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Reviews > Clothing > Shirts > Patagonia Wool 2 T-Shirt > Test Report by Andrew Henrichs
Patagonia Men's Wool 2 T-Shirt
Test Series by Andy Henrichs
August 25, 2008
The Patagonia Wool 2 T-Shirt is a short-sleeved baselayer made from 100% chlorine-free merino wool. According to the Patagonia website, it has "a doubled crew collar, flat chafe-free seams and a tuckable length. Merino wool is slow-washed for softness and to reduce shrinkage without the use of environmentally harmful chlorine." The fabric itself is extremely soft and fairly thin. In fact, I'm able to see through a single layer of the wool. The seams are quite flat, and the interior seams appeared to be slightly more flat. The shirt appears to be very well constructed, with no loose threads or irregular stitches. According to the Patagonia website, this is a "slim fit" shirt.
The Wool 2 T-Shirt is constructed with raglan sleeves that, according to Patagonia, won't chafe beneath pack straps. Basically, "raglan sleeve" means that the sleeve material goes all the way up to the neck of the shirt. This eliminates any seams from the top of the shoulder.
The accompanying hang tag includes care instructions. The instructions state to "machine wash cold on gentle or delicate cycle, dry flat. Do not iron or bleach."
The hang tag also states that the Wool 2 T-Shirt will help me stay dry and warm. Looking at the thickness of the wool, I wonder how warm it will keep me. But that's why I'll test this shirt.
When I first took the shirt out of the packaging and unrolled it, there was a lot of static cling. The static cling has definitely decreased as it's been tossed on the couch, on my bed, and in the hamper. I will be interested to see if any static remains after washing. The wool is incredibly soft. I wore it around for a couple hours and it never felt scratchy.
I really like the color of this shirt. Most of my clothing in my outdoor closet is blue or some variation thereof. I wanted a change so I decided to take a leap and try the Fresh Clover color. Thankfully, it isn't as neon as it appeared on the Patagonia website. It's a slightly more subdued green color that looks really good.
I was surprised how long this shirt is. I feel that I have a fairly long torso, but this shirt extends nearly 5 in (13 cm) past my waist. This shirt is definitely of a "tuckable length." Also, this shirt definitely fits slim. Since I am rather slim, I like this.
So far, my testing has taken place on the Western Slope of Colorado and in southeastern Utah. I've worn this shirt at elevations ranging from 4500 ft (1400 m) to approximately 7000 ft (2100 m). Given the cool weather we've experienced this spring, I've primarily used this short sleeve shirt while in the high desert, although I've worn it recently in aspen and pine forests. Temperatures on my outings have ranged from 45° F (7° C) to 85° F (29° C). I have experienced a wide variety of weather on these outings, including rain, sun, clouds, and strong winds.
I've used the Patagonia Wool 2 T-shirt while biking on four occasions and while hiking on three occasions. It has performed very well on every day. I'm still happy with the fit of the shirt. Even after a couple washings, the shirt doesn't seem to have shrunk at all. It still fits rather slim, which I like. I also don't feel like the shirt has shrunk length-wise. It is still of a "tuckable length," although I don't typically tuck in my shirts while hiking or biking. The added length does ensure that the shirt won't pull up out of my pack waist strap.
This shirt has retained it's softness even after many days of use and several washings. It still feels great next to my skin. The exterior of the shirt has started to "fuzz" a little bit, although right now it appears to be purely cosmetic. I noticed one thread with a small pull in it on the chest, but it doesn't seem to be going anywhere as of now. One thing that does concern me is the fuzzing of the seams on the shoulder. I really haven't worn this shirt with a heavy pack, and I get concerned that this fuzzing will increase significantly when I start wearing a heavy pack this summer. I will, however, reserve judgment until the test series is over.
