This simple T-shirt is designed with adventure in mind, soaking up sweat to keep you cool and dry and delivering superior odor control
Breathable and quick drying
Great odor control
Gusseted underarms for optimal range of motion
Flatlock seams prevent chafing
Needs to be cold washed
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IBEX Springbok Tee: first impressions
The IBEX Springbok Tee is a hiking top (or running top, you take your pick) that harnesses the amazing moisture-wicking qualities of merino wool when you’re working up a sweat and blends them with Tencel to create a nice, soft top against the skin. They’ve also included a little nylon to increase the shirt’s durability. The result is a highly comfortable, breathable and fast drying top that’s great for summer hiking and trail running, but can just as easily be your first layer come the winter months.
• List price: $95
• Gender specification: Men’s and women’s sizing available • Sizes: S - XXL, Women’s XS - XL
• Weight: 3.8 oz / 110g (women’s small)
• Materials: 45% Merino wool, 45% Tencel, 45% Nylon
• Colors: Dusty amethyst, Soft moss, Deep ocean, Silver melange, Gold
• Best use: Hiking, running, camping
The scoop neck and flattering fit of this T-shirt are simple enough, but it’s also built for performance with flatlock seams on the shoulders that are brought forward to prevent chafing if you’re wearing it with a backpack and gusseted underarms for optimal range of motion when you’re pulling off your fleece, scrambling or taking your pack on and off. You can stay cool and dry for hours in this shirt, and if you get sweaty and things cool off, it will keep you warm. You can also expect multiple uses out of it without having to wash it, which is good because it’s a cold wash-only shirt. It’s definitely on the pricey end for a T-shirt, but you’re paying for the high standards of merino wool and a very versatile shirt.
IBEX Springbok Tee: in the field
I love merino wool best of all natural fabrics for my outdoor adventures, so I wasn’t shy about saying yes when I was offered the chance to test out this shirt. That said, when it arrived, it looked so simple I was a little worried it would be difficult to talk about it in technical terms. Fortunately, I had nothing to worry about. I’ve been wearing it for weeks on a couple of train runs and a lot of hikes and I’ve even slept in it once or twice.
Here’s how it performed:
Sizing and fit
This fits true to size. I tested a small and think it has just enough room to be flattering and not catch anywhere but it’s not so big as to flap around or make it difficult to layer over or tuck in. It has a nice scoop neck, the sleeves are long enough to give a little sun protection, and it’s the perfect length that I can either tuck it in or leave it loose.
Comfort and breathability
On its own, merino wool isn’t as soft as everyone might have you believe, but combined with Tencel, another cellulose-based fabric, it feels really nice against my skin. There are small details, too like bringing the shoulder seams forward and flatlock seams that mean there’s no rubbing or chafing.
The fabric blend combined with the fit mean it’s a really good choice for warm hikes. Of course, the back gets sweaty when I’m wearing my backpack, but it dries quickly when my pack comes off and because of the wool, keeps me warm if it’s cooler out even when it’s a bit wet.
One of my favorite aspects of merino wool is the no-stink factor. Partly as an experiment and partly out of laziness, I’ve worn this for several weeks now without washing it (not every day, but for many adventures). Today if I sniff the armpits, they are finally a bit smelly but I’d still wear it again tomorrow in a pinch. In my mind, this increases the already sustainable merits of a shirt made with natural materials because then it requires less washing. That’s also a good thing because it’s cold wash only.
What’s really great about this shirt is its versatility. It’s great as a hiking shirt but I’ve also found it really comfortable for trail running, and more me than the super sporty racerback tops out there. It’s also adequate as a base layer for cooler hiking or camping, and in fact when I wore it backpacking recently on the isle of Bute, I loved layering it over a long sleeved base layer for the cool mornings and evenings, and on it’s own in the heat of the day.
Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.