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Reviews > Clothing > Shirts > SmartWool Microweight Tank Top > Test Report by Jennifer Koles

SmartWool W’s NTS Microweight Tank

Test Series by Jennifer Koles

November 1, 2011

Skip to my Initial Report- May 25, 2011
Skip to my Field Report- September 6, 2011
Skip to my Long Term Report- November 1, 2011

Personal Information

Name:  Jennifer Koles
Age:  36
Gender:  Female
Height:  5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
Weight: 140 lb (64 kg)
Email address: jennksnowy at yahoo dot com
City, State, and Country: Orange County, California, United States

Backpacking Background

After getting into the outdoors scene camping while 4-wheeling and day-hiking, I switched to backpacking in the early 2000's. I have backpacked extensively in Utah, Wyoming and Idaho along with California, Pennsylvania and Nevada. I have slowly been cutting my base weight to be able to go longer in duration and distance. I have done so mainly by using better gear and dumping heavy luxuries. I backpack year round in all weather, and usually take a free standing tent and a gas stove on all my trips. I love trying out new gear.

The author

The author in the Narrows at Zion National Park, Utah.

Initial Report

May 25, 2011

Product Information

Product:   W’s NTS Microweight Tank
Manufacturer:  SmartWool
Year of Manufacture:  2011

Manufacturer Website:

Colors Available (on the manufacturer’s website): Turquoise, Natural White, and Black

Color Tested: Peony (not listed on the manufacturer’s website)

Sizes Available (chest measurement): x-small (32-34), small (34-35), medium (36-38), large (3-40), x-large (41-42)

Size Tested: Medium

Measured Weight: 74 grams (2.61 oz)

MSRP: $50.00 USD

Smartwool Tank Logo

Product Description

The SmartWool Women’s NTS Microweight Tank is made of 100% New Zealand Zque Merino Wool. This wool is soft, non-itchy, designed to wick moisture away, regulate temperature, and odor resistive.

This sleeveless tank has a semi-fitted style with a scoop neckline and a racer back design. It also has a shaped bottom hem for a body enhancing fit. There are bound edge details at the neckline and armholes for a smooth finish. The tank is constructed with flatlock seams to eliminate chafing.

This tank can be used as a baselayer or as a stand alone garment. The wool properties allow this garment to provide warmth when layered as an underwear garment or cooling properties when worn as a stand alone outer layer.

On the product care tag it is suggested to turn the garment inside out before washing, machine wash in warm water/gentle cycle, tumble dry low, professionally dry clean, do not bleach, and iron on low setting.



Initial Impressions

The SmartWool Microweight Tank fits me perfectly; it fits snugly but not overly tight. The wool microweight fabric is soft and lightweight. I can barely feel it against my skin. The wool feels soft and there is no itchy wool feeling. I like the idea of the racer back design to prevent straps from sliding down. The wool fabric looks like it is a good quality; there are no holes in the material or no stitching undone.

The Peony color is a hot pink. I am not used to wearing such a bright color, but it can be nicely paired with black or worn alone.

Prior to wearing the tank, I washed it in cool water and dried it on a rack overnight. The tank washes nicely with no pilling or fuzzing of the fabric and it dries quickly.


Field Report

September 6, 2011

Millcreek Canyon Utah

Testing Locations

Wasatch Mountains, Utah: The Smartwool Microweight Tank was worn here on day hikes. It was mostly sunny and the temperatures ranged from the low 70's F (21 C) to the mid 90's F (35 C).

St. George area, Utah: Camping for two nights amongst the Southern Utah red rocks. The temperatures ranged from the low 70's F (21 C) to the mid 90's F (35 C). It was sunny with no wind. The elevation was around 3,500 ft (1,067 m).

El Moro/Crystal Cove Backcountry, California: Went bikepacking for one night in the backcountry and wore the tank at night. It was breezy and the fog rolled in quickly after sunset. The temperatures were in the 50's F (11 C). The elevation was about 400 ft (122 m).

Southern California: The tank was worn on two hikes in El Moro. It was mostly sunny on these hikes/outings, but there were days that it was misty and foggy. The temperatures were the low 60's F (16 C) to the low 80's F (27 C). I also worn the tank while mountain biking on one occasion and while rollerblading on the beach path.

Performance in the Field

I have been wearing the Smartwool Women's Microweight Tank in the field for just over three months. The tank has been worn alone and layered under both short and long sleeve tops. I was able to wear the tank in temperatures as high as the upper 90's F (35 C) and at night while sleeping at camp with the temperatures in the 50's F (11 C). In the warm temperatures the tank does a good job of regulating temperature; I was not overly warm or uncomfortable.

