Note: this item was sent to me from GORUCK for review.
I love merino wool, most of my tops are merino wool. It’s very performant as a material in both hot and cold, dry and wet. It also can go a long time without building up odors. But, merino wool can be delicate at times, and so it’s more challenging to build a rugged shirt out of merino. GORUCK took on that challenge and recently introduced the 24.7 Merino Wool Tee.
I’ve been wearing my review sample rucking for dozens of miles now, all under the Rucker 3.0 25L with 45lbs in the pack — it’s holding up great. It might be the best rucking shirt I’ve seen to date.
The shirt’s primary fabric is merino wool (89%, micron not stated, but I feel as though it is an 18.5+ micron merino), and to add strength to the shirt, GORUCK gave it 11% nylon in the mix. Though, I’d have believed GORUCK if they said it was 100% merino, as the nylon isn’t readily felt/seen on the shirt at all.
Except of course on the shoulders where GORUCK places the ‘Indestructible Training Fabric’ which is a super thin swath of nylon type material on the tops of your shoulders. I was worried that this would cause the shoulders to look and feel weird, but the material is plenty thin that it goes unnoticed when you are wearing the shirt.
From a materials stand point, well done, and impressive for their first go with merino wool.
There’s three main goals listed for the performance of this, and a half goal that I will discuss as well:
- Comfort: here GORUCK is mostly talking about how this wool doesn’t itch. I don’t have issues with merino wool, but some people (my wife) do. This is not the finest of merino wool and if you find some merino wool itchy, this will likely fall there. For me it feels great and is comfortable and lightweight.
- Regulating temp: here we are talking about how well the shirt breathes, and how fast it dries. Wool does dry fast, but synthetic dries faster. That said this shirt breathes better than all my other rucking shirts, and dries only slightly slower — it’s impressively thin for this type of use. And I find that it regulates my temp well, both as a base layer in colder weather, and as a primary layer in 75°F heat (the hottest I could test given the time of year).
- Odor Resistance: this is where merino wool really shines. I didn’t wash this shirt at all over 4 rucks and it never built up an odor and I did that 4 rucks then wash cycle three times to be sure. This is what I expect from merino, but sometimes infusing nylon can hinder this performance — not at all the case here. If you needed a shirt you could ruck in day to day, and not be stinky — this is the one. By comparison the American Training Shirts from GORUCK tend to smell bad for me by the end of my ruck. This alone, for me, is a winning feature of this shirt — I could wear it several times in a row without issue.
The last smaller goal is more specific to the use case — that fabric on the shoulders. It’s there for three reasons:
- Abrasion: GORUCK straps can be tough on shirts, and this are is where the highest wear spot is (the lower back would be the next highest). I used the relatively gentle Rucker 3.0 with mine, but have seen no issues at all on the shirt.
- Shape retention: this is interesting, but essentially given the weight of the ruck, and how the straps sit, this bit of fabric on the shoulders should help the shirt to not stretch out from being pulled. This certainly can happen with wool shirts, so it’s a nice and clever add for the shirt.
- Bunching: the last bit I can really speak to, is that these fabrics spots really keep the shirt from getting bunched up by the straps. This is the primary reason I ruck with synthetic shirts, and it is a really great addition for rucking. Works like a charm.
Alright, so I put about 30 miles on this shirt already and I don’t want to wear any of my other shirts to ruck. It’s very comfortable and performs as well as any other shirt I have — but tailored specifically to rucking. The entire setup feels great.
I do worry if you have an older 1000D ruck that you might get the shirt to pill up on your lower back, but I don’t ruck with a bag like that to know. The shirt is fuzzing a bit from washing, but I find that to be common enough with merino that I am not worried about it. The shoulder reinforcements are great. When you slide on your ruck, it’s very easy to get the shoulders of the shirt adjusted back flat without a lot of fuss — something I often found to be an issue with other merino performance shirts I tried to ruck with.
Compared to GORUCK’s American Training Shirts, the 24.7 Merino Shirt is far and away the better pick in my book. The only thing I would critique in use is that there are two logos on the shirt, and neither are reflective. I’d prefer only have the logo on the back of the shirt, not the chest as well, but if you are putting it on the chest, why not make it a bit of reflective material? That said, they are not that obtrusive logos, they simply are there.
Yeah, I’m a fan of this for rucking. For wearing around town, I think I would stick to another shirt as the shoulder patches stand out a fair bit on this shirt and I am not one who likes logos on his shirts. That said, I am going to need to buy another one of these, because I don’t want to go back to something else. At $95 it’s not the cheapest shirt out there, but GORUCK has done enough to the shirt to justify the price in my book for people who ruck regularly.