MEC Nathan Review…

21 09 2010

MEC Nathan merino wool long sleeve top...

I was at MEC a few weeks ago looking for some affordable cozy tops to make me comfortable in Victoria’s cool damp fall weather – without looking like a sports ninja or like I was about to summit K2!  The merino wool Nathan long sleeve top shown in the photo above is new for this fall and caught my eye.

I’ve been a bit leery of wool primarily due to the fact it requires more careful washing/drying then the synthetic fabrics I’m used to.  Wool garments also tended to cost more.  On the upside it is hard to beat the feel of fine wool on your skin and it has the not insignificant benefit of not getting stinky fast.  Wool seems to be warm when you are cold and cool when you are hot…not sure how it does that, but it’s handy when your activity levels shift frequently or the sun pops out and starts baking you.

Specs [from MEC product page]:

“Light and versatile, this long-sleeved top is a must for travel. The merino wool is comfortable, not itchy, and insulates against heat and cold. The natural structure of the fibres is mechanically moisture-wicking, which keeps you warm when wet and prevents dampness against the skin. It also has natural anti-microbial properties.”

  • Made of 100% merino wool
  • Subtle print on chest
  • Tailored with raglan sleeves
  • Regular fit
  • weight 225g [7.9 oz] for medium
  • cost $56cdn

I’ve been really pleased with this top so far.  It feels great against the skin and it takes more than a sweaty bike ride to make it stinky!  I don’t heat my office so in the morning it’s a bit chilly until my big monitor and CPU heat up my workspace.  The Nathan is perfect layered under a hoodie and when things start to warm up around noon it doesn’t get overly hot.

I have really long arms and wide shoulders with a scrawny torso.  I don’t fit Patagonia tops that well since the arms are too short and the shoulders not wide enough unless I size up to the point there is a huge amount of excess fabric around my middle.  MEC clothing on the other hand has an idea fit for me.  I wore the Nathan while tearing down my deck and on several long bike rides.  It has held up well to my abuse without getting any snags or holding any stains.

I’ve washed this top a few times and been careful to wash on cold and not dry it, but I’m worried it will eventually either get washed on warm or put in the dryer.  I’m also not sure how to deal with it if I take it traveling.  In Mexico and India, for example, it’s impossible to tell ladies how to do laundry and you won’t know what they’ve done until you get it back.  So unless you hand wash it every time in your sink you risk fatal damage to anything delicate.  Kind of too bad because the anti-stink properties would be handy on backpacking type adventures.

BTW – MEC also has a great organic cotton hoodie [called the Sherpa] which is not on their website, but should be available in all the stores and potentially also if you call to order stuff.  It’s $39 and very basic, but it’s a great compliment to the Nathan and is also a really cozy piece.



3 responses

21 09 2010
Val Garou

Nice review. I love wool, and the price on this is more than fair.

I feel like backpacking-type adventures are precisely when I’m most likely to be found doing my own laundry in the sink. Me and my buddy rode our bikes from Key West, Florida to Bar Harbor, Maine this summer and we both wore some wool. Every other night or so found one of us bent over a sink. Not really a big deal at all. I wouldn’t let it keep you from packing wool on your next adventure.

21 09 2010

You can wear wool for a couple of weeks without washing it. As a matter of fact I took a 12-day backpacking trip (in July!) through the White Mountains in New Hampshire and wore the same Smartwool socks, briefs, and t-shirt without any stink whatsoever. MY TNF Convertible pants did fine but like any synthetic it began to smell a bit so I rinsed them in the river a few times.

Wool is your friend. It can be washed in a machine on gentle cycle and dried in a dryer with a low setting and will be fine.

Vik, try wearing the new piece during activities that make you perspire. Then hang it in a place wear it can dry and air out. Do this for several days and you will be amazed at just how awesome wool really is.

I bought this wool riding jersey from a local company and only wash it after 7-10 rides no matter how much I perspire.

21 09 2010

I machine wash my MEC wool with the rest of my laundry on medium. No worries. I do hang it to dry though.

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