Mountain Hardwear Way2Cool Tank Review

Mountain Hardwear Men's Way2Cool Tank - orangeThe perfect running shirt, does it exist? Probably not. There are just too many variables when it comes to the climate. You might be able to narrow it down to the “the best shirt for the current season” and I think Mountain Hardwear’s Way2Cool Tank ($52) may have earned it’s spot as my go-to shirt of the summer. How could I already have a favorite summer shirt since it’s just now June? Easy, here in the Midwest (St. Louis area to be more specific), we’ve been getting pounded with record temps since early May. The mercury has already been over 100 multiple times and the humidity is routinely over 80% every morning and leveling off in the 40% range daily. Summer may not be here in full force yet, but I’ve had more than enough days where I have come home from even modest runs soaked with sweat.

The Way2Cool Tank (as well as the short sleeve model) comes in three color choices. Regardless of which color you choose, the front and sides are white. From there, it’s a matter of which color you want the back of the shirt, some accents, and the stitching to be. Those color selections are State Orange, Azul (dark blue), or Zour (bright yellow). Additionally, there are three reflective hits located on the left side chest, upper back just below the collar, and in the lower middle-back of the shirt.

Now, back to why this garment has worked well for me in the heat and humidity. First off, it is very lightweight at 3.1 ounces. Multiple types of fabric patterns have been used in strategic areas of the shirt to aid in breathability and wicking. The most noticeable aspect of these various patterns is the upside-down “T” shape that runs from the neck to just below the sternum area in the main front panel. As we runners know this tends to be the channel where sweat runs down. The Way2Cool tank is perforated here to allow that sweat to get out quicker to help keep you dryer or at least gets you there a little faster. This design also does a better job of keeping the shirt from sticking to you. It’s worth noting that this perforated fabric is not sewn in or laminated it is all part of the same panel, no seams to chafe. The sides of the shirt extending into the back also use this perforated pattern. The rest of the shirt’s white portions are a solid smooth pattern much like that found in other technical clothing.

The back of the Way2Cool tank is very, very thin. In the picture below, I have placed a gel under the back and you can faintly see the words on the package. The thinness here again aids in venting. The entire back as well as a small panel on each side are made from this thin colored semi-stretchy micro mesh.

Mountain Hardwear Way2Cool Tank - fabric

This is a fitted style that sits close to the body but it’s not tight or constricting. The overall length of the shirt is shorter. Mine hits me just below the belt line. The neck and arm holes are smaller than most traditional running tanks tops. In fact, it fits more like a shirt that had the sleeves cut off of it. I prefer these types of styles as it adds a little more coverage over the long haul, tends to keep its shape better when wet, and does not have unnecessary fabric hanging at the bottom.

Any downsides you ask? Actually yes, I’m not a huge fan of the white. Mine is already a little dingy looking as the dirt from the trails has left its mark. I’ve also noticed some weird bunching of the micromesh panels on the sides. More than likely, that bunching is from having the shirt in the dryer too long. Now I just let them air dry, which is what this tank is really good at anyway.

Mountain Hardwear Way2Cool Tank - seam

Call for Comments
If you’ve worn any of Mountain Hardwear’s Way2Cool tops, what did you think?

Editor’s Note
I wanted a Way2Cool top since the first time I saw/held one in December 2010. I relentlessly tried to get one before last year’s Western States… but only received a tank version in the final miles of the race. I immediately put it on. Not long after, I received the short sleeve version and fell in love. It’s light, it’s cool (and cool looking), it’s great fitting. In other words, it’s everything I want in a warm-weather shirt. I’ve worn it for a race in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, TNF UTMB, hut-to-hut touring the Swiss Alps, and, most recently, for a seven-consecutive runs on La Palma in Spain’s Canary Islands. I’d brought other running shirts, but in hot weather I’ve not been able to bring myself to wear any other.

[Disclosure: Mountain Hardwear provided the tank for review. The Mountain Hardwear Way2Cool Tank is available from the iRunFar Store along with other Way2Cool tops.]

Travis Liles

resides in Portland, Oregon where he is a husband, father, and a technical specialist for a software company. In his spare time, he is exploring his new home in the Pacific Northwest, getting more vertical but still not living in the thin air, while producing “Trail Trials with Travis Liles” video gear reviews for iRunFar.

