Gear Review: Merrell Ashby Zip T

A bargain layer that's pretty and tough.


Don’t let the decorative pointelle weave fool you—this women’s midweight top is a workhorse worthy of the toughest trails. The 100-percent-polyester shirt looks like new after six months of solid use and more than a dozen wash cycles—with no fading, shrinking, or pilling. After a hike on California’s Mt. Tamalpais, in thick fog that dripped from the trees, our tester reports that water beaded right off of the slick face fabric.

The tight weave also repelled dirt better than most baselayer fabrics—making this one tester’s favorite multiday shirt for dusty, muddy conditions. (Guys, get the same hard working fabric—without the decorative touches—in the Tenon LS crew: $49; S-XXL.) Downside: After several days of constant wear, our samples started to ripen (stink resistance is slightly below average, even for synthetic fabrics). $45; 10 oz.; XS-XL;