In the digital nomad and long term travel community one t-shirt that has become a popular packing item is the Icebreaker Tshirt.
Icebreaker is a brand from New Zealand that uses pure merino wool. Yes, even the t-shirts are made from wool. Most people associate wool with clothes for warmth, but wool is an effective fabric for staying cool as well.
Icebreaker Australia sent me a t-shirt to review so I went about testing how their wool t-shirt fares in the tropics.
I was able to pick a design from their store so I selected a black shirt which has a small logo. I prefer solid colours and no logos on my clothes. The logo on the black t-shirt is barely noticeable so I went with that.
(Since my order there are now more solid-colour options that have been added to the catalogue.)
My shirt was shipped to me in Australia where I picked to up just before I was heading back to Bangkok. This was an ideal location to test out their wool t-shirt in a sweaty location.
On the Icebreaker site it says that wool is “naturally odour-resistant” and that “these short sleeve shirts will stay smelling fresh even after days of wear.”
In Bangkok I went about testing this shirt to see how many days I could wear it for. I like to go urban exploring so I walk alot. You only have to walk a block in Bangkok before you start getting sweaty; half a day of walking around will work up a real sweat.
My shirt was sweaty as hell by the time I returned to my room. I hung it up, showered, and changed for the evening. The next day I gave the shirt the smell test and it didn’t smell. What kind of wizardry is this? Wool, that’s what.
When I wear a cotton t-shirt there is no way I can reuse it again after one sweaty day. I managed to get four days out of the wool shirt before I washed it again.
In normal urban travel situations I would not have to wear a shirt for four days in a row. It’s handy to know that I can though. I have been in situations where I have ran out of clean t-shirts in my bag, and the Icebreaker is always the one that be recycled. I see why these shirt are popular in the minimalist travel movement.
I don’t need to re-use the shirt for days on end without a wash. For me I like that I can wear this shirt all day and not look and smell so sweaty, which is hard to do in a cotton t-shirt.