REI Co-op Silk V-Neck Review
Cons: Poor durability, requires specific maintenance, see-through with lighter colors
Manufacturer: REI Co-op
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REI Co-op Silk V-Neck
|Price||$49.95 at REI||$105.00 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Excellent wicking power, breathable, super cute design, comfortable fabrics against the skin||Wide range of thermoregulation, cozy materials, no odor after long wear, longer fit through torso and arms, versatile||Great thermoregulation, exceptional at wicking, impressive durability, least itch factor of all wool tops tested||Cozy fleece interior, easy to layer, warm, high quality performance, versatile, stash pocket, tight fit||Warm, durable, breathable, thumb loops, 1/4 zip design vents well, excellent value, no odor|
|Cons||Poor durability, requires specific maintenance, see-through with lighter colors||Stretches after wearing for several days, thick construction isn't ideal for warmer days||Not very cozy||More expensive, not super breathable||Need to size up on fit, shorter torso and arm length|
|Bottom Line||A silk top that is both stylish and breathable||Comfort and excellent thermoregulation with quality construction||A lightweight base layer that packs in amazing comfort and versatility||Versatility and performance all in one package||A high value contender built to take on the elements of all seasons|
|Rating Categories||REI Co-op Silk V-Neck||Merino 250 1/4 Zip||Merino 200 Oasis Crewe||Rho LT Zip||Base Force Heavyweight 1/4 Zip|
|Comfort And Fit (20%)|
|Layering Ability (20%)|
|Specs||REI Co-op Silk...||Merino 250 1/4 Zip||Merino 200 Oasis...||Rho LT Zip||Base Force...|
|Fabric Weight||Silkweight||Midweight (250 g/m²)||Midweight (200 g/m²)||Midweight (185 g/m²)||Midweight|
|Measured Weight||2.4-oz||8.4 oz**||5.8 oz||7.0 oz||6.8 oz**|
|Material||Ribbed silk||100% merino wool||100% merino wool||Torrent (84% polyester / 16% elastane)||80% polyester, 20% wool|
|Cuts avaliable||V-neck, cami||Crew, 1/4 zip||Crew, 1/2 zip neck||1/4 zip neck||1/4 zip|
|Smelly over time?||Yes||No||No||Yes||No|
|Odor Control Fabric||None||Naturally odor resistant||Naturally odor resistant||Polygiene||Naturally odor resistant|
|UPF (Sun Protection)||No||No||No||N/A||N/A|
|Length (short, medium, long)||Medium||Medium||Medium||Long||Medium|
|Fit (Based on 5'7, 140-lb woman wearing size small)||Loose and fitted, true to size||Fitted (not tight), true to fit.||Fitted (not tight), true to fit.||Tight and long, true to fit.||Fit is small, size up|
|Accessory Pocket?||No||No||No||Yes (on arm)||No|
|Flat-lock seams (prevents chaffing)||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The REI Silk V-neck top is a delicate silk layer that offers incredible wicking power and style to your outdoor wardrobe. As a layer designed purely to wick away moisture, it doesn't boast the best warmth. We love the V-neck design and details. While it's highly functional for outdoor recreation, it lacks durability. If you're not a fan of polyester or merino wool, this silk top may be exactly what you seek. Just know it comes with work to maintain the delicate fabrics that easily snag and pill.
Silk fabrics are designed to wick away moisture from the skin without adding any additional insulation. The only warmth that comes from a silk shirt is in the form of staying dry. So, it's far from warm. The V-neck also provides less protection than a traditional base layer collar and yield less warmth as well. It's a great choice for the Spring, Fall, and Summer, but for winter running, we'd go for something a little warmer. It can easily be layered under a very well insulating fleece or super warm jacket in the winter to keep it functional throughout the seasons.
This super thin silk top is one of the lightest tested (2.4 oz). There's very little material to it, making it highly breathable. It'll function well as a summer cover layer (though it doesn't have any UPF protection) for running, lounging, or doing yoga. It features several channels through the fabric that allows it to vent. Unfortunately, because of its super thin design, it's also very see-through. We wear a tank top underneath whenever wearing it on its own. If you do buy it, see if there are darker colors available so its sheer make-up isn't a problem.
Comfort and Fit
This top features a looser fit that is quite flattering. The seemingly lightweight fabrics have a density that allows the material to hang comfortably off the body. The fit is best for women that are medium to short. The fit can shrink if you don't follow let it hang to dry while laundering.
The V-neck scoop is flattering and makes it an easier fit for bustier women. Taller women may find the torso and arms short in length. The materials are smooth and soft against the skin and a classic alternative if you're not keen on polyester or merino wool. Know that the fabrics feel "cool" against the skin and aren't the coziest, especially in cold weather. We'd also be more comfortable in this top if it wasn't so see-through.
The fit is loose but also hugs the body. You can easily pull a shirt on underneath this top. Tighter fitting fleeces or mid layers might present a problem as a result of the looser fabrics on the arms that cause bunching. The shirt also rides up a bit under tighter fitting layers. As a result, it's best if your fleece or mid-layer is looser to make it work in a layered system.
Silk is a nice material against the skin but it requires delicate handling, care, and maintenance. In the month or so of testing, we took it running and hiking. We layered it underneath running packs, backpacks, and puffy vests. After just a few washes (following care instructions) we notice a lot of pilling, some marks of abrasion (from bush snags), and dirt that's been ground into the fabrics. After just a month of use, it's taken quite a beating, which speaks to its lack of durability. If you're a careful woman that takes care of her clothing, this layer may work for you. But those that don't like to read washing instructions and prefer bushwacking to the trail, this top will break down quickly. It also smells after each wash, so make sure you clean it after each use.
The price on this top is relatively low which offers a great value to silk base layer lovers. Since its durability is quite lackluster, those that aren't especially attached to silk will find a better value in Merino wool or synthetic contenders that cost the same, or a little bit more.
The REI Co-op Silkweight V-Neck base layer top that is delicate, breathable, and super cute. It's best for ladies that prefer silk to any other material to sit next to their skin. While the price is low, the durability doesn't hold up, even after just one month of hard testing. Its best for those committed to its proper care and use to ensure its longevity.
— Amber King