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Reviews > Clothing > Shirts > White Sierra Perth Mens Crew Tee > Test Report by Jim Hatch

WHITE SIERRA PERTH MEN'S CREW TEE
TEST SERIES BY JIM HATCH
LONG-TERM REPORT
October 09, 2007

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Jim Hatch
EMAIL: colonelcorn76@yahoo.com
AGE: 48
LOCATION: Connecticut
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 180 lb (81.60 kg)
TORSO 18 in/46 cm
CHEST 44 in/112 cm
WAIST 36 in/91 cm
HIPS 38 in/97 cm

I've been backpacking and camping for 30 years (ever since I was a Boy Scout). I'm out once a month for a weekend or more and for 5 nights or more, 2 or 3 times during the year. Most of my backpacking is done in the mountains of the East Coast (Appalachians, Whites, Berkshires, Adirondacks) but I will occasionally camp as far south as the Florida Keys or as far west as the Grand Canyon. Having tired of 60 lb (27 kg) loads, I caught the lightweight bug about 5 years ago and am currently carrying a base pack weight of less than 10 lbs (4.5 kg) before food and fuel and rarely venture out with more than 20 lbs (9 kg) anymore. I am now trying to develop a low-volume style to go with the lightweight nature of my gear.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFO & SPECS

Manufacturer: White Sierra
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Manufacturer's Website: White Sierra
MSRP: US$25
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: 6.4 oz (181 g)
Other details: Size L, Color PSO (Pistachio)
Additional Available Colors: Leaf, Sandy
Available Sizes: M-XXL

1st IMPRESSIONS

The Perth is a lightweight, loose fitting shirt with an almost honeycomb texture to the fabric. The color is definitely a vibrant green. No chance of getting separated from the crowd when wearing this shirt. I have a 44 inch (112 cm) chest and 36 inch (91 cm) waist. The Large sized Perth fits me loosely without being too loose and flows nicely - feeling light and airy and not snug like similarly sized cotton tees.

The shirt is made of Cool Dry (tm) knit - a polyester wicking fabric with a UPF of 30. UPF is the Ultraviolet Protection Factor and represents the fraction of the ultraviolet radiation falling on the fabric that is let through. It is similar to the SPF rating for sunscreens. The Perth's UPF 30 rating means 1/30th of the ultraviolet is allowed through the fabric (or approximately 96% of the ultraviolet radiation is blocked by the shirt). The maximum rating for fabrics is UPF 50 so the Perth does quite well in this regard.

The Perth is part of White Sierra's "Continental Drift" line of clothes and according to their website, is "inspired by the wisdom and insight that comes with stepping outside."

CONSTRUCTION

The Perth is a "classic cut" crew neck tee shirt. Pretty standard tee shirt shape and construction. However, there are a couple of neat things I like so far. The first is the loose fit, the second is the printed care information in the neck (instead of one of those sewn-in care tags) and the third (I guess that makes it a few things I like) is the wicking fabric. Okay, I also like the funky Pistachio color too.

Here's a picture of the color White Sierra calls "Leaf" - a pretty standard green. This is the color choice listed on the website (Pistachio is absent their site):
Leaf Color Swatch
Leaf Color Swatch


Here's a picture of the Perth in Pistachio:
Perth Mens Tee
Mens Tee in Pistachio


As the photo above shows, the tee is well constructed with an interlocking stitching running along all seams. The photo below shows a close up of the texture of the shirt - not smooth, but with some bit of an almost honeycomb-like texture. It looks like it might attract snags & pulls (but has not yet even though I've worn it doing some very snaggy work). I'll keep an eye out on that.
Perth Tee Texture
Perth Tee Texture

TRYING IT OUT

The shirt arrived about a week ago while I was out of town but this weekend provided an opportune set of circumstances to give it a quick try. The weather was hot, sunny and humid. Saturday was about 84 F (29 C) and 70% humidity. There was a light breeze, enough to slightly ruffle the leaves on the trees but not enough to call it a "wind".

