wicking shirts

9:05 a.m. on October 31, 2013 (EDT)
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Hi everyone,

I was wondering what recommendations you all might have for long sleeve wicking undershirts.  The thin under armour type.   I am looking for a reasonably priced pair and was getting it from JC Penny but they don't sell them in their stores anymore.  I know that some of these cost a lot of money, but I was hoping for a more affordable brand.  So what do you all use?

Snakey 

9:34 a.m. on October 31, 2013 (EDT)
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I can reccomend the Mountain Hardware Wicked Lite long sleeve. I use it for both hot weather sun protection and as a winter base layer. I've had mine for a few years and paid about $20 for it on sale. I think they cost over $30 now.  

Another shirt materiel that I have come to really love is the GoLite Wildwood Trail models. I have a short sleeve and it is my favorite and fastest drying shirt. They are often out of stock but are usually less than $30.

 

heck I'll even model them since I have so many photos loaded....

 

Here is the MH Wicked Lite from last winter:
P1040119.jpg

 

Here is the GoLite shirt from last summer:


IMG_6204.jpg

 

 

10:23 a.m. on October 31, 2013 (EDT)
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I've had some pretty good luck with the KOPPEN brand from Dick's Sporting Goods, "list price" is about $40 depending on model, but typically can be purchased for about $20-$25 on sale. Koppen seems to be a store brand only sold by Dicks. Its a "waffle weave" type fabric. I use them summer and winter.

Also CHAMPION brand, sold by Target stores (as well as others) are pretty inexpensive, they are the thinner fabric type that is similar to UnderArmor style. The prices are typically in the High Teens to mid-$20s.

Both brands are Polyester and will pick up a 'funk' when you sweat, but they do work pretty well and come at good prices.

11:55 a.m. on October 31, 2013 (EDT)
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My favorite lightweight wicking shirt is without a doubt the MEC T1 long-sleeve Zip-neck...fit-snugly it dries really fast (much faster than a similar wool item)...and has an amazing comfort range due to the fact that you can adjust the sleeves and the zip-neck. However...it will set you back about 35.00

Exofficio makes the SolCool in a long-sleeve (also a long-sleeve hoodie)...the fabric is a little heavier than other polyester base-layers...but it offers amazing sun-protection...and supposedly keeps you cool. I have a long-sleeve and a short-sleeve version which I wear loose for canoeing and kayaking. The problem...is that unless you wait for a really terrible color to go on sale in your size on Amazon...they are super expensive.

If you want a cheap wicking shirt my advice is to go to your nearest Walmart and pick up one of their lightweight Dri-Star long-sleeve shirts (I use them in the heat of the summer and for running here in town)...here's my review of one http://www.trailspace.com/gear/other/starter-long-sleeve-dri-star-shirt/#review29545. If you fit the shirt snugly it will wick as good as any other lightweight polyester shirt.

12:09 p.m. on October 31, 2013 (EDT)
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Barbara and I discovered that Costco currently has a line of merino wool top and bottom for about $20 each. The blend is only 11% merino, with 84% polyester (a good wicking fiber) and 5% spandex (which might reduce the amount of loss of stretch over time). The box says the fabric is Drirelease and the manufacturer is listed as Paradox. It is also supposed to have a FreshGuard treatment embedded to control odor. Since we just got a set each, we have not used it in the field or under hiking or backpacking situations yet. Worth a try, though, since it is much cheaper than the specialty brands.you do have to be a member of Costco, but their membership rules are pretty slack.

8:18 a.m. on November 1, 2013 (EDT)
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melensdad said:

I've had some pretty good luck with the KOPPEN brand from Dick's Sporting Goods, "list price" is about $40 depending on model, but typically can be purchased for about $20-$25 on sale. Koppen seems to be a store brand only sold by Dicks. Its a "waffle weave" type fabric. I use them summer and winter.

Also CHAMPION brand, sold by Target stores (as well as others) are pretty inexpensive, they are the thinner fabric type that is similar to UnderArmor style. The prices are typically in the High Teens to mid-$20s.

Both brands are Polyester and will pick up a 'funk' when you sweat, but they do work pretty well and come at good prices.

 Thanks...I will check the champions out.  I did not think of looking at Target.

8:24 a.m. on November 1, 2013 (EDT)
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How do the sizes on these run?  Are they true to size or run small or large?  I can go to Walmart and Target to try them on but would not know about the others.  I am looking for a decent shirt and will pay more for something that you all highly recommend. 

Maybe I will find a scary good deal....:D  LOL...Halloween joke.  

