A three-week summer vacation in Minnesota provided me with plenty of time and activities in which to test Smartwool’s Women’s Merino 150 Baselayer Short Sleeve shirt.

First stop: college reunion. With an action-packed schedule I needed a top I could wear on a hike through the arboretum, to a TED talk, to dinner, then to see live music. Did I mention it was blazing hot, in the 90’s every day, with full-on humidity. I never stopped sweating.

Thankfully, merino wool does a good job of thermoregulation and breathing. I was still miserable about the heat, but my apparel wasn’t adding to my pain. The material is very thin and still performs even when wet. The top continued to breathe, release my body heat, and maintain its shape. At some point, I passed out from exhaustion. The next morning the shirt was dry and DID NOT SMELL at all. So I wore it again.

Next stop: adventure club. As the newest member of my friends’ children’s adventure club, I chaperoned an exploration of the Walker Art Center’s Sculpture garden. The Smartwool Women’s Merino 150 Baselayer Short Sleeve shirt looked smart enough with a skort for museum attire and worked hard enough to allow me to chase/herd six children through the park.

Again, the Smartwool’s Women’s Merino 150 Baselayer Short Sleeve performed well, this time keeping me at a comfortable temperature on a cooler, breezy day when I left my jacket behind.

Full stop: walking. When I’m on vacation I do a lot of walking. I’m too poor to pay for a taxi and too lazy to take public transportation. Plus, there’s no better way to explore a city than on foot. Again, I experienced blistering hot temperatures followed by cool, breezy days. The top helped me not overheat on the hot days and not get clammy on the cool days. I think I noticed the performance the most on the cool days.

I tend to sweat a lot when I exercise, so it was nice to wear a top that breathed well and that kept me warm when I was done exercising and walking back to my hotel in the cool evening air.

Smartwool’s Women’s Merino 150 Baselayer Short Sleeve shirt is made out of 87% Merino Wool and  13% Nylon Core (the wool fibers are wrapped around nylon fibers, the nylon adding durability). I love the raglan sleeve style; no seams across my shoulders when layering or wearing a daypack (which I do every day). I also loved the slightly lower cut neckline and the longer cut through the torso. I’m 6′ tall and have a long torso. I think this is the longest top I’ve ever tested from Smartwool. Yes! Coverage.

The top has a slim fit. It’s not quite body-hugging but snugger than the tops I usually wear.  I like this style because there’s no extra material to get in my way when I’m exercising. The top comes in women’s sizes XS-XL, in black and in purple. I found a perfect fit.

At this point I have washed the top many times, and it still looks new. It has been my “go to” top for everything this summer because it’s so versatile and the black color means I can get away with wearing it out with a skirt to dinner parties and other casual events. It will be my primary layering piece in the fall.

Manufacturer’s Site: smartwool.com

$79 ($59.99 at Amazon), Moosejaw