"The Graffias is a performance-oriented base layer with moisture wicking properties, and underarm mesh ventilation. A non-absorbent microfibre actively wicks moisture away from the user’s skin. This quick drying garment also boasts a UV protection factor of 40+ , and a secure, zippered key pocket on the reverse. Reflective logos keep you visible and safe while exercising at night. Anti-bacterial finish reduces odour."

LR K-Way Ms Graffias LimeLR K-Way Ms Graffias S S Black

Fig. 1: Front view of both the lime and black coloured versions.

 

Is a shirt just a shirt? This is the question I had to ask myself in comparing the Graffias with all the other base layers and outdoor shirts currently in my wardrobe. It is well cut and tailored, felt comfortable, fitted well and looked really good. But other than being great casual wear it needed to be put to the test.

The shirt started its journey with me in the gym. Not exactly the outdoors, but a good place to test it with some intense activity. Without having to think much about it I very soon noticed that my skin felt less clammy under the garment in comparison to some of the other shirts I wear. And the fabric did not get as wet. This is probably what I like most about the shirt. The ventilation mesh on the underarm area and on the back are also a great feature and this undoubtedly contributes significantly towards the good ventilation.

Graffias back

Fig. 2: Rear view showing back and underarm venitlation mesh, as well as reflective patch.

 

Protection against odour-producing bacteria was noticeable especially in comparison to some other shirts of mine, which produce that all too familiar smell associated with polyester/nylon based clothing, even after a single gym session. I wore it to the gym for several days in a row without washing it, and while it obviously did not smell particularly fresh (as any garment would), the reduction in smell was pretty good.

The zippered pocket on the back proved very useful for storing my gym locker key. No doubt the cyclists will probably have the most use for it to store not only keys but also those energy gel sachets. Not much use for it while hiking but it wasn’t in the way and I did not notice it while carrying a pack.

Graffias zipper

Graffias front

Fig. 3: View of zippered pouch Fig 4: Front view showing reflective patches

 

It was also worn on several trad climbs in the Tonquani and Cederberg kloofs of the Magaliesberg, which can be a very hot and sun-intensive environment. UV protection is important here and the 40+ protection factor offered by the garment is significant. Being a short-sleeved shirt, your arms obviously need sun screen. Normally I wear long-sleeved shirts for hiking and climbing in order to eliminate the need for this. Long-sleeves vs short-sleeves tends to be a matter of personal preference, as some find the long sleeves too hot and stuffy. The long-sleeved version of the Graffias is the Octave, should you prefer it.

In the Drakensberg the garment also handled well on a multi-day trip to the Mnweni area. The dampness on the back where the pack sits, unavoidable in the heat, was bearable since the material tends not to feel drenched and dries rapidly. Much to the amusement of my companions on the trip, the lime colour of the shirt attracted a certain kind of beetle. I had to tolerate several of these critters landing on me and not the others. We noticed that the same beetles were crowding the yellow flowers in bloom, which confirmed that that they were attracted to the colour. While it did not present too much of a problem to me, you may want to avoid the lime colour if bugs literally “bug” you. The black coloured version might be a better option in this case. Black also offers an additional advantage of not looking dirty as easily on multi-day trips.

This shirt is a hard-working all-rounder that will serve you well for a variety of sports and outdoor activities. If its performance you are after, then give it a try!

 

Further technical information from the K-Way website:

* Weight: 145 g

* Fabrication: 100% Polyester PK

* Finish: Wicking + Anti-Bacterial, Anti-Static, and a UV Cut

* The non-absorbent, microfibre polyester yarns in this garment have a wicking finish, which transports excess perspiration and moisture away from the user’s skin. The fabric then actively disperses the moisture over a wider surface area, which accelerates the drying process

* Four needle flatlock stitching reduces bulky seams, ensuring a more comfortable wear

* 1 x discreet, secure zippered key pocket on rear of garment. YKK zips

* Additional underarm mesh ventilation cools the user

* Reflective logos - "Be Seen at Night" – aid in safe, after-dark training

* The Graffias boasts a built-in UV Protection factor of 40+, which protects the wearer from the sun. A useful technology if one plans on exercising or competing during the heat of the day.

* A sew-free mesh vent on the rear of the Graffias facilitates ventilation on and over the small of the user’s back, increasing comfort.

 

Retails at R325.00 and available at Cape Union Mart stores, or through their website.

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