects. DAKINE will repair or replace, at it's discretion any products found to be defective within the scope of normal and appropriate utilization and are within the Limited Lifetime Warranty covenants which exclude normal wear."

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS - Dec 08

My first impression when the Dakine Upland Crew arrived was "Wow, look at the box!" Now I know that sounds odd, but in a world where retail packaging has been shrinking and recycling and the ecology have become features of gear advertising claims, this box is, well, different. No expense was spared there! The box does have a lot of useful specification information in various languages on the back, so I guess it's not just a "pretty face".
Packaging front
Upland Crew Pagkage Front
Packaging back
Upland Crew Package Back

But I digress; I was immediately impressed by the Upland Crew when I removed it from its packaging. It looks just like the graphic on the Dakine website (except the color). However, from the website picture, I could not tell the weight, look or feel of the materials.

The color is a bit different from the color as I viewed on my computer. It is a cross between a vivid jade and a slightly blue subdued kelly green. It's not a color I would usually wear, but I kind of like it, it's bright and cheerful for a wintery day. Besides, it's a base layer and I'll be wearing it under other tops. There is a 5 in (13 cm) "Dakine" stenciled in white across the middle of the chest. I will be watching to see if the stencil wears off during testing and washing.

The collar of the Upland is a cross-over neckline and the back inside label is a tag-less one.

Raglan sleeves are set into the shirt body with top stitching. (All the seams are top stitched). The sleeves end in 2.5 (6 cm) cuffs which sport "thumb" holes on the inside seam.

One of the really neat features of the Upland Crew's construction is the under arm vents which extend 16.5 in (42 cm) along the underarm seam. At its greatest width, the vent is 3 in (7.5 cm) and it tapers down from there.

Checking carefully, I found no irregularities in the materials or construction of the Upland Crew. All seams are straight, smooth and complete with no loose ends, dropped stitches or puckers. There are no runs in the material. The Upland Crew looks like a quality product!

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

Care instructions are on a stiff fabric tag positioned about 2 in (5 cm) from the hem on the left side seam. Thankfully, they are in English as well as the standard cryptic international symbols. Dakine says "Machine wash cold. Do not bleach. Do not use softener. Iron at temperature indicated cool. Lay flat to dry. Turn garment inside out."

I'm assuming the order of the instructions is not to be strictly followed as I don't plan on wearing the Crew "inside out"!

TRYING IT OUT

The Dakine Upland Crew is a midweight base layer purported to be double layer knit. It feels substantial yet not heavy. The feel of the fabric is smooth and pleasing to the touch of my skin. The fit is very close to my body, but that is what I want in a base layer. I was not able to find a size chart on the Dakine website, but I would say I am at the maximum range for the size medium. Over the fullest part of my bust, I measure 38 in (97 cm).

Having broken my right wrist recently, I have some fitting issues with all my clothing. I can't get the sleeve over my wrist cast at the moment. But since the cast is removable, I was able to very carefully get the sleeve on first and then put the cast over the top of the sleeve. I did use the convenient thumb loops to hold the left sleeve in place while trying on the top. Obviously, I didn't try the same method with the right thumb. I don't think I will be comfortable keeping my thumbs in the loops and thus insuring the sleeves stay down and under whatever clothing is on top. I will certainly try it, but on first glance, I found it too constrictive.

I like the tag-less label at the back neck of the shirt, but the care instructions tag on the side seam is already annoying. With a fit as close as the Crew is, I can feel the tag rubbing my side.

The raglan sleeves feel very supportive of full range of motion at this juncture. I can freely move my arms. The underarm venting material is a little stiffer than the main body of the Crew, but not objectionably so.

All in all, I like the fit and feel of the Crew.

SUMMARY

It's just starting to get wintery here in southern Colorado. We had our second measurable snowfall this week and I can't wait to get out in the snow and snowshoe. Since I broke my right wrist 15 days ago, I'll be a little bit handicapped, but that won't stop me! And for the next 4 weeks, I'll give the Dakine Upland Crew a workout.

