This high performing T-shirt is a great choice as a first layer on cool mornings or on its own when things heat up on the hiking trail
Super breathable perforated back
Great sweat wicking capabilities
Not for cold weather hikes
No recycled materials used
Gets stinky easily
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The North Face Bolt Tech T-shirt: first impressions
As part of its technical hike collection, the North Face has delivered a straightforward, but high performing hiking top in the Bolt Tech T-shirt. Made from a polyester knit, this top is excellent at managing moisture when you’re on a sweaty hike and dries in a flash. The perforated back enhances the breathability and helps you to stay cool and dry when you’re wearing a backpack.
• List price: £55
• Gender specification: Men’s and women’s sizing available
• Sizes available: Men’s S - XXL; Women’s XS - XL
• Materials:100% Polyester
• Colors: LED Yellow-TNF Black, LED Yellow-TNF Black, Cosmo Pink-TNF Black, Lime Cream-TNF Black
• Best use: Hiking
The slim fit of this T-shirt is flattering and also means it’s easy to tuck into your hiking shorts or layer under a mid layer if you’re out on the trail before things warm up. The rounded neck provides decent sun coverage and they’ve relied on goot tailoring rather than loads of stretch to ensure this fits comfortably and secures good durability. Like all synthetic fabrics, it gets stinky after just one sweaty hike, but it may be a small trade-off if you’re looking for a high performing top you can wear all summer long.
The North Face Bolt Tech T-shirt: in the field
To be honest, I don’t always love reviewing T-shirts for hiking because, let’s face it, how technical can a T-shirt really be? Well in this case, I found that this hiking top really held up well to the demands of sweaty hikes around the Arrochar Alps and while it’s sportier than I prefer, I found a lot to like about it.
Here’s how it performed:
Sizing and fit
I tested a small and it fits true to size. It has a slim fit, and no stretch added, so definitely don’t size down. If you prefer a little room, you could size up, but I thought the fit, combined with the blocky color design, was both flattering and easy to tuck into my hiking pants.
Even though it doesn’t have any added stretch, this top is really comfortable with smooth fabric and a good cut that doesn’t chafe anywhere or restrict my movements.
Though there are some things I don’t love about The North Face’s gear over the last couple of years (specifically, the colors, patterns and how urban everything looks) one thing they’ve done really well is come up with garments that are extraordinary at wicking away sweat and dry instantly, or as close to as possible. This shirt just breathes with me when I’m out in the hills, and when it does get damp it’s dry again in no time. If you’re looking for a summer hiking top or tend to sweat a lot, this top is definitely worth a look.
Durability and odor control
Because there’s no elastane in this top, I expect it to hold up well against lots of wear and washing. It’s made using all synthetic materials, so needless to say it went right in the laundry basket after the first use, but until they invent a real way to control odor in synthetic fabrics, that’s going to be true for any such top.
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.