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Reviews > Clothing > Shirts > Outdoor Research Mens Sequence Tee > Tim Coughlin > Test Report by Tim Coughlin
I have been an active backpacker for 31 years, with experience hiking in many parts of the continental United States and Canada. Most of my time is spent in the Northeast, especially the Adirondack region of New York State. I practice lightweight and ultralight philosophies when backpacking. Iím a seasoned veteran to three-season backpacking, and have been expanding my experience outdoors to include winter backpacking. I am an avid four-season dayhiker.
14 December 2006
The test series begins in winter conditions in Northeast United States. The average daily temperatures are in steady decline, hitting lows in January and February. Itís not unusual to see temperatures during this period hovering at or below 0F (-18C). The ground has snow coverage. Snowfall is almost a daily occurrence.
March is still cold, but temperatures are a bit warmer, with daily temperatures around 20F (-7C). Winter does not fade until April, and then it very slowly releases its grip. Spring is cold, damp and long.
The Outdoor Research M's Sequence LS Tee arrived via United Parcel Service (UPS) carrier. Upon initial inspection, the shirt arrived in 'New' condition without any discernable flaws. The shirt is very much what I expected from my research of the Outdoor Research website.
The M's Sequence LS Tee is very similar in weight to a light, cotton t-shirt. All seams lay flat. There is minimal give to the fabric. The raglan sleeves minimize seams around the shoulder area - a nice benefit for backpackers. There is no elastic in the wrist area. There is a subtle OR logo centered in the mid-chest area, and another on a small tag towards the bottom of the shirt on the left side. There is no separate tag on the rear neck area; instead all the information is "decaled" on to the rear of the shirt. There is a sewn-in tag along the side seam near the bottom on the inside of the shirt containing washing instructions.
The fit of the Sequence LS Tee is ideal for me. Normally, I wear a 34/35 sleeve length in a dress shirt, and the sleeves on the Sequence end right at my wrist. There is not a lot of extra material in the Sequence. I would classify it more as an 'athletic fit'; although, it is not binding in any way either. The material is very comfortable against my skin and causes no itching whatsoever. Although it is an extremely lightweight shirt, I noticed its insulating properties almost immediately. There are no bulges or seam ridges, making the Sequence a perfect base layer. I'm very pleased with the color I'm testing and I find I can wear it with many different colored shirts I already own.
The material used in the Sequence is a unique blending of traditional wool with synthetics. The 'touch' of the material is similar to cotton, but different. The construction of the shirt also includes FreshGuard, an odor neutralization 'step'. I refer to it as a step since I am not sure if this is a treatment to the material or an integral addition to the material. So far on my initial hikes, I am very happy with its performance; but, the real question is how long will it last?
I have washed the Sequence in the washer and tossed it in the dryer with my regular load. I have also washed it by hand while staying in a hotel, where I hung it to dry in the closet of my room. In both cases, there were no problems. There were no discernable changes in the shirt's fit. A really nice surprise was how quickly the shirt dried while hanging in the closet. I was impressed to check on its drying progress about an hour after I hung it up and found it dry! The nylon gym shorts also hanging were not dry at that time.
Thus far, I have worn the Sequence on three different day hikes. I have worn it alone and as a baselayer. In all cases, the shirt's contribution to keeping me warm was noticeable. I was most impressed with this fact. I found that the shirt dries extremely quickly, even during short breaks, thus minimizing the cool-down effects of wearing damp gear while resting. The FreshGuard works wonderfully so far. The real test will be in the long-haul though.Summary of Initial Impressions
Although my tests thus far are admittedly very limited, I feel I've worn it enough to say the M's Sequence LS Tee is a very lightweight shirt that offers impressive insulating properties to the wearer. The shirt makes an excellent baselayer, but looks nice enough on its own to be worn by itself.
The Backpack Trek: I attended our Boy Scout council's Winter Klondike Weekend at Camp Schollkopf the weekend of January 19, 20, 21. Conditions were mild by my standards: daytime temperature hovered around 28F (-2 C) and dipped to 20F (-7 C) at night. The ground was snow-covered, with an 8 in (20 cm) base. We experienced occasional flurries over the weekend. Elevation was around 800 ft (244 m). Actual backpacking (i.e. hiking with all gear in a backpack) was approximately 3 mi (~ 5 km) on the first day, 5 miles (8 km) the second day, and 3 miles (~ 5 km) on the way out on day three.
experiences: Although I lost opportunities to backpack because of the severe
weather the past month, it also afforded me other opportunities to test the Mís
Sequence LS Tee. I have logged approximately 30 mi (48 km) hiking and another 20
mi (32 km) snowshoeing. I took my kids sledding on two occasions, and wore the
Mís Sequence LS Tee performing such functions as shoveling, pushing out stuck
cars and ice skating. Temperatures
have been around 0F (-18 C) with wind-chills as low as -30F (-34 C), and several
feet of snow. The amount of snow has varied, depending on where I was around
Western New York, but in general the depth of
the snow is around 4 ft (122 cm).
