Icebreaker Tech T Lite Short Sleeve Tee (1500+ Days)

Greetings Adventurers!

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.

Product Updates:

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!!

The new version of the Icebreaker Tech T Lite Short Sleeve Tee is 131.3 grams on my calibrated scale for a medium size.

Weigh Specs:

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.

Side by side, a new version and my well used t-shirt. A bit of colour fading over four years of being washed in trail side rivers and creeks, and nearly every day wear, but oh well. inconsequential.


The neckline on mine has a bit of scruff, by impressive given the 1500+ days of use.
The neckline on mine has a bit of scruff, but still impressive given the 1500+ days of use.


I put some white paper inside the shirt, in order to highlight the holes it has suffered over the last 4+ years.
I put some white paper inside the shirt, in order to highlight the holes it has suffered over the last 4+ years. One big hole in the right shoulder pit. One big hole and two slits on the right side are from where I grab it when I take it off. They started happening after about two years after wearing it. All the other small holes are from just wearing it and probably one or two from hateful blackberry bushes and mean 6-foot tall ferns, two things common where I hike at and that love destroying gear. The back of the shirt has two small holes, and no holes on the left side of the shirt, for some magical reason.


Final Thoughts:

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!

Further Discussions:

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:
Buy at amazon: (affiliate link… to help support the cause!)

+John Abela

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.


6 thoughts on “Icebreaker Tech T Lite Short Sleeve Tee (1500+ Days)

  1. I love anything by Icebreaker!! For both on the trail and off, I won’t wear any other type of T. Also, for really hot weather, I tried the cool max tank, which performed excellently. Looked and smelled great ( not washed on this trip) 5 days in brutally hot and humid 90 degree weather. At one point I thought my water bladder had broken- The back potion of my pack was soaked, because I was sweating so much. However, I was perfectly comfortable. When I set up camp, I hung it to dry for a couple of hours, then, since it was chillier than I expected, used it as a base layer with my sleep clothes. It was perfectly comfortable.
    You can get a great deal by purchasing them at Sierra trading post. They are priced about 50% below retail.

  2. Greetings John,

    I’m stoked on the 2 Icebreaker Tech Ts I bought 3-4 years ago (I wish I had bought that version in every color). Like you I’ve worn them basically every day both on and off trail. However, I loathe how the newer version fits. I’m 6’1″ 190 pounds with a lean frame and the old size large has an athletic fit, even after years of use. However, the newer version with the merino blend fits like the size large was designed for someone 40 pounds heavier with an ample midsection. It’s basically been relegated to around the house wear due to such an awful fit.

  3. Born and bread in little old NZ, like me! John, thanks for spreading the word on our country’s worst kept secret – merino wool and the fabulous IceBreaker range. I am typing this in Alice Springs, Australia and about to hit the Larapinta Trail. Yup, the IB T Shirt is again on my back!

  4. Maybe the weight difference comes from your old shirt literally wearing out. Think about lint-rolling a sweater: a bit of the fabric comes out as well.

    1. Hey Ben,

      Not sure that makes any sense, or maybe I am not understanding you (??)

      Within the article I stated, “was 90 grams (3.17 ounces) when I first bought it“.

      If my old version, brand new, was 90g, and a new version brand new is heavier than my old one brand new, how would what my old one weights now matter in regards to new product weights?

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