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Reviews > Clothing > Shirts > Dickies Temp-iQ Performance Cooling Tee > Test Report by Coy Ray StarnesDickies Temp-iQ Performance Cooling Tee
Review by Coy Starnes
Initial Report: April 13, 2018
Field Report: June 13, 2018
Long Term Report: August 13, 2018
behold, the Dickies Temp-iQ Performance Cooling Tee
I live in Northeast Alabama. I enjoy backpacking, hunting, fishing and kayaking. I enjoy hiking with family and friends but also hike solo occasionally. Most of my hiking has been in the Southeastern US. I hike throughout the year but actually enjoy late fall or early spring the most with some winter hiking mixed in. I don't like the hot and humid weather of summer unless I can escape to the mountains where it is cooler. My style is slow and steady and my gear is light. I will sacrifice weight for comfort and durability to a degree. A typical 3-season load for me is around 20 lb (9 kg) not counting food and water.
Initial Report: April 13, 2018
The Temp-iQ Performance Cooling Tee (I’ll call it the t-shirt) is a short sleeved t-shirt designed to help manage moisture which in turn is supposed to keep one cooler. It is no secret that a 100% cotton tee is soft and comfortable but will stay wet for a long time and that polyester dries much faster. By combining these two materials you theoretically get a shirt that is soft like a cotton tee but dries much faster. The t-shirt features one chest pocket on the left side. This pocket measures approximately 4.25 in (11 cm) wide by 5 in (13 cm) tall but has a 1 in (3 cm) pen slot that is sewn all the way down so the pocket is effectively only 3.25 in (8 cm) wide. My iPhone 6+ is in a rather robust case and will not fit inside the pocket. However, my wife’s identical iPhone 6+ (pictured below) in a much slimmer case fits perfectly. The t-shirt is listed as stock # SS600KBH. The KBH represents the color Knit Black Heather.
chest pocket with iPhone 6+ and a pen
I tore these off since they were located in a place that is next to my skin, low on the side seam on the left side. They are as follows; machine wash cold with like colors, only non-chlorine bleach when needed, do not use softeners or dryer sheets, tumble dry low, remove promptly, medium iron.
This test is a little different than most due to the fact that the shirts were sent out late fall of last year. It was decided that it would be better to wait for more appropriate weather for “official “ testing to begin so the shirt has been in my possession for several months. Nevertheless, this has been a fairly mild winter overall so I’ve already worn the t-shirt quite a bit, sometimes as my only shirt and sometimes under a warmer long sleeve shirt, jacket etc.
First of all, it’s a t-shirt, so not something I’m going to get real excited about. But considering it will be the layer I’m wearing next to my skin it is still an important piece of gear to consider, especially if expecting to sweat a lot. And since I do, even in winter just walking to the mailbox, it stands to reason that a shirt I will be hiking in should be able to wick away moisture fairly quickly. It is my hope that the shirt wears like my favorite cotton tee but dries considerably faster. Other than that, I will say the shirt feels very comfortable and fits me great. It is stretchier than a regular cotton tee but hopefully retains its shape after many washings.
I’ll save most of my testing results thus far for the Field Report but having already worn and washed it several times, I will say it is holding its shape and color very nicely. The chest pocket does sag quite a bit if I place something heavy in it but it was this way from the start so not due to wear. I do wish it held my cell phone in the case I use but I probably wouldn’t carry it in it a lot due to the sagging. However, I like to put my phone in a t-shirt chest pocket when I’m riding one of my bikes that doesn’t have a phone holder. Fortunately, the bike I ride the most has a dedicated phone holder. One last comment. Dickies has established a good reputation in the construction industry. I have personally worn their carpenter pants working as a carpenter and as a brick masons helper. Both jobs were hot and sweaty in the summer and required clothes that were comfortable but at the same time very durable, in other words, many of the same characteristics that make for good hiking clothing.
Field Report: June 13, 2018
works great as a hiking and sleeping shirt
I have worn the Temp-iQ Performance Cooling Tee on four overnight trips and numerous times day hiking, bike riding or just around the house and yard. I’ve also used it on a couple of nighttime bike rides. The weather has been mostly mild, but also stormy and with some heavy rain, typical Alabama springtime weather. My overnight hikes were from 4 to 6 miles (6 to 10 km) total. The first overnighter was on May 7th. The high was 75 F (24 C) and the low was 60 F (16 C). The second overnighter was May 11th. The high was 80 F (27 C) and the low was 66 F (19 C). My third overnighter was on May 29th. The remnants of Hurricane Alberto were moving through north Alabama and I waited for a break in the storms to head out. I hiked about a mile (1.6 km) before stopping to set up camp. With more storms on the way I got in my hammock and watched the next wave dump a lot of rain and blow my tarp. It continued to rain off and on during the night. The high was 77 F (25 C) and the low was 71 F (22 C). My last overnight trip was June 7. The high was 84 F (29 C) and the low was 64 F (18 C).
