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Techwick and SmartWool - Gear Review

posted Jun 17, 2012, 5:45 PM by Phil Spitze   [ updated Jun 17, 2012, 5:46 PM ]
Today I have another gear review instead of the normal account of a hike.  I plan to be back on the trails soon with a new hike from Adirondack Park, so stay tuned!

This week I picked up a TechWick crew shirt from EMS (www.ems.com) and a pair of SmartWool Hiking socks from L.L. Bean (www.llbean.com). 

First, the Techwick shirt.  It has been about a decade since I've tried any kind of wicking attire and I have to admit I was skeptical.  However, the technology of the treatments applied to materials has come a long way and I am now a convert. I headed over to our local Beaver Lake park with the intention of covering 9 miles with the dual purpose of a gear test and endurance practice as I continue to gear up for some section hiking of the AT.

It was a hot and windy day which turned out to be perfect conditions to test the wicking properties of the Techwick crew shirt.  I have to admit that I was surprised at just how well it worked.  The material never stuck to my skin and whenever I was greeted with a breeze cutting through the trees, I experienced a faint cooling sensation akin to standing in front of an open fridge.  Without hesitation, I give this shirt an A+!

On to the SmartWool socks.  All my life I've had skin that is very prone to itching even without the introduction of wool.  The one or two times I've attempted to wear anything made of wool, it was removed post haste within minutes.  Not the case with SmartWool - it was delightful!

For my test I was wearing a medium weight hiking sock inside of my normal Nike track sneakers.  Because of the thickness of the sock my feet were always warm feeling, but never sweaty.  The inside of the socks are woven with loops (like a bath towel) giving them a wonderfully soft and comfortable feel.  Another A+ in the gear column!

My next test will be with a pack and my normal hiking boots out on the trail - maybe I'll see you there!

Cheers!

-PHIL