While I was out of town, the weather was a bit nasty with tornadoes in the area. The weather caused a couple of blowdowns in the woods surrounding my house, so I decided Saturday was a perfect day to drag out the chain saw. Wearing the Perth I proceeded to cut down a couple of trees that had broken in the storm (no trees were damaged expressly for the purposes of this testing). About two hours of hot sweaty work and the trees were felled, limbed, and sliced into manageable lengths.

I was sweaty, my head was awash in perspiration and my chest and back were damp - but they weren't wet. The shirt was also damp but I felt surprisingly comfortable. After grabbing a cold one on the deck, both the shirt & I were dry and ready to go out in public - well almost, I was dry but kind of stinky and the shirt was dirty from bark and dirt smudges. So I stayed home and worked in the garage cleaning that mess.

Finally, after putting in what I think was a nice long hot day of working around the house, I dropped the tee in the wash and showered. Both of us (the tee & me) came out of our respective washings clean and fresh smelling. The tee's smudges were gone and there wasn't any sign of "polyester pull" - those snags that some poly fabrics get when they are subject to the abuse of sticks, branches, twigs, and thorns. This bodes well for the woods.

TESTING

Not a bad start to testing some new gear. For the next few months I'll be wearing the shirt while going about my normal weekend activities - working in the yard, bike riding, day hiking, and a few backpacking trips in New England. The temps should remain hot and humidity levels are usually fairly high here in the latter half of the summer.

SUMMARY

So far I have to compliment White Sierra on a nice Tee shirt. Its construction is solid, the fabric with its "moisture management technology" does seem to pull "perspiration away from the body and to the surface of the fabric" where it evaporates and it has survived unscathed some work in the woods.

I'll be posting my Field experience here in a bit and will report back on its performance in both everyday wear and backpacking use.

Thanks to Backpackgeartest.org and White Sierra for allowing me to test this shirt.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS & WEATHER

Okay, so it's only been a few weeks (rather than the normal 2 months) since I filed my initial report on this shirt but I'm filling in on this test so we can get everyone on the same schedule. Fortunately, I was able to get out for a couple of nights (three days), an overnight and wore the shirt on my one other normal weekend.

The weather has been nicely hot and humid for the past few weeks - a pretty normal midsummer range for Connecticut with high temps nearing 100 F (38 C) on a couple of days and lows down in the mid-50s F (13 C) at night. Humidity levels have cycled between humid (70%+) and comfortable (60%).

Although it rained one night while out in the woods, it didn't last thru to the morning. Other than that it has been sunny & dry.

My trips were to a couple of nice spots in the Housatonic River Valley and a piece of the Appalachian Trail that cuts through Connecticut. Elevations ranged from about 850 ft (259 m) to 2000 ft (610 m). We don't have really big mountains here...hills are the general rule although we have a silly habit of making the trails start at the bottom and go straight up and over so it's not uncommon to pick up 1000 ft (305 m) of elevation gain in a mile (1.6 km) or less. Perfect situations for testing a wicking tee.

FIELD PERFORMANCE

So, what do I know now that I didn't when I first unwrapped the shirt?

First, it gets damp when I'm backpacking or working in hot weather but not as damp feeling as a cotton tee shirt. Once I stop doing whatever is causing me to sweat (usually hiking or working around camp...but sometimes just breathing seems to do it when it's really hot & humid), the tee dries quickly. If there's any breeze it's even faster. Even at high humidity levels the tee still seems to dry well and quickly. Setting up camp and sitting down with a book or skipping rocks across a pond for an hour is all it seems to take to dry the shirt off.

When carrying a backpack, I do notice a different feel of dampness front & back as my front seems to benefit from evaporation or breezes while my back seems to stay damp until I remove my pack. I think this is due to my pack sitting right up against my back and not allowing the air to circulate until I take it off. Once I remove my pack the initial sensation of coolness is a welcome relief to the heat. Again, in this case the shirt dries quickly. Overall I'd say performance wearing the shirt is just what I expected from the website and hang-tag info.

