Montane Shark Ultra Tee
The Montane Shark Ultra Tee is a most impressive garment! It fits well, it breathes very well, it remains virtually odor free, and it wears like iron. Although it was designed for trail running I highly recommend it, without reservation, for any athletic outdoor activity and particularly as a base layer.
- Great fit/comfortable
- Odor free
- Cool/breathes well
- Dries fast
- Difficult to locate dealer in USA
- Lacks care instructions
The Montane Shark Ultra Tee is a garment designed for Mountain Running, Trail Running, and Mountain Marathons. It is made of a synthetic hyper stretch fabric that Montane calls Quartz Skin. It has stretch mesh panels under the arms, in the center chest, and a much larger panel in the back all of which serve to enhance cooling and breathability.
The fabric itself draws moisture from the skin, dries quickly and has a UPF protection factor of 25+. It also features an antibacterial treatment called Polygiene a silver salt which inhibits the growth of odor causing bacteria and fungi.
The shirt contains a silicone print pattern over the shoulders to prevent pack abrasion and enhance the grip of shoulder harnesses (presumably whilst trail running). The shirt also has reflective “Dusk till Dawn” reflective trim and a small YKK rustle free locking zipper.
My Shark Tee arrived in a plain brown envelope; being no stranger to “stink free” garments and not knowing what to expect I was somewhat surprised to see that this was going to be a first for me with its “Athletic Mountain” fit. Essentially what that means is that this is a body hugging shirt that conforms closely to body contours.
I wasn’t sure at first if I would like that type of shirt, but I’m now a died-in-the-synthetic fabric enthusiast! I have a (puny) 40” chest and 33” waist and the size large fits me perfectly even though I normally wear size medium. The color which Montane appropriately calls shadow is a very pleasing earth tone grey-green trimmed with “kiwi” stitching and zipper.
As is customary whenever I buy a new garment, I examined it very closely looking at the stitching for bunching, missed stitches, and loose/unraveling ends. I was pleased to find flat locked low profile seams which go a long ways to eliminate chafe and not one tiny flaw in the construction of the shirt. I was also happy to note the lack of tags at the neck line which always seem to irritate even after they’ve been cut off.
The only tag on the entire garment was at the waist and it contained very minimal laundry instructions which only said to not apply a hot iron to the silicone print pattern. I then reviewed the attached tags for features, etc.
Front View showing zipper, flat seams, color
Silicone shoulder print, arm reflector
I’m in my mid 60s and trail running, mountain marathons, and mountain running are no longer in my inventory of activities and those are the activities for which this shirt was specifically designed. I have worn it as an outer garment hiking, backpacking (several overnight trips), kayaking, scuba diving, cycling, sailing, golfing, and gym workouts. I’ve also worn it peak bagging, scramble hiking, mountaineering, and in performance of my technical rescue work with the fire department. Final test was a five-day, four-night backpacking trip to the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness and I wore it (without washing) the entire five days.
The shirt on the banks of Rock Lake with St Paul Pass in the background
Fit and comfort: This shirt fits and feels like a velvety second skin. It moves with you with no restrictions or chafing. The only moving part, a small zipper has a “garage” at the top to preclude rubbing your neck when it's zipped up.
Side View for fit showing fit and underarm mesh panel
Odor eliminating properties: Montane recommends you wear the shirt for seven days between launderings in the interest of protecting the environment! I’ve now worn it for 77 days and throughout that time pretty much adhered to the seven day wash cycle specifically to test the odor eliminating properties of the Polygiene treatment.
I have been extremely impressed. While I may personally smell like a proverbial goat after a day’s adventure the shirt rarely takes on an offensive odor. What little odor it does assume disappears overnight and it’s ready to go again in the morning.
Many times I’ve found this shirt totally soaked with perspiration. After a ten minute rest stop in a light breeze it’s bone dry! I took it out of the washing machine a time or two and put it on wet as a test – you guessed it, in about ten minutes it’s dry! Rinsing it in a mountain steam is no big deal; just dunk it, squeeze it out, put it back on.
In cool early mornings I wore it as a base layer under a fleece or a long sleeved shirt. In the afternoon with temps in the mid to high 80’s it was my outer garment. It’s certainly the coolest outer garment I own with the mesh panels front, rear, and underarms working to keep it breathing, Wicking, and cooling.
Back mesh panel and back
Protective features: The UPF 25+ sun protection works well; I’ve got tan lines and I’m lily white under the shirt. It has no insect protective features and mosquitoes bite right through it. I did not wash in Permethrin as I didn’t want to damage the odor killing properties. Really did not test the reflective features although they are minimal in size.
Durability: I’ve worn it for 77 days and the stitching and fabric show absolutely no wear, abrasions, snags, or tears particularly at high wear points under shoulder and waist straps. I do a lot of scramble hiking and most of my garments have snags to prove it, but not this one! The shirt has not “bagged out” and still has a body conforming fit. Seventy-seven days of hard use is equivalent to a lifetime of use; it still looks/feels the same as it did the first day I put it on. The silicone print pattern on the shoulders does its job as there is no abrasion from my pack shoulder straps on the shirt (I wore it under a Gossamer Gear Mariposa with wide shoulder straps).
Bottom Line: This shirt was provided at no charge to me by Trailspace and Montane; I liked it so much I decided to purchase another one and therein lies the only real con. There are no Montane dealers in the USA, that I could find that carry it. I purchased my second one from a British running store online and the cost with shipping was right at $125 which some may find expensive. I personally feel it was money well spent. I plan to enjoy this shirt for a long time to come!
Bottom Bottom Line: The design and quality of this shirt is so phenomenal that I’m now looking to Montane for all my outdoor garment needs. It is a seriously great company.
Takin' a break on the summit of Engle Peak
Source: received for testing via the Trailspace Review Corps
(Sample provided by Montane for testing and review)
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4.8 oz / 137 g