Review: Montane Dart T-Shirt

A no-nonsense, lightweight t-shirt that’s well suited to warm weather hikes and running.

Feature type Review

Read time 4 mins

Published May 01, 2024

Author Alex Foxfield

Alex Foxfield Alex is a qualified Mountain Leader, former President of the London Mountaineering Club, an adventure writer and content creator with an insatiable passion for the mountains. A Cumbrian born and bred, the Lake District has a special place in his heart, and through his hiking, mountaineering, climbing and trail running adventures, Alex aims to inspire others to get outdoors.

OUR VERDICT

A no-nonsense, lightweight t-shirt that’s well suited to warm weather hikes and running. It’s not as fast-drying as some and it’s a simple garment at heart – but it’s a great option for the price.

Weight 105g
Features Understated style; flatlock seams reduce chafing and increase lifespan; odour-resistant Polygiene treatment

Pros

  • Wonderfully lightweight
  • Excellent next-to-skin comfort
  • Suitable for running and hiking adventures
  • 100% recycled polyester

Cons

  • Seems to hold onto sweat more than some
  • Not as warm as Merino
  • Fairly basic in terms of features

WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR

In the Dart, I want a no frills workhorse that I can whip out for a variety of adventures. Nothing complicated, just a lightweight top that’s comfortable for hours of wear, quick drying for summer hiking and trail running exploits and packs down small in a backpack for camping trips.

My winter base layers are a bit overkill for summer in the fells, when I’d typically opt for the lightweight, moisture-wicking qualities of a polyester running top, even when taking things at a slower pace. I don’t need pockets – I’m at a loss as to why some brands put needless pockets into lightweight fabric layers that spend most of their time underneath other layers and sag as soon as you put anything that has any weight to it at all.

So I’m hoping for a no-fuss t-shirt that I’ll get plenty of use out of, particularly in the warmer months.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

The Dart has a simple elegance, from the monochrome Montane logo to the stitching running down either side of its front. It’s got a flattering, athletic trim, it feels light and breezy and it’s comfortable against the skin. There’s nothing that feels superfluous, it’s just a nice fitting top for dynamic activities.

The Dart has a simple elegance

THE TEST

I’ve been testing the Dart as my first choice trail running top for the best part of six months, wearing it in all weathers, from summer heartwaves to cold snaps in winter. My runs in warmer weather were ideal for testing the quick-drying qualities of the main fabric. 

While the majority of my runs took to low level trails, I’ve also worn it on numerous occasions in the mountains, including a day spent tackling the National Three Peaks Challenge via alternative routes. This was an excellent test of the odour-resistant fabric, as I wore it on both the Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) and Scafell Pike legs.

WHO IS THIS T-SHIRT FOR?

The Dart’s simple function as a lightweight, cool and quick drying t-shirt mean that it’s suited to anyone who enjoys high intensity activities. Montane markets it as a “all-mountain tech t-shirt” but for me it’s also great for running, cycling, gym workouts…the list goes on. 

It has more in common with running tops than it does with warmer base layers made from materials like Merino or bamboo, and it’s certainly better suited to warm weather activities than winter pursuits. However, those who obsessively count every gram before shouldering their backpack and heading for the hills will be attracted by its vanishingly low weight.

WHAT STANDS OUT?

Low weight

At 105g, it’s lighter than most mountain base layers.

Athletic fit

The trim of the Dart is flattering, providing a pleasant, tailored fit.

Minimal design

There are no bells and whistles, just a well-designed, minimal t-shirt

There are no bells and whistles

VALUE FOR MONEY

It’s not worth comparing the Dart to premium hiker base layers, as it doesn’t feature the premium materials seen in Merino tops and the like. A better gauge as to its value for money is to put it alongside other polyester running tops. With this in mind, at £35, it represents decent value, comparable to many offerings from leading brands in the running world. 

Of course, there are cheaper t-shirts available at places like Decathlon. However, the factors that make the Dart worth the outlay are the use of recycled polyester, its odour-resistant qualities and the feel of the fabric against the skin. There’s also the fact that the Dart doesn’t lose its thermal qualities when wet.

BASE BOTTOM LINE

Running, hiking and scrambling in mild weather while wearing the Dart is a pleasure. The top is nicely lightweight, feels comfortable against the skin and has the little bit of stretch needed for dynamic activities. Its design negates any chafing, making it suitable for longer runs and the like.

For winter adventures, I’d opt for something that holds onto warmth more readily, such as a Merino base layer. That said, for the shoulder seasons, the Dart is also available as a long-sleeved top, which would be preferable for exposed hikes in cool but not exactly cold conditions. There are also women’s options, tailored to the female body shape. Gram obsessed adventurers may also want to check out the ultralight Dart Nano, which weights just 70g!

I really valued the Dart’s anti-smell properties when I was taking on the Three Peaks Challenge. The fabric works by inhibiting the growth of bacteria, thus remaining relatively fresh. Despite working up a sweat on Yr Wyddfa’s ridges, it remained odour free and I decided to don it again for Scafell Pike, after it had dried in the back of the van. I can see this being a real boon to summer camping trips, when saving weight is half the battle. Taking one lightweight top that won’t smell is much more preferable to taking two that will.

My main gripe with the Dart is that it didn’t seem to be quite as quick drying as I was expecting. It still holds its own against much of the competition but I have adidas running tops that shed moisture a little quicker and also feel slightly smoother against the skin. In hot conditions, the Dart had a tendency to soak up a lot of sweat and then cling to my torso more than I’d have liked. I’m nit-picking a little bit here, especially given the moderate price point of the Dart.

All in all, the Dart fulfils its brief as a good looking, comfortable, fuss-free, lightweight base layer for all manner of adventurous activities during the warmer months. It’s also made from 100% recycled polyester, so it gets a tick in the sustainability stakes too.

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