Field Test Results
The Temp-iQ Performance Cooling Tee has proven to be a good base layer and with the warmer weather here lately, a great single layer. It has been hot and humid and I pretty much soaked the shirt several times while hiking or bike riding while wearing it. It dries reasonably fast once I stop sweating but several times I never cooled down enough to stop sweating until coming inside. It would dry on me in the house within an hour.
I slept in the shirt on the four overnight backpacking trips. It was usually pretty wet from sweat when I would arrive at my campsite. Since it was cooling down the shirt was usually dry shortly after setting up my hammock and resting in it for awhile. The shirt was also comfortable to wear under my backpack.
My last usage was June 9. I had just washed it after my last overnighter. We had a cleanup day at church and I was in charge of hanging new blinds and burning some trash. I soaked the shirt in the 90 degree heat as I tended the fire. Unfortunately, I finished too fast and ended up painting some trim for about an hour. I was careful (or so I thought) not to get any paint on the shirt but alas, I managed to splatter a little on it. I got home and washed it in the washing machine. Most of the paint came off but I found these two specks of paint left, one on the sleeve and one on the front just below the chest pocket. The good news is, the smoke smell is gone.
paint specks left after washing
The shirt seems to be fairly odor resistant, much better than my 100% synthetic ones. However, after a couple of sweaty times wearing it definitely got a little smelly. The good news is that after a trip through the washer it always came out smelling great and didn’t develop that smell synthetics do that reappears shortly after wearing the shirt again. In other words, it took a couple of sweaty wearings before the odor returned.
Care and Washing
I’ve lost count of the times I’ve worn it on day hikes and bike rides but I actually didn’t wear it a few times because it was in the wash, or more accurately, in the floor of the utility room waiting to be washed. I would usually wear it for a few hours on an exercise hike or bike ride, rinse it in the sink if I got real sweaty, and hang it on my deck to dry. After a couple of cycles doing this I would wash it in the washer. I failed to heed the washing instructions but this hasn’t seemed to be detrimental to the shirts performance. Our machine is a high efficiency top loader and I used Tide Free and Gentle detergent. The machine is set on the casuals, deep water, warm water and normal cycle so it takes 54 minutes to complete a wash. The shirt went in with whatever I had that needed to be washed at the time, usually gym shorts of all colors, other t-shirts that were usually white, and even towels of various colors. It went on the deck to dry on sunny days but in the dryer several times as well. Nothing seems to phase it as far as shrinkage but sometimes the towels left it a little linty. A hard shake and some hand brushing was all I needed to do to get it pretty much lint free, not that I was concerned about a little lint.
wearing the shirt on a day hike
Testing Locations and Conditions
Most of my testing during this last phase of testing has been on day hikes and bike rides, and because it has been so hot and humid, I tried to do those activities either early in the morning or late in the afternoon. My only overnighter during this round of testing was July 9 at Cloudland Canyon State Park in Northwestern Georgia. The high was 90 F (32 C) and the low was 67 F (19 C). It did not rain but was extremely humid. I hiked approximately 5 miles (8 km). My day hikes were from 3 to 5 miles (5 to 8 km) and my bike rides averaged around 10 miles (16 km).
Long Term Test Results
I have thoroughly enjoyed testing the Dickies Temp-iQ Performance Cooling Tee. I’ve worn and washed it several dozen times since getting it and wore it between washings several times to boot. I really haven’t learned anything new about the shirt other than it is very durable and the color has not faded. It truly does wick moisture better than a 100% cotton shirt and feels slightly cooler as a result. Of course no shirt is going to feel cool when in high humidity and it is over 90 F (32 C), especially if there is no wind blowing. I know I got downright hot on a few of my afternoon day hikes that started before it really had a chance to start cooling down. I would usually just take it easy and soak my feet in the cool creek to help cool off. A couple of times I even jumped in the creek. It is like ice water and the older I get the less I enjoy these plunges.
When I was riding my bike at least I had a good breeze most of the time. However, I’m slow on climbs and I could soak the shirt on any climb lasting more than 10 minutes. The good news is that a downhill usually followed and I could cool down pretty quickly. I do wish the shirt were a brighter color for bike riding but I have a blinking tail light so I didn’t mind wearing it for riding.
I’ve worn the shirt for other activities as well, mostly working around the house or yard. It was great for mowing the yard (some push and some riding) and just as a casual shirt going to town etc. It's hard to explain but I somehow felt more at ease wearing it doing messy chores than when wearing more expensive shirts.
The Dickies Temp-iQ Performance Cooling Tee is a great shirt for summer wear. It truly does help me keep my cool.... I like that it is a casual looking shirt but slightly more dressed up than just a white tee. The price is also nice. I feel it is a good alternative to much more expensive wool or wool blend shirts.
This concludes my testing of the Dickies Temp-iQ Performance Cooling Tee. My thanks to Dickies and BackpackGearTest.org for this testing opportunity.
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Read more gear reviews by Coy Ray Starnes
Reviews > Clothing > Shirts > Dickies Temp-iQ Performance Cooling Tee > Test Report by Coy Ray Starnes
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