Outdoor Research Torque L/S Tee
$69, 6 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XL, women’s XS-XL
For high-output, three-season activities where you inevitably sweat a lot, like trail running or carrying a pack uphill on a warm day, the key to staying comfortable is a lightweight top that wicks moisture from your skin and dries quickly—so that you don’t get suddenly cold if you hit wind or a long downhill stretch. The long-sleeve Torque Tee has become the top I pull on for trail runs or hikes in temperatures from the 30s (as a base layer beneath a warmer top or a jacket) to the 40s and 50s (by itself). I also wore it for three days on a September backpacking trip in the Olympic Mountains, where the weather ranged from sunny in the 50s to raining, snowing, and windy in the 30s.
I like it mainly because its Polartec Power Dry fabric dries literally within two or three minutes once my exertion level drops off a bit. Beyond that, I prefer long sleeves in variable conditions, and these sleeves slide up to my elbows easily. The fit is comfortably close for efficient wicking without the Spiderman look, and the smooth fabric face slides easily into warmer layers. The cuffs fold over to convert to thin mittens, which I used a lot when running, but that’s less useful when you need your hands, such as when scrambling off-trail or carrying trekking poles. One caveat: I think the lightweight fabric will wear more rapidly if worn a lot under a heavy backpack; wear it for trail running and light dayhikes.
See my other reviews of favorite apparel for backpacking and outdoor activities.
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.