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Reviews > Clothing > Shirts > Outdoor Research Mens Sequence Tee > Coy Starnes > Test Report by Coy Ray Starnes

Outdoor Research Men's Sequence LS Tee
Test Report Series
Initial Report: December 8, 2006
Field Report: February 20, 2007
Long Term Report: April 14, 2007


OR Sequence LS TeeTester: Coy Starnes
Gender: Male
Age: 45
Weight: 238 lb (108 kg)
Height: 6 ft (1.8 m)
E-Mail: starnescr@yahoo.com
Location: Grant, Alabama, USA

Tester Biography
I live in Northeast Alabama.  I enjoy hunting, fishing, canoeing, and most other outdoor activities but backpacking is my favorite pastime.  I enjoy hiking with friends and family or solo.  I hike throughout the year and actually hike less in the hot humid months of summer.  My style is slow and steady and my gear is light.  However, I will sacrifice weight for comfort and durability.  A typical 3-season load for me is around 20 lb (9 kg) not counting food or water.  I usually sleep in a hammock and cook with an alcohol stove.


Product Information
Item Men's Sequence LS Tee
Manufacturer Outdoor Research
Year of Manufacture 2006
URL http://www.outdoorresearch.com
Listed Weight for size Lg 8.2 oz (231 g)
Measured Weight my size XL 8.4 oz (238 g)
Color Cayenne (looks red to me)
MSRP $42 US

Product Description
It is a long sleeve tee shirt.  What more can I say?  Actually it has several benefits a normal tee shirt lacks.  First, the shirt is made of an 88% polyester - 12% Merino wool material called Dri-Release® Wool.  OR says it is for superior wicking and a cotton-like feel.  The hang card goes on to list several more advantages for Dri-Release® Wool which I have listed below.
 
  *The ease of care of a synthetic with the look of wool.
  *Provides cold weather comfort.
  *Wool warmth without the weight or itch.
  *Never feels clammy or sticky against the skin.  Wicking takes on a whole new meaning!
  *No static cling.
  *Ideal for base layer performance yet suitable for sportswear.
  *The added benefit of FreshGuard® prevents odor.
 
Initial Impression
First, I have to say that the shirt feels great next to my skin.  There is absolutely none of the itch I sometimes notice with wool or wool blends.  The shirt looks identical to the one pictured on the website right down to the color.  Everything about the shirt looks top notch and I found no loose threads or faults anywhere.  

The very first thing (and a good thing I might add) I noticed is the lack of a tag at the back of the neck where a tag would normally be.  In the tag's place it has what looks like three small iron-on patches with the size and some other information.  However these feel very smooth.  There are two tags sewn in the seam along the left side near the bottom of the
shirt.  The larger one gives the care instructions using symbols.  I had to put on reading glasses to make out the care symbols and then look elsewhere to find out what the symbols mean.  A smaller one right next to it says Dri-Release® and FreshGuard®.  Other than the difficulty in deciphering the care instructions I am impressed with this shirt.

Fit
As the photo at the beginning of the report shows, the shirt is a great fit.  I am not surprised since I normally wear XL tee shirts, coats etc.  The shirt has a very athletic feel about it and the shoulders fit nice and snug without feeling restrictive.  In fact, I like everything about the fit except the fact that I can not pull the sleeves up.  The sleeve is big enough to fit over my watch easily and even though I don't exactly have "Popeye the sailor man" arms, I can't pull them up more than a few inches.   The sleeve and waist length is just right.  

Performance Early On
I have already worn it for two days and nights before the first washing and so far it is doing great.  This includes a long walk down a steep hill and back up at a cold and windy 35 F (2 C).  On the walk I had on a light shirt and down jacket and worked up a slight sweat.  I normally work up a big sweat on this walk but will most likely be out in warmer temps much of the time.  I then wore it on a short overnighter.  I used it as my base upper body layer inside two sleeping bags.  I don't really know how much the shirt contributed to my staying warm but I managed to stay warm enough to sleep outside with temperatures down to 12 F (-11 C).  I did not see any static electricity overnight or the next morning when I removed the shirt.  It was still pretty much odor free, but I decided to go ahead and wash it.  For one, I needed a bath myself.frozen jeans

The washing was no big deal.  I set the machine on warm water and washed it with some other items using liquid Gain washing detergent.  For the drying, I hung it outside.  It was only 25 F (-4 C) when I hung it out but it dried very fast in the full sun.  The jeans I hung at the same time froze on the shady side before it dried but the Sequence LS Tee did not.  In fact, it was completely dry after only an hour and the temperature was still below freezing at 28 F (-2 C).  Here is a photo of shirt drying and the jeans with the frozen pant legs. 

