A Base Layer that Doesn’t Stink: A Review of the Alpine Fit Long Sleeve
Finding the right apparel for outdoor activities can be tough. Browsing through the multitude of specialty outdoor apparel items at some of the major retailers can lead to despair over the high-tech features and even higher prices. Do you really need to spend your life savings on specialized apparel for the outdoor activities you enjoy? There’s no question that outdoor activities place different demands on clothing. But with so many choices on the market – each with its own trademarked marketing jargon – it can be overwhelming to choose which outdoor apparel to invest in.
Enter Alpine Fit, a US-based company with a fresh take on outdoor apparel. Headquartered in Alaska, Alpine Fit is a female-founded and female-operated activewear apparel company with a simple mission:
Create comfortable, resilient outdoor gear that accommodates and celebrates adventurers of all different shapes and sizes.
Alpine Fit produces a range of high-quality and thoughtful base layers and their products are designed to work for multiple activities. While their products aren’t cheap, they are designed to be useful in a variety of activities and weather bringing tremendously more value than that specialty jacket you wear only once a year. Base layers are an important part of the layering of clothing that allows outdoor adventurers to be prepared for the worst of weather, but also is a system that’s flexible enough to shed layers as temperatures rise. In other words, Alpine Fit’s base layers are built to be flexible and work often.
When Alpine Fit asked us to test their men’s and women’s long-sleeve base layers, to say we were intrigued would be an understatement. There’s a lot to love about the Alpine Fit story. Alpine Fit is proudly female-run and their courage to start up a new company in the context of a male-dominated outdoor apparel industry is both admirable and inspiring. Undoubtedly they have much to offer to the outdoor apparel industry – specifically an emphasis on outdoor clothing that fits real body types, both male and female. Alpine Fit is also a part of 1% For the Planet – donating 1% of their annual sales to environmental partners – and they are also Climate Neutral Certified. They are also proud to say that all of their products are made in the USA, with many being made locally in Anchorage, Alaska.
But it’s not just the company that’s cool, their products are pretty interesting as well. Both of the long sleeve base layers (the men’s “Treeline” and the women’s “Rendezvous Ridge”) they sent us are made of a unique silver-infused fabric that is odor-resistant. They are also rated as UPF 50+ for sun protection and made from 69% recycled polyester. Maybe the most interesting feature of Alpine Fit’s base layers is that they each come in two different fits for different body styles. The Men’s Treeline Long Sleeve is available in either a granite fit with more room at the waist or in a cinder fit with a narrower waist. The women’s Rendezvous Ridge Long Sleeve is available in either the wild iris fit designed for a more straight/square frame shape or in an azalea fit designed for bodies with more volume through the bust or hips than the waist. To help you choose which fit is right for you, Alpine Fit has a dedicated “Your Alpine Fit” page complete with measurements and steps to determine your proper fit. They also offer a Fit Quiz on the page which makes the decision-making process as easy as answering a few questions. It’s clear that Alpine Fit’s products are feature-heavy, incredibly thoughtful, and devoted to being as inclusive as possible.
Alpine Fit sent us both the Men’s Treeline Long Sleeve and the Women’s Rendezvous Ridge Long Sleeve. The shirts arrived in thoughtful and creative packaging that reflected a boutique feel and personal touch. The outer packaging was a standard large brown envelope but with Alpine Fit branding hand screen-printed on the front. The logo print was imperfect, hinting that it wasn’t mass-produced by a machine. Inside the envelope, the shirts were wrapped neatly in white tissue paper secured by a “Thank You!” sticker. Overall, the packaging had a “personal touch” feel to it that was a nice departure from the plastic bags and “too-perfect” packaging of the big brands.
Our first impression of the shirts was positive. They are made of a fabric that feels like you’d expect performance fabric to feel. It’s soft and of medium weight. The seams of the shirts are larger than typical shirt seams and they look to have more stitching per inch than we had expected. Having a shirt in each of the 2 color options offered by Alpine Fit, we really liked the look of both. They are subtle with a little bit of fun without being loud and obnoxious. On the subject of a little bit of fun, the shirts have a panel on the right arm with a different design. At first glance, we felt camo vibes from the unique sleeve panel, but after a closer look, it became clear that the pattern was a swirl of watercolors that we thought was a fun and creative touch.
- ionic+® antimicrobial silver fiber fabric for odor control
- UPF 50+ for sun protection
- Available in 2 colors (Misty Bering Sea Blue & Winter Moss Green)
- Fit options for different body proportions (Cinder/Granite fits for men, Wild Iris/Azalea fits for Women)
- Custom prints on the right sleeve
- Great for hiking, biking, running, kayaking, packrafting, camping, hunting…
- Made in Anchorage, Alaska
- Price: $129
Putting the Alpine Fit Long Sleeves to the Test
We brought the shirts along for a 5-day camping trip to the mountains of Southwestern Colorado. We wore our Alpine Fit Base Layers almost exclusively to see how they performed in various activities and how they held up over the duration of our trip. Beyond how they fit and felt to live in for a few days, we were most interested in testing out the odor-resistant feature of the shirts. Overall, we hoped to determine whether the $129 cost of the Alpine Fit Long Sleeve Base Layers was a good value.
