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Reviews > Clothing > Underwear > DeFeet UndShurt > Test Report by James E. Triplett
DeFeet - Un D Shurt
Base Layer (shirt)
by James E. Triplett
Initial Report: Feb-29-2008
Field Report: May-15-2008
Long Term Report: July-15-2008
Personal Biographical Information:
I am an
experienced hiker, backpacker, and camper, and am gaining more
experience with winter camping every year. I hike every day,
backpack when possible, which leads to many weekends backpacking and
camping each year. I try and take at least one annual
backpacking trip in addition to many one to three-night weekend
trips. My style can best be described as
not at the cost of giving up too much comfort. I generally
in a tent, and seem to be collecting quite a few of them to choose from.
Additional DeFeet - Un D Shurt information:
(from the DeFeet website)
February 29, 2008
Wow! This is one thin Un D Shurt! DeFeet says it is thicker than the Un D Lite, but wow... I can't imagine anything much thinner. The fabric of the Un D Shurt has a waffle-type pattern and the collar and sleeves are nicely hemmed. The trim around the bottom is only stitched, without any folds or additional material. There are seams connecting the sleeves to the body of the shirt, running across the shoulders, and also running straight down each side under the sleeves. The material feels nice and soft, stretches quite a bit, and is LIGHT. According to the packaging, the fabric "Ingredients" are: 64% Polyester; 19% Hydrofil; and 17% Spandex. The shirt looks more opaque on the website, and the logo is less evident, but this thin shirt with a bright yellow logo is most likable. I am not really sure of the year of manufacture of the DeFeet Un D Shurt, as the pdf catalog on the DeFeet website (where the Un D Shurt is featured) is from 2006. There is a "New '08 Spring Line" file, but the Un D Shurt doesn't show up there. That being said, this is a "T-shirt", or "undershirt", so the model year probably isn't critical.
This garment, or base-layer, is really quite simple so there isn't much to describe at this point. One additional item to note is the shape of the shirt is rather long and thin, much more so than many extra-large shirts I have, which appear almost square when laid out flat. Also the hem is longer in the back, like a bicycle jersey might be, so staying tucked should be easily accomplished. As I mentioned above, the material is thin, and even can be translucent in certain lighting as shown below. This picture was taken from my enclosed porch, obviously overlooking the woods, which can be seen right through the shirt!
The fit of the DeFeet Un D Shurt is accurately described on the packaging as follows: "The precise fit does not bunch up or take too much space under other loose-fitting apparel." I am often in a quandary when ordering sizes because I need an extra-large in length, but not so much in circumference. So far I love the fit of the XL Un D Shurt. It fits close to me in the chest (but not as close as a 1976 rock concert t-shirt), and is ever so slightly loose around the lower ribs. The length is incredible! This shirt is long enough to almost cover all restricted areas, although it would be a rather short dress, and the see-thru nature of the material would require additional clothing on the lower half. But it is long enough that it actually cups around my butt with the extra length tail. This is probably too much information, so let me move on to one final fit element. The sleeves are short. Not short as opposed to long, but shorter than most short sleeve undershirts. I kind of like it, but they do in fact end pre to mid-bicep.
I typically wear four layers when temperatures are below about 25 F (-4 C), but in doing this I often over dress in the torso area. It feels great when I start out and I am still cold, but I tend to over heat and perspire more than is ideal once I have warmed up. My investigation will include layering the DeFeet Un D Shurt under my typical mid to outer layers, in place of slightly heavier base layers, and noting the comfort and/or temperature regulation while hiking, backpacking, and snowshoeing. Of keen interest will be the shirt's wicking ability, stink factor after a day or two on the trail, as well as fit and comfort. I am also curious as to the durability of the shirt, in both use and during washing, as it is incredibly thin. As temperatures warm I will reduce the outer layers and continue testing the Un D Shurt. Toward the end of the test period I should be able to test the Un D Shurt with only one additional layer (or maybe no additional layers at all), as temperatures climb into the 70s and 80s F (23 to 29 C). The average temperature and precipitation data for Eastern Iowa is in the table below. The elevations here range from around 480 feet (145 meters) near the Mississippi river, to around 800 feet (245 meters) around my house.
Initial Report Summary:
The DeFeet Un D Shurt base layer is made of a Polyester / Hydrofil / Spandex blend which is soft and stretchy. As far as undershirts go, this one is quite attractive with its bright white fabric and bright yellow DeFeet logo in the center of the chest. (The DeFeet logo is actually quite clever with a forward 'D' and a backward 'F', without screaming out the company name. I like it!) So far everything about this product looks excellent and I am anxious to get started with the test. At ¼ lb (116 g) it will be easy to pack... although I actually intend to wear it all the time.
May 15, 2008
I have worn the DeFeet - Un D Shurt on almost all my backpacking and hiking outings since receiving it in February. This has included daily hikes in the private woods near my home in Eastern Iowa, hikes in the Faulks Heritage Woods, Squaw Creek Park, and Pinicon Ridge, all also in Eastern Iowa. Due to a prolonged winter, and schedule conflicts, I have only worn it on one overnight trip (to Pinicon Ridge), but I have an estimated 60 hours of use, including two all day hikes, and the one overnighter.
Temperatures have ranged from 65 F (18 C) down to a low of 18 F (-8 C). Trail conditions include clear dry trails, wet trails, and, snow covered. I have also worn the DeFeet - Un D Shurt for shoveling snow and other outdoor activities. Elevations here are around 800 feet (245 meters). Descriptions of my layering techniques are outlined below.
