ProView – Icebreaker 7 Days, 1 Shirt, 0 Washes in a Van
When Icebreaker asked us to wear one shirt for seven days in a row, we thought — no problem. We live in a van full time and are very used to wearing the same clothes over and over again until they are unbearable to put back on our bodies. Luckily for us, this turned out to be a luxury experience. One shirt for seven days and it still doesn’t smell terrible? Wonderful.
Ben and I are constantly trying to reduce waste, reuse plastics, and live more gently on the earth. We were totally unaware that washing your clothing can put a lot of stress on the environment. From Icebreaker:
“Washing synthetic clothing releases plastic microfibers into the oceans – up to 700,000 in one wash. The apparel and textile industry accounts for 30% of all ocean plastic which are microplastics invisible to the human eye.”
Less washing means fewer microplastics polluting our oceans. Seven days in one shirt in the name of the environment? We’re on board.
We tested Icebreakers breathable merino tees in some of the harshest environments for sweat and smells– terribly muggy Virginia and awfully hot desert. Don’t worry, we were encouraged to shower throughout the process. We washed off, occasionally.
As will all merino products, you can feel them. There is no miracle cure for itchiness of a merino product except time. Your body forgets about the feeling after a few hours of wearing, but there’s no way around it, merino wool is itchy.
The shirts fit athletically. We were both able to wear them for long car trips, packing up our van, and long hikes without them getting in the way or pulling oddly.
One of our favorite aspects of these merino shirts is the moisture wicking. It gets wet but holds the moisture away from your body. In muggy Virginia, it kept us cool, and in the hot desert, it dried quickly.
The magic of wool is in the natural fibers and air out process. After each day, we would hang it outside and let it breathe. We hung out next to campfires, sweat profusely (yes, that’s the correct adverb), and did other smell inducing activities during our seven days of wearing this shirt. While it wasn’t smell-less the next morning, it was nowhere near what we smelled like before washing off that evening. The campfire smell especially stuck around, but smoke is notorious for staying put.
We got a lot of stares during our seven-day challenge. The shirt clearly states your purpose for wearing it. When stepping out of a van with it on, we got extra attention. We were approached a few times with questions and were able to spread some knowledge and information on microplastics.
Our biggest issue (while more of an issue for me and not Ben), was that we are messy people with a shedding dog. We are in the dirt and dust, eating meals on the floor of the van, packing and unpacking gear, and generally living a chaotic lifestyle. While the shirt didn’t smell, it did get stained, dirty, and hairy. This was remedied with a little water, wiping, and rolling. By the end of the seven days, it was ready for a wash just from our own messiness.
Roxy and Ben live in a van full time and travel around the country writing and taking photos for multiple publications. They are working toward #plasticfree, #zerowaste and getting to carbon neutral while living gently on the road. They are trying to make a small impact on the world, and a larger one in their communities. Follow them on Instagram @rjharbitter and @meetme_onthe_mountain.