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Reviews > Clothing > Shirts > Icebreaker Rush or Ace Crewe > Test Report by Edwin Morse

ICEBREAKER SS ACE CREWE
TEST SERIES BY EDWIN MORSE
LONG-TERM REPORT
August 29, 2012

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
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TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Edwin Morse
EMAIL: ed dot morse at charter dot net
AGE: 74
LOCATION: Grand Traverse County, Michigan, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 8" (1.73 m)
WEIGHT: 145 lb (65.80 kg)
TORSO 18 in (46 cm)
CHEST 35 in (89 cm)
WAIST 36 in (91 cm)

I started backpacking in 1979 with two weeks in northern Michigan along the Lake Superior shore. My gear was cheap, heavy and sometimes painful. My starting pack weight was 70 lb (32 kg) with food but no water. Since then I have made one- and two-week trips in Michigan, Maine, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Florida. Now my pack weighs between 22 and 32 lb (10 and 15 kg). I'm slowly learning what lighter gear works.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Icebreaker
Year of Manufacture: 2012
Manufacturer's Website: http://us.icebreaker.com/
MSRP: US$75.00
Listed Weight: (0.41-0.46 kg) 14.5-16.2 oz
The listed weight just does not make sense to me. My scales are not that much off
Measured Weight: (145 g) 5.1 oz

Other details: I have the red shirt, designated cajun on the website and on the packing list. Other colors available are monsoon/black, blue (designated as force) and a very dark blue or navy (designated as planet/metro). I have size medium. Other sizes available are S, L, XL and XXL.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The shirt is very soft, smooth and stretchy. There is a panel of a 'waffle weave" material on each side from the bottom of each sleeve to the bottom hem. This panel is 4 in (10 cm) wide and joined to the front and back with a seam of white stitching. There is a silvery colored Icebreaker logo on the left upper chest area. There is a grey panel about two in (5 cm) wide on the right shoulder reaching from the sleeve seam to the neckline seam. On the upper back, just below the neckline seam is the word ICEBREAKER GT, also in a silvery color. On the right side near the bottom and adjacent to the side panel there is an upside down pocket. On the website this is called a back stash pocket. There is a button hole on the inside of the stash pocket.
The shirt is nearly all red with the few exceptions described above.

I looked over all the seams on the outside and found just one thread left hanging but no missed or doubled stitches. Then I went over the seams on the inside. I found a few more places where long threads were left.
At the neckline inside the back there is a grey fabric loop. I would think of it as a hanging loop but on the website it is called a cord management loop. Centered on the inside back of the neckline is a label marked:
ICEBREAKER GT
150
ULTRALITE
MAN M
NEW ZEALAND MERINO
MADE IN CHINA

On the left back side seam near the bottom there is a white tag. On one side of the tag it states: Body; 96% merino/4% elastane. Eyelet: 99% Merino wool/1 % elastane exclusive of decoration. This appears to be repeated in four other languages. Now I interpret this Eyelet to be what I called a a panel of a 'waffle weave" material above.
On the opposite side of the tag are washing instructions. First with symbols then in English followed with two other languages.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

On the left back side seam near the bottom there is a white tag. This white tag gives the material composition on one side, on the opposite side of the tag are washing instructions. First with symbols then in English followed with two other languages.

Machine wash warm with similar colors
Do not use softeners
Do not use bleach
Line dry in the shade
Do not tumble dry
Do not iron labels
Do not dry clean

TRYING IT OUT

I put the Icebreaker Ace Crewe on as soon as I took it out of the package. I like the way the shirt fits, not snug or tight but without folds of extra fabric.
FRONT VIEW
FRONT VIEW

It is long enough to stay tucked in my pants. There is no binding regardless of how I stretch or twist.
FROM THE BACK
FROM THE BACK

In the afternoon I added a very light weight long sleeve hiking shirt and went for a five mile hike. The weather changed from 54 F (12 C) and cloudy to 64 (18 C) and sunny while we hiked. The terrain was just hilly enough to work up a sweat. When we stopped I found that the Ace Crewe does seem to dry quickly. I took off the daypack and before we started again my back felt dry.

SUMMARY

The Icebreaker SS Ace Crewe is a soft, lightweight and comfortable short sleeve shirt that stretches easily with my movements. The shirt is comfortable even when it is damp with sweat. When I wore it on a hike the outside shirt was soggy in back while the Ace Crewe didn't feel wet. The light 150 material seems to dry quickly. (Note; the "150" designates the weight of the material, as 150 g/square meter or 260 g/sq m. In the United States this might be stated as ounces per square yard as 12 oz denim.)

