WOMEN'S SPORT NTS TEE
Name: Pam Wyant
Height: 5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
Weight: 170 lb (77 kg)
Location: Western West Virginia, U.S.A.
I enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, including backpacking,
day-hiking, car camping, and canoeing. Most of my excursions
are confined to weekends, although I try to fit in at least one
longer backpacking trip each year, and have started section
hiking the Appalachian Trail (AT), accruing a little over 300 mi
(483 km) so far. My style varies with the activity, but since
becoming a lightweight backpacker, I've noticed I tend to pack
somewhat minimally even on trips where I have more space.
Still, I don't like to sacrifice warmth, comfort, or safety.
Initial Report - September 16, 2009
Year of manufacture: 2009
Model: Women's Sport NTS Tee
Fabric: Merino wool
Weight: 8.11 oz (230 g)
Measured Weight: 5.86 oz (166 g)
MSRP: $70 US
The SmartWool Sport NTS Tee shirt is a 100% merino wool
short-sleeved top that is meant to be worn "Next-To-Skin", thus the
NTS, either as a stand alone piece or as a base layer under another
shirt. It is constructed to be formfitting, with princess style
seams down the front and back sides, raglan sleeves, and a crew
neck. The shirt is relatively long, extending about 2" (5 cm)
below the bend where my legs meet my torso. It is cut so the back
is slightly longer than the front, which results in a more even looking
hem when the shirt is worn as the fabric flares over the hips.
All seams are sewn in flatlock style with dark grey thread, which
provides a contrast look to the stitching. The neck binding is
made of fabric similar in appearance to the shirt fabric, and is about
0.5" (1.3 cm) wide and finished with thin flatlock stitching. The
hem is a simple fold over hem about 0.5" (1.3 cm) wide, finished with
the same wide flatlock stitching as the seams.
The SmartWool name and logo are screen-printed fairly prominently onto
the lower left side of the shirt about 1.5" (3.8 cm) above the hem,
with the design running diagonally upward toward the side. The
company name and logo are also screen printed on the inside of the neck
about 2" (5 cm) below the edge. A small tag that feels like thin
suede leather is sewn into the neck binding at the rear. The
size, country of manufacture (Vietnam), and female symbol are printed
on the neck tag. A white tag on the inside of the lower left seam
lists the fabric as 100% merino wool and gives care instructions.
SmartWool lists the fabric weight as 220 g/m2. It feels a little
thicker than I expected, with about the same feel as a good quality
cotton or cotton blend tee shirt that one might wear for an outer
layer. It has a soft hand and does not feel scratchy. The
fabric appears to be woven with a very fine and small rib knit,
although from a distance it appears smooth and flat. It can be
machine washed on cold, gentle cycle and tumble dried on low, or dry
cleaned. The care instructions also indicate non-chlorine bleach
can be used and the shirt can be ironed on a low setting.
Some interesting information is available on SmartWool's website about
the wool they use, including that they regularly visit their growers in
New Zealand and pay close attention to the breeding lines of their
sheep. They select low micron wool from free range sheep living
in an earth-friendly environment, which they say helps insure the
quality of their wool and keeps it from being itchy. The wool is
also naturally bacteria resistant, and therefore, odor-resistant.
And, according to SmartWool, unlike synthetic materials that only move
moisture when it condenses to a liquid, merino wool can move moisture
away from the body as a vapor, resulting in superior moisture
management that helps keep people warm in the winter and cool in the
When I first unpacked the shirt, I noticed two things right away.
The first was that the shirt had an odd, almost plastic smell, which
seemed highly unusual for a wool shirt. The second was that the
shirt looked very narrow around the waist and hips. Fortunately,
neither of these items turned out to be anything to be concerned
about. The plastic smell left about a day after I unwrapped
the shirt, so I can only assume it came from the packaging.
Even though it looks narrow, the shirt is stretchy in the right places,
and fits very well. Although it is form-fitting, the combination
of the black color and princess seams gives it a flattering fit.
