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Reviews > Clothing > Shirts > Skirt Sports Trikini Tank Print > Test Report by Pamela Wyant

SkirtSports TRIKini Tank Top

Initial Report - May 21, 2008
Field Report - July 29, 2008
Long Term Report - September 30, 2008


Tester Information:
 
Name:  Pam Wyant
Age:  50
Gender:  Female
Height:  5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
Weight:  165 lb (77 kg)

Bust: 40 in (102 cm)
Normal bra cup: B
Waist: 35 in (89 cm)

E-mail address: 
  pamwyant(at)yahoo(dot)com
Location: 
  Western West Virginia, U.S.A.

Backpacking Background: 

Pursuing a long-time interest, I started backpacking five years ago, beginning with day-hiking and single overnights.  Currently I’m mostly a ‘weekend warrior’, hiking and backpacking mainly in the hills and valleys of West Virginia, but have started a project to section hike the Appalachian Trail (AT), accruing a little over 200 mi (300 km) in the last two years.  My usual shelter is a hammock, but occasionally I use a tent. In general my backpacking style is lightweight and minimalist and I try to cut as much pack weight as I can without sacrificing warmth, comfort, or safety.


The TRIKini Tank

Initial Report - May 21, 2008


Detail of frontProduct Information:

Manufacturer:  SkirtSports
Year of manufacture:  2008
Model:  TRIKini Tank

Size tested:  Women's X-Large
Color tested:  Blue Paradise
 
Advertised weight: not specified
Actual Weight:  150 g/5.3 oz, size XL

Website:  www.skirtsports.com

MSRP:  $44.00 US

Product Description:

Rear detailThe SkirtSports TRIKini Tank is a racerback style sleeveless top with what I consider 'full' coverage; that is it has a relatively high neckline, moderately cut snug fitting armholes, and is long enough that it reaches to the 'bend' area of my hips.  The stretchy 80% nylon/20% spandex fabric falls into what I consider the mid-weight category.  It is similar in feel to most of my swimsuits, and like them, stretches in all directions to provide a snug, trim, but not overly tight fit.  The fabric is thick enough that it is opaque; no skin shows through the fabric when I wear it.

The top has a built-in bra of similar fabric to the outer layer, only white in color, and perhaps just a bit heavier weight material.  Both the outer layer and the built-in bra have flat lock seams at the sides, and small diagonal regular seams at the shoulder.  The bra also has a small pocket on the top portion of the center front.  The pocket measures approximately 2.5 in (6.5 cm) wide at the top, 2 in (5 cm) wide at the bottom, and is about 4 in (10 cm) long.  SkirtSports calls this pocket "Cleavage Alley" and suggests using it for energy gel packets or a key.  Since I don't normally use energy gels, it will be interesting to see just what I end up storing here.  The pocket is open at the top, without any sort of fastener, so I don't think I'll be storing my car keys here for a multi-day backpacking trip!

Two flat lock stitched seams secure the pocket in place, and continue to the bottom of the bra.  A 1/2 in (1.25 cm) band of elastic is sewn into the fabric at the bottom of the bra.  The outer layer and the built-in bra are joined at the neck and armholes with a flat lock stitched white binding made from the same fabric as the bra.  A flat lock seam runs down each side of the outer layer.  The 1/2 in (1.25 cm) folded hem is finished with a double top stitch.  Both the front and back of the shirt measure about 20 in (51 cm) from neck to hem.  The hem measures about 36 in (91 cm) around the bottom.

An imprinted rectangular 'tagless' white label with pink printing is located at the center back of the bra, featuring the company logo and name, the size, and the country the TRIKini Tank is made in (Costa Rica).   A traditional care label is located under the right armpit area, slightly to the back.  This label has the company name and address, the website address, and the fabric content (in 3 languages) on the front side.  The back side gives laundering directions (also in 3 languages) and has the international fabric care instruction symbols at the bottom.  The instructions say to "Machine wash cold with like colors; Do not bleach. Do not use softeners; Line Dry". 

