Earth Sea Sky Silk Weight t-shirt $99.90
Used by: Family and features writer, Jo Stilwell
Used for: Five years
This super lightweight synthetic tee (105g) is my base layer during most trips (in winter, I wear a synthetic long-sleeve equivalent).
Like many trampers, I started out using polypropylene but swapped to wool when merino garments became the fashion. However, wearing wool as a base layer never worked for me. With slow-drying wool next to my skin, I was often cold. Lunchtimes were especially annoying for my companions as no matter how many layers I’d put on, I’d become cold very quickly and want to get moving before anyone else was ready.
Wearing the ESS silk weight t-shirt has solved that problem because it dries so quickly. It’s extremely durable – I’ve had the same top for five years and it’s done many miles. Yes, synthetic garments might be a tad more smelly than merino over the course of a long trip, but this top can easily be rinsed out in a river at lunchtime and will dry while the coffee’s brewing.
There has been a push away from buying and wearing synthetic fabrics on environmental grounds, however, given how long this top has lasted, I’m happy with my decision to buy and wear it.
Verdict: A durable quick-drying base layer made by a family-owned Christchurch company.