We put eight t-shirts to the test. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

We put eight t-shirts to the test. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

When the sun’s out and you’re heading for the hills, you need a top that’s going to keep you at the right temperature and provide the comfort necessary to enjoy your trip into the countryside.

While that old t-shirt with your favourite band’s tour dates splashed across the back might be good for a saunter to the beach or a stint of sightseeing, it’s unlikely to have the technical features you should have for more serious activities.

The t-shirts in our review will wick the sweat away from your body; many will offer protection against ultraviolet rays; and they are all designed with outdoor activities in mind. Some are more suited to hill- and trail-runners; others are better for hillwalking and general outdoor activities.

All performed well and it was hard picking those that performed just a little better than the others to gain our top marks.

The prices quoted are the recommended ones, but we’ve found quite a few are discounted at the moment, so shop around for the best bargains!

2XU XVent T-shirt. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

2XU XVent T-shirt. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

2XU XVent T-shirt
Price: £35
Colour: yellow
Weight: 132g
Material: polyester
Country of manufacture: China
Recommended wash: 30C
Women’s version: yes
Sizes: men’s S-XXL; women’s XS-XL

This t-shirt from an Australian brand is designed with the runner in mind and its stretchy fabric features lots of tiny ventilation holes to keep the body cool, something we found very useful when making ascents in hot weather.

There’s added ventilation in two side panels which have alternating stripes of material with two types of perforations. These two panels are extra stretchy and help keep the t-shirt snug to the body, which helped in wicking away perspiration.

The XVent is treated with Polygiene, which uses silver salts to combat odour, and this worked well over an extended testing period. As well as helping you be a little less anti-social when downwind, the Polygiene treatment means the t-shirt can go longer between washes, so helping its environmental friendliness.

Comfort from the 2XU top was good, with reasonably easy movement, though it did ride up a little when reaching up for holds on scrambly routes.

The t-shirt has reflective logos which will be useful for those taking to the roads for a run.

The 2XU XVent t-shirt was supplied by Polygiene.

Comfort 30/40
Wicking 25/30
Odour resistance 9/10
Quality 8/10
Value for money 8/10
Total score: 80/100

Berghaus Super Tech Tee SS Crew. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Berghaus Super Tech Tee SS Crew. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Berghaus Super Tech Tee SS Crew
Price: £40
Colour: red
Weight: 114g
Material: 100 per cent polyester
Country of manufacture: Vietnam
Recommended wash: 30C non-biological detergent
Women’s version: zipped neck, £50
Sizes: men’s XS-XXL; women’s 8-18

The Super Tech Tee is made from stretch material and, though a slightly less athletic cut, still hugged the body.

The Berghaus t-shirt has ventilated panels under each arm which worked well in helping shift perspiration in this area. Overall wicking of the Super Tech Tee was very good.

Comfort was good too, with no restriction on movement when out on the hill. The t-shirt didn’t ride up when reaching for holds. It’s also one of the lightest in the test.

The Super Tech Tee has UPF 30+ protection against the sun.

The Berghaus t-shirt benefits from Argentium Pro treatment and there was no build-up of odour during the testing period.

The Super Tech Tee has nice clean lines and performed well on the hill. It’s also lightweight and versatile enough to use in a variety of conditions on the hill.

Comfort 33/40
Wicking 26/30
Odour resistance 7/10
Quality 7/10
Value for money 7/10
Total score: 80/100

Haglöfs LIM Tech Tee. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Haglöfs LIM Tech Tee. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Haglöfs LIM Tech Tee
Price: £38
Colour: orange
Weight: 132g
Material: 50 per cent polyester; 50 per cent recycled polyester
Country of manufacture: Portugal
Recommended wash: 40C
Women’s version: yes
Sizes: men’s XS-XXL; women’s XXS-XL

The Haglöfs t-shirt is conventionally styled and its fabric gets extra green plaudits as it contains 50 per cent recycled material.

The Tech Tee is quite long compared to some in the test. Comfort was good, with the slightly looser fit allowing good movement. It didn’t ride up when reaching for holds. Wicking was very good, and there was no discernible build-up of odour during testing.

The Tech Tee is part of Haglöfs’ ‘Less is More’ range and its design is simple but works well. The fabric has a moderate amount of stretch. The LIM Tech Tee is a good all-rounder for summer days on the hill and its good wicking properties helped keep us dry on strenuous sections.

Comfort 31/40
Wicking 27/30
Odour resistance 7/10
Quality 8/10
Value for money 8/10
Total score: 81/100

Icebreaker Cool-Lite Sphere Van Surf Life. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Icebreaker Cool-Lite Sphere Van Surf Life. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Icebreaker Cool-Lite Sphere Van Surf Life
Price: £60
Colour: beige
Weight: 134g
Material: 52 per cent merino wool; 35 per cent Lyocell; 13 per cent nylon
Country of manufacture: China
Recommended wash: 40C
Women’s version: yes (different graphic)
Sizes: men’s S-XXL; women’s XS-XL

The Icebreaker t-shirt has a very different look from the others in the test, with its large logo of a retro camper van, surf boards, mountain bike and dog.

So while the t-shirt looks more appropriate for travel and trek rather than technical trips, its mainly merino wool fabric still performed well at wicking moisture on tougher uphill sections.

Extra durability is achieved by using corespun fabric: merino wool threads wrapped round a nylon core, which also gives a soft feel to the t-shirt.

The Icebreaker top has a looser fit than some of the fitted t-shirts, which makes it a good choice for travel to warmer climes as well as trips on to the hill closer to home on hot days. It wicked moisture reasonably well and even when a little damp it didn’t feel too cool against the skin, thanks to the wool content in its Cool-Lite fabric.

