In a time where the majority of the (outdoor) apparel industry produces their products in more or less questionable facilities in Asia, far away from the homely headquarters, it is refreshing with a family company like Lasting which is based in and manufactures its apparel in the Czech Republic, in Central Europe. We were therefore very excited when Lasting contacted us in spring 2020 to test some of their products in return for unbiased reviews, as the brand does not only have sustainable production practices but also some great high-quality clothing. One of them is the short-sleeved Lasting Merino 160 Back t-shirt, which is suitable for:
- Everyday life
The reason I was particularly eager to test the Lasting Merino 160 Back t-shirt (so named due to the print on the front) was the exceptionally fine quality of Merino wool used – 16.5 microns! So far, the finest grade we have tried has been the superfine 17.5 microns thin Merino wool of the Formal Friday t-shirt, but otherwise it is more common to encounter Merino apparel made of wool with a thickness around 18.5 microns like the Isobaa 150 base t-shirt. If I touch these three base layers one after another, it is actually possible to feel the difference in smoothness even though one micron equals just 1/1000 of a millimeter or 1/100 of the width of a hair strand.
In spite of the fine material there have not been any durability issues with the Lasting t-shirt so far. In that aspect it should be noted that although this t-shirt is made of 100 % ultrafine Merino wool, it is still made of a slightly denser fabric (160 g/m2) than the two base layers mentioned which also adds to the durability. The Lasting Merino 160 t-shirt for example weighs the same (115 g) as the Isobaa 150 t-shirt, in spite of the former being slightly narrower (more about that below). In addition to the smooth and soft feel of the ultrafine wool used, the fabric of course also offers all the other benefits of Merino wool such as breathability, anti-microbial properties which help to minimize odor, and the ability to maintain your body’s natural temperature, whether the weather is warm or cold. Being so lightweight, the Lasting Merino 160 Back t-shirt is of course great for summer and warmer temperatures, but can also be layered for use in cold weather.
In terms of sustainability, the wool comes from certified mulesing-free sheep in Australia and the Merino fabric is also tested free of harmful substances according to the Oeko-Tex Standard 100. As mentioned in the beginning, the fact that the production takes place in Europe means that you can be fairly sure that the workers behind your garment have been paid and treated fair – as opposed to sweat shop production in Asia.
Comfort, fit, sizing and functionality
According to Lasting’s sizing scheme I should be a size M, and the long-sleeved Atila Women’s Merino 160 base layer (to be reviewed soon) which I also received from Lasting does fit me perfectly. While the Back t-shirt fits me nicely, if snugly in the torso it is simply too tight in the shoulder area which makes the fabric pull around the arm holes and cause discomfort. I might not have the narrowest shoulders for a woman, but as the other Lasting base layer fits me nicely it is obviously the construction of the Back t-shirt which is rather narrow. I would therefore still strongly advise you to size up if you are looking to buy the t-shirt – unless you have particular narrow shoulders. Aside from the narrow construction around the shoulders, the Lasting Merino t-shirt otherwise has carefully considered details to optimize comfort such flatlock seams all-around, printed washing instructions (to avoid annoying labels), raglan sleeves (to avoid chafing when carrying a backpack) and logo tags on the outside rather than the inside of the garment.
Washing and drying
As always with wool, you should avoid detergents with bleach, softener, and preferably use a detergent meant for wool as not to deteriorate the natural properties of the material. The Lasting Merino 160 Back t-shirt can be machine-washed at 30 ⁰C, but shouldn’t be tumble-dried. The lightweight fabric anyway dries fast enough if hung to dry. If you are the meticulous type, you can iron the t-shirt on the lowest setting, but do it inside out to spare the print on the front.
The only drawback of the Lasting t-shirt is the narrow shoulder construction, but it could be solved by simply getting a larger size or the manufacturer adding underarm gussets for increased freedom of movement. Otherwise I love the silky soft feel of the ultrafine Merino fabric, the raglan sleeves and the flatlock seams, which are crucial for comfort on more snug fitting base layers. I’m also a big fan of the print on the front; so much outdoor apparel only comes in solid colors without any form of decoration besides maybe the brand name or logo, so it is nice with Lasting’s poetic print with a deeper meaning. The Lasting Merino 160 Back t-shirt also comes in fuchsia if you are looking for that splash of color.
If you have any questions about this product, drop me a line in the comments below.