The company name is imprinted in white on the lower left side, a little over an inch (about 3 cm) from the bottom of the hem.  Their logo, a sporty looking skirt, is imprinted in silver on the center back, about 1 in (3 cm) from the top.

Preliminary impressions/fit:

The top looks about like what I expected from the manufacturer website, other than the blue has more of a turquoise or teal shade to it than the more cobalt appearing shade featured on the website, and the white is a little more cream than the bright white shown.  The overall effect of the color scheme is a little more muted than I would have expected from the photo.

The TRIKini appears to be well made, with no obvious flaws.  The stitching appears even, and there were no loose hanging threads or missed stitches.

The fit is snug, similar to a bathing suit.  The large arm openings created by the racer back style allow full range of movement without any binding or pulling.  The bra gives light, unstructured support.  The top feels very comfortable when I've worn it around the house a bit.  The bottom does have a tendency to slide upward somewhat after wearing it a while, creating a few wrinkles in the fabric.  Due to the length of the shirt it still provides good coverage over a pair of shorts or pants even when it does this, and so far has not pulled up so far that it exposes my stomach or back.

While I don't normally wear snug fitting tank tops backpacking, I'm looking forward to testing this one.  It will probably mean a bit of adjustment to my typical hiking attire, but one that I hope is positive.  Instead of a sports bra and wool T-shirt, I plan to wear the TRIKini tank and the loose button up shirt pictured with it near the top of this report.  I think this will be a versatile combo.  I look forward to seeing if the TRIKini dries quickly in the field, meaning I could wear it for a cooling dip in a trailside swimming hole at lunch time, then still continue to wear it around camp in the evening with additional layers as it cools off.

This concludes my Initial Report.

Field Report - July 29, 2008

Field Conditions and use:

Wearing the TRIKini while hikingI wore the TRIKini tank top during a 27 mi (43.5 km) 3-day, 2-night backpacking trip in the Canaan Mountain area of the Monongahela National Forest in eastern West Virginia.  I used my GoLite Quest pack, carrying about 18 lb (8 kg) total weight.  Weather conditions ranged widely on this trip.  The first day was cool, with temperatures in the 50 - 60 F (10-16 C) range, dropping to just above freezing (around 33 F/1 C) the first night.  I wore the TRIKini under a loose nylon button-up hiking shirt while on the trail.  Camp that night was in a relatively damp area near several small streams and a lot of boggy ground, which added to the chill.  Soon after setting up camp, I removed the nylon shirt, leaving the TRIKini as my against the skin base layer and added a chest warmer, arm warmers, and a light wool shirt.  Later I added the nylon hiking shirt also, and still later a light down jacket.  I slept in all these layers under a light down quilt.  The second day of the trip was warmer, with night temperatures only falling to around 52 F (11 C).  Camp this night was on a high ridge, in dry conditions, and I was comfortable in the TRIKini and nylon shirt for a while, then removed the nylon shirt and wore a light wool shirt over the TRIKini, adding the nylon shirt back over the top later in the evening.  In the warmer temperatures, I did not use the TRIKini for sleeping, using a light wool base layer shirt only.

In late June, I wore the TRIKini tank top on an 11.4 mi/18.4 km day hike on the Appalachian Trail in the southern part of Shenandoah National Park.  I used an Outdoor Products day pack (without a hip belt), carrying around 9 lb (4 kg) total weight.  The weather was humid and hot (in the 80-90 F/27-32 C range) with bright sunshine for the most part, although a moderate storm kicked up toward the end of the hike, cooling things down a bit, and we ended up hiking about 2 mi/3 km in varying amounts of rain.  Most of the trail was a single width dirt path interspersed with roots and rocks with fairly good tree cover.  A couple of small sections consisting of 'jeep trail' type roads and single file paths through grassy fields had more sun exposure.  I started the hike wearing a nylon shirt over the TRIKini, but it was soon so hot I removed the nylon shirt and used the TRIKini for my sole top layer.  After the rain kicked in, I added a Frogg Toggs rain jacket over the TRIKini and was very warm on the uphills and pleasantly warm on the downhills.

