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Icebreaker Tech Lite Short Sleeve Crewe

rated 4 of 5 stars
photo: Icebreaker Tech Lite Short Sleeve Crewe short sleeve performance top

This is an 87% merino wool and 13% nylon shirt. This is a good wicking shirt and light baselayer shirt. It has the feel of nylon, but also has the properties of wool, and it lasts. When these shirts came out they were said to be too light for wear and tear... It weighs 4.5 ounces.


  • Wool layer has less stink buildup on long distance trips
  • Great by itself or with another piece in your layering system
  • It wicks the moisture away from the upper body


  • Tight, depending on size
  • Shirts shrink when washed
  • Cost, not cheap. Look at what it's made of.

This is a technical shirt that we're discussing, a soft wool wrapped around a nylon core to wick the sweat and clammy feeling away from the skin.

The antibacterial properties of wool help in relation to the body creating odor in other technical shirts, such as Capilene. The wool weight is 150 and ultra breathable. The shoulder seams are offset for backpacking.

This shirt can be used in the gym or on a hike or to wear as your everyday base. I wore MY icebreaker for 1,000 miles on the Appalachian Trail and it's still intact.

I  bought two because I prefer wool to other synthetic shirts. I was also pleased that this had nylon in it, so it had play or give in the shirt material on certain areas on the trail.

They come in a variety of colors for those who have a preference.


I am a trail club member and hike the Appalachian Trail and other trails. I've been hiking and backpacking since I was 13 years old.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $50 REI

This shirt does everything I was told and more. I use it for casual wear, for exercising and will use it as an undershirt when it gets cold again. It breathes better than any synthetic I've worn.


  • Versatile - So many uses

This shirt reminds me of my Asolo Fugitive GTX boots: it fits perfectly, I wish I could wear it every day. Now that I'm retired, maybe I will!

The Merino wool breathes better than any synthetic fabric I've ever worn. The wicking is also better than synthetics I've worn for running, cycling or working in the hot Texas summer. Unlike the synthetics, it's not prone to snag and run every time I catch on something. The fabric is soft and so I don't have the chaffing problems I used to have when I run a longer distance.

The workmanship is superb. The knitting is consistent and so the finish gives you a shirt that I wear for casual occasions. It's not so form-fitting that it looks like you're trying to show off your physique. 

If it ever gets cold again, I'll be wearing it as an undershirt, too. The breath-ability and hydrophobic characteristics will be just what I'll be looking for.

Buy this shirt.

Source: received it as a personal gift

This shirt has been associated with a lot of promotional hype to justify a high price tag and poorly thought out intentions for use. While the use of merino wool is excellent for snug-fitting baselayers+/or 'skins', lightweight merino fabric for hot-warm weather or high activity loose-fit gear is inappropriate.

Even at moderate temperatures I found the fabric itchy, irritating and hot (superfine merino wool is not 'itch-free' as many manufacturers/merchants claim-just relatively less so than coarser wool types and grades). Add to that the fact that the seams are not sewn flat (particularly irritating in the sleeve) and I was left wondering why I spent some $80 on it.

As for the issue of wool being relatively resistant to collecting body odour I saw no particular advantage over similar wicking polyester equivalents - I tried wearing the shirt continuously for three days straight and while it obviously 'performed' better than a cotton t might, my girlfried independently informed me that it still smelled pretty awfully toward the end!

It does the job of wicking moisture as one might expect but this is no consolation. Particularly given that there are more durable lightweight polyester quick drying/wicking t-shirts out there that feel vastly more soft handed  + comfortable, have flat seams, feel cooler in hot conditions and can be worn for the same amount of time at 1/2 to 1/3 the cost.

Overall a waste of money

Price Paid: $80

Nice product if you want to travel light and carry very few items. Keeps the moisture out and dries fast.


  • Dries very fast
  • Looks good
  • Light and compressible
  • Wicks moisture
  • Smells good for days in a row

I have used this shirt for many road trips and canoe trips. It is the best base layer for anything you want to do. Pair it with a down shirt if it's cold and dry, or with a shell if it's raining. Love this shirt.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: 35$

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Price Historic Range: $4.20-$499.95
Reviewers Paid: $35.00-$80.00
Fabric 87% Merino Wool, 13% Nylon
Weight Large = 146 g / 5.15 oz
Back High Point Shoulder to Hem 75 cm
Fit Regular Fit—neither snug nor loose—this garment can be worn solo or over other layers
Price Historic Range: $52.50-$84.95
Product Details from Icebreaker »