I have recently passed the 1,500 days of wearing with the “Icebreaker Tech T Lite Short Sleeve Tee” – that is cause for sharing about this truly exceptional t-shirt!
This is a t-shirt that for over 4 years as been my primary next-to-skin layer, out on the trail, at home, and everywhere in between.
It has gotten the sideline only when I am wearing a Mountain Hardwear WickedCool Tank which I wear when trail running or in hot locations.
Two Christmases ago a family member saw me wearing it and all the holes it had and said “isn’t it about time for a new t-shirt John“? My response was “nope, got a few more years in it!“. Going on two years since than and I am still wearing it – albeit with a few more holes, but it is still going strong!
It has lost a bit of its colour, more of a mid-grey now compared to the solid black of a new one, but that comes from hundreds of hand washings in rivers, creeks, countless zip lock bags, and of course at home a few times, but probably 90% of the times it has been washed has been out on the trail.
Since I originally bought mine, Icebreaker has started calling this garment the “Tech Lite Short Sleeve”, dropping the “T” for reasons unknown to me.
When I bought mine it was made from 100% Merino wool, but since than (2012) Icebreaker has switched to making these t-shirts of 87% Merino wool and 13% Nylon corespun.
(side note: I put on the new version and it feels the same as my old one… not any more or less softer, nor any more or less scratchy [never had any issue with that with my old one]… but this new one is bound for a dresser drawer for who knows how long)
The reason for this change, according to what I have read online, is that Icebreaker did this to make them more durable. Meh? More durable? I have 4+ years of wearing a single pair, and yeah, it has a few holes, but… well, meh. Give us back our 100% merino wool IB!!
In order to get the weight for the current version that is being sold, I bought one, confirmed that it has the 13% Nylon corespun, and threw it onto my calibrated scale.
The weight for the new version, in size medium, on my calibrated scale comes in at 131 grams (4.63 ounces)
The version that I have been wearing for 4+ years, a size x-large (yeah, I was 150 pounds heavier when I bought it) was 90 grams (3.17 ounces) when I first bought it.
An increase of 41.3 grams (1.45 ounces) seems like a lot, given the size differences… I would have expected the numbers to be the other way around.
I have no idea why such a large amount of weight differences between the older and new versions. It seems odd that adding 13% Nylon corespun would cause that, but I do not know what else to attribute it too.
I took a photo of the new version and my old version to show that they are both the same length, minus a tiny bit of stretching from 1500+ days of use, so it is not as if one version is shorter/longer. I thought maybe the new version was an extra-long like some mid-layers these days, but that is just not the case.
I truly am perplexed why there is a 37% increase in weight between the old version and new version when the only documented change is 13% less merino wool and an added 13% Nylon corespun, sure that fabric cannot be that heavy (???). /shrugs/
- Extremely durable t-shirt, given the lightweight fabric.
- Exceptional odor control, even after 4+ years of wearing it.
- Super soft.
- I really cannot think of anything to add here, beyond maybe the price tag… kind of high for a t-shirt… but then again, given it has lasted me 1500+ days of use, it is beyond obvious that the price tag was worth it. Whether or not this new version with Nylon corespun is going to hold up for the same amount of time is obviously one issue that will have to be watched what others say over the next few years.
- Give us back 100% merino wool Icebreaker!!
Condition after 4+ years of wearing it:
Here are some photos showing the condition of this t-shirt.
To me it is simple… when I pay big bucks for a product I expect to get a good return on it, and the Icebreaker Tech T Lite Short Sleeve Tee probably leads the way in gear I have bought over the last few years when it comes to this.
Some may look at the condition of the shirt, the holes, and think the shirt is crappy quality. I would just challenge those people to wear their t-shirt for over 2,100,000 (2.1 million) minutes and report back on how their t-shirt has survived. Really! Is there a better 100% merino wool t-shirt out there? I would like to know. So consider this both a challenge and a way to answer a question I have. I am one of a few people in the world regularly publishing long term review (as in 1000+ days) of hiking gear, so I really do look forward to when other people are doing the same! I mean that, I really do. The average time to hike the PCT is 150 days, and the average for the AT is 175 days, and the average for the CDT is 180 days. So a triple crown puts a hiker on trail for a bit over 500 days. So think of 1000+ of use, of testing a piece of gear, as a double triple. Or 1500+ days of use as a Triple Triple (you rock Lint!) – just think of it that way. I like to think that if any piece of gear can survive a double triple, or even a triple triple, well, it is worthy of being in my backpack or on my body.
As far as I am concerned, I should easily be able to get another few years out of this shirt before the holes get to a point where the sad day will come to retire it – I fully expect to get past the 2,000 days mark of wearing this amazing t-shirt.
So ask me what my thoughts are on this t-shirt… I just have to say “why buy anything else!”
I have posted about this on my facebook page, so if you are on facebook and would like to meander over there, and even comment over there instead of on my website, by all means, go for it.
Where to buy:
Official Website: https://www.icebreaker.com/en/mens-tshirts/tech-lite-short-sleeve/100898.html
Buy at amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AF66M9W/ (affiliate link… to help support the cause!)
Disclaimer: As of the time of this being published I am not sponsored by Icebreaker. I typically buy all of the gear that I use, even when I am sponsored by a company. To all the haters: I bought this garment.