The Showers Pass Apex Merino Tech T-shirt is part of the MTB line. It is made for summer time riding but could also serve as a base layer in cold weather. It should also work well as a backpacking shirt or anytime a good wicking shirt is needed. The print on the neck of the shirt says it is made from a blend of 67% Merino Wool, 27% polyester and 6% nylon. However, this is not throughout the shirt as you can see when reading the specifications supplied by Showers Pass. The front and back panels contain less wool as a percentage while the side panels contain more. The blend of polyester and especially the nylon will hopefully aid in the durability of the shirt. The MSRP or the shirt is $69 which seems expensive but is inline with comparable performance oriented merino wool shirts. Below are the key features of the shirt copied from the Showers Pass website.
Merino Wool blend fabric provides antimicrobial protection from odors, natural breathability and stretch for comfort during aerobic activities
Raglan sleeves are flatlock stitched for durability and comfort
Side pocket with hidden zipper
Flatlock stitching on side panels with no traditional side seams reduce chafe points
Soft and durable 50% Merino Wool 50% Polyester blend on the front and back
Side panels offer natural antimicrobial protection from odors with 87% Merino Wool 13% Nylon blend
Relaxed fit with longer back length for on the bike coverage
Reflective label on back
UPF 40 protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays
150 gsm summer weight fabric
67% Merino Wool, 27% Polyester, 6% Nylon
I find the shirt extremely soft and comfortable with just enough stretch to allow complete freedom of movement. As a long waisted person I really like the extra length in the back because many t-shirts I own ride up when I ride my bike, especially if I’m leaning forward trying to get more aero. I should note my present bike is a fitness bike with flat handlebars but I have Profile Design aero bars installed. The back is only about an inch longer so it is long aplenty in the front as well
The tee does not have the big rear pockets like most cycling jerseys but does have an almost invisible zippered pocket on the right side. It is big enough for my iPhone 6+ and wallet but with both inside the pocket was pulled that side down. However, I keep my phone on a mount on my handlebars so no biggie.
In addition to my fitness bike rides I plan to wear the shirt backpacking and on long day hikes. I probably sweat more doing this than when bike riding because I don’t have the cooling and drying effect of the wind I get on my bike. So between my rides and hikes I will probably need to laundry the shirt fairly often. The care instructions are on a tag on the left side. They state “Machine wash cold water. Wash with similar colors. Wash inside out. No bleach or fabric softener. Do not dry clean. Do not tumble dry. iron low. Made in China”
On last note, Showers Pass is based out of Portland Oregon, known for their rainy weather pretty much year round. They started by making mostly waterproof but highly breathable jackets but expanded into making base layers as well as many other biking accessories.
That’s all for now, stay tuned for my next update to see how the Apex is working for me. I would like to thank Showers Pass and 4ALLOUTDOORS for this testing opportunity.
Update: August 11, 2018
This summer has proven to be milder than most but also wetter so more humid. Anyways, I’ve worn the shirt about a dozen times so far and it is really comfortable and handles the heat and humidity very well. I have worn it on a bike ride at temperatures as hot as 93 F but most of the time I tried to do my riding early in the morning. I did the same when day hiking but it was generally later in the afternoon for whatever reason. As a result, it was usually hotter on my hikes. I did not wear the shirt for every ride or hike as it was sometimes in the dirty clothes waiting to be washed. Here is the shirt drying on my deck after a wash.
drying the shirt on my deck on a warm afternoon
Speaking of washing, I washed it in the machine twice and dried it on my deck each time. My washer spines very fast at the end so the shirt would come out almost dry. I also rinsed it in the sink a few times. It would be much wetter even after my best hand wringing attempt. This meant it took a little longer to dry but on a hot afternoon would be dry in a couple of hours. So far the shirt does not appear to have shrunk any and the color is holding up very nicely. I’ve also not seen any pilling so far.
So far my longest day hike has been about 5 miles but several were 2 or 3. My longest bike ride while wearing the shirt has been 16 miles. I picked up a used TerraTrike Rover on August 4th (a week ago today). It is one of the heaviest trikes and a real workout. I’ve ridden it twice so far, 8 miles the first time and 12 on the next one. I took this photo after the 8 mile ride and it was not completely soaked but headed there fast. I noticed that if it was completely soaked it was hard to show that in a photo, the shirt just looks darker and a little clingy.
just starting to wet out the shirt after a short 8 mile trike ride
I carried the shirt on a couple of overnight backpacking trips and used it as my sleep shirt. It was really nice to put on a dry shirt in camp and even though it was still pretty warm, the shirt wicked the little sweat I produced remarkably well. By bed time it was dry. I plan to wear it as my main hiking shirt on my next trip.