At first I did not know what to think of the Peony color. I have grown to like it and consider it to be a fun color. It goes well with black, white, aqua, and turquoise shades.

The Microweight Tank is super comfortable and lightweight. Even when the wool fabric becomes damp the tank does not feel heavy. The tank wicks moisture away from my skin so that I am not feeling sticky or clammy. I was surprised that even after hiking in the hot sun and sweating that the tank was not stinky. I have worn the tank for two consecutive days without washing and I could not smell any stench. But, the tank is very sheer and some of my sports bras can be seen and the tank clings to my skin and shows my imperfections.

I like the racer back styling, mostly because my racer back sports bras are not sticking out when I am wearing the tank. Plus there are no shoulder straps to slide off while wearing it. But, there is a small problem with the racer back styling. When I am carrying a pack the shoulder straps from the pack give me some irritation on my exposed back skin.

The tank washes nicely and there is no pilling of the fabric; even where my pack straps rub against the fabric. But, unfortunately there is a small hole in the front of the tank, near where my pack hip belts would rest. The tank has been washed since the hole was discovered and it has not grown in size. Since the hole is small I am considering sewing it.

I am happy so far with the Microweight Tank. I just wish it did not have a hole in it.

Long Term Report

November 1, 2011


Testing Locations

El Moro/Crystal Cove Backcountry, California: The tank was worn six times in this area over the past two months on hikes before or after my park patrols. The temperatures were in the upper 50's F (14 C) to 90 F (32 C). The elevation ranged to just slightly above sea level to about 400 ft (122 m). Some days it was sunny and other days there was a misty fog.

Southern California: I also wore the tank while mountain biking (three times) and while walking/rollerblading on the beach path near my home (two times). The temperatures ranged from the upper 50's F (14 C) to the lower 80's F (27 C).

Performance in the Field

During the past two months the SmartWool Microweight Tank was worn on day hikes, walking on the beach path, and as a layer while biking. What is nice about the SmartWool Tank is there is no stink. Even after sweating profusely the tank did not smell like body odor. It had the slightest damp wool odor; as it does when it is wet and hung up to dry. But, there is no foul odor. I even wore it for two days in a row unlaundered; just because I got home too late to do laundry.

The tank washes up nicely. There is no fuzzing or pilling of the wool fabric, nor any pulled stitching. Also there are no heavily worn areas from my backpack straps and hip belt. However, there is still the hole on the front of the shirt. The hole has not grown in size from wearing or washing, but it is still there. And how it got there is still a mystery to me. Since the testing of the SmartWool Tank is completed I will mend the hole so it is not noticeable and to protect the shirt from additional damage.

During the past two months the tank has been worn in temperatures reaching into the 90's F (34 C) and as low as the upper 50's F (14 C). The tank works nicely as a stand alone layer or as a base layer under a button/zip down shirt or a jacket. The tank is what I would describe as being light and airy. It dries quickly and pulls moisture away from my skin. When it gets damp from my sweat my skin does not feel clammy. The tank feels comfortable both while worn alone or worn layered under another top or jacket. The wool has a soft feeling and is not scratchy or irritating to my skin.

I generally wear sports bras with this tank that have a racer back design. This is so the straps do not show where my upper back area/shoulders are exposed. The tank is cut with a racer back design, therefore regular bra straps definitely show. If I am wearing the tank as a base layer I will wear regular bra straps without an issue. I just do not care for my bra straps showing if I wear the tank alone, my self-confidence actually plummets. I like to wear beige sports bras under the tank, because my white bras show through the thin fabric.

The tank has not stretched with washing. It is still form fitting and shows every imperfection I have because the fabric is so thin. Luckily I am not in bad physical shape and I have no insecurities when wearing it as a stand alone layer.


Over the past four months I have enjoyed wearing the SmartWool Microweight Tank. It is comfortable, breathable, moisture wicking, and dries quickly. The color is on the bold side for me, but it is not a fashion show in the wilderness or while exercising. I plan on mending the hole on the front of the tank so it does not stretch out or start to unravel the surrounding threads. I like the SmartWool Tank and plan on wearing it until it basically wears out.

Things That Rock:

  • Lightweight
  • Not itchy
  • Racer back styling-straps do not slide off

Things That Are So-So:

  • The back of my shoulders is exposed and my shoulders get irritated when wearing a pack
  • It is sheer


This concludes my reporting of the W’s NTS Microweight Tank. Thank you SmartWool and for providing me with the opportunity to test the W’s NTS Microweight Tank.


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