There are 42 comments

      1. Mike Papageorge

        Yeah, me too! I'm guessing they are pretty similar; I quite like mine, snug, light and seems to handle washes well enough. I haven't tried it in the middle of the day yet, to see how it handles the sun (i.e. sun blocking)… Perhaps this weekend!

  1. Tim

    These are absolutely excellent shirts own several, zero chaffing, super light, dry fast and have durability. I agree with Travis the white on mine are getting "dingy" but that's life on the trail. I highly recommend these running shirts.

  2. David

    I've been a huge fan of the Golite Wildwood shirts for sometime, but they don't have a tank. I'll keep my eye out for one of these tanks on discount to see if it can change my tastes.

  3. Alex from New Haven

    Are they going to come out with a WesternStatz shorts and ARFifty headband? It seems a little dodgy to copy the name of a prominent trail race.

    I know "Where's Waldo 100k" had to become "Waldo" after litigation…

    Maybe Julie Fingar is getting a slice of the pie ;)

  4. StumpWater

    Mountain Hardware and Craft, these are my go-to running clothes now. Craft better for cold weather (base layers and outer layers) and Mountain Hardware better for hot weather. Although I also *super love* my Mountain Hardware Elmoro base layer top in cold weather. I need to try one of these Way2Cool tanks. You know, since I don't have enough running clothes yet. Just one more top, that oughta do it …….

  5. Jeff Faulkner

    You mention zero chafing. Does that include nipples? I tend to suffer from chafed nips and have to liberally apply Body Glide when running any longer than 8 miles in my current gear. Thanks in advance Travis.

    1. Travis Liles

      Hey Jeff, I found the fabric that would be on that part of the chest to be smooth which would cut down on chafing more than something with texture to it. I have only had chafing issues with the shirt when I was caught in a downpour for about 25 miles and the shirt was 100% drenched. Other than that, I have had good luck with these and I don't use lube or bandaids. Good luck!!

      1. Brad Koenig

        Jeff,

        the one time I forgot bandaids with this shirt, I did get bloody nipples (old number 11).

        as a quick side note, you mention body glide but it eventually washes away (for me at least), but I always have had great luck with the small circle/spot bandaids, and they are cheap (and easily lasted through all my 100s)

  6. Brad Koenig

    Travis,

    Great review. Thanks for writing this.

    I also love this shirt and found it works great, exactly as you described.

    You said/wrote: "The back of the Way2Cool tank is very, very thin"

    Yes, indeed it is! It is so incredibly thin that the deer flies are able to bite me straight through the shirt. I can't out run them because I am hiking up very long and very steep climbs (I am training for Hardrock).

    Laugh all you want, but I had some 15+ welts on my back. :-)

    1. Travis Liles

      Horse flies are pretty bad here and the same thing happens but with any thin shirt. I've even had them bite through my headsweats hat which is not a great look with my "hair cut." I've found that dark color shirts or no shirt at all attract them far less than anything white or bright. Your mileage may vary. :)

    2. Jeff Faulkner

      I remember the days when I lived in upstate NY and the deer flies would swarm me. Literally dozens of the monsters darting at my head and back and I couldn't outrun them either. For every one I killed it seemed 2 or 3 took its place. I would come home with bloody spots all over my shirt from them. I am not laughing at all, they are a real concern. Too bad the fabric makers can't devise something that repels the bugs while allowing us to stay cool.

      ugh

      1. Tom Caughlan

        I actually bought a bug repellent shirt from Cabella's last year when I was in MN in July. It proved futile against the bugs. Don't stop to pee in the woods!

    1. Bryon Powell

      Actually, iRunFar's reviewers choose which products they'd like to test and only submit reviews of products that they can stand behind.

      Not sure why you might have a problem with a shirt or other apparel being reviewed.

      1. Fernando N. Baeza

        Im afraid that was said in bad taste. Im sorry Bob. I had to say that. Alot of time is taken to write these reviews/articles of interest or "paid plugs" as you described them. Speaking for myself, I personally have bought all of my Salomon gear because of the reviews on here, and my tech tees. How else can one be certain for sure how a pair of shoes handles or how a tech tee wicks (for those nipple bleeders/chafers) for that matter without prior insight from someone whos obviously put alot of time and work into testing the product. Lets appreciate all the hard work that goes into producing such an article; I for one, Travis, Bryon, appreciate the reviews. :D

        1. Dean G

          Agree 100% with Fernando. I find that comment truly bizarre.

          And by the way, what would be the alternative? "Here's the irunfarstore, unlike every other retailer in the universe we don't tell you sh!t about the products!"