Field Test: February 20, 2007

Field Testing Locations and Conditions
field conditionsI have used the Sequence LS Tee here in northeast Alabama and in eastern Tennessee in temperatures as cold as 12 F (-7 C).  I have worn it when it was raining, snowing, or sleeting and twice when it was doing all three.  I used it on a trip to the Great Smokey Mountains National Park where the highest elevation encountered was 6,643 ft (2025 m).  During this hike it  rained, snowed and  sleeted,  and was very windy for most of the time.  The picture at the left is typical of what it looked like during much of this hike.  I wore it on a road trip to Madison Wisconsin where it got down to -6 F (-3 C) but I did not stay outside any longer than necessary.


Field Test Results
I have worn the Sequence LS Tee a lot as daily wear and as my base layer while dayhiking and bike riding.  It has also seen use on 3 overnight hikes.  

My first camping use was on an overnight hike down in the holler below my house.  I used the LS Tee under a light wool sweater and my Extram (a softshell rain jacket) for the hike in and then under my down jacket while setting up camp etc.  By the time I finished supper and was ready for bed it was down to 22 F (-6 C).  I was using a 15 F (-9 C) bag so I kept the Sequence LS Tee, the wool sweater and down jacket plus my insulated pants on when I turned in.  It was down to 12 F (-7 C) at 4 AM and I felt cold enough that I decided to break camp and head home.  I wore the down jacket while breaking camp and on the hike back up the mountain with my pack.  I did sweat just a little on the hike home but the LS shirt was dry to the touch when I took it off.

A few nights later I did the same hike but it only dropped to 22 F (-6 C). I wore it as my only top layer during the night this time, and as before, the Sequence LS Tee was very quick to dry after hiking home. 

On the hike in the Smoky Mountains I wore the Sequence LS Tee on the 4 hour car ride to the trailhead and then for the 6 miles (10 km) we hiked the first day.  I also wore a light wool sweater and my Extram over it as it was raining and quite cold during the hike.  I did sweat quite a bit as most of the hiking was uphill.    

The first night was cold and rainy with a low of around 35 F (2 C). I peeled of my other layers before turning in, wearing only the shirt and some light boxers for bed.  I put the wool sweater and Extram on for the first few miles the next morning and because it was again mostly climbing, I actually had to remove the Extram for some of the climbing.  However, stopping was tough, as the cold wind made me quickly start hiking again.  It got colder instead of warmer as the day progressed and by lunch break at Clingman's Dome it was around 25 F (-4 C) and the winds were strong.  The next 7 miles (11 km) were downhill but it was a very cold walk.  I wore the Sequence LS Tee, wool sweater and Extram all the way back to the car and when we got there it was 18 F (-8 C) with winds that were very strong.  I was actually a little cooler than I would have preferred while hiking but once I warmed up in the car a bit, I peeled down to the Sequence LS Tee for the 4 hour ride home.

Normally, my first layer is pretty smelly after this much wearing but I can honestly say, the Sequence LS Tee was not at all that bad.  I can usually smell my clothes when riding home in cold weather with the windows up as was the case for this trip.  I got home at 11 PM and even asked my wife to check because I was suspicious I was conditioned to the smell and might not detect any.  She commented that it had a mildly objectionable smell, but not near as bad as she was expecting for the length of time I had been out.

I had another occasion to wear the shirt for an extended period of time.  I had to make a drive to Madison Wisconsin right after a big snowstorm hit the area.  I wore the shirt as my base layer for this road trip.  There was nothing spectacular in this other than the fact that after 2 days it again passed the smell test with flying colors.  I did take a shower on the morning of my return and with no real hiking involved, conditions were not as bad as they would be on a hiking trip.  Never the less, I experienced the coldest temperature, -6 F (-21 C), I have ever been in.  I wore the shirt by itself while riding but bundled up for the few times I had to be outside. 
 
As I mentioned earlier, I wore the Sequence LS Tee numerous times when just out dayhiking.  In fact, it has been so cold lately that I found it difficult to get out on my bike for exercise so I switched over to walking down to the holler for exercise.  I found the shirt to be just about perfect for the uphill hike back home when I would often tie my jacket around my waist. 

Despite a very cold couple of months, I did manage a few bike rides.  On these, I wore the Sequence LS Tee under other clothing except for the climb back up the mountain.  I would remove the extra clothes before beginning the climb.  That meant a cold start but I always warmed up in just a few minutes and was always sweating profusely as I topped the mountain about 15 minutes later.  I sometimes toughed it out for the rest of the ride instead of stopping to put my other layers back on.  When I did this I was cold but completely dry by the time I got home.

