Smartwool Lightweight Tee and Midweight Funnel Zip Review
Thank you SmartWool for redesigning your the Lightweight collection. The Lightweight Tee has been the best tee, hands down, that I have tested for hiking and my other outdoor pursuits in at least the last 2 years. Now that is saying a lot, as we do lots of testing of base layers and performance tops here at ActiveGearReview.com. So what makes the Lightweight tee so great?
For starters, I have had the tee since May, and have had the chance to put it through the ringer with multiple camping trips in Colorado, a two week long West Coast road-trip adventure, and numerous hikes, including a few backpacking trips. What I like most is the fabric weight, which Smartwool states is 195 g/m2 and falls into the NTS or Next to Skin category and is thus best suited for moderate to active endeavors on mild days. I wore the top mostly for hiking in temps of 50-80. If things do heat up, either you or mother earth, the natural properties of merino wool kick in to help you keep your cool. The Lightweight Tee is also great for layering due its’ form fit. The tee runs true to size and I felt the medium was perfect for my 5’9″ 135 lb athletic frame (photo below).
Other great features that have won me over include the sculpted side panels; which translates to side seams that are off-set from your true side to help eliminate chaffing under your arms. The seams are all flat-locked as well, which translates to more comfort along your shoulders and hips, while wearing a pack. The cap sleeves keep the top looking feminine and not so boxy and the added drop tail hem keeps you covered when on the go. The length of the tee in the front is also plenty long, which is nice when you are carrying a heavy load and can keep the hip belt of your pack on top of your tee to prevent pinching or rubbing of your skin. Add in a little UPF 35 sun protection and SmarWool has you covered.
The Lightweight Tee is also a great travel partner. During my two week trip, I wore the Lightweight Tee at least 5 or 6 days. The top doesn’t look overly technical thanks to the soft finish of merino and allows you to pair the top with a skirt or more casual clothing. Merino naturally resist odors as well and wrinkles seemed to disappear after a few minutes outside of my pack.
When the temps do fall at night or with the changing season, the Lightweight Tee can easily be layered with some of the other great SmartWool products, like the Midweight Funnel Zip.
The Midweight Funnel Zip is comprised of 100% merino wool and features a fabric weight of 250 g/m2 and falls into the category just above the Lightweight tee and per SmartWool can be worn alone or in combo with another baselayer in cold-weather. The Funnel Zip is super soft against the skin and is a versatile piece; if you start to build up some heat, simply unzip and air out. The zipper length is about 3-4 inches longer than than other 1/4 zip tops. If the temperature is really dropping, simply zip up and the top becomes a turtleneck and helps seal out the cold air. The Funnel Zip versatility continues with the addition of thumb loops. If you have read previous reviews from me you would know that I commonly state that I have long arms. Well folks, the Funnel Zip top has generous arm length and I can utilize the thumb loops without strangling my thumb. Like the Lightweight Tee, this top has a form fit, yet it feels a bit more generous due to the interlock knit weave of the fabric.
Both tops are available in size XS to XL.
The Lightweight Tee retails for $70 and is available in the following colors: Sunrise, Teal, Claret, Grape, Black
The Midweight Funnel Zip retails for $100 and is available in the following colors: Silver Gray Heather, Aegan Heather, Deep Purple Heather, and Black