In early July, I wore the TRIKini on a day hike of about 5 mi/8 km in western West Virginia, but with the temperatures again approaching 90 F (32 C).  I did not use a pack on this trip, being very familiar with the trail and carried only a water bottle in a sleeve with a webbing shoulder strap.  The trail was mostly single width dirt with some rocks and roots and good tree cover, and a small section of weedy 'four wheeler' path that was exposed to the sun.  Although the trail was wet and muddy from previous rains, the day was bright and sunny.  I again started out wearing a nylon hiking shirt over the TRIKini, but soon was too warm and wore only the TRIKini as my top layer.

I have also worn the TRIKini on ten different packless 3 mi/5 km hikes on old narrow dirt county roads that are semi-maintained.  Temperatures ranged from 60 to 90 F (16 to 32 C), and conditions ranged from dry to a moderate rain.  Most of these hikes took place in the early evening, when sun exposure is not intense.  On these trips I wore a nylon hiking shirt over the TRIKini, but nearly always grew too warm and removed it after a short distance.

Experiences and conclusions:

Wearing TRIKini while relaxingOne of the pleasant surprises of this test has been discovering just how comfortable the TRIKini tank top is for hiking and backpacking.  I have found that I particularly like the way my shoulders are free and uncovered.  While I hadn't really noticed my clothing being binding before, I didn't know what I was missing by covering these areas.  The increased range of motion in my shoulder areas is very noticeable when wearing the TRIKini, and it makes me feel very light and free even when wearing a pack.

On the downside, this sense of free motion comes from wearing less concealing clothing and makes me more aware of just how much my figure could benefit from working out more.  Sigh...  A thin, athletic fashion model I am not.  So sometimes I feel a little self conscious wearing the top around others, and unless it is very warm I prefer wearing a shirt over it.

With most of my trips so far in very warm weather, I have found the TRIKini does an excellent job of keeping me as cool and dry as possible.  It does a great job of wicking away sweat, and I don't have droplets rolling down my back or collecting in puddles under my bust.  Although the TRIKini will get very wet when I am sweating, my skin feels comfortable, and the shirt feels cool and refreshing.  The material is fairly thick, and I find it dries more slowly than many of my other wicking shirts.  While this works well keeping me cool in the heat of the day, the shirt can get a little chilly when evening temperatures start to drop.  On the Canaan Mountain trip I found I could overcome this by layering a wool shirt on top while sitting around camp, which kept me warm enough to dry the TRIKini out before bedtime.

The built-in bra has offered good support while hiking and backpacking, and feels much more comfortable than any separate bra I have ever worn.  It doesn't bind anywhere and never leaves 'elastic marks' yet stays in place well.  I used the pocket to hold a couple of bags of mixed nuts during my Canaan Mountain trip, but I found the plastic made my chest feel hot even with the layer of fabric in between, and I have not used it since.  I recently ordered some energy gels and I will try it with a couple of them during the long term test phase.  So far though, I don't find this pocket very useful for me as a hiker and backpacking since I usually have plenty of pockets in my pants or pack to store snacks.

After my hike in the Shenandoah National Park, I realized my day pack really needed to be washed, because it transferred a lot of dirt from the straps to the white trim of the TRIKini.  Although I was able to wash out most of the stain through a combination of Spray-N-Wash, hand scrubbing with mild soap, laundering with Tide detergent, and finally resorting to a bit of bleach from a Clorox pen, the white trim around the shoulder and arm area still has a dingy grey tinge to much of it.  While this doesn't bother me while hiking, since I always get grungy anyway, I would prefer that the trim were a darker color so that it would not show stains as badly.

Between wearing and washing the shirt a dozen or so times, the label on the back has cracked and deteriorated to the point it is just a few bits clinging to the shirt.  The logo on the bottom of the shirt has begun to peel away at the left side, but for now is still mostly intact and readable.  Other than this, the shirt has held up well, and I am pleased with the overall quality of the materials and construction of the top.  I am especially pleased that the TRIKini seems to hold less odors than most synthetic shirts.  While it develops a little more of a stench than my wool shirts do, it is relatively mild rather than overpowering, and so far a single cycle trip through the washer removes all trace of hiking sweat smell.

