The recent hot weather has been great for trying lighter weight summer clothing. One item that’s impressed is this new t-shirt from Columbia, which the company says is “ideal for intense activity in the sun”. It’s made from polyester (57% recycled) with elastane added to the side panels for extra stretch. The fabric is moisture-wicking and has “Omni-Freeze ZERO Ice advanced cooling properties”. Columbia also says “Omni-Wick blue rings in the fabric react with your sweat to provide next-to-skin cooling”.  Turn the t-shirt inside out and you can see a pattern of blue snowflake shapes and tiny blue rings. How these react with sweat or what all this jargon means I have no idea.

In use

Despite the “tech” language, which I find rather off-putting (I guess “wicks and dries fast” just doesn’t sound technical enough), the Cirro-Cool T-Shirt does work well. As well as on day walks I’ve worn it on a four-day backpacking trip in the NW Highlands in hot weather and it’s been wonderfully comfortable and extremely fast drying when I was sweating a great deal. It was also fine as a base layer under a windshirt on the one cooler day. The fabric is very soft and feels pleasant next to the skin. Even after four days wear it didn’t feel at all stiff or sticky, as some synthetics can, and it still wicked moisture as fast. There is a little pilling visible on the back, presumably from rubbing against the pack, but this is cosmetic only and doesn’t affect the performance.

Columbia describes the fit as “body skimming”. The Large size is quite loose on me, which I like. The main fabric is very stretchy and the side panels extremely stretchy, so the t-shirt moves easily with you.

For hot weather I think this is an excellent t-shirt. It does what it claims and feels comfortable.

BEST BUY: This product has been awarded our ‘Best Buy’ endorsement, meaning our reviewer believes it to be one of the best items of its kind available.

Chris Townsend stays cool in hot weather in this new baselayer from Columbia.