On the other hand, I'm somewhat surprised at what I consider at least an aesthetic issue (if not durability). As the picture shows below, after only 4 washings (one by hand in the woods in a ZipLoc bag), the shirt shows definite signs of pilling and a couple of minor "snaglets". These snags aren't quite like the ones that are the bane of polyester shirts (balled and pulling discrete threads) but more of a fabric pill that is a bit larger and attached to the shirt. I noticed this started on the first washing and has gotten worse with each one (except for the ZipLoc since I wasn't really checking then). I use a front loading washer following the care instructions so if anything I'm treating it more gently than many might (front loaders don't have the agitator that can beat a lot of clothes to death). Currently there is something like 1 pill or snaglet per square inch (6.25 cm square) of the shirt - primarily centered in the space between the pack's chest strap and my waistbelt. Perhaps there's something about the way I wear my pack or how it is exposed to the elements that makes this section more prone to fabric wear.

Pilling and Snaggin
Pilling and Snags


In addition to the pilling of the fabric seen above, I have found that the shirt seems to hold onto stains more tenaciously than I expected. The picture below shows a couple of stains that appear to have become part of the character of the shirt. (Although the color looks different than in the other pictures, that's due to the camera flash I needed to show the marks - they're not obnoxious but they are apparent to the naked eye.) The one on the left arrow is a splotch about an inch (2.5 cm) across and the stain on the left is a stripe about 5 inches (13 cm) long. Both are on my chest/abdomen and came from tree branch crud rubbing on the shirt as I made my way through the woods. I wouldn't have been surprised if it were pine sap but this is that crud that wipes off on you when you push thru some standing dead wood.

Staining
Dirt and stains


There is one other performance feature I am pleased with - no poly stink. The shirt has had its share of bathing in my perspiration - something that leaves even me thinking I wouldn't want to be around me. Despite a lot of hours embedded in my sweat, the shirt still washes out clean smelling (I hang it out to dry and do not use an electric dryer). I like that because I've had a few polypro based shirts that don't exactly stink dirty after washing but definitely maintain a funky smell after laundering. That usually limits their use to the woods where no one else cares and it helps scare the bears away. I like the fact that this shirt still doesn't smell so I can run for bagels without worrying about broadcasting my presence like some thru-hiker on the AT.

SUMMARY

Overall I think this is a solid shirt with good wicking capabilities and a comfortable fit. It has performed admirably in the field and continues to be good for around-town weekend wear as well. I can go from running errands to hiking in the forests and back without needing to change out of my "woods wear". I don't look like I just stepped out of the woods when I'm wearing the shirt (except maybe for the odd color) so I don't have another piece of specialty gear that only gets used a few days a month. This is a shirt that I've no problem wearing doing pretty much anything - although I did draw the line at going in a really nice restaurant wearing it.

On the other hand, the pilling after such a short time and the difficulty cleaning field dirt out of the fabric may relegate it to my gear closet for backpacking wear only. If it gets any worse it won't be "civilization ready" but even with pilling and staining, it works well in the backcountry and I'm not too concerned with what I'm wearing looks like when the only observers are critters and insects.

I'll be wearing this into the fall as the weather cools here in the east. I'll see if the shirt has reached some kind of pilling stasis or if it gets worse. I expect I'll be a little more careful about getting woods crud on it as I do like wearing it around town, it is super-comfy. I'll report on my long-term findings in a bit.

Thanks again to BackpackGearTest and White Sierra for letting me test this shirt.


LONG-TERM REPORT

TEST LOCATIONS & CONDITIONS

I have continued to wear the Perth throughout the summer while backpacking & camping and as my knock-around-the-house weekend warrior wear. Around the house, with biking, yard work, and meanderings I was at about 350 ft elevations (107 m) as I live near sea level. This summer's camping was fairly local (having blown my big budget in last year's trips to the Florida Keys, the Grand Canyon and the Mountains of northern New Mexico). As a result I spent the time in the Housatonic River Valley, Adirondacks of eastern New York and the bit of the Appalachian Trail (AT) that traverses through Connecticut and Western Massachusetts.

One of the benefits of living here is the ability to enjoy life in the suburbs Monday thru Friday and escape to the AT with only a half hour drive to the trail head. It's also nice to have a 12 year old Boy Scout who loves any excuse for camping and a 9 year old girl who thinks it's lousy that Girl Scouts don't camp out and loves pulling the tent out with dad (both of whom are ultralighters like me...mom is another story). Elevations for these trips ranged from sea-level to the 3,491 ft (1,064 m) height of Mount Greylock, Massachusett's high-point. Good for keeping me from becoming a couch-potato but not so strenuous that my two companions can't carry their own gear.

