Works under leathers or textile to wick away moisture.
You’re looking at what must be the best kept secret in sports clothing.
This shirt keeps the wearer cool with “moisture transport” technology.
But try to find one! [UPDATE: See below for more information on availability.]
We ordered this shirt from Silver Eagle Outfitters, the makers of our favorite cooling vest, the one we never wear because it’s too icky when wet.
Silver Eagle has a page somewhere on their website devoted to this shirt, but try to get to it from their menu.
They apparently don’t have a search function either. Kind of ironic, seeing as how they spend thousands in print motorcycle magazine advertising every month (Note: see the “Update” section at the end of this article).
But that’s not the first time I’ve tried to find information from a print ad and come up short. I guess there are lots of companies who like throwing money down the tubes… Hey folks, it’s 2006, the commercial version of the Internet is what — 13 years old? Wake up and get a strategy!
The Dri-Duke wicking shirt is made by Duke Athletic Products, but guess what? Their website lists everything they make except this product. I tried a few other retailers with limited success. The bottom line is that this particular shirt — the Dri-Duke Moisture Control, is indeed manufactured by (or for) Duke Athletic Products, but you’re on your own in trying to find one (see the information below)!
But this particular shirt, in the form-fitted version shown here, is used by many professional athletes, police, military special forces and other rugged individualists who need the best moisture control apparel they can get. Maybe they want to keep it to themselves so they can psyche out the competition?
Who knows. But now you’re in on the secret, and finding one is worth the effort. The shirt is made from 80% polyester and 20% Spandex, and the form-fitted version is tight. When the size large shown here arrived, I thought they sent me a child’s version instead; it looked that small. But the Spandex is mucho stretchy, and the fabric feels vaguely like a cross between rubber, microfiber and silk.
Stretch the shirt over your head and wiggle into it and it feels immediately comfortable. Maybe the Spandex provides a bit of support? But here’s the deal: as soon as you put it on the shirt starts drawing moisture away from your body and you feel cool.
There’s one catch: I discovered that the effect is only noticeable if the ambient temperature is less than the body temperature. But it’s cool, in more ways than one, and it’s pretty amazing, because the faster the air moves over the shirt, the greater the effect. Perfect for wearing underneath a mesh motorcycle jacket!
Now I’m not saying that it’s like riding a motorcycle in a walk-in cooler, but the cooling effect is definitely more noticeable than with any other moisture wicking material I’ve ever tried. Remember though that as soon as the air temperature gets at or near body temperature, the effect sort of disappears. But who’s riding when it’s 98 degrees anyway?
The Dri-Duke wicking shirt also works great under leathers, because the silky-smooth fabric helps the sweaty leather slide right off. And leather suits can get pretty sweaty, even in mild temperatures. So anything that helps unpeel the leather from sticky skin is great.
I have not been able to find the Dri-Duke fabric in a pair of long underwear pants, which is too bad. Not sure why they don’t make a matching set…
It seems like the world is overheating much faster than anyone expected. So there are only two things we can do: 1) get tech’d up with as much cooling wear as possible and 2) ride the heck out of your bike while you still can.
UPDATE (September 2011): Received this note from Duke: “The Duke Athletic Tactical website now up and running…. We really appreciate your kind words about our Duke T shirts. We sell so many to the various military branches. We now sell to anyone. Duke is a registered trademark of Royal Textile Mills, Inc., Yanceyville, North Carolina.”
From “J.C.”: “Here in the Phoenix, Arizona region, our overnight low temps run higher than 90° F. I ride to work and back every day. Two weeks ago, it was 98 degrees when I left at 5:30 a.m. and was 118° F when I rode home. That was a 45-mile trip one way.
I wear a Joe Rocket Phoenix armored jacket that is considerably cooler to wear at those temps than just wearing a T-shirt and no helmet. I have a drink holder on my ’94 Gold Wing filled with ice water. Just keep sipping on it every few miles and you have no problems riding in “warm weather”.
IIf you can’t ride in temps over 90° F, then you aren’t suited for the Arizona climes. I can count well over 100 bike riders every day on my sojourns to work and back. Just my two cents worth.”