The sleeves are a nice length, and are close fitting without being too
snug or binding. The wool fabric is soft and non-itchy, with a
The SmartWool Sport NTS Tee Shirt appears to be of high quality in
materials and workmanship, with even stitching and no apparent
flaws. The design and fit of the shirt are flattering. The
odor-resistant properties of the wool fabric are a plus that combined
with the form-fitting design should make this a good shirt for active
Things I like:
Natural odor resistance
Things I don't like:
Nothing so far
More to come:
This concludes my Initial Report. Please check back in
mid-November for field testing results.
Field Report - November 24, 2009
Locations and Conditions:
In October I wore the SmartWool Sport NTS Tee Shirt for two day
and an overnight at a local Girl Scout camp. Temperatures were
relatively nippy, in the 40-50 F (5-10 C) range during the day, and
bit lower overnight.
Life and a nasty round of the flu conspired to keep me from any
additional long trips, but I have also worn the shirt on three
additional short day hikes. One was in the Charles Fork Lake area
in central West Virginia, with temperatures running around 70 F (21 C)
the day. The trail is well groomed, mainly single track, with a
few hills and a muddy spot or two thrown in for good measure, but not
strenuous. I hiked approximately 4 miles (6.5 kilometers).
Two additional hikes were on a nature trail near one of our local
schools, hiking about 3 miles (5 kilometers). Temperatures were
F (16-21 C). The trail has a small climb near the beginning, and
fairly moderate. I also have worn the shirt about 6 additional
times for short walks near home, with a distance of a mile (1.5
kilometers) or so.
Use and conclusions:
One thing that I've been surprised to find out about the SmartWool NTS
shirt is that it is surprisingly warm for a short sleeved shirt.
Even in temperatures down around 50 F (10 C), I've been warm enough
moving, unless there is a chilling breeze. When it's breezy or
chillier, so far I've only needed to add a thin long sleeved base layer
shirt to stay amply warm while on the move.
In warmer temperatures, I've enjoyed the breathability of the
shirt. Even though it is thicker than some of my other wool
t-shirts, it hasn't made me feel overly hot. Any sweat produced
on uphill sections of the trail in the warmer temperatures has quickly
wicked away from my skin, keeping the shirt from feeling clammy either
while hiking, resting on the trail, or while driving home post
The odor-resistance factor and wicking properties proved themselves
useful on the Girl Scout camp weekend, when I forgot to bring sleep
wear. I simply ended up sleeping in my clothes, and I was happy
that the SmartWool NTS wicked away moisture and I slept warm and dry
even though I had been active during the day. My friends were
happy because the shirt didn't smell like I'd been active all
day. Even after I wore the shirt for the second day of activities
it still smelled relatively fresh when I removed it that evening.
So far I've laundered the shirt about 6 times, and it doesn't show any
signs of wear, pilling, or fading. The raglan sleeves are
comfortable under day pack straps, and the flat felled seams have been
chafe-free. The wool fabric is soft and non-itchy.
About the only non-positive thing I've noticed about the SmartWool NTS
is that the combination of the form fitting shape and long length makes
me very aware that I need to get in some more exercise time, and I'm
not keen about wearing it out and about for non-hiking purposes.
Then again, that could a good thing, as maybe it will inspire me both
to get out and hike more and to get in better shape! The
combination of length and cozy fit should also provide for better
warmth as the weather gets colder and nastier over the winter, so I
can't really count it as a negative.
The SmartWool Sport NTS is performing well so far, providing good core
warmth for a short-sleeved shirt, yet still being breathable enough
that I don't overheat too much. It wicks well, resists odor, and
is soft and comfortable to wear.
Soft and non-itchy
Provides good core warmth
Form fitting design reminds me I need to exercise more!
Long Term Report - January 19, 2010
Locations and Conditions:
worn the SmartWool Sport NTS Tee Shirt on several day hikes during the
past two months, on a getaway trip to a mountain cabin, and at least a
dozen times for short walks around the house. Since we have been
experiencing a rash of cold weather, I have also worn the NTS Tee about
8 times under a sweater or fleece shirt while measuring and
photographing houses for work, as well as around 10 days general wear
around the house.
