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Reviews > Clothing > Shirts > Obermeyer Tenley T-Neck Top > Owner Review by Kathleen Waters

OBERMEYER TENLEY T-NECK MID-LAYER TOP
Obermeyer Logo
BY KATHLEEN WATERS

OWNER REVIEW

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Kathleen Waters
EMAIL: kathy@backpackgeartest.com
AGE: 59
LOCATION: Canon City, Colorado, USA
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 4" (1.60 m)
WEIGHT: 125 lb (56.70 kg)

Living in Colorado and being self-employed, I have ample opportunities to backpack. There are over 700,000 acres/280,000 hectares of public land bordering my 71-acre/29-hectare "backyard" in addition to all the other gorgeous locations which abound in Colorado. Over the past 15 years, my husband John and I have also had the good fortune to hike/snowshoe glaciers, rain forests, mountains and deserts in exotic locations, including New Zealand, Iceland, Costa Rica, Slovenia and Death Valley. My hiking style is comfortable, aiming for lightweight. I use a tent (rainfly if needed). Current pack averages 25 lb (11 kg) excluding food and water.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

DATE: June 25, 2010
Manufacturer: Obermeyer
Year of Manufacture: 2010
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.obermeyer.com
MSRP: US$ 79.50
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: 8 oz (227 g)
Colors Available: Black, Brilliant, Blue, Lipstick and White
Color Reviewed: Lipstick (red)
Sizes Available: X-Small to X-Large
Size Reviewed: Medium

Other details:

Material: eTEX, a bamboo ultra blend consisting of 49% bamboo fiber and 51% polyester
Tenley T-Neck
Picture Courtesy of Obermeyer

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

The Obermeyer Tenley T-Neck Mid-Layer Top (hereafter called the "Tenley" or the "T-Neck") is a stylish mid-weight base layer with a smooth finish and hefty feeling fabric. The knit is close and thick which immediately imparts a "quality" impression. My Tenley is a beautiful shade of red called "Lipstick".

What makes the Tenley a "t-neck" is a stand-up two-piece collar, approximately 2 inches (5 cm) in height. There is what appears to be a strictly decorative little semi-circle of fabric added to the back of the collar and a discreetly stenciled "Obermeyer" above it.
Bamboo Logo
Bamboo Logo on Sleeve
Raglan sleeves and princess-style seams are complemented by additional front curved side seams to create a shapely silhouette and a close, comfortable fit. The back of the T-Neck sports a side-to-side top-back panel as well as princess-style seams and continue the feminine shape.

Capping the sleeves are generous 3 inch (8 cm) cuffs with black trimmed thumb holes and hidden pockets in the inside fronts of the cuffs just perfectly-sized for my MP3 player. A black embroidered 1.5 inch (4 cm) wide logo for recycled bamboo is just above the left cuff.

An inseam (hidden) 7.5 inch (19 cm) zipper has been sewn into the left side raglan shoulder seam. This is very different from all my previous "half-zip" tops where the zippers are vertical. The nylon zipper has a very small zipper pull, so as to be almost un-noticeable.

Inside the back of the T-Neck is the Obermeyer logo, "Made in Vietnam", the size, a repeat of the recycled bamboo logo and washing instructions in both English and the international care symbols.

Washing instructions are listed as: "MACHINE WASH COLD/LIKE COLORS. DO NOT IRON. DO NOT BLEACH. LINE DRY."

FIELD CONDITIONS AND USE

All of my wearings of the Obermeyer Tenley T-Neck Top since I received it from early February to early spring (April) took place in the Wet, Fremont and Cooper mountains of south central Colorado.

The elevation I hiked, snowshoed, and backpacked in ranges from a low of 5300 ft (1600 m) to a high of 8400 ft (2400 m). Temperatures fluctuated from 20 F (-7 C) to 60 F (16 C) during daylight hours and freezing to 10 F (- 12 C) just before dawn. Weather conditions were mostly cloudy with some sunshine in the mornings on my day hikes. Light rain and snow mixes in the afternoons and overnight kept it interesting.
All of my hiking involved uphill climbs to high points and then downhill treks when homeward bound. Of course, none of these trails are just plain straight-up elevation gains; they all involve lots of "ups and downs". The trail conditions varied. Parts of the Newlin Creek Trail (one of my favorite hikes) are remnants of an old late 1800s sawmill road. The first couple of miles/kilometers of another hike, the Fremont Peak Trail, are over a very-rutted access road to a radio tower. Other sections of trails are simply beaten down pathways. And then, when I'm hiking in the Cooper Mountain area, there are no trails at all!

This means, the terrain runs the gamut of packed down dirt (or mud at this time of year) to pebbly rocks, to broken up shale to hard granite slabs. At higher elevations, there was also loose to packed snow and ice. Oh, and on the Newlin Creek Trail, there are 18 stream crossings which at this time of year are sheer, thickly rippled ice!
Obermeyer Tenley T-Neck in Action
Obermeyer Tenley T-Neck in Action

Since the calendar turned to spring, weather conditions in my neck of the Colorado woods have been really crazy; with temperatures from below freezing up to the mid - 80s F (30 C). We've even had a couple of freaky May snowfalls and more spring rain than I've become accustomed to seeing over the past couple of years. And I can't forget to mention the wind! Gusts up to 50 mph (81 km/h) have been quite common.

