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Reviews > Clothing > Shirts > ExOfficio TriFlex Hybrid Shirt > Test Report by Gail StaisilExOfficio Women's
TriFlex Hybrid Shirt
Test Series by: Gail Staisil, Marquette, Michigan
Initial Report - June 4, 2015
Field Report - July 25, 2015
June 4, 2015
Name: Gail Staisil
Height: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
Weight: 152 lb (69 kg)
Location: Marquette, Michigan USA
Email: woodswoman 2001 AT yahoo DOT com
For the last 20 years, backpacking has become a passion. I am a four-season backpacker and an off-trail navigator. Although I do take yearly trips to the American West or Southwest, the majority of my trips are in Michigan. My pack weight varies considerably but my base weight is below 18 lb (8 kg). I am primarily a tarp camper who averages more than 50 nights a year backpacking in a huge variety of weather conditions including relentless rain, wet snow and sub-zero temps.
Initial Impressions and Product Description
The ExOfficio TriFlex Hybrid Shirt arrived in the correct size of XL and in the color of Tropez (aqua blue). I have other ExOfficio shirts that are a size smaller but I decided to size up as I seem to have a bit more weight on me than I did when I purchased the others (sigh). The long-sleeve TriFlex Hybrid shirt has a natural fit meaning that it is lightly shaped. I still should be able to layer a lightweight short sleeve wool tee underneath when needed. The construction of the shirt is exemplary with neat top stitching and fine workmanship.
The ExOfficio TriFlex Hybrid Shirt is fabricated with two different fabrics. Both are very soft and comfortable against bare skin. The first one is Dryflylite which has been used in many of the manufacturers' products for years. It is lightweight and made of a blend of polyester and nylon. The second one is Sol Cool which is mapped to heat zones on the body for maximum cooling and comfort. Sol Cool features Icefil technology. The compound Xylitol is woven into the fabric which is polyester and spandex. This compound is naturally found in birch trees. When the fabric comes in contact with sweat the wicking fibers pull moisture away from the skin and release it on top of the fabric to evaporate. Reportedly the cooling effect cuts up to 5 degrees of heat.
The Sol Cool fabric is very stretchy and light. Most of the shirt is made with Dryflylite but there are substantial size panels of Sol Cool on each side of the shirt measuring about 8 in (20 cm) at the widest. These panels (although narrower) also run down the underside of each sleeve perhaps about two-thirds of its length. The back of the shirt also has incorporated a similar panel down most of the length of the middle back of the shirt. This is the area that a backpack rests on so it should be interesting to see if it helps keep me cooler. The shirt is rated 30 UPF (blocks at least 96 percent of UVA and UVB rays) although the Sol Cool is rated UPF 50. The nano particles in the fabric eliminate odor molecules and disperse UV rays.
The back yoke of the shirt is sewn with two layers, one of which is the Dryflylite and the other lining material is the Sol Cool fabric.
The placket edge of the shirt features a top button and then color-matched snaps (6) are used to secure the front opening. The collar has two sections so that when both are pulled up it can offer more sun protection. Since the mosquitoes are unbelievably bad right now I hope that it also offers some protection from them. The folded collar can be secured with two hidden buttons and elongated tabs underneath the collar. The inside of the collar is lined with the Sol Cool fabric as well.
The left side of the shirt features a Napoleon-style pocket with an invisible zipper. The opening of the vertically placed zipper measures about 6.25 in (16 cm) and the pocket measures approximately 9 in (23 cm) in height and 7.25 in (18 cm) at the widest spot. On the lower left side of the shirt is the ExOfficio logo tag neatly sewn in a vertical presentation just above the lower edge of the shirt. The lower edge of the shirt features a straight hem. The side seam measurement is 18.5 in (47 cm) from underarm to hem.
Sleeve edges both end in a simple snap closure cuff. The cuffs are only about 1 in (2.5 cm) in width. The underarm sleeve measurement is 22 in (56 cm). Each sleeve has a button located around 10 in (25.4 cm) above the sleeve edge that can be secured with a corresponding tab to make roll-up sleeves if desired.