What is good;
Light weight
Stretchy
Comfortable
Seems to dry quickly

What is not so good;
I haven't found anything yet
With such light material I am concerned about durability under packstraps

I would like to thank Icebreaker and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to use and test the SS Ace Crew.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I've been out on eight day hikes, five trail work outings and six overnight hikes during which I wore the SS Ace Crewe in the last two months. All my hikes in the last two months have been within 80 miles (130 km) of Traverse City, Michigan and at elevations between 750 feet (230 m) and 950 feet (290 m).

Overnight hike May 2 & 3, 2012 Pere Marquette State Forest, near the village of Fife Lake, Michigan. This was planned as a three-day hike on which we intended to gather GPS data for mapping and pictures of points of interestfor possibly creating a loop trail and relocating a 10 mile (16 km) section of the North Country Trail. We had severe thunder and rainstorms most of the night. The next morning my hiking partner woke to a very sore knee. Rather than 10 miles (16 km) of bushwhacking as planned, we found a shortcut back to the vehicle. The high temperature was 76 F (24 C) with a morning low of 54 F (12 C). We had periods of rain while hiking and a hard storm during the night.

Overnight hike May 16 & 17, 2012 Pere Marquette State Forest, near the village of Fife Lake, Michigan. This was a solo hike on which I planned to do what we failed to do on the previous hike. I decided to do the hard part first with the 11 miles (18 km) of bushwhacking. The weather was sunny with 42 F (6 C) to start with a late afternoon high of 54 F (12 C). The terrain was mostly level since I was hiking along the Manistee River and then along Fife Lake Creek.
During the night the sky stayed clear and the temperature dropped to 24 F (-4 C). The second day was an easy 10 mile (16 km) walk back to my Jeep on the existing north Country Trail. Again I had planned on a three day hike but I finished in two days. This time I accomplished my goal.

Overnight hike June 4 & 5, 2012 Pere Marquette State Forest, south of the village of Williamsburg, Michigan.
One of my projects with the Grand Traverse Hiking Club (GTHC) is to create a list of short overnight hikes to help people get started backpacking so this year I'm doing several short overnight hikes. This hike was on the North Country Trail from Highbanks Rollway, above the Manistee River, west 6.6 miles (10.6 km) to Anderson Creek. The terrain is relatively level with a few steep descents of about 100 feet (30 m) and slow easy climbs.

While I was hiking the high temperature was about 65 F (18 C). It continued to get warmer while I was setting up camp eventually up to 74 F (23 C). There was bright
moonlight most of the night. With clear skies the temperature dropped to 40 F (4 C) just before sunrise.

An overnight hike June 16 & 17, 2012 starting five miles (8 km) south of Williamsburg, Michigan, continued my long-standing tradition of a Father's Day hike and added to my list of easy overnight hikes. My son, his wife and daughter hiked with me on a four-mile (6 km) section of the North Country Trail. The terrain was slightly rolling with a mix of deciduous and evergreen forest, selected for my granddaughter's hiking fun. She likes to hike with Grandpa especially when we end the day where she can play in the water. The hike started bright, sunny and 75 F (24 C). It was up to 80 F (27 C) by the time we got to Dollar Lake. A storm moved through sometime during the night. It stayed fairly warm with a low of only 55 F (13 C).

This overnight hike June 18 & 19, 2012, starting ten miles south of Traverse City began at the Conservation Education building. One of my hiking buddies is on a committee to create a 45 mile (72 km) loop trail, starting and ending at the library in Traverse City. He had asked two of us GPS users to hike with him to help create a proposed trail map of an area that had not yet been trail mapped. We hiked nine miles (14 km) to Jaxon Creek where we camped for the night. The early evening storm became the hardest wind and rainstorm I've ever seen while backpacking in Michigan. The high temperature was 87 F (31 C) with an early morning low of 61 F (16 C). The terrain was generally level since we mostly followed the Boardman River.