This concludes the Initial Report of my Dakine Upland Crew. Please see below to read the results of my first two months of testing.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS/CONDITIONS - Mar 09

While wearing the Dakine Upland Crew during this test period, I've hiked on several day hike/snowshoe trips - one on Mt. Evans, December 27 and two on the Rainbow Trail in the Sangre de Cristo mountains in January. I also wore the crew on two weekend hikes in February and one in March.

Mt. Evans was bitterly cold and windy. Normally, I would have preferred to stay home in front of a fire that day, but this is a family Christmas tradition (albeit, a bit late this year). The temperature was a frigid 1 F (-17 C) when we set out. Ferocious winds took the wind chill to -25 F (-32 C). Our famous Colorado blue skies were no where to be seen.
Hiking in Sangres
Snowshoeing in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains
Because of the wind, in clearings, the newly-fallen, blowing snow was blinding. We stuck to the pine forest as much as we could. Estimated snow base was 30 in (1 m) and the terrain was fairly gently sloped. My pack weight was about 20 lb (9 kg). This trip was cut short as the weather was just too brutal for our 7 year-old granddaughter (We want her to LIKE snowshoeing!).

Both trips in January were on brilliantly sunny days with no wind at all, temps in the mid 30s F (-1 C) and estimated snow base of 25 - 36 in (0.6 - 1 m). We were stymied by unplowed roads and so had to hike over 1 mi (2 km) to even get to the trail heads. No worry, though, the trips were well worth it. Total mileage was approximately 7 mi (11 km). Pack weights on both these trips were barely 15 lb (7 kg), mostly liquids and snacks.

February 6-7: At night, the trail at the Tennessee Pass was a very pleasant 28 F (-2 C) when we started and a still pleasant 14 F (-10 C) when we stopped. Clear skies, little or no humidity and no wind at all made it a gorgeous trek. We started at an elevation of 10,500 ft (3200 m) and had a slight, but constant elevation gain to 10,800 ft (3292 m). The trail was hard-packed and meandered through a tall growth pine forest.

The next day, we were on the same trails, but it was sunny and 32 F (0 C). Still, no wind and very little humidity were present.

February 20-21: Ridgway State Park and Reservoir, including the Uncompahgre River trails. Elevation started at 6880 ft (2097 m) and rose to 7000 ft (2134 m). Temperatures were from a low of 33 F (1 C) at night to 54 F (12 C) in the bright afternoon sunshine. There was, at most, just a light occasional breeze. Terrain varied from sandy beach shore to medium size rocks to very large rocks at the reservoir's edge, then changed to dry hard packed dirt to mud to icy snow patches in the offshore higher treed sections of the trail. The mileage for the entire east side trail was 7.5 mi (12 km).

March 3-5: Hike and camp in the Bureau of Land Management properties in the Royal Gorge area of Colorado (Cooper Mountain range, included). Elevation started at 5400 ft (1600 m) and gained about 200 ft (61 m). Daytime temperatures were a pleasant 50 to 67 F (10 to 19 C) and nighttime temperatures hovered from 18 to 34 F (-8 to 1 C) from Tuesday to Thursday respectively. A pretty steady wind of 10 to 15 mph (16 to 24 kph) was present most of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Wind gusts were plentiful and blew as high as 35 mph (56 kph). The terrain was very dry. We were (and still are) under "red flag" warnings for forest fires. Vegetation was sparse juniper and pinon pine eking out a barren existence on powdery dirt to granite slabs. Desolate, but very beautiful against the brilliant blue sky!


PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

I have to say, the Dakine Upland Crew is one comfortable shirt! It works equally well as a base layer, a mid-layer or a solo top.

When wearing the crew as a base layer, I enjoyed the feel of the fabric against my skin. The close fit ensured I would be snug and warm, yet with the side venting material, I never felt overheated even when snowshoeing uphill. Any sweating I did must have been effectively wicked away because I never felt damp either.

Despite the close fit of the crew, I was able to wear it over another base layer. I was initially afraid I would not be able to move my arms freely, but that was not the case. Wearing the Upland Crew over another base layer and under a light fleece and wind jacket enabled me to be quite comfortable even in the lowest temperatures I had hiked.

