I’m a big fan of merino wool layers for cycling, outdoor and general all-round use and have a number of them in my possession. I’ve got a couple of Icebreaker BodyFit 200 long sleeve layers which I’ve worn day in day out for over two years, together with a couple of grey marl long sleeved merino bases from Thermal Shop, which, though designed with the motorcycling market in mind, are excellent cycling base layers.
Latest addition to the cycling wardrobe is RedRam’s Everyday Merino short sleeved tee-shirt. RedRam use Icebreaker’s own 100% merino wool in their tee shirts but undercut Icebreaker on price, with no obvious compromises. The tee-shirt uses the lighter weight wool, (possibly equivalent to Icebreaker’s 150 weight) which makes for a lightweight and highly versatile base layer that will see usage all year round (at least in the UK climate).
The cut of the tee is tailored yet casual – less snug that the Icebreaker Bodyfit. I take an XL in the Icebreaker yet a Large in the RedRam is a great, casual fit. It’s got a raglan sleeve which avoids seams rubbing under the arms and on the shoulders (great for rucksack users) and makes for a sleeker look. My favourite part of the fit is the extra long length. So many clothing manufacturers spec their items too short in the body (and I’ve not got a freakishly long torso). However the Red Ram tee has plenty of length, meaning that you can confidently reach for high stuff in public without displaying the belly and keep your kidneys warm even when down on the drops on the bike. The tee shirt wicks away sweat well, doesn’t smell, dries quickly and feels ultra soft against the skin.
Since I’ve owned the garment, I’ve washed it three times, on the standard 40 degrees Celsius cycle using normal powder. It washes great and dries overnight hung on the back of a chair. I’ve also accidently dried it in a warm tumble drier with no shrinkage whatsoever.
In all I’m really impressed with this tee. It looks great, feels great and works well as an everyday item of clothing. Sure, at £35, it’s more expensive than a cotton tee or a polyester base layer, but it’s infinitely better than both.
Verdict: Great fitting, great washing, warm, wicking life-compatible tee shirt.