Minus 33 Algonquin – a wool shirt that keeps you cool
In all of my years of hiking I can think of only two shirts I’ve purchased specifically for my time on the trails. Both were long-sleeved hooded shirts purchased for sun protection (I am a bald guy, after all). When hiking in hot weather, I’ve always worn free shirts collected from various running races. This is because I am, ahem, thrifty, and figured it didn’t really matter what shirt I was hiking in because it would just get sweaty and stinky anyway.
The result of my near-sighted cheapness has been many years of hiking in low-quality, synthetic shirts. So when I was offered the opportunity to wear and review Minus 33’s Algonquin short sleeve merino wool shirt, I jumped at the chance. I’ve heard others sing the praises of merino wool for years, but I’ve never tried it before.
During a recent visit to Shenandoah National Park, I donned my Minus 33 Algonquin shirt and hit the trails. The first day I decided to put it to the test: 9.5 miles on a mountain summit loop trail while carrying a baby carrier on an 85-degree day.
Needless to say, about 15 minutes into the hike I was a sweaty mess – but while sweat dripped down my brow, it wasn’t on my back or shoulders. The Minus 33 Algonquin shirt performed exactly as billed: It wicked moisture away from my skin and dried quickly, which meant the baby carrier moved less and, therefore, did not cause chafing.
At one point, during a long, gradual climb, Kim (who was wearing the Lafayette tank top) and I stopped to catch our breath and drink some water. After just a couple of minutes, my shirt was completely dry.
After the hike, we returned to camp where I hung the Minus 33 Algonquin shirt on the clothesline, figuring it’d need a good airing out before the next hike. The following morning I went over to grab my shirt with hesitation, expecting it to smell like a locker room that hadn’t been cleaned in a week. To my surprise, it didn’t smell! And I don’t mean it didn’t smell from a few feet away – I pressed it against my face and inhaled and there was absolutely no odor. There was no way anyone could have guessed that I’d hiked in it the day before.
Over 7 days in Shenandoah, I wore my Minus 33 Algonquin shirt on the trails 4 out of 6 days, including multiple 9+ mile days. Each time I wore it, it performed the same: It dried quickly and the following day it had no odor.
The reason my shirt was able to do this was because it’s merino wool – which has a ton of awesome features. First, it’s a natural wicking material – meaning it pulls moisture away from the skin and dries quickly. Secondly, merino wool is naturally anti-microbial, so the bacteria on your skin that makes sweat smell (sweat itself has no odor) isn’t absorbed by the shirt – only the moisture is. Finally, merino wool has natural elastic properties – which means it can stretch and return to its original form, and that makes it great for physical activities.
To read more go to http://wanderingsasquatch.com/gear-review-minus-33-algonquin-shirt/