Odour control was good during testing.

A good all-rounder for travel and hiking, though the merino content does push up the price.

Comfort 30/40
Wicking 26/30
Odour resistance 7/10
Quality 8/10
Value for money 6/10
Total score: 77/100

Mammut Trovat Pro T-shirt. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Mammut Trovat Pro T-shirt. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Mammut Trovat Pro T-shirt
Price: £65
Colour: blue
Weight: 154g
Material: 69 per cent polyester; 31 per cent merino wool
Country of manufacture: Vietnam
Recommended wash: 30C
Women’s version: yes
Sizes: men’s S-XXL; women’s XS-XL

The Trovat Pro is slim-fit, stretchy t-shirt that hugs the body well.

It’s made from Polartec Power Wool, which combines merino wool next to the skin with an outer polyester layer that helps give durability and enables the t-shirt to keep its shape well.

The wool is patterned in tiny squares on the inner surface, and breathability benefited from this.

The wicking properties of the wool were evident in use, and temperature control was good, the wool eliminating cool spots.

Comfort was good, and odour control during testing was also very good.

Styling of the Mammut top was nice too. The t-shirt offers sun protection factor of 30+.

The Trovat Pro performed well on the hill in conditions ranging from hot to cool and breezy. Quality was good, though the t-shirt is towards the top end of the price range, though we did find it discounted from its full price online.

Comfort 35/40
Wicking 26/30
Odour resistance 7/10
Quality 8/10
Value for money 6/10
Total score: 82/100

Montane Razor T-Shirt. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Montane Razor T-Shirt. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Montane Razor T-Shirt
Price: £35
Colour: green
Weight: 112g
Material: polyester
Country of manufacture: Vietnam
Recommended wash: 30C
Women’s version: yes, Claw
Sizes: men’s XS-XL; women’s 8-16

In keeping with Montane’s ethos, the Razor was the lightest in the test – by 2g.

It’s a stretchy, close-fitting top designed with trailrunners in mind, though we found it performed well on mountain walks too.

Wicking was very good and the Polygiene treatment of the fabric provided good odour control.

Comfort was good too, with the fabric feeling reasonably soft against the skin. The Razor also provides UPF protection of 25+ and has little reflective details on the back and shoulder.

It’s a good choice for fast movers who want to keep weight to a minimum and kept us dry when pushing the pace. Price is competitive too.

Comfort 33/40
Wicking 26/30
Odour resistance 7/10
Quality 7/10
Value for money 8/10
Total score: 81/100

Páramo Cambia T-Shirt. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Páramo Cambia T-Shirt. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Páramo Cambia T-Shirt
Price: £40
Colour: blue
Weight: 158g
Material:
Country of manufacture:
Recommended wash:
Women’s version: yes
Sizes: men’s S-XXL; women’s XS-XL

The Páramo Cambia is an interesting t-shirt with two different fabric faces to maximise comfort in different conditions.

On hot days and when working hard when you benefit from its cooling properties, the top is worn with the smooth side inwards. This helps keep some moisture near the body to reduce temperature. When you want a little more warmth, you turn it inside out and wear the patterned material next to your skin, helping to direct more perspiration out away from the body.

The Parameta T reversible fabric worked well, wicking moisture away when working hard.

The cut of the Cambia is conventional, and the t-shirt has a fair bit of stretch, making it comfortable in use.

Because of the reversible nature of the garment, there are no labels where you might expect to find them, just a double-sided one on the hem of the t-shirt, so remember which side is which and how to wash it. Details are on the Páramo website if needed.

The Cambia is a good all-round top for warmer excursions out on to the hill. The garment has sun protection equivalent to SPF 25+.

Comfort 32/40
Wicking 26/30
Odour resistance 7/10
Quality 8/10
Value for money 7/10
Total score: 80/100

Sprayway Logo Tee. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Sprayway Logo Tee. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Sprayway Logo Tee
Price: £25
Colour: red
Weight: 144g
Material: polyester
Country of manufacture: China
Recommended wash: 40C
Women’s version: yes, Cora Stripe Tee
Sizes: men’s S-XL; women’s 8-18

If you’re looking for a basic technical t-shirt for your excursions into the outdoors, the Sprayway Logo Tee could be your choice.

The top is conventional fitting, with a good amount of stretch.

The Logo Tee was comfortable on the hill, though it did ride up a little when reaching up for holds, due to the cut of the garment around the shoulders.

The Sprayway t-shirt wicked moisture and it also benefits from Polygiene treatment, which prevented odour build-up.

It will also give you sun protection to factor 35+ which, given the summer we’ve experienced, is something to consider.

The Sprayway t-shirt was the most competitively priced, but still offered technical performance, so if you’re on a tight budget, the Logo Tee is attractive.

The women’s version, with the same performance characteristics, is a slightly different design with horizontal stripes in its material.

Comfort 30/40
Wicking 25/30
Odour resistance 8/10
Quality 7/10
Value for money 9/10
Total score: 79/100

The Mammut Trovat Pro just pipped the opposition to gain our best in test award. It was the most comfortable t-shirt overall and performed well in all respects.

The Haglöfs LIM Tech Tee and the Montane Razor Tee came a close second; the former a good choice for general use on the hill and the latter good for those moving fast and needing the least weight.

The Berghaus Super Tech Tee also performed very well. The Páramo Cambia was interesting for its dual-purpose use and the 2XU XVent will appeal to trail runners and fast movers.

The Icebreaker Cool-Lite t-shirt will double up as a cool travel top and a piece of kit for the hill.

For those on a tight budget, the Sprayway Logo Tee offers very good value for money.

All the t-shirts were supplied by the brands apart from the 2XU top, which was supplied by Polygiene.

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