Summary:

The TRIKini tank top is a comfortable and cool top for summer hiking, offering great range of motion, good support, and excellent wicking properties.  Simple laundering removes all odors, but staining is difficult to remove from the white trim and the labels are deteriorating.  Still, the positives out weigh the negatives so far, and I look forward to continued testing of the SkirtSports TRIKini tank top.

This concludes my field report. 

Long Term Report - September 30, 2008

Field Conditions and use:

In early August I wore the SkirtSports TRIKini tank top on an 8 mi (13 km) day hike in Shenandoah National Park.  The trail was mostly shaded, with a few exposed sunny areas.  Terrain varied from smooth soil to exposed roots and rocks.  Temperatures were in the 80 F (27 C) range, and I wore the TRIKini as my only upper body layer and carried a day pack relatively heavy with water, at around a 10 lb (4.5 kg) total weight.  I tucked an energy gel pack in the bra pocket.

In late August I wore it on a two day section hike of the Appalachian Trail in Shenandoah National Park, which included two day hikes interspersed with an overnight at one of the park's campgrounds.  I wore a day pack while hiking, loaded similar to the prior trip.  The first day was a 10.4 mi (16.7 km) section of trail consisting of similar terrain as the earlier August trip, with temperatures in the 70 F - 80 F (21 C - 27 C) ranges.  The trail was mostly shaded, but with two longer exposed sunny areas.  The second day was a shorter 2.3 mi (3.7 km) hike, with similar temperatures.  The trail included a short section of dirt interspersed with root and rocks, and a longer section with soil and grass underfoot and tall grass and bramble bushes along the sides, including blackberries in bloom which were being visited by scores of bumble bees!  Due to the warm temperatures, I again wore the TRIKini as my only upper body layer while hiking, even though I was a little worried about the proximity of some of those bees!  With a nice campground shower house nearby, I took advantage of the opportunity to clean up in the evenings and don fresh clothing and did not wear the TRIKini in camp.

Hiking in the TRIKini in Seneca Creek areaAlso in late August/early September, I wore it on a weekend (3 day/2 night) backpacking trip in the Seneca Creek area of the Monongahela National Forest in eastern West Virginia.  While the days were warm (70 F - 80 F/21 C - 27 C), the evening temperatures dropped quickly into the 50 F - 60 F (10 C - 16 C).  Most of the trail the first and last day was shaded, and I wore my fully loaded, around 20 lb (9 kg) GoLite Quest pack.  The second day was actually day hiking from our base camp, and included some sunny meadows.  I wore my Quest pack, but compressed it to carry only water, food, rain gear, and the typical 'essentials', estimated at around 10 lb (4.5 kg).  While hiking I wore the TRIKini as my only upper body layer, but added a light wool top over it in the evenings for warmth, and also added a light down jacket in the early mornings until I started warming up.  I found the TRIKini dried nicely in a reasonable time after the exertion of hiking, and wore it to sleep in as well as for hiking.  In fact, I never took it off the entire weekend.

I also wore the TRIKini on four short (3 mi/5 km) day hikes in western West Virginia, on old, rough dirt semi-maintained county roads.  Temperatures ranged from 60 F to 80 F (16 C to 27 C).  These were 'packless' trips, carrying only water, an energy bar in my cargo pants pocket, and an energy gel in the bra pocket.  On these hikes, I sometimes wore a light weight long sleeved nylon shirt over the TRIKini, but ended up shedding it soon after warming up.

Experiences and conclusions:

I have been surprised by how well I have come to like hiking in the SkirtSports TRIKini tank top.  I normally like to hike in short sleeved shirts in warmer weather, both for comfort from pack straps and buckles and for coverage from the sun or scratchy branches along the trail.  I was pleased to find that I did not experience any chafing or discomfort from either my day pack straps or my GoLite Quest pack straps.  Because I have noticed chafing with other sleeveless tops (and with some short-sleeved models), I mulled it over a bit and decided that this must be due to the fairly good coverage of the armhole area of the TRIKini. 