Thoughts so far
The Apex Merino Tech T-shirt has lived up to its billing as an ideal shirt for summer activities. I’ve been in the sun several hours while bike riding and then mowing and haven’t sunburned yet so the UV protection is good. My arms are tanned but my upper body is pasty white. The flatlock seams are sure-nuff comfortable, I haven’t noticed any chaffing while wearing it even when soaking wet with sweat. The blend of mostly wool with 27% polyester and 6% nylon appears to be very durable. The wool seems to control odors, I’ve only needed to wash it after ever third wearing. I’m sure the hand rinses I did after each ride or hike helped. My only complaint is the shirt is not very bright, I would prefer something more along the lines of neon yellow or fluorescent orange when I’m riding but I’ve stayed on relatively low traffic back roads and use a blinking tail light. I also put a flag on my trike. Stay tuned for my last update to see how the Showers Pass Apex Merino Tech T-shirt continues to perform.
Final Update: September 21, 2018
I have continued to wear the shirt during exercise hikes, overnight backpacking and bike rides. This summer has continued to be wetter than normal, with high humidity to match, but wearing the Apex has allowed me to stay as cool and dry as possible. I say this because I noticed several times that my shirt would dry much faster than the 100% polyester gym shorts I was wearing. This was especially the case a couple of times when I actually went swimming while wearing the shirt and my gym shorts. By the time I hiked an hour the shirt would be nearly dry but my shorts remained very damp. I did this on two occasions and once stayed in the shirt and gym shorts overnight in my hammock. The Apex was complete dry when I turned in, probably four hours after swimming but my gym shorts were still damp.
I also liked backpacking in the Apex. I would sweat of course, but it would dry fast once I stopped hiking. It feels good under my pack and doesn’t show wear where the shoulder straps and hip belt were over the shirt. My most strenuous hike was to the Walls of Jericho. I ended up hiking a little over 11 miles in temperatures as high as 85 F. The total elevation loss and gain was approximately 1300 ft. Most of this was on my hike out the next morning when I gained 1000 ft elevation in approximately 3 miles. Fortunately, I completed the hike to my truck early enough to miss the hotter part of the day but I still soaked the shirt. One the hike in, once arriving at the campsite I took a long rest break before supper and a butterfly decided to join me. Apparently I didn’t stink too bad…or maybe I looked like a giant blue flower?
With the hot and humid summer weather and spider webs in the woods I found I preferred riding over hiking and I wore the shirt on a dozen or so rides on my bike and recumbent trike during the past month. Most of my rides were between 8 and 10 miles but the longest recent bike ride was 12 miles and was the same distance on my longest trike ride. I averaged 13 mph on the bike and 8 mph on the trike so the bike ride lasted just under an hour while the trike ride took an hour and a half. Interestingly, I sweated a lot more during the 12 mile bike ride. Both rides were in similar conditions but I was by myself on the trike and had a friend pushing me on the bike ride. On the bike I had sweat dripping from the brim of the helmet visor I was wearing. I was surprised by this because just a few days earlier on the trike it didn’t. Anyway, the Apex shirt was fairly dry when I first stopped but by the time I took this photo about 10 minutes later it was a lot wetter. I know it was because I had stopped riding while still sweating but no longer had the wind helping me stay dry.
The Showers Pass Apex Merino Tech T-shirt may be designed for bike riding but it has proven to be an excellent hiking shirt as well. Many of the same qualities that are important in bike riding translate over to hiking, especially the need of a quick drying and extremely comfortable wearing shirt. The small zippered pocket proved to be handy so many times. I used it for my phone on trike rides and day hikes or just to keep my keys when riding my bike. The shirt has continued to be a real winner at keeping odors at a minimum. I know because I wore it several times for 2 days in a row. Cleaning it has also been easy. I machine washed it after every 3rd or 4th wearing and rinsed it in the kitchen sink in between the machine washings. I have always line dried it. It still looks great and I anticipate wearing it for a long time to come. Bottom line, all the benefits of a merino wool shirt with the durability of and easy care the nylon and polyester blend offers makes this shirt a winner in my book!