Are you looking for the best top to wear hiking, walking or just for a more ethical choice? Maybe to start Country Walking’s #walk1000miles or Trail’s #EverestAnwhere challenges? Me, too. I started looking for such a top last year…
- What: Womens Siren LS Sweetheart
- Size: S
- Tested for: Two months
- Use for: Walking, everyday wear, gym, base layer
- Price: £63.95
- Buy: Outdoor Supply
If you’ve read my blog on my BAM sunshine tee then you’ll know that I’m slowly moving towards owning clothing that is kind to the environment. What do I mean by that? That it doesn’t need washing so often, that it’s made of natural material and it’s not going to wash lots of microfibers down the drain.
At the start of November online outdoor store Outdoor Supply sent me through another long sleeve Icebreaker top and socks to test out, too. When they got in touch it was a really hard choice as they stock many many pieces of gear that I really wanted to try out. My heart was telling me to be sensible and stick with my ethics and what I believe in and so, having enjoyed wearing the short sleeve Icebreaker tees over summer and autumn, I decided to go for a long sleeve just in time for the colder months.
You may know Icebreaker as an outdoor baselayer clothing brand but they do some really attractively shaped tees, too. This is a huge advantage for me and what I want to achieve with my wardrobe: a minimalist wardrobe with versatile pieces that can hold up to my lifestyle. My previous experience with Icebreaker meant I knew their tops were great for a day at work where I could be sat at my desk or trekking around the North Yorkshire (hilly) estate I work on.
So it’s not a stretch to say that in these photos you quite possibly see the most worn and well used top ever in its short lifespan of two months…
For my current job, I’ve given up wearing ‘pretty’ clothes as I may need to go outdoors at a moments notice but it’s still great to look nice and smart while being comfortable and practical, too. Plus, there’s a killer hill to get back to the office from the grounds so having a tee that can handle any sweat is so important. Nobody likes to sit next to a smelly co-worker. Many synthetic tees start to smell after one walk outdoors and so these merino tops were a logical way to go for me. I’ve been 100% blown away by how much I love it and I am always sad when the time does come to put it through the wash.
I don’t have a day-by-day breakdown like I did for the BAM top and as far as I could tell (overall of wearing the short and long sleeved), they did not hold out quite as long before they started to get a bit of a whiff.
To be fair, they’re a different fit being much closer in around the armpit than the BAM top was so this was expected.
I’ve been so impressed with how this top has handled any sweat and I’ve really worn it hard. I think over the past couple of months I’ve had this top from Etrias, I’ve washed it maybe three or four times. I think this is amazing, quite honestly. Don’t wrinkle your nose like you find it gross – if it doesn’t smell or is not dirty then there’s no need to wash it. The more you wash it the more you wear it out.
This top has made a really great baselayer in the colder months and, as well as out and about, I’ve been wearing it religiously under older synthetic tops. This has two benefits:
- Firstly, I’m nice and warm in the chilly weather.
- Secondly, I have worn more pretty tops than usual because of this. Hurrah! Previously, I could only wear these synthetic tops (that I have had for years and years and don’t want to throw away because, let’s face it, that’s a waste and they also look nice) more than once without them smelling – usually they only last one wear before smelling really bad.
I love the versatility of this top and over the winter months it has been an absolute gem of a top, taking me from work place to the outdoors to the gym. I’ve adored how good I feel in it and how little I need to wash it, too. This is a huge bonus for me and is definitely a huge incentive to get more.
The only downside for me is that you do need to be careful when you wash merino. It’s delicate and so don’t put it on at high temperatures, in with anything else that’s got a zip or on a super high spin because that just won’t do it any good. That’s not unique to Icebreaker but anything made with merino, as I discovered to my dismay after testing out a lovely Rapha cycling top a few years ago.
It’s expensive, yes, but I think it’s versatility and how much you can wear it before it starts to slightly smell makes it really worth it. Especially, if you’re looking at minimising your wardrobe and making more ethical options.
As for the socks, they’re a lightweight Icebreaker set that will be perfect for summer months. I wouldn’t choose anything else but wool for a walking sock now as they’re so superior when it comes to wicking and smell. I’ve loved wearing these so far, even for day-to-day use as they’re light enough that they fit in my normal day-to-day boots. Snug, comfortable and smell free.
Like I said earlier on, I’d also purchased some short sleeve tees for over summer. In a similar vein to the long sleeve top Etrias sent through to me, the short sleeve tops have all the same virtues.