Although we came close to 100 F (38 C), temps were generally warm in August and September without the blistering heat of an Arizona summer - with a high in the mid-90s F (35 C) and lows never much below the mid-60s F (18 C). Precipitation was basically non-existent this summer. August had nearly unmeasurable quantities of rain and September wasn't much better. In fact, I saw the most rain just this weekend when it rained overnight Saturday.

FIELD PERFORMANCE

After putting in another couple of months inside this shirt - getting in at least 2 days a week of wear, I can report no significant durability or performance issues not previously noted in my Field Report. Pilling is not significantly worse, still centered between my chest strap and waistbelt. I am somewhat surprised that I'm not seeing any under my shoulder straps as I expected the rubbing of my straps might cause pilling. Maybe the fabric of my shoulder straps is somehow compatible with the shirt (I've been using a Granite Gear Vapor Trail this summer).

I've managed to avoid any further pine tree bark crud and hence have not added to the stains on my shirt. The ones I reported in my Field Report are not much different - perhaps a little lighter, or perhaps I'm just getting used to seeing them there. Regardless, they certainly aren't any worse and they don't affect the shirt's utility for use in the forest or the hardware store.

The fabric is still as resilient as I seem to remember it being when I got it. There's certainly no issue with it stretching out of shape. The seams are still sound and have no loose threads or pulls. The only real change in the shirt is the disappearnce of the White Sierra care instructions printed inside the neck - those have worn entirely away. I now know what the pseudo-reflective silvery band sewn into the back of the neck on the inside of the shirt is for - if it shows when I'm wearing the shirt it means I'm wearing it inside out. With the care instructions gone and a lack of a care tag, this band is the only indication of "inside" versus "outside".

As for its wearability, I can definitely give it an all thumbs up for its continued excellent comfort. Regardless of temperatures, while it gets damp with my sweat, once I stop exerting myself (whether backpacking, biking, or raking) the shirt begins to dry quickly and never feels clammy. The fabric still falls softly over my shoulders and is as comfortable as the proverbial old shoe. Even after dozens of washings, it has not gotten the dread poly-stink that won't wash out. Every washing results in a fresh smelling comfy shirt. Similar results are obtained from a quick cold water rinse and an overnight hanging on a clothesline.

In cooler temps the shirt also helps maintain a modicum of warmth. Because the shirt dries quickly, I haven't been left shivering in a damp tee when the sun goes down and the night air begins to cool. On the rare occasion that I've been a bit chilly in the shirt, I simply covered up with my rain jacket and that kept any wind from chilling me.

SUMMARY

So, what can I say about a tee that does just what it is advertised to do, dries quickly, wears comfortably, retains its durability and never develops a stink? Just that I like it...even down to the funky pistachio color. Except for its tendency to lock in stains and some pilling (although I seem to have reached "pilling stasis"), the shirt does its job without complaints from me. It works well in hot weather and in cooler nights. Although I'm not likely to drag it into the snow, I'm certainly going to continue to wear it into the Fall.

It's hard to get emotionally worked up over a tee shirt, but I do like a product that works well and I like this shirt.

CONTINUED USE

So, to wrap things up, I'm going to simply state that this shirt will continue to be used until it has been laundered into dryer lint. With this shirt for daytime wear and a clean & dry shirt for sleeping, I don't need any other in my pack for trips as long as 5 days. I expect I could make it work longer than that but I simply haven't had a chance to be out any longer than that this year. With the ability to rinse it (or wash it in a gallon Zip-Loc bag) it is clean & dry every morning and could be worn indefinitely on the trail. I expect it to be the only shirt I take for backpacking from April thru September and will be complemented with a long-sleeve shirt for colder days in early Spring and Fall.

Around the house, I'll continue to wear it until the cold winter winds blow in and my wife turns the thermostat down to shiver-me-weather (didn't my forefathers give their lives for me to have central heat?...but I digress...).

A big thank you to White Sierra for a well made & performing shirt and to Backpackgeartest.org for the opportunity to test this shirt.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.

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