“Moisture wicking” IS worth the hype!
Despite graduating college five years ago and moving on to a “real job,” I still tend to operate on a college student budget, which means that my summer wardrobe is a drawer full of free pre-shrunk unisex cotton tee shirts that I accumulated at one event or another. (Boxy? Heavy? Unflattering? Who cares, it was FREE.) High-end “technology” is not a concept that comes into play when I’m selecting something like what shirt I’m planning to wear that day and especially not when I’m clothes shopping; that’s a word that’s reserved for computers, cell phones and new cars. But after trying two of Noble Outfitters‘ new spring tops, I’m eating my words happily with the realization that you can, in fact, have it all.
I tested two tops from Noble Outfitters’ spring line, the Kahla Racer Back Tank and the Karleigh Short Sleeve V-Neck. Both tops follow the same design, produced with Opti-Dry Technology fabric with a mesh back panel and a dropped back hem.
Especially as a fan of hiking, backpacking, camping and other outdoorsy pursuits in addition to horseback riding, a lot of my clothing and gear that I purchase is labeled as “moisture wicking.” Admittedly, I never noticed a difference between “wicking” material and regular good old-fashioned fabric (which accounts for why I’m still holding on to these horrible free cotton tee shirts.) If it was summertime, I was resigned to the fact that I was probably going to be hot and sweaty.
So when I headed out for a mid-afternoon ride on an unseasonably warm afternoon in late May (about 80 degrees and sunny) wearing the racer back tank, I was very pleasantly surprised to feel a difference: I was warm, but not overheated. I was sweating, but I wasn’t drenched. The top was doing everything it was supposed to, with the fabric drawing moisture away from my skin and the mesh back providing extra ventilation. Even after a long canter, the tank felt weightless. Gone was my usual red-faced sweaty discomfort complete with flattering lower-back sweat marks.
I tried the v-neck tee shirt a few days later, first taking it out for a short canoe trip on the river before heading to the barn. Even under a life jacket, the shirt again wicked away sweat and kept me cool out on the water (I took off the life jacket for the sake of the photo.)
In addition to keeping my rides more comfortable, these tops have the added bonus of a flattering fit and a trendy look — I’ll gladly wear them again for working out or for hitting the hiking trail, but I also won’t feel out of place wearing them out to run errands after my ride. The dropped back hem is a great feature for a riding shirt. My only note on the fit is that I seem to be between Noble Outfitters sizes (when I reviewed the Rollback Reversible Vest in early spring, the small was too snug.) I ordered the medium in both tops but probably could have gone with the small. I’m also long-torso’ed which tends to make shirt buying over the internet difficult anyway.
The final question: are these wonder-shirts worth the investment? The tee runs at $28.99 and the tank at $22.99, which is competitive with moisture-wicking tops from some of my favorite outdoor-activity outfitters. More importantly, I am planning on purchasing a few more for myself — me, the free-shirt collector. If I can be so converted, I’m willing to bet you can too.