The 5.11 Tactical Utili-T shirt I’m about to review is an answer to a lot of the questions I’ve been getting from readers lately.
Many are wondering if I can recommend any crew neck undershirts that have tighter fit collars or don’t stretch very much.
Additionally, I’ll be doing reviews of three kinds of undershirts in the next few days that have such a collar.
I ordered them last Tuesday and received timely email notification updates about the status of my shipment.
The shipment arrived a quick two days later. However, that’s likely due to the fact I live relatively close to their fulfillment center.
The company shipped the package in a plain square cardboard box. However, the undershirts themselves were thoughtfully folded and packaged in a clear polybag.
The bag included a color cardboard insert with information about the features of this moisture-wicking undershirt.
I’m a little concerned about all the hype around the marketing term “moisture-wicking”.
Everyone seems to be using it nowadays, even companies offering the standard every day 100% cotton undershirts.
Please be aware of this and keep it in mind when you’re buying undershirts.
If you’re really someone who sweats a lot, just because a shirt is marketed as moisture-wicking does not mean it will protect you any better than some of the undershirts you already have.
5.11 Tactical Utili-T Shirt: Fabric Quality
The 5.11 Tactical is, coincidentally, made out of 100% cotton by a Honduran manufacturer.
Regardless of that, this undershirt is really well made.
The quality and brightness of the white cotton are one of the best I’ve seen recently.
The sewing and stitching throughout the collar, sleeves, and bottom are nearly flawless.
I’m not sure of the exact weight of this fabric, but it feels slightly thicker than a Hanes undershirt.
The undershirt’s cut is extra long (falling approximately 10″ below my waistline – before washing).
5.11 Utili-T Shirts Fit
The shoulders also fit nicely. They have a strap length of about 7″ (that’s the length from the collar stitching to where the sleeve joins the body).
I think the reason this shirt fits a little better in the shoulders is because of the tighter/closer collar fit and smaller neck opening.
By having that, the strap starts higher on my neck and results in less fabric hanging over my shoulder.
The collar is an impressive 1″ wide to the inside stitching and a full 1.25″ to the collar outer stitching — it’s the widest collar I’ve seen to date.
The shirt fits about average in the rest of the areas including sleeves (7″ long), torso, midsection, and waist.
Right out of the package, this undershirt is pretty soft.
I threw it on today as a standard t-shirt and wore it solo while I was out and about running some errands.
I felt comfortable the entire time.
That being said, it performed well as my t-shirt. However, I wasn’t wearing it as an undershirt.
I can’t say for sure, but because of the thicker fabric, it might be a little warmer to wear than other thinner undershirts.
Since this undershirt is primarily being marketed to law enforcement officers, being a little warmer might be more of a positive than a negative due to the various types of duties they may be assigned to.
For example, it can feel differently for motorcycle officers, tactical, undercover, and patrol.
After washing the 5.11 Tactical undershirt, per the care instructions, the shirt lost a modest 1″ in length.
It is now 9″ from the waistline to bottom. It shrunk very little everywhere else.
The thing that really bugged me about the Tactical was that after I pulled these shirts from the dryer, they wrinkled terribly.
So much, in fact, that I felt compelled to iron them before wearing them.
I haven’t experienced that same dynamic with undershirts before. Therefore, I’m a little disappointed with this shirt in that area.
I can’t provide any empirical data on whether or not this shirt absorbs moisture any better than other 100% cotton shirts or if it stays tucked in more due to the added length.
In looking at the overall shirt design and wearing it for the day, I don’t see how this shirt would perform any better or worse than any other average undershirt that is cut a little longer.
Overall, if you:
- Are looking for an undershirt that’s a little thicker and higher quality than the standard retail undershirts, and
- Don’t mind spending a few extra bucks per shirt
I’d recommend giving the 5.11 Tactical Utili-T shirt a try.
They also have Tight Fit 5.11 Undergear shirts as an alternative.
I’ll give them a try in a couple of weeks and write up my observations here.