I did another overnight hike on June 23 & 24, 2012 in the Manistee National Forest southwest of the village of Mesick, Michigan. I met a new friend at the trailhead. It was 55 F (13 C), partly cloudy and windy when we started hiking. The terrain was mostly flat, except the last 3 miles (5 km) were a little hilly.
It was 78 F (26 C) when we reached Sawdust Hole CG after hiking 12 miles (19 km). We discovered that the water pump had been removed so we walked down to the river for water.
The low when I woke at 5 AM was 55 F (13 C). I got rained on for about an hour. I did the 12 mile walk back in four hours, a bit faster than I normally hike when backpacking. I paid with aching legs the next morning.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

My wife thought the Icebreaker SS Ace Crewe looked so good that she ordered two Icebreaker short sleeve shirts for Father's Day. I requested a long sleeve Icebreaker shirt.
I prefer to wear long sleeves and long pants when I'm hiking for protection from brush and mostly from hungry insects. Most mornings I started hiking with a light weight long sleeve shirt over the Ace Crewe. I tend to get very sweaty when I hike, so I usually took off the Ace Crewe within two hours and wore the long sleeve shirt. A few times when hiking on higher ground in pine forest I took off the long sleeve shirt and just wore the Ace Crewe. Even when completely soaked with sweat the Ace Crewe does not feel clammy and cold on my bare skin. It is much more comfortable when wet than any of my long sleeve shirts are when they get wet.

On the June 23 hike, when we stopped for lunch I took off the very sweaty Ace Crewe and hung it over my hiking poles. The shirt was dry by the time we both finished lunch.
We talked about our equipment and I showed my new friend the items I'm testing. It turned out that he is a fan of long distance road bike rides. He showed me that the back stash pocket is not open on the bottom. I thought I had thoroughly examined the shirt.
Previously I tried to use the MP3 player with the stash pocket. I had the cord through the neck loop and through the buttonhole to plug into the MP3 but I carried the player in the pocket of my shorts because I thought there was no bottom in the stash pocket. I had done a three mile (5 km) run and a six mile (10 km) hike while trying to use the back stash pocket. I thought the stash pocket was a poorly designed.
The day after I got home I had to try my MP3 player in the stash pocket. I did a six mile (10 km) hike while using a MP3 player in the stash pocket. It works great once I use it correctly. Here is a picture from inside the shirt with the cord plugged into the MP3 player.
POCKET INSIDE VIEW
pocket inside view

From the outside it still looks to me like an upside down pocket. On other other hand I can see my MP3 player touching the bottom of the pocket.
outside pocket closed
outside pocket closed

There really is a bottom to the stash pocket as shown in the picture with the pocket open.
outside pocket pulled open
outside pocket pulled open

I may never use the back stash pocket again. I like to hear what is around me, especially the birds providing music while I hike. I have to wear hearing aids to hear most of the birds.

On the overnight hikes when I woke to colder temperatures I put on a long sleeve Icebreaker 200, then the SS Ace Crewe and then a long sleeve button shirt. The long sleeve Icebreaker goes next to the skin because it fits very snugly. This combination was warm enough even on the coldest morning I've been out this summer. The last three day hikes I wore the Ace Crewe without a long sleeve shirt.

The Ace Crewe has been washed at least 10 times. Following the instructions I hang the shirt to dry rather than putting it in the dryer. It easily dries overnight. A few days ago I washed a load including three short sleeve Icebreaker shirts late in the evening. Early the next morning I put the dry Ace Crewe on for a hike.

SUMMARY

The Icebreaker SS Ace Crewe is the most comfortable shirt I have worn hiking. The shirt is comfortable even when it is damp with sweat. It gets sweaty wet every time I go hiking. I am impressed with how quickly the shirt dries from sweat or from washing.

What is good;
Light weight
Stretchy
Comfortable
Dries very quickly

What is not so good;
I still haven't found anything
I would like to find a long sleeve shirt that fits just like the SS Ace Crewe fits.

I would like to thank Icebreaker and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to use and test the SS Ace Crewe.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I wore the Ace Crewe on all my day hikes in the last two months.
I did several solo day hikes in the last two months. My solo hikes were all south of Traverse City, Michigan. Since I picked the time and place for my solo hikes the weather was always warm with few clouds. I took the opportunity for a group hike, mostly along 22 Mile Creek, and asked one hiker to take some pictures for me. In this next picture I've just refilled my filter water bottle from the creek.
getting a drink
drinking clean water

Here is a very deceptive picture. I had the camera on a small tripod on a tree branch. I hurried to get in the picture.
deceptive picture
deception


This day started with a light rain, which soon cleared away and the temperature rose to 87 F (31 C) by the time we finished the eight-mile (13 km) hike. This area appears to have never been logged with many large pine and cedar along the creek and steep hills. This group hike was about 10 miles (16 km) southeast of Traverse City.

