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Reviews > Clothing > Underwear > Columbia Steens Mountain LS Crew > Owner Review by Andrew Buskov

Columbia Steens Mountain LS Crew
The Steens Mountain LS crew is a nice base layer, thermal shirt.
Andrew Buskov

Steens FrontTester Biographical Information

Name: Andrew Buskov
Age: 32
Gender: Male
Height: 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight: 216 lbs (98 kg)
Email: Rescue(at)Corridor9(dot)net
City, State Zip Madisonville, Kentucky 42431

Backpacking Background:

I started backpacking and became hooked on the outdoors. I realized that I enjoyed the colder weather and solitude of deep backcountry, and have hiked various environments from the green mountains of the Appalachians to the barren desert of Arizona. I prefer cold weather, but global warming is making that tougher every day. I’m usually a moderate weight hiker, but as an Emergency Medical Technician I’m trained to be prepared, so my pack usually weighs between 30 to 40 lbs (13 and 18 kg) while solo, to 60 lbs (27 kg) when leading. Information about the author can be found at

Product Information:

Item: Columbia Steens Mountain Men's Long Sleeve Crew
Manufacturer: Columbia
Year of Manufacture: 2006
Sizes Available:  S - XXL
Size Tested: XL
Weight: 165 g (5.82 oz) Actual
Colors Available: White, Black

Product Overview:

The Columbia Steens Mountain Long Sleeve Crew is a nice light weight, base layer, thermal shirt. Even though it's light weight, it offers wonderful warming abilities and heat retention while still wicking moisture away thanks to its Omni-Dry technology. The 100% polyester material makes for a comfortable shirt that has a wonderful silky feel, isn't rough to the touch at all, and is very easy to care for.  As with a lot of active wear out on the market now, the Steens Mountain Crew only has one sewn in tag. The rest of the information is silk screened directly to the shirt. This includes the Columbia brand logo on the sleeve, as well as the sizing information and the manufacturer's location. All the seams are stitched together so they lie flat on the skin. The entire shirt is sewn in a traditional fashion with no gussets throughout the shirt.

Paraphrased from website)
  • Omni Dry for moisture control
  • Anti microbial for odor control
  • 100% Polyester

Field Conditions:

The Columbia Steens Mountain Long Sleeve Crew has been worn throughout this winter roughly 15 times on a number of outings. A good deal of these outings were around town when the weather was cool and I needed a bit more warmth. The area I live in has an elevation roughly 460 ft (140 m) above sea level. Local weather during the last three months ranged from 6 F (-14 C) to 81 F (27 C). Naturally most of the use has been in the lower range rather than in the early summer temps we've been seeing lately. In addition to the local use, probably half the 15 times I've worn this have been during day-hikes and backpacking trips. While the day hikes around town are probably the lowest elevation I have worn this shirt, the highest elevation occurred on my 4-day hike in the Smokies. The highest elevation there was above 6,640 ft (2024 m) where the weather ranged from 75 F (24 C) to 18 F (-8 C) while I was there. 

Product Impressions:

Columbia LogoMy last set of thermal wear was military issue cold weather gear, so although it was very warm it was quite heavy. It was also real hard to layer due to the fact that my body generated a lot of heat when hiking, but needed more insulation when standing still. I was constantly sweating when hiking but freezing when resting. The benefits didn't outweigh the negatives in my opinion. I needed to get into something that was a little lighter weight, but still held in warmth relatively well. While shopping at a large discount retailer I found this shirt mixed in with a bunch of other standard cotton thermals. As I've always had good luck with Columbia wear, and being as how the price was just right, I purchased it with the intention of replacing my old cold weather gear.

Immediately after trying it on I found the shirt to be real warm. In the store I could feel the shirt containing the heat my body was putting off, especially on my arms which are usually the first part of my body that feels cold. Unfortunately there was no packaging when I purchased it so I was glad that there was a tag sewn into the seams detailing the care and cleaning instructions. After getting it home I washed it as per the instructions on the shirt. Columbia gear always been easy to clean and the Steens Mountain Crew was no exception. I simply threw it in cold water with like colors and washed it just like I would any other. I was even able to throw it in the tumble dryer on low.

The fabric is called Omni Dry which Columbia describes as a wicking yarn that enhances comfort and moisture management while resisting pilling. While it isn't as quick to wick moisture away as other clothing I have, I don't find myself as cold as I do with them either. There is a nice balance between being warm and being dry.

Neck SilkscreenAs you can see by the pictures, this fabric is woven into a waffle pattern. I was a bit skeptical that this fabric would hold up. Other shirts that I have with a waffle pattern like this are exceptionally prone to snagging. Being as how this was always going to be a base layer, I wasn't really concerned. However, lately I have found myself wearing this as a piece of outer wear. To my surprise it's resistance to snagging has been exceptional. I've caught this on branches, shrubs, and thorns that would have shredded other shirts but the Steens Mountain Crew held up to everything I've thrown at it.

The warming abilities of this shirt are only surpassed by its comfort. This is definitely one of the most comfortable base layers that I have ever owned. I have no problem wearing this shirt at any time, and under any other piece of clothing. The seams are sewn nice and tight and have not given me any discomfort whether wearing this under a jacket or under a backpack. They are also sewn in such a way that they offset from the shoulders and don't sit directly under my backpack straps. I have not felt any itching at all while wearing this shirt. The neck and sleeve cuffs are also nice and tight. At no point in time while wearing this shirt has the neck stretched out or sagged, nor have the cuffs lost their shape even after being repeatedly pushed up my forearms when I needed to cool off.

The length of the shirt is long enough that it doesn't ride up when I'm donning my pack, yet short enough that it doesn't feel like I'm wearing a skirt. The sleeves are a bit long, but not so that they hinder any activity that I need to use my hands for. Personally, I like my sleeves a bit longer so this length is just right for me. The cut is also nice and tight against my body. This limits the excess amount of material hanging around my chest that bunches up when wearing a base layer under numerous other layers.

I've tried to think of something that I dislike about the shirt but have yet to come up with anything, and after wearing this shirt throughout the winter period I have nothing but good things and praise to report. I would definitely suggest this shirt to anyone who is looking for a nice lightweight base layer piece of thermal clothing.

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Reviews > Clothing > Underwear > Columbia Steens Mountain LS Crew > Owner Review by Andrew Buskov

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