I have used the Mís Sequence LS Tee almost exclusively in base layer mode. Itís lightweight, has very little bulkiness, excellent odor control, and is very warm. In fact, I find the shirt has exceptional insulating properties. One of the things I canít stand when Iím out backpacking in the winter is putting on cold clothes. I really donít like stuffing them into my bag to warm them up either. This isnít an issue with this shirt. Regardless of the temperatures I change in, this shirt simply goes on warm, period!
The Mís Sequence LS Tee lends itself perfectly to my layering system. It fits under virtually anything I wanted to wear with it. I would compare its level of bulkiness to an undershirt. I am totally impressed with the added warmth it provides me! If this shirt continues to impress me throughout the Long Term testing, I will supplement my wardrobe with more of these garments.
The Mís Sequence LS Tee shows no signs of wearing out. It is holding its color nicely, and all seams show no signs of pulling or unraveling. My only Ďcomplaintí with the shirt is it tends to pull out when I have it tucked in. This bothers me, since I generally am wearing it as my base layer, but in fairness I find most shirts do this to me. I really wish it was an inch or two longer.
The Mís Sequence LS Tee simply does not smell, no matter how long I wear it! I have tested it in fairly sedentary activities all the way to sweat pouring death marches. This shirt dries faster than any other garment I own, and despite the fact that I have washed it at least a dozen times; I have not detected any sort of reduction in performance.
The water shedding and wind-break characteristics are pretty good too, although I have really only been able to test the former once at the beginning of the test series. For a thin shirt, it offers impressive resistance to wind. But, it really shines in this frigid weather as my base.
Can you tell I
love the Mís Sequence LS Tee?
Weather during long-term testing has ranged from a low of -10 F (-23 C) with wind-chill temperatures as low as -35 F (-37 C) to highs of 70 F (21 C). Testing included two weekend backpacks and several day hikes. Total overnight camping during long-term testing included six nights. Both trips were local in Western New York. Snow was abundant on both outings. Temperatures on both outings varied from about 20 F (-7 C) to 40 F (4 C). Day hiking included hikes all over Western New York. There were 10 hikes over 5 miles (8 km) in length.
I also wore the tee shirt anytime I was outside for a period longer than around 15 minutes. Therefore, I wore the shirt the vast majority of the time.
I summary, I wore the shirt for a total of about 75 mi (120 km) of hiking, carrying a pack on almost all of them, and for periods up to 10 hours outside doing things besides hiking. Temperatures for this entire test period were cold, except for a brief business trip to Atlanta where I was able to get in some day hiking in nice temperatures approaching the 70 F (21 C) mark.
Results of Long-Term Testing
I cannot be happier with this shirt. I already outlined its excellent insulating characteristics in the Field Report, but I am happy to report now that I have not seen any drop in performance over the long haul. This shirt is very lightweight, comfortable against my skin and keeps me warm! The Merino wool that is weaved into the fabric causes me no itching or discomfort whatsoever. In fact, I cannot even detect it.
I have never had any problems with this shirt holding moisture. I have found it dries quickly, even in my sleeping bag. Admittedly, my warm-weather testing only consisted of a 5 Ėmi (8 km) dayhike on a beautiful 70 F (21 C) day in Atlanta, but even then I found the OR Menís Sequence LS Tee to exhibit the same great moisture wicking and quick-drying characteristics I found in all my cold-weather testing.
The shirtís appearance has held up beautifully over the test period. It shows minimal wear and exhibits no stains or fabric runs. In fact, it looks almost new.
I am very pleased with the odor handling characteristics of the shirt. The shirt has always handled odor well, and it continues to still. I have worn it for as long as 45 hours performing high levels of exertion and never did this shirt become unbearable.
In summary, the OR Menís Sequence LS Tee is an excellent shirt. I love it as my baselayer, or my only shirt. It has held up exceptionally well from all the testing. In fact, my only knock with this shirt is that as itís finally beginning to warm up a little and I find the long sleeves beginning to bother me. By the nature of the material in the shirt, it does not lend itself to simply pushing the sleeves up my arms past my elbows the way a cotton shirt would. So, I decided to buy the short sleeved model! I cannot think of a better compliment I could pay this shirt. Through this test I have come to appreciate the part of my system I didnít pay much attention to before Ė the base layer.
Thank you OR and BGT for an excellent test!
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