Woodcraft Stay Dry Riding Shirt Test
Founded in 1877 by Helly Hansen, the company of the same name produced “oilskin” outerwear for sailors and fishermen. This material was produced from linen soaked in linseed oil, and kept men at sea protected from harsh elements.
As materials developed throughout the years, the Helly Hansen (H/H) brand evolved, becoming a staple for not just workers battling the elements, but also outdoor adventurists and athletes. Arguably one of the largest advancements for base-layer comfort arrived in 1970 with the invention of LIFA, a fiber that wicked moisture away from the body.
Using this moisture-management technology, the Norway-based Helly Hansen began developing base layers that kept wearers comfortable throughout various temperatures – regardless of how sweaty one gets.
Fast forward to 2015, and the folks at Woodcraft Technologies Inc., based out of Massachusetts, know how vital base layers are for motorcyclists – especially track riders and racers.
Made for Woodcraft exclusively by Helly Hansen, the Stay Dry Riding Shirt with the classic H/H stripe along the sleeves provides the ultimate base layer for an active motorcyclists. I began testing a Woodcraft Stay Dry Riding Shirt in early winter, and its been the only upper base layer I’ve used since.
Made from 100-percent LIFA, the Stay Dry shirt kept me moisture free during a wide variety of riding disciplines across a wide range of temperatures, including 85+ degree (F) track days to technical single-track off-road rides in frigid temps while muscling my “Il Mule” – a Suzuki V-Strom DL1000 set up for the off-road.
The Stay Dry shirt is light weight, and adheres to the body like another layer of skin. The LIFA fabric is comfortable, and it quickly transports sweat away from the skin. This wicking ability allows for dryness, which equates to comfort in both cold or hot temperatures
While piloting literbikes under hot conditions at demanding circuits such as Circuit of the Americas just outside of Austin, Texas, and Almeria Circuit in southern Spain, the Woodcraft Stay Dry was the only top base layer under my Dainese Aspide P one-piece leathers that have moderate ventilation. Each time I pitted after my track session, my upper body remained completely dry. To put this into perspective, my hair was soaked with sweat, but not my body, showing that the drying factor works.
The Stay Dry base layer works equally well when it’s cooler out. During one ADV ride in sub-30 degree temps, I wore the Stay Dry under a REV’IT Solar Mid Layer and a REV’IT’s yet-to-be released Dominator GTX jacket. Although it was cold, the body still works up quite a sweat – especially when running single tracks on bigger ADV-style bikes.
Again, the Stay Dry did what the name intends. And during cold temps, staying dry equates to warmness Why? Wear a cotton t-shirt during a cold ride and get sweaty. I promise you when you get on the highway or faster sections, you’ll freeze due to the dampness. To take it one step further, this dampness is also very uncomfortable, which can take the focus off the task at hand and dwindle the safety factor.
The negative factors disappear when wearing correct base layers such as the Woodcraft Stay Dry Riding Shirt – why else would the H/H Stay Dry be the official base layer of the U.S. Alpine Ski Team?
The Stay Dry shirt is available in sizes small to 2XL, and fits true to size (I’m a 42” chest, and a large worked perfectly). As for pricing, the Woodcraft Stay Dry sells for $40 – a bargain compared to other base layer long-sleeve shirts that have wicking abilities. Woodcraft says matching base-layer pants will soon be available.
For additional information, visit Woodcraft.