|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – October 2007
These eight trail tops wick sweat, look great, and fit great. Wear them for a run or a week-long trek.
Cocona, made with activated carbon fibers from the insides of discarded coconut shells, has innate wicking abilities that we've found to work better than many synthetics. Its makers claim that it also has natural odor-fighting properties, but our jury is still out.
We put this shirt through the handful of washings that Marmot says is required to activate the carbon's antimicrobial action, then did some sniffing. Some testers gave it the thumbs-up; others said it was unusually stinky. It does provide good insulation for its weight, yet generally stays cool and dry under a shell. Testers liked the way the brushed fabric felt against their skin and how the smooth exterior slid easily under layers, but flagged it for excessive pilling. $45; men's S - XXL, women's S - XL (888) 357-3262; marmot.com.Stink Fighter [50–65°F]
The stink-fighting powers come from the fabric, VisaEndurance, which is embedded with silver ions to prevent bacteria from growing. Testers liked the pajamalike feel of the spun polyester. A mesh finish inside with thousands of pinprick holes pulls moisture away from the skin and helps the fabric dry quickly, while still insulating in cooler weather. And unlike other knit polyester tops, the eXtend did not snag on brush or abrade against rock. Fit is loose and long; some female testers reported that the sizing was too big. Also comes in featherweight. $55; men's S–XXL, women's XS–XL (800) 953-8375; mountainhardwear.com.Most Durable [45–60°F]
Fit is slightly roomy in the torso and the sleeves run a tad long, pleasing long-armed testers and those with cold hands. Also available in short-sleeve. $42; men's (Sequence) S - XL, women's (Essence) XS–XL (800) 421-2421; orgear.com.EXPEDITION
The ample four-way stretch allowed us to reach out ("for ridiculous handholds,” wrote one climbing fanatic), and the neck zipper aided venting. It's versatile, too: Some testers used the Varitherm as an outer layer over a tee when backpacking in 40°F temperatures. Sizing gripe: The women's fit is too short in the torso and sleeves. $44; men's S - XXL, women's S - XL (800) 448-8240; duofold.com.