Best Wicking Undershirts For Climbing?

August 8, 2015 | By | Reply More

best-wicking-undershirt-for-climbingHere’s a note I received from a reader in search of a high-performing base layer undershirt that won’t get and stay saturated while he is climbing.


Saw your great website for wicking shirts and undershirts.

I am a very very heavy sweater ..

I have tried “wicking” polyester shirts made by Patagonia (both polyester & Capilene) and 1/2 wool blend as well.

2 weekends ago, I was out climbing and it 9.00 AM, but > 95 % humidity, — I was so drenched, I removed my shirt to “wring” out the sweat — 3 times.

I was drinking & eating electrolyte stuff as well — but by 10.00 AM, I was feeling lethargic…One of guys on the trip gave me a frozen Gatorade and after that I recovered to carry on.

Please recommend any “undershirt” that wicks moisture away really well, I am also willing to be a guinea pig for any new shirts – since I hike & train a lot to stay in shape for climbing.



Best Wicking Undershirts For Climbing?

hey leo,

thanks for the details.

i’ll tell you — the wicking shirts/undershirts that impress me the most from a wicking and not being saturated feeling pov are the cellular mesh ones.

here’s an article from a while back that outlines some decent options for quick drying wicking undershirts/shirts:

you may want to check out:
1. ex-officio give n go
2. vdri or tri-dri
3. buck naked from duluth trading

here are some other options:
4. defeet und lite (link) – super-high performance base layer with a mesh-like fabric (muscle shirt). they also have a full t-shirt. designed for cyclists, but i’ve heard these puppies wick and spread moisture really well.
5. triathlon tanks from Sugoi and Primal worn as base layers — again reports from readers say they perform very well
6. crazy idea, but maybe the ultra cool rvu might be worth considering (link)? they are still selling some on ebay

if i were a betting man, i’d say something from #2 and #4 would be a good starting point to try. then #1, then the others.

would love to know if you tried one or more of the above products, and would appreciate hearing back on how they performed for you.

Wicking Shirts: Not All Created Equal

A quick note about wicking shirts in general — they are not all created equal.

Any shirt made out of fabric that utilizes non-absorbing fibers is considered wicking. The most commonly known and widely used wicking materials are polyester, nylon (polyamide), wool, and acrylic, but there are other variants and fibers that are also wicking.

The fact is that if you laid two different 100% polyester or nylon shirts next to each other and poured water on them, more than likely those shirts would distribute that water differently. Also, the time they take to dry could differ quite a bit too.

There are many elements that make up how a wicking shirt will perform such as the yarn itself, the construct of the yarn, any treatments to the yarn, the knit pattern of the fabric, the weight of the fabric, etc.

So, just because you buy a shirt or undershirt made from part or all a synthetic fabric, you can’t predict exactly how it’ll perform for your particular need.

Oh, and don’t be fooled by anyone or any company that associates wicking to cooling.  Cooling (which you feel when evaporation happens) comes from exposure to airflow.

If there is no airflow in your situation, cooling cannot exist (or exists, but would be undetectable).

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Category: Ask Tug, Sweat Management

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Tug is the world's undershirt expert. He is also one of the most knowledgeable individuals on sweat management solutions, men's shapewear, grooming, and new fabric technologies. Got a question? Visit Tug's contact page and hit him up.

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