BAM has launched a range of Graphic T-shirts with twelve different designs and logos. I’ve been trying one of these, the Ramble Print, in the recent hot weather. It’s made from 68% bamboo viscose, 28% organic cotton and 4% elastane. The fabric is incredibly soft and stretchy and feels wonderfully comfortable next to the skin. The bamboo viscose used is a lightweight 160gsm and designed for warm weather.
To see how it performed I took the Graphic T-shirt on a three-day trip to An Teallach. The weather was very hot and the walking strenuous. The T-shirt felt fine throughout, even when quite damp with sweat in places – bamboo viscose is three times more absorbent than cotton. The sweat moved rapidly to the outside of the garment so the layer next to the skin was fairly dry. There was never any of the cold clammy feeling of wet cotton.
One property of bamboo viscose is that it doesn’t smell after prolonged wear unlike many synthetic fabrics. BAM suggest wearing a t-shirt for a week without washing it to test this. I haven’t done that yet but after my three-day trip the t-shirt doesn’t smell even though it has sweat stains all over it – my partner says it looks tie-dyed.
BAM is keen on sustainability – it aims to reduce negative impacts to zero by 2030 – and makes the point that being able to wear its bamboo viscose clothing for many days before it needs to be washed saves water and energy and reduces the release of micro-fibres. Bamboo doesn’t need pesticides or fertiliser when it’s grown either and it’s biodegradable.
Bamboo isn’t used directly to make clothing though. It must be turned into pulp which then requires chemical treatment to turn it into viscose, a manufactured regenerated cellulose fibre that is neither fully natural nor fully synthetic. The latest manufacturing processes produce little waste product and so are more environmentally friendly than older methods. BAM says that its fibre producers work ‘within safe limits’ and are committed to sustainable viscose production.
I can’t fault the performance of the Graphic T-shirt for hot weather. Comfort really was excellent. Not needing to wash it very often makes it a great choice for multi-day trips. Sizing is more generous than with some makes, the Medium fitting me well. Having a choice of designs is nice too. And it’s not expensive.