Smartwool Merino 150 Backpacker Tee

First Update: 12/31/17

I have had the backpacker tee for a couple of months now. I’ve worn it backpacking, running, to the gym, and around town.

It’d hard to overstate how great of a t-shirt this is. It’s a high performance t-shirt, and the wool has performed just as good, if not better than any synthetic performance shirt I’ve worn.

Positives:

  • Comfort: I wore the shirt as my base layer on a recent 2 night backpacking trip. I never took it off (gross, I know) because I forgot it was even there.
  • Genetic Superpowers: wool has natural antimicrobial abilities due to it’s waxy makeup. This means that after not taking the shirt off for three days, I didn’t smell nearly as bad as I would have believed. In fact, the shirt had no discernible odor.

Negatives:

  • Clingy: I have two golden retrievers. They shed year round and I am pretty sure every strand of their blonde hair gets stuck on this black shirt. It can be quite annoying, and I have had to lint roll the shirt almost every time I wear it.
  • Value: When wearing the shirt, I can’t help thinking: “$80. Is this t-shirt really worth $80?” Time will tell, but for now, the jury is still out.

Check back in about a month for my last update on the Smartwool Backpacker T.

Kaleb R.


I have a handful of favorite t-shirts. They each have their reasons for my preference: comfort, looks, nostalgia, etc. T-shirts can be used in almost any activity: leisure, running, backpacking. They can act as a base layer, or even an outer layer. I always pack a couple of them as my base layer when backpacking.

Smartwool was founded in 1999, and the company has been pushing the boundaries of wool products ever since.

The PRoduct

Smartwool Men’s Merino 150 Backpacker’s Tee

At first glance, it’s a classic t-shirt, but look a little closer and the Merino 150 Backpacker Tee boasts a few extra features that you won’t find in a regular t-shirt.

Specs

MSRP: $80

Fit: Regular fit

Material: 87% Merino Wool, 13% Nylon Core.

The shirt is made out of Core Spun Merino 150 wool. Smartwool describes Merino 150 as their “lightest, yet most versatile layer”. In this case, the 150 Backpacker tee has a nylon central core that the merino wool is then spun around. This gives the shirt its stretch and durability.

Core Spun Graphic

Other features: Offset shoulder seams to accommodate shoulder straps on backpacks and reduce/prevent chafing.

Initial impression:

It’s all about the wool. That’s makes this t-shirt different than other shirts out there (and is also the reason for the $80 price tag). Wool is the Cadillac of fibers for outdoor outerwear. It has some natural qualities that even synthetic textiles which dominate make up of so much outdoor gear the days can’t match.

Here are a few of the benefits of wool (specifically merino wool):

  • Wicking: wool naturally wicks sweat from your body
  • Durability: wool is naturally durable and strong
  • Comfort: Merino wool fibers are smaller than other wool fibers which means that they have the itchy texture usually associated with wool.

Hand drawn graphic detail

I am really impressed with some of the small details of this shirt.  There are a few touches that really stick out to me:

The collar has an integrated loop in the collar that provides both utility and aesthetics.

The bottom cuff of the shirt has the Smartwool logo which is another thoughtful detail that you wouldn’t usually see on a t-shirt.

Logo Detail on Bottom Cuff

Planned Testing:

It’s a t-shirt, so I plan on wearing the 150 Backpacker tee often:

  • Everyday use
  • Hiking
  • Backpacking

Check back in a month where I will have updates on how the shirt performed. Thanks to 4 All Outdoors and Smartwool for the chance to review this shirt.

Kaleb R.