    2. David A

      Perhaps not the most eloquent of statements but certainly not Bizarre. The opportunity for clarification on these things isn't such a bad thing. Publishing only positive reviews of (I presume) gifted products is quite an unusual stance – one that iRunFar carries off because it's endorsement is trusted – its not difficult to see the pitfalls in this manufacturer/reviewer/point of sale relationship.

      For the record I'm happy to say I'm a regular reader who regards the reviews as honest and useful opinion but you can't expect that to be taken for granted.

  7. Bryon Powell

    Alex,
    Using race names as model names is nothing new. Some examples off the top of my head: Hardrock, Leona Divide, Badwater, Wasatch, Vertical K. I'm sure we could come up with many more.

    1. Alex from New Haven

      That's true, I hadn't thought of those… but I think my point is still valid. I can't just make an 'irunfar' shoe. That's YOUR brand/trademark.

      1. Bryon Powell

        I don't think there's anything inherently "dodgy" in using a race name in a product. At the time the Way2Cool was developed and branded, the Way Too Cool 50k was in the Montrail Ultra Cup. Given that relationship and the tight nature of ultra community, I prefer to assume the positive scenario in which the race organization positively accepted the association. Ain't nothing wrong with some mutual cross promotion! :-)

  8. Kristin Z

    thanks for the gear review! i appreciate the light reading and the specifics of performance. lighter is better until it's not (black flies, for instance)… or as is the danger in my case, when one face plant shreds it.

    1. David

      That is a nice endorsement! I'll be sure to check it out. However, Golite has recently cut their prices in half, so it is going to be hard to beat the value of those shirts. I'm a sucker for gear though, so I imagine I'll pick up a couple of the Way2Cool's.

      I love the gear reviews, so please don't shy away – even if you do catch flack from people once in a while.

  9. Ultrawolf

    Not sure if you can get Raidlight material in the States ? The marathon shirt comes in at 87 gramm in size M, got two little pockets on each side, is made of bamboo which means it drys extremly fast and looks great. Plus, never got bloody nipples :-)

    By the way, love irunfar,s reviews, no matter if it's shoes, packs, bottles, shirts, energy gels or the new Neil Young CD if you ever decide to review those !

  10. Sean Cunniff

    Travis,

    Any comment on the price of this garment? Do you think the high price is warranted?

    Thanks for the review,

    Sean Cunniff

    Santa Fe, NM

  11. migs

    Golite Wildwood is the best summer running shirt money can buy for me. This Way2cool shirt looks nice but with Golites sale price i just ordered three new shirts and two for friends. Golite Wildwood can't be beat. Maybe matched at best.

    1. Bryon Powell

      Yes, I've tried the Mountain Hardwear equivalent.* However, they're not available to the public until next year. Still, keep your eyes open for more about the new Columbia/Mountain Hardwear technology here at iRunFar.

      * Both Columbia and Mountain Hardwear (owned by Columbia) use the same technology. At Columbia, it's branded Omni-Freeze Ice, while it's Cool.Q Zero at Mountain Hardwear.

  12. Travis Liles

    Thanks for all the feedback here. It's a fine line to walk for sure. As a reviewer I just do the best I can to discuss (or show in video) what you wont see on the manufactures website or on-line stores and apply it to my needs as a runner and hope that translates in my review. I'm glad folks enjoyed the written piece. Maybe I'll do a few more of these!

  13. Jeff Faulkner

    I see a new technique for me: band-aids on my nipples and body glide on my pits and around the parts below the belt.

    Thanks Brad!

  14. KenZ

    Agreed, and let's not forget that it wasn't a 100% positive review: Travis noted the dingy-factor of the white (an aspect that would keep many a person from buying it) and the bunching (agree that it's likely a dryer issue; my North Face Better Than Naked shorts did the same thing).

    Some people like gear reviews, some don't. Too easy to not read them! I'm a review hound, and do make selections based on the irunfar reviews. The NB 101 (FOUR PAIRS!), Montrail Rogue Racer, Rogue Fly, NB MT110, Swiftwick socks, and a water bottle carrier all purchased due to reviews here. And other than the MT110 which I strangely don't like, all the reviews have been spot on for me.

  15. KenZ

    And now they're half off their half off…. I just picked up some shirts for… get this… $12.49 ea, and $14 for the long sleeves. Seriously ridiculously low pricing.

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