One thing I did not like as well was that I felt my pack straps got somewhat sweatier since there was not as much shirt fabric absorbing the sweat in the armpit area.  This wasn't a huge issue - I simply ended up rinsing out my pack after each trip, which probably isn't a bad idea to get rid of the salts that build up from sweating against the back of the pack anyway. 

A positive from the lack of fabric in the armpit area is that I did not have as much sweat build up on my shirt and it was therefore less smelly than a sleeved shirt.  In fact, odor did not build up very badly on the shirt at all.  On my last backpacking trip, our group posed for a photo on the last day, and the lady standing next to me made the remark "I don't know how you do it, but even after three days you don't stink".  I laughed and said her nose must not be working properly, but after thinking about it, I do believe there was less overall odor build up with the TRIKini than many other shirts I have worn.

I also liked that it was very easy to wash salts and sweat off of my arms and most of my back at the end of each day since I did not have sleeves getting in the way.  I had hoped to use the TRIKini as a swimming top on a backpacking trip, but that just did not work out.  While it was hot we were busy hiking in areas away from water holes, and when we were near the waterholes, the temperatures dropped too much for me to be comfortable in getting soaked through and then sitting around while I dried out.  I found it nearly as refreshing though to be able to wade out a bit and splash off thoroughly without worrying about getting wet sleeves.  The little bit of splash that landed on the top dried relatively quickly.

The TRIKini seemed to wick very well.  I never felt dripping wet with sweat under the tank top and felt it absorbed and dispersed the moisture very well.

The TRIKini was very pleasant to wear.  I liked feeling that I had a full range of motion in my arms and shoulders when I wore it.  I had not realized how much even a loose fitting sleeve can sometimes restrict motion, but noticed a remarkable feeling of freedom in the shoulder and upper arm area with the TRIKini.  Another positive was the built in bra.  Normally I wear an athletic type bra when hiking and backpacking, but I found I really liked the less structured built in bra - so much that it was even very comfortable to sleep in, which is not something I can say about my separate bras.  Even though it wasn't very structured, it felt supportive enough for backpacking and hiking activities.

A neutral feature was the bra pocket.  Although I used it a few times, I was always conscious of what I had in there, and it did make the fabric lumpy in that area when I had anything in it.  When it's empty it is not even noticeable, which is why I consider it neutral - okay, but not a feature I like or need.  I could see that it might be more useful if I were a runner and did not have a pack or cargo pockets handy to carry a snack or a lip balm, but as a backpacker it adds no real value.

The only real negative about the TRIKini was that it did become rather grungy looking on the white trim in the back and around the armholes, and I was never really able to get it fully white again even though I used a couple of brands of laundry pre-treatment and did some hand scrubbing.  The stains appeared to be mainly from my day pack which is an inexpensive older model, and seemed to bleed color onto the trim.  If I were purchasing another shirt, I would likely go for a darker color this time around.  I would like to see a somewhat wider choice of fabrics available to choose from, maybe one or two solid colors, since I'm not a big fan of bold prints.

The labels on the neck and near the hem have peeled significantly, and the one on the back is starting to peel slightly, but I don't feel this adversely affects the shirt.

Overall, I have to say that I really like the SkirtSports TRIKini tank, and will definitely consider replacing this one with another when the time comes for it to be retired.

Likes:

Comfortable, with good range of motion and decent bra support
Odor resistance
Ease of splashing off sweat salts while wearing

Neutral:

Bra pocket not very useful to me
A wider choice of colors/patterns (including more neutral or solid colors) would be nice

Dislikes:

Stains remain on the white trim (result of my choice, darker trim color is available in other color choices)


This concludes the test series.

Thanks to SkirtSports and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test the TRIKini Tank.


Read more reviews of Skirt Sports gear
Read more gear reviews by Pamela Wyant

Reviews > Clothing > Shirts > Skirt Sports Trikini Tank Print > Test Report by Pamela Wyant



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