The Wool 2 has so far performed well through a moderate temperature range. For the most part, it has kept me a little warm when it's cool and hasn't felt too heavy when it's warm. The one exception was on a recent mountain bike ride. I was riding up a strenuous local hill one evening, and the temperature was approximately 20° F (10° C) warmer than on any previous mountain bike ride. The gulch I was riding up was completely sheltered from the wind, and I felt like I was on fire! I thought my face was going to spontaneously combust before I reached the top. I don't think this was due to the shirt. Rather, I think this was just the fact that my body was unaccustomed to exercising in such heat.
So far, I've found the Wool 2 to wick quite well. Parts of it gets saturated, particularly if I'm wearing a pack, but I've found that it dries within 15 minutes if I remove it. Despite the sweat absorbed by the shirt, it hasn't smelled bad yet. I've noticed a typical "wet wool" smell if I'm sweating a lot, but no body odor seems to be absorbed by the wool.
The next testing session should be the ultimate test. My 50-day hiking/cycling fundraiser will put this shirt to the test in all regards. I'm excited to push it to its limits, but am a little concerned about the durability based on my aforementioned fuzzing issues.
The remainder of my testing has taken place throughout Colorado. I've worn this shirt at elevations ranging from 4500 ft (1400 m) to over 14000 ft (4300 m). I've worn this shirt in the high desert, moderate-elevation pine and aspen forests, alpine tundra and everything in between. Temperatures on my outings have ranged from 30° F (-1° C) to 100° F (38° C). I have experienced a wide variety of weather on these outings, including rain, sun, clouds, hail, and strong winds.
Unfortunately, my 50-day test didn't work out as planned. The cool spring did little to melt the snow in the high country. I was repeatedly prevented from cycling further due to snow. In the end, I wore the Wool 2 shirt for four consecutive days. In those four days, I cycled 140 mi (225 km) and hiked/snowshoed 25 mi (40 km). In addition to these four intense days, I wore the shirt four additional days while cycling and 15 additional days while hiking.
I'm still happy with the fit of this shirt. It hasn't shrunk at all and hasn't faded too much. It is still very soft and comfortable next to my skin. The light fabric proved to be very beneficial when the temperature started to climb. I would definitely sweat while wearing this shirt, but the light fabric allowed breezes to sneak in and cool me down. As I mentioned in my Field Report, the shirt will typically be dry after 15-20 minutes if I'm taking a rest break. The "wet wool" smell is still present when it gets wet, but it doesn't seem as intense. I've noticed that the shirt seems to retain a little more body odor, but it's still fairly insignificant.
My one concern with this shirt remains its durability. While on my (abbreviated) expedition this summer, I dunked my shirt in a stream and wrung it out as I walked back to camp. When I unrolled it, I noticed a small hole in upper right back. I don't know if this hole was present before I wrung it out or not. Over time and washings, this hole has grown to 1/4 in (6 mm) by 1/8 in (3 mm). While this is not a serious issue, the hole has grown steadily. I also noticed three small holes in the front of the shirt at waist level. I can only assume that these holes are from the shirt getting caught in my pack belt buckle. There is one significant pull in the wool on the right shoulder. The protruding fiber is approximately 1 in (2.5 cm). The stitching is also beginning to fuzz out more, especially on the sleeves.
These issues could potentially be written off as insignificant. I feel that if I'm going to spend $80 US on a wool t-shirt, it should be more durable. While I wore this shirt often, I don't feel that I abused it in any way. Maybe this weight wool is just too light for my general usage. Still, I can't help but feel disappointed by the durability. I contacted Patagonia Customer Service via e-mail and explained the issues I was having with the shirt. I was told to mail in the shirt and it would be evaluated for repair or replacement. If it was to be repaired, and wasn't due to a manufacturing defect, I would be charged. In any event, it could be six weeks until I got the shirt back. I decided that I would continue to evaluate the shirt rather than lose six weeks of testing.
Overall, I liked wearing this shirt, but I feel that the price is steep considering how quickly it deteriorates. If given the choice, I would look at purchasing a heavier (and presumably more durable) shirt.
Thank you to Patagonia and BackpackGearTest.org for giving me the opportunity to test this shirt.
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