I started a four-day hike on July Fourth about six miles (10 km) east of the village of Vanderbilt, Michigan. The terrain is hilly with a constantly changing forest cover. I walked through areas of white pine, Jack pine and cedar swamps. There were even stands of hard maple in some higher areas. The first day started as ideal hiking weather with a sunny 65 F (18 C), gradually warming to 88 F (31 C). I got to my first planned campsite at 11 AM, after walking 10 miles (16 km). Then I made my first mistake of the hike - I refilled my bladder and water bottle and continued hiking. The next campsite was another 12 miles (19.3 km). I arrived at the small lake right at sundown.
camp at McLavey Lake
camp at McLavey Lake


The next morning I woke to the sound of thunder. I got everything packed except the tarp before the rain started. I hiked in a hard rain for over five hours. It took nearly nine hours to cover the 11 miles (17.7 km) to the Canada Creek shelter. I lost the poorly marked (often not marked) trail three times. I used GPS, map and compass to get back on the trail each time. The sun came out about a mile (1.6 km) before I got to the shelter. Here is a picture where I dropped my pack in front of the shelter.
Canada Creek shelter
Canada Creek shelter

After I got all the wet stuff hung up to dry and started my dinner to rehydrate I sat down to study the map and consider options. Both feet were macerated and sore from too long hiking through wet ferns, brush and briars. Here I'm looking for a short way back to my Jeep.
Is there a shorter way?
checking for options

The next day I hiked out to a state highway, then a slow walk south to a State Park. There I found a ride back to my Jeep after a night and day in Clearwater State Park.

The longest hike I did during the long term period was 12 days and 105 miles (169 km) of backpacking on Isle Royale National Park which is located in western Lake Superior but still in the state of Michigan. The weather varied from bright and sunny to heavy clouds and hard driving rain. The temperature ranged from a low one morning of 44 F (7 C) to a warm 76 F (24 C) the sunny morning I boarded the Ranger III ferry for the ride back to Houghton, Michigan. I hiked in steady rain for over two hours on three different days. In between were a few nice sunsets. Here is a view from my tent at Todd Harbor.
Todd Harbor sunset
Todd Harbor sunset


The trails were never the same for any great distance. Some areas of the trails were fist size rocks and bare roots, some areas were climbs up and over large bare rock, with a few areas of open footpath through the forest. Several areas of trail were overgrown with brush or ferns so it was difficult to even see the trail. All wet areas were crossed on narrow boardwalks.
Isle Royale wet area trail
narrow boardwalk

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

I wore the Ace Crewe on all my day hikes since I knew the trails would be open enough not to be pushing through brush but still shaded by trees. I find the Ace Crewe very comfortable for hiking. No matter how I stretch and reach the light merino wool fabric easily moves with me.

I don't wear short sleeve shirts when backpacking because of bugs, brush and sun. My practice is to wear a long sleeve shirt while hiking and change to a short sleeve shirt in camp. Looking through my pictures I have very few of me in camp. Here is one I took while experimenting with the camera and tripod at Siskiwit Bay.
posed at Siskiwit Bay
playing with the camera


The last two days I was on Isle Royale I wore the SS Ace Crewe all the time. The shirt is just plain comfortable luxury. I had worn the SS Ace Crewe every night for ten days and all day the last two days. I could detect no body odor on the shirt. I do wash the more sweaty areas of my body with alcohol hand cleaner each night.

Just a side note, I wore a LS Ace Crewe every day while hiking. The LS Ace Crewe is just like the SS Ace Crewe except for long sleeves and different color. There was very little odor with the LS shirt even though it had been sweat soaked most days. I did wash the LS Ace Crewe in the cold water of Siskiwit Bay while I washed myself. It was completely dry by morning. This is the same experience I've had with the SS Ace Crewe at home. I often wear the shirt several days including two or three day hikes with no detectable odor. I have been washing all my merino shirts with whatever else is being washed at the time. There has been no shrinkage even in warm water. I always hang my Icebreaker shirts to dry overnight.


SUMMARY

I am very happy with the Icebreaker SS Ace Crewe. It is comfortable, stretchy and light weight. I can wear it all day for several days with no body odor that I can detect. The shirt is comfortable even when it is completely soaked with sweat. I've worn synthetic shirts for many years. All are uncomfortable when wet.

What is good;
Light weight
Stretchy
Comfortable even when wet
Dries very quickly
I have a permanent addition to my hiking gear

What is not so good;
I still haven't found anything wrong with the shirt
I will have to spend money to buy more long sleeve Icebreaker shirts.

This concludes my Long Term Report.
I would like to thank Icebreaker and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to use and test the SS Ace Crewe.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.

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