Field Testing the “Ottie” Hiking T Shirt

Mountain success with Yvonne in the Ottie Merino T Shirt

“Adventure Ready Hits & Misses” with Yvonne

My reviews on Gear, Equipment, Clothing and other stuff

Over the past 15 years I’ve been hiking some of the world’s great trails and some of the lesser known ones too. And when I’m not hiking, I’m in my workout gear, empowering women to become stronger for life through our online and in person fitness and hike training programs and courses.

When you spend most days of the week in your hiking clothes or active wear it quickly becomes apparent what clothing, gear and equipment works and what doesn’t.

As I am often asked for recommendations and suggestions, I’ve put together a practical product review, viewed through the lens of a mid 50’s female. I’m a hiker, a business owner, mother, wife, sister, Personal Trainer, traveller and all round lover of anything active in the great outdoors.

I hope I have given you enough information to make great choices for your next adventure.

Each review comes with an overall verdict:

  • Love it
  • Like it
  • Leave it 

This week I’m reviewing Hiking T – Shirts.

I have tried and tested almost every single brand and style of hiking shirts – both long and short sleeve that’s on the market.

If, like me, you are a woman over 50 who is known to having her own “personal summers” then you will be nodding your head, knowing that there is NOTHING worse than being too hot in a hiking shirt. Couple that with hiking in warmer climates and you can begin to feel like you are in an inferno.

So that rules out for me, on most occasions, wearing a long sleeve shirt. I find the heat gets trapped in the shirt, regardless of the fabric and I heat up even more.

My go to is a hiking t-shirt. I’m more than happy to pay for quality over quantity and don’t mind being seen in the same shirt day after day. Functionality trumps style, although I do like to think, that even when hot and sweaty, maybe muddy too, that I might look a little stylish!!

Yvonne in her Ottie Merino Shirt on the K'gari barge

The Ottie Merino, merino wool Women’s Hiking T-Shirt was recently brought to my attention. Paul from Ottie contacted me about the shirts and kindly sent me one to test out on a recent adventure to K’Gari (formerly Fraser Island).

When I first opened the parcel I was delighted at the colour. It was forest green (they call it Otway Fern) which is one of my favourite colours and also one of the colours in the Women’s Fitness Adventures logo!!

It was one of two hiking T shirts I packed for our hiking adventure to K’gari.

The barge ride over to K’gari was a warm Autumn Queensland Day and sitting on the top deck in my Ottie shirt, I wondered if I had made a mistake and was going to be too hot! The sun was beating down and I could feel myself warming up. Hmm. I had only packed one other hiking shirt for the week and I was beginning to question my choices.

The other Women’s Fitness Adventures members on the adventure were as keen as I was to learn about how the shirt “performed” over the week. These were the questions we pondered on the boat ride over.

  • Was the neck too high?
  • Was it too big?
  • Was the material too thick?
  • Were the sleeves long enough to prevent chafing?

Let’s fast forward 6 months from the t-shirts first outing. It’s now become my go to hiking shirt and here’s why.

Fit and functionality

The sizes are generous and overall it’s a bit looser than I would normally wear and being just over 5ft 2 (159cm) it does come down over my bottom a bit further than my other shirts. BUT, that’s a good thing, because it’s less likely to ride up when I put my pack on. I don’t have to reach around as much and drag it down.

I’m in an XS and the sleeves come down far enough on my arms so that there’s minimal chance of chaffing when my arm rubs alongside the backpack straps as it sometimes does.  Whilst they are loose fitting sleeves, they don’t look too baggy.

Yes, it is fit for purpose. It draws away sweat and doesn’t get that wet sheep smell (well of course, it depends how much you sweat and how often you wash it).

It also provides ample coverage from the sun as the neck is a little higher – both at the front and back. So it is only arms that you need to protect from the elements (sunburn and scratching from the bush) – with sunscreen or long sleeves or both, depending on where your hiking takes you.

In the cooler weather, I found the t shirt worked as an extra layer over a long sleeve tee because it is a relaxed fit.

Jane in her Ottie Merino Shirt

Jane chose the Large but will choose Medium next time. She is 170cm tall.

Wash and wear

Having worn the shirt at least twice per week for the past 6 months AND washed it just as much, it still holds shape and as yet, there’s no pilling

If looking “freshly pressed” is your thing (ironing is not my thing), it’s easy to smooth flat with your hands and fold, keeping an “almost ironed” look.

While the neckline is higher than most other merino brands, unlike other brands, it has held it’s shape and not gone saggy or loose.

And so far, it’s managed to avoid those inevitable “holes” that come with merino shirts. Well for me anyway – around the belt and shoulder areas. Anywhere there seems to be friction points.

The sagging and the holes are one of the most annoying things about merino shirts.

Value for Money

Like any hobby or passion, there is ALWAYS something you can spend your dollars on! And with hiking and adventure, there is SO much stuff out there.

For me, I go for quality over quantity so will choose one shirt over many and am happy to wear it again and again.

The RRP on this is about $89 Australian, direct from the manufacturer, Ottie Merino. This puts it on par with comparable brands.

So far it’s outperformed the other brands so in the value for money stakes, it’s a thumbs up from me.

Note if you are a Women’s Fitness Adventures member, look out for our promotional periods where you get access to a special discount.

Other stuff

One thing that is important to me as a small business owner is that we support local businesses and local economies where possible.  It’s what we look for when crafting our signature multi day adventures too.

It’s pleasing to say that the Ottie Merino brand is “Made in Australia” and uses 100% Australian superfine Merino Wool. And it’s an Aussie business too.

My overall review

If you are looking for a great everyday hiking t-shirt that looks as good at the end of a hike as it did when you put it on that morning, then this is one for you.

It’s fit for purpose, feels great on the skin, holds its shape and draws away the sweat.

I’ve worn this shirt for consecutive days on my hikes in warm climates (K’gari Great Walk twice, numerous day hikes and mountain summits) and cooler climates too – Overland Track in July (snow and rain) and Royal National Park in June (cool and crisp).

The Verdict: Like it. It’s a staple product for any hikers outfit and if looking for a great T shirt then certainly add this to your list.

Tricia in her Ottie Merino Shirt

Tricia is wearing the Small and is 157cm tall.

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Yvonne Shepherd, CEO of Women's Fitness Adventures

Yvonne Shepherd is the Founder & CEO of Women’s Fitness Adventures.

Established in 2014, Women’s Fitness Adventures encourages women to become stronger for life through fitness, adventure and social connection. We do this through our online fitness & hike training programs, thriving online community and our in person multi day adventures in Australia and around the world.

Women everywhere are enjoying the support, friendship and inspiration found inside the Women’s Fitness Adventures community as they connect in real time through our online active adventures that can be done in your location, regardless of where you live.  Your area is our area because we cover every corner of Australia and would love you to join us.

Whether you are ready to go on a hiking adventure right now or it is in the planning, our Hike Training Courses, Masterclasses, Adventure Ready resources and Hike Fitness Programs will equip you with the skills and knowledge to guarantee you success and have the best time ever.


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