One of the day hikes was 4 mi (6.5 km) in the Kanawha State
Forest. Temperatures were in the 40 F (5 C) range. The
trail, which followed a creek bed for a while before topping out on a
ridge top and dropping back down a wooded hillside, had a few patches
of snow. I wore the NTS Tee under a light weight long-sleeved
I also wore the shirt on 2 day hikes during a 5-day cabin stay in the
mountains of eastern West Virginia, near the Monongahela National
Forest. I wore the shirt as a base layer, with a light fleece
shirt as a mid-layer and a heavy fleece pullover as an outer
layer. The first
hike was around 4 miles (6.5 km) and the second around 3 miles (5
Temperatures were chilly, in the 20 F (-7 C) range, and there was 4-12
in (10-30 cm) of snow that we postholed through. In addition to the
hikes I layered the NTS Tee under fleece shirts inside the wood stove
heated cabin on 3 of the coldest days.
Another day hike was about 3 mi (5 km) on a nature trail near one of
schools. Temperature was around 50
F (10 C) with a light sporadic rain. The trail has a small climb
near the beginning, and
fairly moderate. I wore the shirt under the Hennessy
Hammock Cat Cape.
Use and conclusions:
The SmartWool NTS shirt has been impressively versatile over the last
couple of months. I was surprised at how many times I ended up
layering it under another shirt, which is something I rarely do.
Undoubtedly the fact that we've had a colder than normal winter so far
has greatly contributed to this, but I have found it worked very well
to keep my comfort level better regulated. If I got too warm when
I was more active, I could simply take off my outer shirt and wear the
NTS Tee instead of overheating in a single thick shirt. If I was
chilly, I could add another shirt or a light jacket, which could be
removed easily if I moved from a colder environment to a warmer one, or
became more active. As before, I found the NTS Tee very warm for
a short-sleeved shirt, as I could often wear it on its own (even with
the thermostat set around 68 F/20 C for energy saving purposes, when I
would normally wear a long-sleeved shirt).
The shirt always felt comfortable under other layers or when layered
over a long-sleeved light weight base layer. I was impressed how
well the sleeves stayed in place when another shirt was pulled over
them, especially since they were plenty roomy enough to feel
comfortable when worn over other shirts. The raglan styling meant
I never felt restricted by seams in the shoulder area and the shirt
always felt comfortable under pack straps.
The soft, non-itch fabric was breathable and wicked sweat very
well. (Yes, even at 20 F/-7 C I found I was sweating while
postholing up the hills.) The shirt never felt wet or sticky
against me, although it did have a slight damp feel a few times.
Even damp, the shirt was warm and comfortable against my skin.
The shirt is definitely odor-resistant, as I can wear it several days
in a row without washing, and still not have to worry about people
holding their noses as I pass by. As far as washing, I estimate
I've machine washed it about 15 times over the course of the
test. While it does have a few pills now, I haven't noticed any
fading, holes, or loose stitching.
I found I really liked the longer length of the shirt as I began
layering it more often, since I could tuck it into my pants for extra
warmth and it stayed in place very well. The form-fitting cut
also seemed to help retain warmth on colder hikes. Between the
length and the fit, I never had to worry about cold breezes finding
their way in to chill bare flesh.
The SmartWool Sport NTS is a very versatile layering piece that can be
worn either under or over other layers to add core warmth without
causing overheating. It breathes and wicks sweat well, is soft
and comfortable, and is odor resistant enough to wear several days in a
row. The extra length and trim fit work to prevent chilling
breezes from sneaking in against bare skin.
I look forward to continuing to use the Sport NTS Tee, and am anxious
to see if it will keep me as cool and comfortable on summer hikes as it
has kept me warm and comfortable on colder weather hikes.
Versatile for layering
Breaths and wicks well
Warm and comfy
Form-fitting cut makes me wish I exercised more and ate less!
Thanks to SmartWool and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity
test the Sport NTS Tee Shirt.
Read more reviews of Smartwool gear
Read more gear reviews by Pamela Wyant