Sherpa Rinchen Zip Tee

Review by Emily Chrystie

Sherpa Rinchen Zip Tee

View the Rinchen Zip Tee on the Sherpa website

First impressions: The Sherpa Rinchen Zip Tee is a lightweight, breathable long sleeved top which is marketed as ideal for use in hot conditions. As someone who is long in the arm and body, I generally find that long sleeved tops lack a good inch or two in length, however the Rinchen Tee is as close to a perfect fit for me as possible. I am 5’11’’, and took a women's size 'M'. The sleeves are long enough to use the thumb loops without cutting off the blood supply, and the body is long enough to seal any drafty gaps. The top retains a flattering fit, has a soft feel to it, and the neck zip adds to its versatility and comfort.

In action: I recently used this top whilst leading two weeks of hiking trips in the Dolomites. The Dolomites have a quirky sense of humour when it comes to the weather, and the first outing with the Rinchen Tee was no exception. Walking up through a beautiful spruce forest in the morning was hot and sticky, but by midday, just after our high point of 2,600m, we were treated to a spectacular thunderstorm. Scurrying down to shelter in a hut in torrential rain and pelting hailstones, the Sherpa Rinchen Tee valiantly tried to wick away moisture under my jacket, but eventually lost the battle to the leaky Goretex. However, I was impressed at the speed it dried off as we sheltered in the steamy hut, and at the warmth it provided in these inescapably damp conditions.

The day on which this top really came into its own was on our summit day of Piz Boe, 3,152m. Despite the stunning weather, a brisk breeze and a sedate pace with the group meant I appreciated having long sleeves and a high neck, and I found it regulated my temperature well all day. When the neck zip is opened, it folds back to form a v-neck which allows for added ventilation. When temperatures dropped, the top layered beautifully. In the photo below, the sleeve length of the Sherpa Tee (bottom layer) can be seen as compared to a Mammut softshell (middle layer) and a Mountain Hardwear down jacket (top layer). All layers are women's size 'M'.

Sherpa Rinchen Zip Tee sleeve length

Via Ferrata: I was very impressed with the performance of the top here. It is long enough to be pulled down below the hips under a harness, so doesn't ride up as you are climbing. It is also lightweight enough to dry quickly after periods of high exertion, but adds just enough protection to keep the chill off for short pauses.

The verdict: an excellent piece of kit which will certainly be staying in my bag for subsequent trips. The top is very lightweight, high quality and fits well. A good example of a women's item which is both functional and fitted. It is predominantly marketed for use in hot conditions, however it made an excellent layer in cold conditions, and dried quickly in cold damp conditions.

Emily on the Piz Boe