Inside the left front side seam are washing direction tags and two extra buttons. The shirt can be machine washed cold with like colors. No bleach or fabric softeners are to be used. It should not be dry cleaned or ironed but just line dried.
Since I am about to head out on another backpacking trip in a few days the shirt will be tested to its maximum in a world of sun, bugs and dirt.
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July 25, 2015
USA Locations and Conditions
During the testing period I have spent eleven days backpacking on islands and have enjoyed the outdoors most other days. Locations of all trips were in the State of Michigan and ranged from lakeshore to boreal forest. Elevation ranged from above 600 ft (183 m) to 2,000 ft (610 m).
Location of Trip #1: Isle Royale National Park, Lake Superior - State of Michigan
Length of Trip: 9 days/8 nights (June 9-17)
Pack Weight: Approx 29 lb (13.15 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy, rain and sun
Precipitation: 0.33 in (0.84 cm)
Temperature Range: 41 F to 70 F (5 C to 21 C)
Location of Trip #2: Grand Island National Recreation Area, Lake Superior - State of Michigan
Length of Trip: 2 days/1 nights (July 8-9)
Pack Weight: Approx 22 lb (10 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Sunny
Temperature Range: 42 F to 74 F (6 C to 23 C)
I have worn the TriFlex Hybrid Shirt during two different backpacking trips totaling eleven days. During my first backpacking trip of nine days the mornings were cool at temps about 45 F (7 C) maximum so I started the day with a short sleeve lightweight wool shirt underneath. This worked rather well and the layering didn't cause any restriction in my movement. I ditched the base shirt when it got warmer (normally after the first hour). The temps never got above 70 F (21 C) but I still felt hot as I wasn't used to the higher temps after winter weather (it lasts well into "spring" here).
I was mostly comfortable in the shirt but I did notice that the Sol Cool fabric on the back of the shirt always got wetter than the rest of the shirt while backpacking (this didn't bother me much while wearing). When I took off my pack it was noticeably wet and furthermore didn't dry as fast during breaks. Usually my breaks weren't long enough for it to dry. This material was likely doing its job as it is supposed to wick the moisture to the outside of the fabric but with the backpack panel resting up against the shirt it couldn't dry.
The rest of the shirt didn't really feel wet at all including the Sol Cool panels on the sides of the shirt. Understandably there was more moisture evident in the underarm area but not as noticeable as the back of the shirt. Those Sol Cool sections in the underarm areas also seemed to hold some odor which I generally don't notice in most of my shirts. Since this odor didn't smell like typical body odor, I'm wondering if the chemicals in the material combined with body odor resulted in a new smell. For this reason alone I rinsed out the shirt often (every day of the nine day trip) with just water in my camp bucket and emphasized scrubbing the underarm areas. I did this upon getting into camp and was amazed at how fast the shirt dried each day while hanging in a tree. Remember it really wasn't that warm out!
I can report that even though mosquitoes have been absolutely fierce during my trips I was fortunate to avoid getting too bit. They didn't penetrate the fabric but sometimes they would attack my neck before I could swat them so I ended up with some small blood stains on the collar especially during the second trip. At home I soaked the shirt in cold water and scrubbed the stains with some liquid soap. I was happy that it came out stain free.
This shirt has been so welcoming against my skin. It is incredibly soft and except for the wetting out of the knit areas (Sol Cool) and subsequent slight discomfort I am amazed that my skin feels good most of the time.
In addition to the backpacking trips I have worn the shirt for dayhiking, blueberry scouting and even once while mountain biking. Some of the days have had temps as high as 85 F (29 C). This combined with humidity that was at least 75 percent, is hot in my opinion. Even though I am hot while wearing the shirt it is not any different than any other shirt I would have chosen to wear (long sleeve). When I am not wearing a backpack the shirt performs even better. Nothing is blocking the Sol Cool areas so they can evaporate and dry right away. I have also worn it casually or while not exercising.
