Quick dry black t-shirt recommendations?
I am looking to lighten my load for 7-10 day trips and the forum is inspiring me to consider items that can be quickly washed and dried.
Since my entire wardrobe consists of black t-shirts, this seems like the first item to tackle.
Black t-shirt + jeans (+ jacket as needed) - work, hiking, about town
Black t-shirt + black pants + sweater - business casual, theater, nice dinners
Black t-shirt + black pants + blazer - business attire
Black t-shirt + black skirt + sweater or scarf - symphony, holiday parties
So, I am not looking for a going-to-the-gym style of black t-shirt, but something with a smooth weave and styling to support being worn in a variety of occasions.
I can't wear wool no matter how amazing it is :)
I would love to get something in bamboo (so very soft!), and I have read it is quick dry and wicking, but have no experience with it.
So, any recommendations?
Pls reconsider MERINO wool, Paty Cap 2 is rock solid in syn
1. Bamboo: I don't have a tee or polo in bamboo, but I tried socks, and bamboo was the slowest drying ever. Well, excluding cotton. But most synthetics, wool, or wool blend will work if you roll them in a spare towel then walk on the rolled up towel. (Twisting the towel works, but is harder on the garment.) Mine are slightly damp in the morning, ok for wearing in looser or well-ventilated shoes, if I am wearing snug leather dress shoes, I would rather dry the socks by wearing them to bed.
Originally Posted by Yoda Sloth
2. Dressy: That makes recommendations a lot tougher. Most of the tees that I swear by have "flat-lock" stitching - to be worn under climbing harnesses etc. or at least that's what the ad copy talks about. Flat lock stitching makes tees look like underwear; the more traditional stitching is the kind that bunches the seams up slightly to hide the stitching underneath, instead of revealing it on the surface.
3. Wool: I'm not "sensitive" to wool per se - but I don't like the slight itchiness from a traditional wool like the old Woolrich button shirts. Modern thin filament Merino wool, on the other hand, I can wear all day without any itching at all. Patagonia's current take on Merino wool tees is to blend them for more durability - unlike SmartWool and Ibex. All three make a very fine looking tee. It's probably worth hunting them down - REI usually carries all three brands - and looking at the weights that are available online. I like the thinnest SmartWool, but the thinnest Patagonia (Merino 1?) is a little thinner than I like. It's also worth trying all 3 on to see how the neck fits. Some have saggy (slightly oversized?) necks. My drill with my SmartWool black crewneck tees, short sleeve, is to wash the prior day's tee in the morning, squeeze (don't twist) as much water out as possible, and hang it from the tails end to drip dry - I know you really shouldn't hang wet wool garments up, they can stretch, but the way I do it, if there is any stretching it is only lengthening of the body, which is actually a good thing. By the evening, the tails-up end is dry, the chest and neck are damp, but by the next morning it is completely dry - a 24 hour cycle. If I am traveling the next morning, I will wash in the evening, roll in a towel, stamp out as much moisture, hang it upside down, and put it on slightly damp in the morning. This is why I hang it so water will drain towards the collar, not the tails, so I don't have to tuck damp tails inside my trousers. Also, if you are not doing the towel-stamp thing, after letting it hang for 5 or 10 minutes, you can squeeze - once again, not wring - water that has pooled at the bottom.
The principle advantages of wool for travel are these: 1. It does dry reasonably fast, certainly a lot faster than cotton; not any faster than poly or nylon. 2. It is naturally microbial, which helps on long flights - it's not a bullet-proof shield against heavy sweating in a humid climate, but in temperate-zone, light activities situations it will go the extra mile. 3. Although it won't dry faster than poly or nylon, it is a lot more comfortable to put on before completely dry than poly or nylon. 4. Wool is safer in a "flash fire" than any synthetic - synthetics, especially those with Spandex to compress and give a "muscle" look, weld into the skin in flash fires - mostly the kind encountered by fire fighters and soldiers (roadside bombs) - and are banned for those users. 5. Wool is warmer in cold weather, but - unless thick winter wool - not any hotter than cotton in sweltering weather - it wicks and evaporates much better than cotton.
Patagonia's merino tees are all blends, for durability.
4. Patagonia Cap 1 and Cap 2 black tees. These are a staple in my wardrobe, my daily wear when I am not traveling, and my daily wear - except for flights - at my destinations. The main advantages over wool are cost and durability. Patagonia is on its second generation (at least) anti-microbe treatment, and the current treatment takes into account the importance of not wiping out skin bacteria (since many are symbiotic and an important part of healthy skin) while keeping underarm funk at bay. The current gen Paty tees all have hang loops in the collars now; they were introduced last year. The Cap 1 series is a half size smaller than before, Cap 2 as well, Cap 3 half size LARGER so try them on for fit. I don't believe Cap 3 is available in tees, only zipnecks and long sleeve crews. The main disadvantage is a chilly feeling when donning damp garments.
5. Cotton looks best, but takes 3 days to dry, by which time it has picked up a musty mold odor. There is a work-around for this, however - go to REI and purchase Nikwax waterproofing solution (they used to make a line specifically for cotton, but I never see it anymore, any of them work but I usually buy the Polaproof version). This helps the cotton shed water. I also used to buy some tees from LLBean, for a while they treated all tees with a water repellent treatment to make them stain resistant. Cotton being as hydrophilic - water loving - as it is, even with a treatment water won't just bead up on it and run off, at least not for long, but the treated cotton tees DO dry out a lot faster. I don't like the "proofing" alternative because let's face it, you have to wash a tee every day (because upper body sweat is heavier and underarm funk is a problem) BUT "proofing" is great for jeans if you are going to a rainy climate - the jeans load up with a lot less water. Washing isn't an issue if you are like most guys (ladies stop listening) and only wash your jeans once a week.
LLBean makes fine cotton tees, but they seem to fade (in black) a little faster than I like, Lands End used to make the heaviest, dressiest (but under Sear's ownership I'm not sure how that has fared). I have two tees arriving today or tomorrow from an American company (American made, actually) called American Giant that has gotten good online reviews, you might check out their website.
My strategy for cotton tees is I don't sink wash them. Period. I take them home and launder them, or if I am staying in one spot long enough, send them out for laundry.
So my recommendations:
1. Check out SmartWool and Patagonia merino tees. I like the look of the 100 weight in the SmartWool. YMMV which is why you have to check them out.
2. Cotton looks the best, there is no way around it (well I like SmartWool but they have those flat-lock, visible seam stitches). You can eliminate some of the negatives of cotton by buying it stain-repellent treated (which also reduces massive water soak) or treating it yourself.
3. Cotton is not a good candidate for sink washing.
4. If you have room in your bags, carry a few cotton for nicer outings, but wear Patagonia Cap 2 for your day touring.
On fading: no fading at all on my wool and syn tees, usually fading over time with ALL the cotton tees. Some fade hard and fast!