Arc’teryx Envoy SS
$69, 5 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XXL
On a mid-May day of sport climbing at Idaho’s Castle Rocks State Park, I was reminded of why I like wearing a T-shirt made of natural fibers instead of a synthetic: Aside from natural fabrics being environmentally friendlier than something based in petroleum products, they’re just more comfortable. This 56 percent cotton, 46 percent Merino wool tee feels soft against skin and has a casual fit that allows for completely unrestricted freedom of motion for climbing, hiking, running, or any other warm-weather outdoor activity. It also looks much better than, well, a garment made from petroleum products.
While I climbed in temperatures around 60° F, with a breeze and the sun moving in and out of clouds (I kept putting on and taking off a light jacket), the Envoy stayed dry and its long tail stayed put under my climbing harness. The next day it had no odor, thanks to an anti-microbial treatment, so I wore it to the gym for a long, sweaty workout. I also wore it for three straight days of hiking in southern Utah without it getting stinky, and numerous gym workouts and warm-weather trail runs. The only tradeoff (besides a steep price for a T-shirt): Given the fabric composition of it, the tee naturally dries more slowly than a synthetic top.
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NOTE: I’ve been testing gear for Backpacker Magazine for 20 years. At The Big Outside, I review only what I consider the best outdoor gear and apparel. See all of my reviews by clicking on the Gear Reviews category at left or in the main menu.