The Aeon Tee from Rab, treated with Polygiene.
Seven days ago I received a new baselayer, the Aeon Tee from Rab.
On the face of it this is just an ordinary, everyday, tee-shirt, designed and manufactured for outdoor pursuits. However, Rab have used a new treatment, called Polygiene, on this range of baselayers which, using silver chloride (recycled silver) actively inhibits and guards against the growth of bacteria, fungus, and mildew, all of which cause nasty odours when you wear the garment.
Rab and Polygiene are so convinced by the no-niff properties of this treatment that they challenged me to wear the baselayer everyday for a week, just to see how smelly, or otherwise, I would get.
Polygiene themselves are concerned with our impact on the environment caused by all the millions of daily washes we have to put our clothes through. That’s why they’ve worked on developing this ‘Wear More. Wash Less’ treatment.
My first impressions of the garment itself were that it was well-made, looked good, and seemed pretty reasonable value for money, at just £28 for the short-sleeved version. The fit was pretty snug, so that’s something to be aware of if you’re borderline between two sizes. I take ‘Large’ in pretty much everything these days, but that size did feel a little tight on me.
But the real test, and the reason I was sent the Aeon Tee, was to find out if the baselayer would indeed remain odourless after a week of heavy wear outdoors. Here’s my diary from the week:
Day 1. It’s the start of a Lowland Leader Award training course that I’m running in the Eden Valley in Cumbria. My clients arrive at 9.30am, and we immediately head off for a day out walking in the countryside, interspersed with periods of standing around practicing leadership skills and navigation techniques. I’m wearing the Aeon Tee underneath a Polartec fleece midlayer. The weather is bright, calm, and mild. We finish the day at around 5.00pm, and I’m completely odour-free.
Day 2. It’s the second day of my Lowland Leader Award course. We meet in Kirkby Stephen on an overcast morning. It’s dry for most of the day, and mild, but we do get a bit of a shower right at the very end. After a day out on Birkett Hill we retired in a downpour to a cafe in the town, and have a course debrief. As we sit there in the fug and warmth of the cafe, drinking coffee and chatting, I notice that after two days walking in mixed weather, I’m still free of any nasty niffs.
Day 3. Up at 5.00am to get over to Ullswater for a dawn cruise and photography workshop. I’m not taking part in the workshop, but my wife is, so I drop her off then go for a hard stomp up onto Heughscar Hill with my dog, Bertie. It’s cold at first, but I soon warm up. On top of the Aeon Tee I’m wearing a Polartec fleece and a synthetic insulated jacket. My body temperature fluctuates between cold when I’m walking along the hill top in a strong breeze, and very hot when slogging it uphill. It’s foggy too, so no sunshine, but very humid. Back down off the hill we head over to Ambleside for a late breakfast, then stop off in Penrith to do some shopping on the way home. I’m still in my Aeon Tee, and still smelling sweetly!
Day 4. It’s an admin day for me. Which starts with a long dog walk after breakfast. It’s muggy outside, with heavy rain coming and going, but mild temperatures. I wear the Aeon Tee for the walk, which takes an hour or so, then head home to hit the coffee pot. Not so much as a nose-wrinkle from me as I sniff the Aeon Tee before settling down in front of a warm laptop.
Day 5. Gale force winds and lashing rain are forecast for Cumbria for the next few days. Typical autumn weather for this part of the world. However, I’ve got an intermediate navigation course to teach over the next two days, and won’t be sitting by a fire roasting my chestnuts and sipping Irish cream. I’m heading for the hills. I meet my group and we drive over to Hartsop ready for the climb up onto Angletarn Pikes by way of Boredale Hause. The weather actually isn’t as bad as the forecasters have threatened, and on the way up to the Hause it’s actually not raining, and the wind is only 20mph or so. We all comment on how hot it is, and I immediately start to wonder if this will be the day that my fellow walkers start avoiding getting too close. By the time we’re on Angletarn Pikes and navigating from one micro-feature to another, the mist is down, so is the rain, but the temperatures are soaring. Fortunately the wind is keeping it from feeling too warm, but again my body temperature fluctuates wildly between long periods of standing still feeling cold, to others of overheating dramatically as I race around the hills keeping a check on my wayward clients hell-bent on getting lost. By midday I’m damp everywhere. The humidity inside my waterproofs is the exact equal to the humidity outside, and no waterproofs in the world can cope with that. By the end of the day I’m drenched. We head for home at around 5.30pm. I drive with the heater full on in the car and gently steam on the half-hour it takes me to reach my front door. Definitely some pongs going on, so I strip off as soon as I get in, hit the shower, then brave a really big sniff of my now-dry Aeon Tee. Absolutely amazingly, there’s still not really anything you’d call a smell coming from the baselayer. Everything else I’d been wearing probably should have been incinerated.
Day 6. Back out in those gale force winds and the torrential downpour. The weather was very much a repeat of yesterday, except there was more wind – a lot more – and more hillfog. Yet another day in the cloud with temperatures swinging all over the place. My brave little Aeon Tee performed in much the same way it had over the previous days, only, by the end of yet another drenching day on the fell, I began to suspect that it was perhaps not just me that would need putting in the wash when I got home. But, to be fair to the Aeon, I let it dry out ready for tomorrow’s adventure, rather than automatically popping it into the washing machine.
Day 7. Well, it’s day 7. Another very, very wet day in Cumbria. Morning dog walk time and I’m afraid to say, I’m not putting the Aeon Tee on again without it seeing the inside of the washing machine. There is certainly a whiff to it now.
So, what do I really think of the Polygiene silver chloride treatment and the Rab Aeon Tee? Well, I have to say that despite this baselayer not quite getting to 7-days of continuous wearing without becoming smelly, I am absolutely flabbergasted. And it’s not often that I say my flabber has been absolutely gasted. That little baselayer has seen the inside of hell this last week. It’s been out in heat and cold, very dry and very wet weather. It’s even been subjected to being worn damp in a couple of hot cafes straight off the hill. I think this is remarkable. For travelling, backpacking, wildcamping, and any hill activity, I would wear this over any other summer baselayer. The only thing I haven’t yet tested is just how odour-free the Aeon will remain throughout its lifecycle. Polygiene quite rightly point out that the garment itself will last longer than most because it won’t need to be put through so many washes in its lifetime, but at the moment I can’t say weather the niff-less properties of the Polygiene treatment will stay with the garment throughout that longer life.
To find out more about the Rab Aeon Tee visit the Rab website
And to discover more about Polygiene visit their website