By Don Jurries
Can natural fibers really reduce the stink? Using merino wool and other natural fibers to overcome the smelly downside of synthetics were all the rage at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2011 show. Newly re-branded sports apparel company, Tasc (formerly Thriv), believes the use of bamboo is the answer, touting both its ability to wick moisture away from the body and its natural antimicrobial properties.
I decided to put one of Tasc's cotton, bamboo and elastane blend shirts, called the Carrollton Performance Crew, to a rather unique test. After a morning session at OR, I showered, put on my Tasc bamboo performance shirt, and grabbed a taxi to the airport.
I was to wear the Tasc shirt for the next 40+ hours on four flights from Salt Lake City through to Australia that incorporated just about every temperature range and level of humidity. To top it off, I wore the garment as a base-layer under a rugby jersey for a local match in Melbourne the evening I arrived.
At 55% organic cotton and 40% viscose from bamboo, the Tasc blend of natural fibers made for an incredibly soft garment. The fit was also exceptional around the neck, arms, shoulders, and chest. With 5% elastane, the shirt never pinched or tugged when I was confined to tight spaces on the airplane.
The Carrollton Performance Crew simply looks good and can be worn as smart casual apparel under a sport coat. Unfortunately, there was too much fabric around the waste. A more tailored garment might be a good selling point for athletic body types given the active lifestyles of many who play outdoors.
The key test for the bamboo performance shirt, however, was moisture wicking and smell. Normally, my wife requires me to take off my synthetic sports apparel in the laundry room due to the sweat and stink. The Tasc shirt did better, though I can’t say it’s the panacea of natural fiber sports apparel.
The bamboo did wick moisture when my movements were light but, like synthetics, couldn’t keep pace during a heavy workout. My underarms were beginning to smell after I got off my flights, though certainly better than 100% synthetics.
Bottom Line: I give the Tasc Carrollton Performance Crew high marks for what is a quality garment, but the shirt now needs a wash before I’m willing to put it on again.
Tasc bamboo performance apparel is designed in New Orleans and made in India. The Carrollton Performance Crew retails for $25.
-Based in Melbourne, Australia, Don Jurries is a contributing writer for The Gearcaster on all things outdoor Down Under.