REVIEWED: Icebreaker Tech T Lite T-Shirt

Staying fresh for days and drying in hours, this pricey all-rounder for travelling light is legendary with the wash ‘n’ wear crowd

There’s something about Icebreaker’s travel clothes that we at TravGear just can’t resist. This example of its famous Tech T Lite T-shirt has a mountain print on the front, but it’s what it’s made from that makes it one of the best travel garments of all. Wool might not seem like the most advanced fabric, but in practice the Tech T Lite is super-versatile only because of its use of 100% merino wool from New Zealand sheep.

Great in the tropics

Tried and tested to the limit in the humidity and heat of East Timor recently, the Tech T Lite behaved well, soaking-up sweat and wicking it away while effectively hiding those huge underarm/chest sweat patches that appear on most t-shirts in humidity (though this really only applies to dark colours – a bright green Icebreaker Tech T Lite we also tested did make us look pretty sweaty). All that wicking is typically smelly work, but here’s a remarkable thing; the Tech T Lite doesn’t smell too bad at the end of a tropical day.

Easy to wash, quick to dry

While it hardly reeks, even the magic of merino wool can’t stop the Tech T Lite from ponging a bit by the end of day two. However, here comes another clever bit; a quick wash with a bar of soap and a rinse and, barely an hour later it’s dry and ready to wear again. If you’re travelling light, constantly on the move, or just don’t want to worry about washing clothes too often, the Tech T Lite is hard to resist.

Layer system

As well as being great in the tropics, the Tech T Lite makes a great base layer for walking, hiking, climbing and general outdoor activities. It’s got a bit of stretch and give in it, while the merino wool is really warm. The Tech T Lite proved perfect when paired with the Icebreaker Quattro Hood for general travel through airports, and great while walking and camping during a UK summer, though if you’re going somewhere really cold we recommend upgrading from the 150gsm ‘super-fine’ merino of the Tech T Lite to the heavier 200gsm of the warmer Icebreaker Bodyfit+ 200 Oasis Crew Gradient, or similar (Icebreaker’s ranges change all the time … though the Tech T Lite has been its star product for at least the last five years).

Word of warning

The main trouble with the Tech T Lite is that it’s so comfortable that you’ll likely over-wear it. That’s too bad because the merino wool it’s made from, while being so impressive from a technical and travel perspective, isn’t too strong. Tears happen after a year or so, and that’s the beginning of the end. So as well as taking precautions (such as not picking-up a cat or anything else with claws), the Tech T Lite is best left in your wardrobe and saved for trips.

Travelling light

OK, so it’s a pricey purchase, but investing in a couple of Tech T Lites means your capsule wardrobe is almost complete if you’re headed somewhere warm. It’s comfy and not nearly as figure-hugging as some travel t-shirts, while somehow being both warm in cold weather and able to wick away sweat in humidity. As a t-shirt for light travel, there’s none better.

A wash ‘n’ wear legend

Easy to wash and quick to dry, it’s no wonder that the Icebreaker Tech T Lite is a legend with the wash ‘n’ wear crowd of light travellers. However, it looks and works best in dark colours (black and dark blue) while its slightly delicate nature means it’s worth keeping ‘for best’ and worn strictly for travel only.

Price at time of review: £40-£55

Buy the Icebreaker Tech T Lite