At Outward Spaces, we’re interested in removing barriers that keep more people from enjoying the outdoors and we’re sensitive to the fact that the high cost of outdoor gear is a significant barrier for many. We also acknowledge that truly great products often are expensive for a multitude of very valid reasons like advanced technology, additional features, and more durable materials. As we review products like the Alpine Fit Long Sleeve Base Layer, we’re looking to determine if the balance of quality, performance, and cost deems the product a good value.
Wearing the Alpine Fit 24 Hours a Day
At our campsite location, the daytime temperatures hovered in the low 80s while dropping into the low 50s at night. This left us putting off and putting on layers throughout a typical day. The UPF 50+ sun protection of Alpine Fit Long Sleeve base layers kept us from getting burned from the midday sun while wicking sweat easily and quickly with its quick-dry fabric. As the sun set and the temperatures dropped, throwing a sweatshirt over our Alpine Fit base layer, allowed for an easy transition for evenings around the campfire. At bedtime, the Alpine Fit base layers kept us plenty cozy as temperatures dipped. My wife expressed that she “was able to wear it in warmer temperatures and stay cool, and in colder temperatures and stay warm.”
The Alpine Fit Fit
We loved the way our Alpine Fit Long Sleeve fit. My granite fit Treeline Long Sleeve fit snugly but was soft and comfortable enough to wear nonstop. My wife’s take on the fit of her Rendezvous Ridge Long Sleeve summarizes it well:
It was soft on my skin just the right amount of thickness without feeling too heavy. I was able to wear it as a regular shirt and feel comfortable and stylish. As a curvy woman with a big chest, it was stretchy enough to make me feel comfortable and not constricted.
The bottom line is that the Alpine Fit Long Sleeves are super comfy. Imagine a cross between your favorite soft long-sleeve shirt and a performance compression shirt. It feels supportive, but flexible and non-restrictive.
Did It Stink?
After wearing the Alpine Fit Long Sleeve base layers throughout our camping trip, the biggest question we had was did we stink? For 5 days and 4 nights, we lived in our Alpine Fit base layers. We cooked meals in them. We hiked and fished in them. We lit and enjoyed campfires in them. We slept in them. We did our best to put our best stink on these shirts – something we’re normally pretty good at.
At our trip neared its end, we took turns smelling each other to see if Alpine Fit’s odor-resistant claim of these base layers held up. Surprisingly, we both smelled great. While there were traces of the smells of our activities, the overwhelming smell of these shirts was always that new shirt (or freshly laundered) smell. My wife said it well, “We were able to wear the Alpine Fit Long Sleeve for several days straight without feeling dirty, grimy, or smelly.” It seems strange to get excited about how a shirt can ward off body odor and other smells while wearing, but those who spend a lot of time outdoors understand how valuable this can truly be. Imagine only having to pack one shirt instead of numerous on a backpacking trip. The combination of the ability to wear this long sleeve shirt in just about any condition and its resistance to odors makes it extremely versatile potentially offering the value of numerous pieces of clothing in one shirt.
What We loved
They are super flexible – can be worn for all types of outdoor activities
- It smells great even after several days of intense activity
- The fit was perfect (Granite for me, Azalea for my wife)
- The custom arm panels with the watercolor design
- The ability to wear one shirt for an entire trip if needed
The Bottom Line
The Alpine Fit Treeline (Men’s) or Rendezvous Ridge (Women’s) Long Sleeve are stylish and flexible with technology that works. The quick-drying, sun-protective, and odor-resistant fabric truly makes these base layers capable of being worn all trip long – saving packing space and hassles of multiple items of clothing. The base layer’s ability to avoid picking up body and activity odors is remarkable. No one will know you’ve just climbed a mountain in this shirt – it will dry fast and smell like new even after putting it through the paces. While it’s not cheap, we think they are worth every bit of their $129 price if you need to pack light and plan to wear them throughout your trip.
On top of performing extremely well, they are comfortable, look great, and are produced by a trail-blazing group of women here in the US. There’s a lot to love about the Alpine Fit Long Sleeve Base Layers. From the moment you receive the thoughtful packaging to the last day of a long outdoor adventure, we’re confident you’ll love the fit and performance of these base layers. The Alpine Fit Long Sleeves truly are base layers that “don’t stink”.
And if you do choose to pick one up, you’ll sleep well knowing that you helped support one of the “little guys” fighting a difficult battle against the large outdoor retailers we all know well. In this case, the “little guy” happens to be a group of badass women working hard to deliver quality and creative outdoor apparel to the market.
You can purchase these long sleeve base layers directly from Alpine Fit:
Looking for the perfect list of camping gear to pickup for your first trip outdoors? Check out our list of the 10 Must-Have Camping Essentials