S

10:41 a.m. on November 1, 2013 (EDT)
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Snakey...most of the time when you buy online there will be a size-chart and "fit" chart (usually near the size selection drop-down box). Since you're wanting these shirts to wick you will want to error on the side of snug as opposed to loose (unless you plan to use them in the summer...in which I prefer to have my base-layer fit loosely...because it is cooler and more often than not the only thing I have on). Unfortunately...every manufacturer seems to be a little different...but the most common complaint is that the sizes run "too small" when buying athletic apparel (I think most of this is a result of folks under-appreciating the fact that these items are intended to fit snug). I have a 44" chest (which more often than not falls between large and x-large). For base-layers I usually go with a large size as long as the "fit" is snug and not loose...where as for shells I go with x-large. For me...the real challenge is in buying mid-layers online...when I want the fit to be loose enough to layer underneath...but not so loose that it becomes uncomfortable underneath a shell.

10:47 a.m. on November 1, 2013 (EDT)
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Patagonia base layers have been really good to me.  I tend to be hot and sweat when I hike hard.  A good base layer like Patagonia really helps move the moisture away from my body.  They are a bit expensive but will last years and always perform well.  

7:06 p.m. on November 3, 2013 (EST)
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Ditto on the Patagonia base layers.They last for years of constant wear,are warm and not too skanky. I've also got some Icebraeker and Ibex merino wool shirts that are terrific but expensive.

9:38 p.m. on November 3, 2013 (EST)
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Well... I picked up a few shirts from Target tonight and so I will be giving the Champion brand a try.  It seems like a nice shirt and I feel it will wick quite good.  Thanks for all your comments.

Snakey

5:43 a.m. on November 4, 2013 (EST)
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For these baselayer type items I prefer buying new. I buy at places like tjmax and Marshall's . Typically run around 10-20$ depending on the brand and time of year. They usually have Columbia, UA, marmot, and nike stuff and sometimes more but I see the most Columbia and UA base layers.

7:58 p.m. on November 4, 2013 (EST)
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I suggested looking at Costco because they are inexpensive, yet made with merino (warmth) plus polyester (wicking) plus spandex (maintains shape over the long run. Now, what I really use is Patagonia Capilene and their merino wool. I have a range of grades from Cap 1 (lightweight) to Cap 4 (expedition weight). The big problem is that Patagucci is quite high priced - unless you go to their outlet stores (brick and mortar if one is close or online if you do not have a local one). Keep an eye out because a couple times a year, they have sales up to 60% off (sometimes more), which brings them into the Costco price range. I have several other brands that are cheaper than Patagonia's normal price that are straight polyester, polypro, or merino wool, but tend to pick up a bit of aroma after 2 or 3 weeks of wear (hey, on expeditions to high mountains or polar regions, you usually get to wear your clothes for 3 weeks or even up to 3 months - even merino will pick up an odor under those conditions). Plus I have expedition-weight stretch "farmer johns" from Marmot and Outdoor Research for those -40°F/C and lower days with 50+ knot winds (lots of wind chill). In my avatar, I have a Campmor expedition top (white) and the Marmot stretch "farmer john", plus a pair of Marmot Alpinist 3 bibs (click on the avatar to get to a larger image).

You said you were looking for "affordable". Well, the really good stuff is costly. If you are going to be out for just a few weekends over a couple of years, the cheaper brands are just fine. OTOH, if you are like Barb and me, you are going to want this stuff to last 5 to 10 years of 50+ days in those polar conditions of skiing, snowshoeing, climbing, and (recently) dog sledding. In which case, the expensive stuff from Patagonia lasts, and so is cheaper in the long run than Campmor or Costco or Target.

7:07 p.m. on November 7, 2013 (EST)
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If you want the quality (better IMO) of Patagonia at a more reasonable price I would suggest checking out Mountain Equipment Co-Operative (MEC). They are based in Canada but ship to the US....and though the shipping makes buying a single article prohibitively expensive...you'll save significantly if you buy more than one item.

Example: (MEC T3 and Patagonia Cap-4 are directly comparable)

MEC T3 hooded top and bottoms cost 72.00 + 52.00 + 19.00 (shipping) = 143.00

Patagonia Cap-4 hooded top and bottoms cost 119.00 + 79.00 + 0.00 (shipping) = 198.00

Total savings = 55.00

In regards to quality and design: looking at the features for each...I think from a practical stand-point MEC comes out on top. The Patagonia top has an unnecessary zip-pocket on the shoulder (IMO) and some terribly delicate thumb-loops...where as...the MEC top has no unnecessary pockets (to create hot-spots from abrasion) and very robust sewn-in thumb-loops.

Just to be clear...I am not affiliated with any outdoor company...my ONLY source of income is through the university I work for (though I did once win a prize through Trailspace). I own both Patagonia and MEC and have no loyalty to either manufacturer (let the best gear win)...my only motive for mentioning this is the significant savings to be had.

A special note: Malden Mills Industries (Polartec) often works with companies to produce newer fabrics...and in exchange grants these companies exclusive rights for a certain period of years...so manufacturers like MEC (while often comparable to companies like Patagonia) might not always have items made of the latest fabrics (for example...currently only a few manufacturers are producing items using Thermal-Pro...which is likely the result of the relationship between Malden and companies like Patagonia which are using it.

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