Fit and Comfort:
As described in the Initial Report section, the Un D Shurt fits rather nicely. The length is more generous than many of my extra-large shirts, without excessive material around my trunk. The shirt is very light and is barely noticeable. The 64% Polyester; 19% Hydrofil; and 17% Spandex fabric has remained stretchy which allows the material to move with me and yet still not be bulky. As you might expect from the material and the fit, this is truly a base layer, and I wouldn't try putting it over any of my other layers.
I have worn the Un D Shurt almost every time I have headed out the door when anticipating being outside for more than a few minutes. In temperatures around freezing, all the way down to 18 F (-8 C), I have been comfortable with another long-sleeved base layer over the DeFeet layer, followed by a wool pull-over and a wind shell. Using this layering system has kept my upper body in utmost comfort. As the temperature has varied on different days I have still kept this method of top-layering and made adjustments to other articles of clothing. Of course type of socks, tights, pants, hats, and gloves make a significant difference in my comfort level. As temperatures have risen above freezing and into the pleasant 60 F (16 C) in spring time, have worn the DeFeet Un D Shurt with different combinations of the aforementioned layers.
During all these hikes with different layers the Un D Shurt has performed well. It does indeed seem to wick moisture away from my body effectively, and after a period of moderate to heavy hiking I don't seem to get chilled as my body temperature drops at a rest point. It is a nice feeling with just the Un D Shurt and a wind jacket on a cool but sunny day.
Care and Cleaning:
I have noticed that the Un D Shurt has the ability to retain body odor. Probably no more than other wicking shirts I have used, but definitely more than a cotton t-shirt (which I typically wouldn't wear hiking anyway). As a result, I have washed the shirt about 4 times in the washing machine, and washed it by wearing it while bathing another half-dozen times. Hanging the shirt out has resulted in quick drying, usually by morning, and in a few hours when outside in the wind.
The Un D Shurt does not look as new as it did when I received it. Some pilling occurred almost immediately (see above), and has continued occurring to this point. The color is not the crisp white it once was, and in fact has greyed a little faster than I might have expected. An additional sign of wear is that the label inside the shirt has delaminated (see below) and is coming off. I am not sure if this is from wringing the shirt out after hand washing it, or just from the normal course of washing. (The logo on the front is still in tact.) None of the wear resulting from over two months of use has impacted the performance of the shirt. The length of the shirt has shortened over time, possibly as much as two inches (5 cm), but even with that I am still able to tuck it in and it stays tucked in.
The appearance of the DeFeet Un D Shurt has diminished over the field test period, but it still is comfortable, and a pleasure to wear as my base layer. The fabric is still stretchy and wicks moisture away effectively, and I am still amazed at how light this shirt is. I do wish that it didn't retain odor quite so much, but that hasn't resulted in much of a problem other than frequent washings.
Long Term Report
July 15, 2008
I have continued to wear the DeFeet - Un D Shurt on a daily basis. Daily for hikes of 2 to 4 miles (3 to 6 km) in the woods near my home, and two 2-night backpacking outings to Pinicon Ridge park near Central City, Iowa. In total, this has probably amounted to about 100 hours of wear (including a couple of 24 hour stretches) for the long term testing period.
Temperatures have been as high as 86 F (30 C) and as low as 43 F (6 C). Trail conditions were the same as in the previous reporting periods, except there hasn't been any snow pack. There has been a lot of rain though, including a 500-year flood in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. [As of July 2, the average state rainfall this year totaled 24.3 inches (62 cm) - 7.96 inches (20 cm) above normal, making the first half of 2008 the wettest in history.] Temperatures during the two over-night trips ranged from 46 to 70 F (8 to 21 C).
Fit and Comfort:
The Un D Shurt continues to fit nicely. Long enough to stay tucked in. Tight enough to not bunch up. Loose enough to not be restrictive. And it is very, very light. Over all comfort has been achieved by DeFeet on this shirt and it is a delight to wear.
I have worn the Un D Shurt primarily for hiking during this phase of the test, and less for other activities (like the snow shoveling I mentioned in the Field Test phase). Layering has been under other shirts and light jackets. When the temperatures have been cool I have worn the shirt directly under a wind shell without any other layers. This has worked well, although on occasion I've become too warm, and removing the jacket (leaving only the shirt) has been a little too cool. As we've gotten into summer, I have been wearing the shirt under another shirt, such as a regular t-shirt, or a mesh or wicking shirt. I've come to enjoy the feel of this configuration, and the Un D Shurt seems to take up perspiration and odor, which keeps these elements from the outer t-shirt, and thus the outer t-shirt remains cleaner than it would have otherwise.
On the subject of odor, earlier I mentioned that the shirt retained body odor, but oddly enough this seems to have lessened. I attribute this to wearing lighter top layers and being in warmer temperatures where I didn't feel the need to elevate my body temperature as I did in the winter. I have experienced wearing the shirt for a couple of days in a row without significant stink developing.
Care and Cleaning:
Because the stink-factor has improved I haven't washed the Un D Shurt as much the past two months as I did during the Field Test phase of this test. I have hand washed it two or three times, and machine washed it a couple of times. Mostly this has been to clean the shirt of bug repellant which is a necessity in Iowa in the spring.
The initial pilling which occurred shortly after receiving the shirt has not continued, so the shirt looks about as it did at the end of the Field Test. The inside label has continued to crack and peel, and now the outside logo is showing some very slight wear, but is still in tact. In my opinion the shirt has held up quite well for such a thin and light garment.
The DeFeet Un D Shurt has worked extremely well in my layering techniques. It is soft, comfortable, and light, and dries quickly when washing it in the field. I can't think of a thing I would change, and I have really enjoyed testing this product.
This concludes my reporting on the DeFeet Un D Shurt base layer shirt. Thank you to Backpackgeartest.org and DeFeet for the opportunity to participate in this test series.
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