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It’s no secret that I love all things merino, but sometimes a new item of merino apparel comes along that makes you think, “Wow, gotta make a little extra room in the closet for that!”
In this case, it’s the new Apex merino long sleeve tshirt from Showers Pass.
I’ve been testing this out over the last month or so and it’s fast becoming my go-to top layer for a wide variety of leisure pursuits: Mountain biking with friends, casual cycling trips with the kids in the park, craft beer sampling evenings (memorable in a “what happened last night?” kind of way), and a bikepacking trip with Mrs BicycleVolt where we were hampered by a last-minute saddlebag malfunction and had to pare back our luggage significantly. Me more than her. Not that I’m making a point or anything…
The Apex long sleeve tee comes in three color options for the men’s t-shirt (Fatigue Green, Alpine Blue and Dark Shadow) and five sizes, Small through XXLarge. The women’s Apex LS comes in two colors (Clay and Dark Shadow) and also five sizes (S to XXL). I’ve been wearing the men’s medium in Fatigue Green which, I’m told, complements my hazel brown eyes beautifully. There’s some nice top-stitch detailing at the shoulders in the clay color thread, which highlights the lines of my pecs. I’m 5’8″ and around 180 lbs and this t-shirt fits me like a glove. Some of this paragraph is solid fact. Some of it is clearly the kind of fake news that I tell myself after a couple of craft beers (and which Mrs BicycleVolt is happy to tell me is actually NOT true). I’ll leave it up to you to separate the facts from the fiction. Though I imagine that it’s mostly obvious.
But, whatever, the Apex long-sleeved shirt not only looks great but it feels great too and it’s incredibly practical. It’s made from merino wool fibers (87%) that are wrapped around a nylon core (the other 13%). This gives the best of all worlds. On the one hand, you have all the benefits of merino: It’s incredibly soft on your skin (with none of the itch you get from old style woolen sweaters) and it won’t stink, even when you’ve worn it for days on end on a camping trip where your partner has grabbed all the spare saddlebag space for herself (again, this is not about point-scoring, I’m just illustrating the stink-resistance of the Apex shirt). The nylon core means that the tshirt holds its shape (I find that 100% merino apparel tends to get a little baggier with use and then ‘spring’ back when you wash it). Whilst, at the same time, it has just the right amount of stretch so that it fits well and goes over your head easily (something that a 100% merino tshirt I have doesn’t do so well).
The summerweight fabric means that the shirt dries incredibly fast. That’s a bonus when you’ve either had a soaking in the rain or you’ve run it through the washing machine and need to head back out wearing it in a hurry. Because it’s a lighter fabric it’s thin but, here’s the thing, team this beauty up with the Basecamp hoodie and Showers Pass’ sparkly new wallet-friendly Century CC jacket and you have a mix ‘n’ match top-half configuration that will keep you cool in the height of summer (pushing the sleeves up to your elbows to maximize the intake of Vitamin D, obvs) and on to the depths of a cold and wet winter by layering all three components together. The weight of the fabric means that this long sleeve tee is also highly packable and will tuck into the smallest space available in, for example, a shared bike camping luggage situation (again, not looking to score any points here).
I’d say this was a closet staple but TBH I wear this so often that it’s on my back more than it is in the closet. I’ll have to save the extra closet room for something else. Though I suspect Mrs BicycleVolt already has her eye on that space. Sigh…
Grab an Apex merino wool long sleeve shirt and give your forearms and top half the merino love they deserve.