In the spring we were contacted by the Czech company Lasting which produces apparel for hiking, running, skiing and other outdoor sports. Lasting is an established company which has been on the market since 1991, and since 2006 it also has a distribution center in the United States. Lasting’s specialty is Merino wool apparel, but they do also produce synthetic apparel. They offered us some products to test in return for unbiased reviews and despite that I’m a big fan of Merino wool, I decided to test their synthetic line while my girlfriend tested some of their Merino products. I wanted to test the synthetic line because I’ve been mostly testing and wearing Merino wool base layers for the past two years or so (see the Gear Tests section), and I was curious what’s new within synthetic apparel. Furthermore, Lasting has base layers made of polypropylene and I was wondering how this fabric will perform on hiking trails.
The first product from Lasting that I tested was their Mars t-shirt which is made of polypropylene (popularly shortened to polypro) and nylon. Before getting the Mars t-shirt I had never had a polypro base layer, but I had read promising things about the material. For the last two months I’ve been regularly wearing the Mars base layer for hiking and running, and I thoroughly tested it on our hiking holidays in Norway. Below is what I learned about it.
The Lasting Mars Polypro T-Shirt is suitable for:
The Lasting Mars base layer is designed primarily for warm and hot conditions. The fabric is made of polypropylene (90%) and nylon fibers (10%) and is relatively thin. Nevertheless, the fabric is not as thin as the fabric of my other synthetic base layers, which are made of polyester or pure nylon. Polypropylene is indeed a denser fiber, so that was to be expected. At first, I was a bit worried that the base layer would be too warm for summer but after I started wearing it, my worries proved unnecessary. The dense fibers are loosely woven and thus the base layer is very porous and breathable. Due to the strong polypropylene fibers, the t-shirt also seems very durable. During the testing period I haven’t encountered any durability issues although I’ve been wearing the t-shirt almost constantly for various sports.
When I test base layers, I focus on breathability, moisture management, drying time and odor resistance as these are in my opinion the most important qualities when it comes to base layers for hiking and other outdoor sports. That’s also what I focused on while testing the Lasting Mars t-shirt.
The first thing I noticed when I started wearing the t-shirt was that the material absorbs very little moisture. I have never had a performance t-shirt so hydrophobic before. Therefore, the t-shirt dries extremely fast – faster than any other base layer I have, whether synthetic or made of Merino wool. That’s indeed a huge advantage. If you want to learn more about why drying time matters, do check out my article Why should you wear quick drying clothes for hiking. However, when it comes to moisture-wicking performance I must say that the t-shirt doesn’t pull the moisture from the skin as nicely as for example Merino wool. Nevertheless, I didn’t find this a big problem as I wore the t-shirt mostly in very warm conditions for which it is also designed.
The Lasting Mars t-shirt also provides very good breathability because of the porous fabric. I wore the t-shirt for running and hiking, and it always provided sufficient breathability. Lasting states that the t-shirt is treated with silver ions to be odor resistant. The antimicrobial treatment is good. I often wore the t-shirt for up to three intense activities without washing it in-between and it didn’t become smelly. Now, such treatments typically wash out with time, but so far, the t-shirt has remained antimicrobial.
Fit, functionality and sizing
The Mars t-shirt fits snugly to the body but not as tight as compression t-shirts. In fact, I find the t-shirt very comfortable to wear. It provides good freedom of movement and so far, I haven’t encountered any chafing or other discomfort. The t-shirt is indeed designed to avoid chafing as it is made with flatlock seams and all labels/logos are printed for maximum comfort. It has raglan sleeves, so there are also no seams on the shoulders which could chafe you while carrying a backpack. The t-shirt also has no seams on the sides.
The Lasting Mars t-shirt is available in four different sizes: XXS/XS, S/M, L/XL and 2XL/3XL. At first, I was a bit confused with the sizing because I typically go for either size M or size L. After checking the size guide, I decided to get the t-shirt in size L/XL and it fits me good. My chest diameter is 98 cm (38.5 in.) and I’m 180 cm tall (5 ft. 11 in.). The only complaint I have is that the t-shirt is relatively long. If it would be 5 centimeters shorter, it would fit me perfectly. But as I typically wear the t-shirt tucked into my pants this wasn’t a major problem.
Washing and drying
The Lasting Mars base layer can be machine washed at 30 C and shouldn’t be tumble dried as most performance wear. As the t-shirt absorbs almost no moisture, it dries very fast; it is just slightly damp when you take it out of the washing machine. The t-shirt is also odor resistant and thus you don’t have to wash it as often as other synthetic base layers.
I’m really happy with the Lasting Mars t-shirt. The t-shirt dries incredibly fast, provides good breathability and is odor resistant. The fabric is also very sturdy because the polypropylene fibers are somewhat thicker than the fibers of polyester performance t-shirts. I’ve been wearing the t-shirt for hiking and running for quite some months now, and I find it very comfortable. The only things which bothered me are that it’s a couple of centimeters too long to fit me perfectly, and slightly less moisture-wicking than my other base layers. Nevertheless, these are minor things. All in all, I think the Lasting Mars t-shirt is a great option for all types of sports.
If you have any questions about this product, drop me a line in the comments below.