If there is anyone who knows what gear works best in the outdoors, it is probably the Sherpas of Nepal. They are the backbone of pretty much every major expedition to the Himalaya, and without them most climbers would never reach the summit of their respective mountains. In order to be on the leading edge of those expeditions, the Sherpa guides need top-notch gear to get them safely up and down the mountain, as more often than not they are tasked with the thankless jobs of fixing ropes, breaking trail, and scouting conditions high on the slopes. A lot of demands are placed on these highly skilled, dedicated, and hard working men and women, so of course they demand a lot from their gear as well.
The team at Sherpa Adventure Gear have brought that same sensibility to the products that they make. Founded in 2003, the company is based in Kathmandu and was originally started to pay tribute to the heroes of Everest, the dedicated climbers who have gone up and down that sacred mountain. Since then, the company has also focused its attention on creating jobs for Nepali citizens, and last year it played a crucial role in helping rebuild the country following the massive earthquake that struck the region in April of 2015. Now, Sherpa Adventure Gear employs more than 1500 people, all dedicated to turning out some of the best products in the outdoor industry.
Recently, I’ve been testing a number of items from Sherpa, and have found all of them to be of exceptionally high quality. The various products that I’ve used have all been made extremely well, displaying durability, versatility, and a high level of performance. Of course, they also show the influences of the rich history and culture of Nepal as well, which helps to distinguish them from other outdoor brands.
One of the items that I’ve been using regularly now that temperatures have started to drop is the impressive Tsepun Zip Tee. This mid-weight baselayer is made from highly technical fabrics that are great at pulling moisture away from the body and drying incredibly quickly, keeping you warmer and dryer during your favorite outdoor pursuits. This makes it an ideal choice for hiking, mountain biking, trail running, skiing, or just about anything else that takes you outside during the cooler months of the year.
When designing the Tsepun, Sherpa lined the interior with a fuzzy polyester blend that is adept at grabbing moisture from your body and pushing it to the outer layer of the shirt. That outer layer is made up of a smooth nylon material that allows that perspiration, water, and other liquids to quickly evaporate. But, those same outer fabrics are also durable enough to avoid abrasions as well, which means you can throw a pack on and not worry about it tearing up your shirt.
The Tsepun Zip Tee features an athletic cut that fits snugly against the body. This helps it to serve as a high performance baselayer that doesn’t get in the way when you start to get highly active. Wearing this shirt while running in cold weather is a real joy, as it allows me to move completely unhindered, but still keeps me warm and dry at the same time. That’s not something I can say about all of the technical apparel in my closet, some of which has been downright disappointing at times.
As great as the Tsepun is on its own, it also works remarkably well when paired with other garments as part of a full layering system. Throw this on under your down jacket for instance, and you’ll feel incredibly comfortable and warm on even a very cold day. Add an outer shell, and you’ll be ready for wind, rain, and snow too. And since the Tsepun has natural antimicrobial properties, it also won’t collect odors when worn over time. That makes it a great choice for longer outdoor adventures that stretch out for days or even weeks.
Other nice touches include a bonded zipped chest pocket for carrying small items, a UPF rating of 50+ to protect you from the UV rays of the sun, and bonded seams with raglan sleeves to help minimize chafing. The shirt also has a flattering look that allows it to be worn in more casual settings as well, making it a good choice for both on and off the trail.
It’s no secret that I love Nepal. It is one of my most favorite places that I’ve ever visited in my travels. Because of this, I also appreciate Sherpa’s inclusion of some nice cultural elements to all of their products. For instance, the Tsepun has a zipper pull that resembles the Buddhist prayer flags that are common throughout the Himalaya, and the company logo on the back is a version of the Buddhist endless knot symbol, which represents a spiritual journey over time. These are nice touches that not only help to set the Sherpa products apart from the competition, but they serve as a good reminder of the heritage behind the brand as well.
Priced at $75, the Tsepun offers a high degree of performance, making it a great value in my mind. On top of that, its level of durability means that you’ll have this shirt in your wardrobe for years to come. In fact, it is likely to be a favorite that you’ll find yourself reaching for time and time again, and it will be more than ready to go when you are. Whether you’re hiking and climbing in the Himalaya, or just hitting a trail close to home, this is a shirt that you’ll want to have at your disposal.
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