Both the interior and exterior fabric surfaces of the crew were smooth enough to enable other layers to slide easily over/under them without bunching or wrinkling up into annoying folds. The thumb holes on the sleeves were really helpful when layering. By putting my thumbs into them, I was able to insure the sleeves would stay put. I did try leaving my thumbs in the holes to keep the sleeves in place when donning gloves, but after a short while, I would end up pulling the gloves off and my thumbs out of the holes. I couldn't get used to the tight fit of the thumb holes.

After wearing the crew several days and nights on the trail, I finally broke down and threw the shirt in the wash. Since, currently, I am using commercial washers and dryers; I knew I would be air-drying the crew as Dakine advises. I used cold water as recommended. Even with such rough treatment, the crew came out none the worse for it.

There is some light "fuzzing" on the front of the shirt, but nothing I would be worried about at this time.

SUMMARY

So far, the Dakine Upland Crew has performed exactly as I would like a base layer to perform in very cold to mildly cold conditions. While the temperatures here have been all over the place from record highs to normal, I know we still have quite a bit of winter left to deal with. March is traditionally the snowiest month of the year in Colorado. So I expect I will still have plenty of time to test out the Upland Crew as a base layer. As it warms up, I will have more of an opportunity to test the ruggedness and durability of the crew as I wear it solo where it will be exposed to the elements, my backpack and our prickly vegetation.

This concludes the Field Report for my Dakine Upland Crew. Please continue below to read the results of my final two months of testing.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

During the long term testing period, I wore the Dakine Upland Crew at least 3 times casually at work and 3 more times on a snowshoe/dayhiking trip in the Rocky Mountain National Park in early May. The temperature range while snowshoeing and hiking was 48 F to 63 F (9 C to 17 C) with slight to strong winds. The terrain was dry hard-packed dirt and rocky trails to wet and marshy trails to slushy snow and icy patches in the higher elevations. Elevation ranged from a low of 8544 ft (2604 m) to a high of 8844 ft (2696 m).

On one of the hikes, it briefly drizzled, fortunately not heavily.

We hiked three different trails in the southwestern region of Rocky Mountain National Park and Arapaho National Park. This was an area I had never visited before and is less travelled than the more popular north and east trails. While different from those more popular trails, the routes were beautiful.

Trails hiked were the East Shore Trail along Shadow Mountain Lake (7 m/11 km round-trip), the Colorado River Trail (5.5 m/9 km round-trip) and the North Inlet Trail to Cascade Falls (7 mi/11 km round-trip).

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The crew has definitely worked well for me. It keeps me warm in cold weather as a base layer and still works well as a solo top in warmer temps. Over the test period, I've worn the crew in temps from 1 F (-17 C) to 67 F (10 to 19 C).
Dakine Upland Crew in RMNP
Dakine Upland Crew on the Colorado River Trail in RMNP
During high exertion activities such as postholing through two feet of spring-thawed snow on the Colorado River Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park, no matter the temperature was only 48 F (9 C), I sweated! The crew did a fair job of wicking the sweat out to an outer layer light fleece jacket, keeping me drier than a cotton shirt would do. And even though the crew was somewhat damp, I didn't get chilled.

On warmer hikes like the North Inlet Trail to Cascade Falls (also in RMNP) even though the crew was dampened while I was hiking, at rest stops the crew would dry quickly as soon as I removed my backpack. I continue to be quite pleased with the wicking of the crew.

I've washed the crew at least a half dozen times in cold water and air-dried it. I haven't noticed any signs of fraying of seams, shrinkage or fading. It has retained its original shape with no drooping of the hem or twisting of the side seams. Surprising to me is the lack of flaking of the stenciled white logo across my chest. At the onset of testing, I was sure the logo would look "ratty" by this time!

As previously mentioned in my Field Report, the crew is pilling a bit anywhere there is constant friction with my backpack; i.e., my shoulders, across my chest and around my waist. The pilling is not excessive and certainly won't inhibit further long-term use. It is strictly cosmetic at this point.

SUMMARY

The Dakine Upland Crew is one of the softest, most comfortable base layer shirts I have had the pleasure to wear. I love the feel of it against my skin and it is one of my favorite shirts for sleeping. It will continue to be a staple in my gear wardrobe for future cool to cold weather occasions.

Thank you to Dakine and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test the Upland crew.

Kathleen (Kathy) Waters

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.

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