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Reviews > Clothing > Shirts > SmartWool Womens Sport NTS Tee > Test Report by Kathryn Doiron

SmartWool Sport NTS Woman's Tee


Test series by Kathryn Doiron
Initial Report: Sept 9, 2009

Field Report: Nov 13, 2009

Long Term Report: Jan 11, 2009


Image of SmartWool Tee



Personal Information:
Name: Kathryn Doiron
Age: 33
Gender: Female
Height: 5' 8" (1.7 m)
Weight: 150 lb (68 kg)
Email: kdoiron 'at' gmail 'dot' com
Location: Washington DC, USA

Brief Background: I started backpacking and hiking seriously almost four years ago. Most of my miles have been logged in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. I have recently finished 1200+ miles (2000+ km) of the Appalachian Trail. My style is to be as light as possible while not spending a fortune. My pack weight tends to hover around 25 lbs (11 kg) with two days of food and 0.5 L of water. I have recently started getting into winter hiking, snowshoeing and kayaking.


Product Information:


Manufacturer: SmartWool
Website: http://www.smartwool.com/
MSRP: $70 USD
Weight: (stated) 8.11 oz (230 g)
Weight: (actual) 5.57 oz (157 g)
Size/Color: Large/Black
Material: Merino Wool



Initial Report:
September 9th, 2009

The SmartWool Sport NTS Tee is a women's specific t-shirt that is meant to be worn next to the skin. SmartWool gears this tee towards either a stand-alone tee or as a base layer when temperatures drop. This is a form fitting garment with flat-lock or princess seams that has a fitted look. The neckline is a crew shape meaning it is round and close to the neck. The sleeves are short but with a little length. The tee is long in the waist coming down well below my belt line. Wool is a natural, renewable fiber with anti-bacterial properties, wicks moisture and helps naturally regulate body temperature. This SmartWool product is a washer and dryer friendly wool. The color choices available on this tee are varied.

Detail of the crew neckline

My initial impressions of the Sport Tee were how narrow it seemed for a large. Upon actually trying it on, I discovered that the tee might look small but it has a nice fit. The material has a nice stretch to it and it is figure flattering with the princess seams and fitted construction. I was a little surprised by the length, this tee has a very generous length so I hope I will not have to worry about drafts from the bottom. I also noticed when I held up the tee that the back of the tee seems to be a little longer then the front. Extra coverage in the back is always a good thing even when the tee is generous in length.

Detail of the seams and longer back
Detail of the flat-lock seams and the extra length in the back

The seams are very nice with the flat-lock stitch. The tee has the feel of a thick undershirt. The feel of the tee is soft and cotton-like in spite being 100% wool. The tee comes with two tags inside. The neck tag is a small piece of leather with the female symbol, size and "Made in Vietnam". The other tag is a synthetic tag sewn into the side left seam with care instructions and materials.

My test plan over the next couple of months will be to use the tee on all my outdoor activities including hiking and backpacking trips. My trips will include backpacking in the George Washington National Forest and the Shenandoah National Park, plus dayhikes as well as occasionally kayak camping.



Field Report:
August 3rd 2009

I have taken this shirt out on two day hikes and an overnight backpacking trip to date. The trips are outlined below.

Trips:

The first day hike was a 2 mi (3.2 km) hike. Temperatures were about 50 F (10 C). Elevation started at 7000 ft (2133 ft) and gained about 1000 ft (305 m). The shirt was worn under a light weight long sleeve base layer with a wind/rain shell over top to cut the wind. The fitted nature of the shirt made it ideal for layering and I didn't have any bunching or riding up of the shirt under my layers.

The next trip out was an overnight backpacking trip. The shirt was again worn under a long sleeve base layer with a rain poncho over top. Temperatures were again down to 50 F (10 C) but it was raining and felt much colder then it was. The shirt did well in keeping me warm and not riding up under my backpack.

The last trip out was a day hike with unseasonably warm temperatures. It was at least 70 F (21 C), with no clouds and little tree cover. I started off with just the shirt, no layer over top. As I hiked I became quite warm but I never noticed any sweat build up. The sleeves on the shirt are the perfect length to allow me to wipe sweat off my face while not being too long. When I stopped for lunch beside the stream in the shade I pulled on a down layer to stay warm. My back initially felt cold and damp when I removed my pack but after I pulled on the down layer I warmed up again. I removed the down layer when I resumed hiking. This was about an 8 mi (13 km) loop hike with an elevation gain of about 2000 ft (610 m).

