Icebreaker Hopper Lite
almost ideal hiking shirt.
the fabric is very smooth and comfortable in a pretty wide range of temperatures. it wicks moisture fairly well and dries reasonably quickly while wearing it. like all merino wool shirts, it is effectively odor-free, except for a wet wool odor when it is really wet.
i wore this shirt in a variety of weather and temperature conditions, including equatorial/jungle heat. the fabric is a little too thick for the most hot/humid conditions; there are 150 weight merino shirts that perform better in the hottest weather.
because i wear this shirt so often with a backpack, it has a little pilling on the back. it also has a small hole in one short sleeve, at a point where it rubs against a shoulder strap. so far, the hold has remained small.
my only real complaint is price - it's a lot of money for a short sleeved shirt - but in terms of fit and function, i love it.
Price Paid: $75
I found the shirt off the shelf to be comfortable. It wicked well. It kept me warm as a base layer. Then I washed it. Each time it would come out of the washing machine there would be little holes in it. I asked the local store where I bought it about it they said bring it back. I rarely return anything. Well after wearing the shirt 10 times it had so many holes in it that it was no longer comfortable. The shop said I had went through a briar patch.. I said yup it looks like it for sure...just never tore any of my outter layers...just the inner layer and they only showed up after each machine washing... a disloving tshirt.... kind of like tolet paper.. .don't wash it.
- no stink
- disolves when washing it. $65 you expect more.
I was told it was the best of the best. I said tell me why I need a $65 tshirt. They laid it all out.. so being a good consumer I bought it.
After the first washing I noticed a hole in it. I thought, man I don't remember getting into anything that would have snagged it. It's a base layer. I sewed the hole and put it away.
Next summer, wore it and new holes developed. Asked the local shop about it. Well bring it in. I only wear the thing a few times a year and hardly every return anything. In this case I brought it back in for an evaluation.
I was told at the counter by a couple of guys there that had them..said well the same thing happend to mine. I was told I let the moths eat it. GRIN! No moths in my house. Just some lightweight moreno wool icebreaker that dissolves when washed...GRIN! I have other wool, Smartwool...none have ever dissolved when washed.
They are looking at trying to get me a little heavier weight shirt to replace it if Icebreaker will OK it. I told him I had only spent about $6000 at his shop over the past 4 years. I wouldn't hold it against them. One miss on good gear wouldn't turn me away..but I don't plan on buying another Icebreaker unless they come clean and can be washed...without dissolving.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $65
I first saw this t-shirt on the 2011 Backpacker Editor's Choice awards. I found it hard to believe that any t-shirt would be worth $75. You got to be kidding me!
So I did my research on practically every possible outdoor gear store and forum. All I could find were extremely happy hikers and backpackers. Endless reviews of how awesome this shirt was and how no matter what, it never smelled bad after days and days of use.
Well, this is what I was looking for. I have one EMS synthetic t-shirt, that is hardly an upgrade from a cotton t-shirt. I needed something better. So, I found a deal online ($20 off Icebreaker), and managed to justify taking a chance spending $55 on this shirt.
The Hopper arrived in the mail last Saturday, and I have been training on a 4 mile Bluff trail every day since. Between running and hiking in this 1-2 hours every day, I have worked up a lot of sweat. After one day the EMS shirt I had went straight to the laundry. The Hopper? 4 days no wash, it smells decent.
It's extremely comfortable and breathable. I don't find it itchy at all. A lighter color would be a bit cooler in the sun, but I believe it's money worth spent.
If you can find a sale on Icebreaker products, you won't regret it.
Price Paid: $55
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Historic Range: $37.50-$84.99
Reviewers Paid: $55.00-$75.00