I must note that I am extremely pleased with the snap closures on this shirt. It makes the shirt so easy to remove when changing and the snaps are easy to use. This is especially important in that I often need to remove the shirt to take off the base layer underneath. That means I am usually on the trail itself and really don't like exposing myself to whomever should happen to come along. The only modification right now that I would make to the shirt would be another snap to hold the extended collar sections together for more sun and bug protection.
So far the shirt has held up fine. There is no piling even under shoulder and waist belt contact points. I have washed the shirt often in the field with just water but at home it gets washed with my other outdoor clothing (that's about all I wear these days). I did use liquid soap to scrub blood off as well as refresh the underarm areas and both turned out fantastic. I would estimate that it has been machine washed at least 8 times and dried on a drying rack. Wrinkles are few or not really that noticeable.
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Long Term Report:
August 27, 2015
USA Locations and Conditions
During the long term testing period I have spent six more days backpacking and have been playing outdoors most other days. Locations of all trips were in the State of Michigan and ranged from lakeshore to boreal forest. Elevation ranged from above 600 ft (183 m) to 2,000 ft (610 m).
Location of Trip #3: Isle Royale National Park, Lake Superior - State of Michigan
Length of Trip: 6 days/5 nights (August 21-26)
Pack Weight: Approx 26 lb (11.8 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy, rain and very little sun
Precipitation: 1.12 in (2.84 cm)
Temperature Range: 43 F to 78 F (6 C to 26 C)
During the final six weeks of this test, the TriFlex Hybrid Shirt was worn at least twice a week in addition to the backpacking trip of six days. During the day outings, the weather got quite hot (for here) with several days being around 90 F (32 F). Since I had one of my young grand-daughters with me for eight days the outings were filled with beach activity as well as playgrounds. I wore the shirt to protect me from the hot sun and even swam in it (dried quick enough while wearing). Other day outings consisted of hikes in the forest where sun protection wasn't the biggest concern but mosquitoes were. I usually wore a waist pack so the Sol Cool panels were uncovered for the most part. That's when they seem to work best as normally the contact with a regular backpack made the whole back section wet to the touch. I didn't notice any mosquitoes getting through the fabric so I was happy with that. I also wore the shirt for yard work including my three-hour stints mowing the lawn (no rider mowers for me).
During my backpacking trip to Isle Royale National Park (second trip for the season) the weather was right on par for this time of year. It started out warm and quickly cooled (Average temp about 60 F/16 C during daytime) with lots of rain during four of the days there. I wore the shirt under my rain jacket and it worked rather well. That is, I wasn't uncomfortable with the rain and humidity for most of it. It certainly helped when the winds picked up. After arriving at my camp site each night I changed into wool and let the damp shirt dry out as best as it could for the next day. It was never a problem putting it on in the morning.
I would say that I am quite pleased with the performance of this shirt overall. It is very comfortable to wear with no areas of constriction. I also absolutely love the ease of the snap closures. The collar was a bit finicky with its button closure and I do wish it was taller for more sun and bug protection but that is a personal preference. The pocket with the invisible zipper was not used on a regular basis. I just don't find pockets on women's shirts that handy.
Overall, the TriFlex Hybrid Shirt still looks great. During the last trip there was not enough sun to chance rinsing it in the field so I wore it unwashed for the entire six-day trip with no odor detected. I don't think I perspired greatly though, as the temps were cool. However it was worn under a rain jacket a lot as previously indicated.
At home the shirt was washed and line dried with my regular clothes. I did get some kind of dirt on one of the cuffs on the last trip but it scrubbed out with minimal effort. I am sure that I will continue to wear the shirt during many outings in the future.
Thanks to ExOfficio and BackpackGearTest.org for this opportunity to test the TriFlex Hybrid Shirt. This concludes my Long Term Report and the test series.
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