I’ve been a product tester for many years. I’ve found that many companies make lots of fantastic claims but few of the claims hold up under real outdoor usage.
I was given a long sleeve Snikwah shirt at the Salt Lake City Outdoor Retail Show. I tested it on an expedition up Mt. Rainier because I needed to take very lightweight, but highly functional equipment with me. Someone was really thinking ahead when they designed this shirt for outdoor activities. It is very light, non-cotton, and it has a long turtleneck on it that doubles as a balaclava. It has a small opening on the upper left shoulder so that I have a place to keep my sunglasses when I’m not using them. The balaclava has two openings in the back of the head area for a high or low ponytail, and the sleeves have thumbholes so that my hands are covered.
When we first started our ascent, the weather was warm and we were in short sleeve shirts. By the time we reached the glacier we needed to put on long sleeves for the temperature change, and also to protect us from the glare of the sun that reflects off the snow. This is when I changed into the Snikwah to see how well it worked. We were at about 8,000 feet elevation. As we climbed, I pulled the turtle neck up to act as a balaclava under my helmet. I noticed right away that it worked better than the fleece balaclava I normally use, because it wicked moisture away from my mouth and nose area, unlike fleece that just lets condensation hang on my face. By the time we reached 10,000 ft., it was time to put on much warmer clothing before continuing higher. This shirt easily fit underneath my other layers and I was very impressed by its thermal regulation ability.
On the search and rescue team, we do a lot of mountain rescues at high elevations. Recently, we had another high altitude rescue and I wore my Snikwah. I was really happy that I grabbed it as I headed out the door. The balaclava was again indispensable for our trip up the mountain and the long sleeves that cover part of my hands were great to keep the shirtsleeves in place and help keep my hands warm under my gloves. I really like the way that I can easily adjust the long neck of the shirt to fit any situation without having to stop and put on or take off a piece of clothing.
I also wore this shirt to a cave rescue training that lasted many hours and the shirt worked well as we moved through the cave. It again was great at thermal regulating as we did different activities underground, and it held up under the harsh conditions of a cave.
I plan on getting more of these shirts so that I can keep one in my rescue cache so that it will always go with me.
Thank you for making such a great product!
Utah County Sheriff’s Office Search & Rescue