All this means, I wore the Tenley often - very often! It is so versatile as a mid-layer, worn with a thin base layer and without that I can truthfully say I've worn it at least once a week, more often than not, twice.

Mostly, I paired the T-Neck with a crew-neck bamboo or wool base layer. Despite the slim, close-fitting cut of the top, I had no trouble sliding it over any of my tops designated by their manufacturer as "base layers". I was happy to find the combination did not have me constantly pulling at the sleeves because my elbows or underarms felt squeezed.

With such a base layer, the Tenley allowed me to be perfectly comfortable in the coldest weather I encountered while I was actively participating in hiking, snowshoeing, etc. When first starting out and/or at rest on the trail, I found covering the T-Neck with a windshell was sufficient to keep me toasty.

At the opposite end of the temperature range, once the temperatures got up much past the freezing mark, I preferred the Tenley all by itself with a windshell utilized as above.

When wearing the top solo, I would initially be mindful of the seams feeling a bit scratchy. I would mentally note, "I must comment on that". But as fast as the thought flitted through my consciousness, I would be totally oblivious of any irritation! Apparently, the seams don't matter much at all and the rest of the interior of the Tenley is smooth and VERY comfortable.

Past 60 F (16 C), I just hike too darn hot for almost anything short of a tank top, so I've reluctantly packed away the T-Neck for summer now.

Even when I got sweaty while wearing the Tenley solo, I did not get unduly uncomfortable. The top would get wet under my arms and on my back where my pack prevented any airflow. However, it appeared to wick well and at rest, with my pack off, I found the T-Neck almost dry after only 25 minutes or so.

And while I'm on the subject of sweating, I never (nor did my hiking partners) noticed any rankness coming from the T-Neck. Nice!

Despite the lack of rankness, I did wash the top several times these last almost 5 months and not because it stained easily either. I followed the instructions completely, drying the T-Neck on a plastic hanger outside in the shade. I used a technical sports wash which is my usual choice for all the clothing I designate for my "gear" closet".

The Tenley bore up excellently without any bagging, sagging, misshapen seams or fading. In fact the shirt still looks like new.

Because of the type of vegetation - very prickly and "grabby" - and my own clumsiness, I expected the T-Neck to look rather worn by now. I'm constantly brushing up against juniper trees, scraping on boulders, etc. I'm pleased to say the top has come through with flying colors with nary a snag or a pull to be found. Again, nice!
Zipper
Seam where zipper sticks a bit
I particularly like the slanted side zipper. It's great to be able to vent a bit, especially with a thicker turtle-neck top. The fact that is a slanted zipper just is a neat style feature and also takes the zipper off my chest where some other zippers have caused minor irritations from being ground into my skin by my backpack chest strap. However, I have difficulty opening and closing the zipper.

At first I thought it was just clumsiness on my part with the neck-to-side orientation, but after several attempts, I had to ask my husband to try. He, too, struggled a bit and even after all these months, I find the zipper sticks right where the collar is sewn to the top's body. The delicate nylon zipper - which has never come off track - just doesn't cope with the seam as well as I would like. Perhaps re-working the facing there would be a good thing and solve the problem.

As for the neat little interior pocket at the cuff, I was late in discovering it's perfect for securing my MP3 player safely and preventing the ear bud cable from getting snagged and getting ripped out from my ears. I just insert the MP3 player in the pouch with the cable extended and threaded up the sleeve out through the collar. Of course, using the MP3 player in this manner means a difficult time accessing the controls, but usually once I select one of my playlists, I'm good to go anyway. The pocket is also sized for maybe an ID, credit card or some cash, too.
Cuff Pocket
Interior Cuff "Pocket"

Sleeve Thumb Holes
Thumb Holes on Cuff
The last feature I'll comment on are the thumb loops which until this past winter I would never have used and now can't imagine how I got by without them before. The loops on the Tenley T-Neck are generously sized and very well-placed. There is no pulling on my thumbs like so many other tops I own and my hands are protected right down to the base of fingers. Even my thinnest glove liners glide over the cuffs well.

STAR ATTRACTIONS

1. Incredibly warm without bulk.
2. Shapely and neat looking
3. Wicks sweat and doesn't smell.

MINOR DISTRACTIONS

1. Zipper is difficult to open.
2. Seams are scratchy.

SUMMARY

Sadly, until this past winter I had never heard of Obermeyer although my ski/snowboard-crazy son and daughter-in-law had. I say "sadly" because I've missed years of the enjoyment of wearing Obermeyer gear! Now that I've had the pleasure of wearing the Tenley T-Neck Top, I will definitely be on the lookout for more Obermeyer products.

In the four months I have worn the Tenley, I've come to really appreciate the quality and thought that went into this top. By looks, feel and use, I can readily tell the materials are sturdy, the construction solid. As warmth is the basic raison d'etre (reason for being) for a base layer, I'm pleased to say, the Tenley exceeded my expectations

Kathleen (Kathy) Waters

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

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