Gear review: Hi-Tec Hickow Shirt

Hi-Tec recently sent me their new Hickow T-Shirt to test.

When I first started hiking, I didn’t see the value in quick-drying shirts. I assumed it was the least important item to carry. It didn’t take long to learn why quick-drying shirts made more of a difference to warmth than almost any other item of gear.

Long-story-short: when you walk, you sweat. When you stop walking, the sweat makes you cold. Quick drying shirts channel this moisture away from your skin and reduce this problem. Not exactly rocket science, but very necessary. When caught in a massive storm, a fast drying shirt can be the difference between being able to set off early the next morning because your shirt mostly dried overnight, or waiting an hour or two before putting a wet shirt back on.

Over the years, I have accumulated a fairly substantial collection of technical shirts – so when I saw Hi-Tec had released a quick drying T-shirt, I was interested to see how it would do.

My testing on this shirt has included the following:

  1. Various training hikes
  2. A 3-day Drakensberg hike in the Mnweni region
  3. The Capital Climb race in Pietermaritzburg

So my testing has been fairly comprehensive – ranging from fairly easy walking to a 15km run with a big hill.

As always, I am going to break my findings down into different categories:

Weight

My first question with any type of gear is: what does it weigh?

The answer here, for a size medium shirt, is 92g. T-shirts average about 150g, so this is very light. Now I might sound pedantic getting all excited by 58g, but it is noteworthy that I often leave my gloves at home to save 60g – so this weight saving is huge.

An added bonus of this is how small the shirt is when folded up – it would easily fit in your pocket!

Comfort

A shirt is a base layer. This means that it needs to be comfortable. I found this shirt to be very comfortable.

Technical performance

When talking about a quick drying shirt – a big question is how it actually performs in the field. I found that this shirt dries very quickly. My standard test of a quick drying shirt is this: I put it through a washing cycle and put it on straight after the machine has finished. After about 5 minutes it will either be fully dry or it will be getting uncomfortable. This shirt was fully dry, so it passed this test easily.

Overall

This shirt ticks all the boxes for a technical T-shirt. There is no adjustment that I can think of that would improve this shirt. It works perfectly for anything from a picnic in the park to a long run or climbing a mountain. Well done to the Hi-Tec design team on this one, you guys did an amazing job!Hi Tec 1.jpgTesting the shirt at the Mnweni Region of the Northern KZN Drakensberg.

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