Impressions and Comments:
So far I have been enjoying the shirt. I love the fitted nature of the shirt as long sleeve layers work nicely over top. I still find that the material feels and stretches like a cotton undershirt but it certainly doesn't behave like cotton. I feel warm with the shirt on and find it wicks away my sweat, and keeps odors at bay. My one complaint, which is minor, is the length of the shirt. I like my shirts a little long but this is quite long. It hasn't been an interference while I wear the shirt, but doubt I will be tucking it in as I sometimes do when layering. I have noted some minor pilling along the back of the shirt near my lower back on the outside, likely from my pack rubbing back and forth. I will monitor this and see if it gets worse with wear.

Wrap-up
Pros so far: comfortable to wear, wicks sweat nicely, resists odors.

Cons so far: is quite long, minor pilling at wear spots.



Long Term Report:
January 11th, 2010

I've use this shirt on at least 6-8 more days of hiking as well as an overnight car camping trip. I have also worn the shirt around town when I needed a clean shirt. I have outlined a few of the trips below.

Trips:
My next trip out was an overnight trip to the Shenandoah NP in Virginia. Rain was forecast and temperatures were down around 50 F (10 C). I wore the shirt under another wool long sleeved shirt with a down layer as needed around camp. The fitted nature of the shirt makes it a great addition to my laying system.

My next trip out was again to the Shenandoah NP to hike the White Oak Canyon trail. Temperatures were unseasonably warm with a high around 70 F (20 C) that day. I started off with a light-weight long sleeve base layer over the shirt but that was removed within minutes of hiking. I wore the shirt alone after that and it did a fine job of keeping me warm and wicking sweat away. I pulled on a shell when we stopped for lunch but otherwise, the black color of the shirt helped soak up the rays when we sat out in the sun.

Picture of shirt in use

Another trip out was to Zion NP in Utah. Temperatures were down around freezing overnight but during the day were up around 40 F (4 C). We did several smaller hikes in the area checking out Angel's Landing, the Emerald Pools loop and one of the arches. The shirt was used in combination with a down layer, long-sleeved base layer and outer shell. After warming up, I removed the down layer and just used the shell. The shirt did a good job of keeping me feeling dry and warm.

I also took the shirt on a snowboarding trip. This was out at Brighton Resort in Utah. Temperatures were actually on the warm side for the day, around 40 F (4 C). I wore the shirt under a mid-weight base layer followed by a down jacket and shell. I ended up removing the down layer halfway through the day when I became quite warm. Again the shirt worked well to keep me feeling dry and warm as well as not bunching up under any of the layers.

The last trip out was to hike the Red Butte area. The hike was fairly strenuous for me due to my boots not giving me a good grip on the packed snow. Each step was hard won and I was working up a pretty good sweat. The shirt did a great job of keeping me warm and feeling dry. The shirt was wet when I pulled it off, but it only felt warm and damp while I was wearing it. The hike was about 2 mi (1.6 km), with an elevation gain of about 500 ft (152 m) with temperatures around 20 F (-6 C).

Final Comments:
This shirt has been a great addition both to my fall hiking system as well as a part of my winter layering system. With the winter layer system, I can keep a layer close to the skin while changing out outer layers and maintain some warmth. The shirt does show some signs of piling along the back but nothing that interferes with the use of the shirt. The seams are still in great shape and the shirt still holds its shape after numerous washes. The shirt still reminds me of the feel of a cotton undershirt, but it definitely doesn't perform like cotton in spite of the feel. It has a nice skin feel when I wear it and I enjoy the fitted shaping. I initially wasn't that impressed with the long length, it hasn't really grown on me over time. Because of the extra length, I find it more of a chore to reset my layers when I change or go to the bathroom. I like to tuck in the shirt to prevent drafts and I have to ensure that I don't cause any wrinkles that might chaff. This is really my only beef with the shirt.

Pros:

    - comfortable to wear, feels great against the skin
    - wicks sweat well and keeps me warm
    - resists odors nicely

Cons:

    - is quite long
    - minor pilling in high wear areas


This concludes my report series on the SmartWool Sport NTS Tee. Thank you for following this report series, I hope you have found the information contained within helpful. I wish to thank BackpackGearTest.org and SmartWool for allowing me to test this item.


Read more reviews of Smartwool gear
Read more gear reviews by Kathryn Doiron

Reviews > Clothing > Shirts > SmartWool Womens Sport NTS Tee > Test Report by Kathryn Doiron



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