General Observations
I am really impressed with the quick drying ability of this base layer.  This includes while wearing it as well as after a wash.  It is also a warm shirt but as expected, not as warm as a few of my expedition weight base layers.  I'll just say it is surprisingly warm for such a thin shirt.  The stink control factor is a real nice bonus.  Comfort is outstanding! The shirt has such a nice feel I would wear one everyday if my budget could stand it.  As it stands right now, the shirt will have to miss a day every now and then for the obligatory trip to the washing machine.  I have washed the shirt at least a dozen times so far and the shirt still looks great and the color is holding up well.  I used normal detergent in warm water and air dried it each time.    

Long Term Report: April 14, 2007
or sequence
Author out for a nice spring hike

Long Term Test Conditions and Locations
I have not been on any major hikes since the Field Report.  I used the OR Sequence on an overnight hike here close to home and have used it quite a bit while dayhiking and bike riding.  The weather has been both warmer and colder than normal for spring depending on which week it was.  As a result, I have worn the shirt in temperatures as high as 83 F (28 C) and as low as 24 F (-4 C), within a week's time span in this case.

Long Term Test Results
I will concentrate on the warm weather performance since I covered the cool weather performance in the Field Report section.  The wicking and quick-drying abilities of this shirt have been tested to the max and I must say, the shirt passed with flying colors. 

When I am actively hiking I find I need a lot less on to keep warm.    Accordingly, in colder weather,  my comfort and warmth in the shirt decreased pretty much along the same lines as my decrease in activity.   A simple rundown of my finding would look something like this.   Keep in mind, these results are not for standing still and this is with the OR Sequence on as my base layer.

Below 20 F (-7 C) I needed to add a down jacket.

Between 20 and 30 F (-7 and -1 C) I needed a light windbreaker.

Between 30 and 40 F (-1 and 4 C) I needed a light sweater.

Between 40 and 50 F (4 and 10 C) I could hike with just the OR Sequence on but would usually add my windbreaker if I stopped to rest for long.

Between 50 and 70 F (10 and 21 C) was just about perfect.

Above 70 (21 C) I sweated a lot and was wishing for a short sleeve version.

As you can see, the OR Sequence was the one item of clothing that remained the same during such wide temperature swings.  What was really interesting was that even when I sweated to the point of soaking the shirt, I could remove it and throw it across a limb and it would feel dry to the touch sooner than I stopped sweating.  In other words, when I put it back on I would sometimes wet it again as soon as I put it back on.  The other interesting thing is, when I put it back on it seemed to speed up my skin's drying time.  I noticed this phenomenon several times at varying temperatures on several dayhikes down to the creek.  I would usually stop at the top of the mountain to catch my breath.  I would remove the shirt and rest a few minutes before continuing on, walking at an easy pace on the relatively flat hike the rest of the way home.  Of course by putting the shirt back on while I was still sweating slightly would wet it out immediately.  However, by the time I walked for 10 minutes both the shirt and I would be dry.

I observed the same thing when riding my bike.  I would top the mountain soaking wet with sweat as I find I sweat even more doing this than when hiking up a similar steepness and distance. Instead of stopping and removing my shirt, I would usually ride about half a mile (0.8 km) to catch my breath and to let my legs recover.  I noticed that even though I was still sweating the shirt was actually not dripping wet like it was when I topped the mountain.  On other rides I wore a plain cotton t-shirt and there was an obvious difference in the wicking abilities.

Care and Durability
I don't have much to add here except to say that the shirt is still in great shape even after several more field trips, bike rides and subsequent trips through the washer.  I have stayed on trails most of the time but still managed to brush quite a bit of vegetation on my hikes.  The shirt does not have any marks on it to indicate it is starting to wear out.

Summary
The OR Sequence has proven to be a very comfortable shirt and it really shines in its wicking abilities.  I think Steve Sergeant summed it up nicely for base layers in general when he said "A lot of us give careful thought to that expensive outerwear we choose for our outdoor adventures. But then we often give less consideration to the pieces we'll wear the most, and be in the closest contact with -- our base layers. In my own experience, after a few days out, my choice of base layer gear often has the greatest effect on my overall comfort."  Steve interviewed me and a couple of other's who tested the OR Sequence on his audio journal about getting into the wilderness.  If interested in hearing more please visit http://www.wildebeat.net/ and click on show # 83.  I know that the OR Sequence has been a positive contributor to my overall comfort in the outdoors.















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