The North Face recently launched their Mountain Athletics product line, which consists of items that are at home in the gym, on the town and in the backcountry. I’ve been testing the Kilowatt Short-sleeve Crew in the outdoors because outside is free.

The North Face Kilowatt Short-sleeve Crew Features:

  • Abrasion-resistant FlashDry-XD™ knit body
  • Standard FlashDry panels for breathability
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Available in 6 colors (We tested Parisian Blue Heather/Monument Grey)
  • Price: $60

The North Face Kilowatt Short-sleeve Crew

My hike, run, lift shirt

A shirt is a shirt, right? Well, not really. With all the flavors of fabrics and construction these days, there are literally thousands of shirts that are suitable for running, hiking or whatever form of exercise you prefer (even, ahem… Zumba). The North Face has recently launched their Mountain Athletics lineup with a number of pieces that may not be as technical, but are still highly-functional. The Kilowatt crew fits into that new (admittedly fuzzy) category.

Built with an extra-durable FlashDry XD knit body, this shirt is built to take serious abuse. For me, that abuse has been primarily in the form of overzealous scrub oak bushes. If you’ve spent any time in the Wasatch, you know just how grabby these guys can be. The Kilowatt got snagged on several occasions during testing, but it shows zero signs of wear from those encounters. That’s saying something because I have several running shirts that now have pulls or snags in the fabric due to these beasts.

The North Face Kilowatt Short-sleeve Crew T-Shirt Review

The Kilowatt has a pretty straightforward cut to it — not too slim, but athletic. It also features a unique, multi-piece collar that delivers a lower profile in the front for added comfort. The split hem does allow the shirt to sit flat and stay put, but I found it made the shirt feel like a rugby shirt — not what I’d go for on the trails.

As mentioned, the knit fabric is very durable, but that tight weave also puts a damper on breathability. It remains soft next-to-skin, but it doesn’t breathe as well as other fabrics I’ve got in the hopper. That said, it is durable and warm for cooler temperatures. Just keep that in mind as I wouldn’t recommend this shirt for Sahara-like conditions.

The Good

  • Really comfortable next-to-skin
  • Cut feels nice for workouts
  • Dries quickly
  • Can take serious abuse (scrub oak snags are no match)
  • Doesn’t retain odor

The Bad

  • On the warm side for mid-summer use
  • Steep price
  • “Love it or hate it” split hem (not a huge fan)

The Bottom Line: The North Face Kilowatt

As one of the key pieces in the Mountain Athletics line, the Kilowatt Short-sleeve Crew does great in the gym and on the trail. It also features a bombproof knit fabric that resists pulling, but does put a damper on breathability on the warmest of days.

Buy Now: Available at REI


About Author

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jason quickly developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

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