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GoLite Manitou Women’s Sleeveless Top–Initial Review

This morning, we’re reviewing a lightweight technical top from GoLite.  The Manitou Sleeveless Top weighs in at 79 grams or about 3oz.  The top is semi-fitted and available in XS-XL in a variety of colors.  The Manitou Sleeveless Top retails for $36 and is available directly from GoLite or your local outdoor store.

Once again, GoLite is a company that targets hikers, campers, and trail runners.  All the gear we’ve reviewed isn’t specifically designed for triathletes, but we’ve selected some of the more popular products and products that appeal to triathletes.

About GoLite:

According to their website, GoLite was founded with the “simple idea…That experiencing nature would be better with less.  Less weight, less fuss, less waste…more fun”.  GoLite strives to not only provide products that are not just light in weight, but also light in their impact on the environment.  GoLite uses the GoLite Index to determine the impact of each product and calculates this index using three main measures: Environmentally Preferred Materials, Responsible Production, and Education+End-of-Life Programs.  GoLite has also adopted a Fair Labor audit process and follows The Timberland Company’s Code of Conduct.

About the Manitou Sleeveless Top:

As mentioned above, the Manitou is a very light top, weighing in at a mere 3oz.  Since we began testing GoLite products, we’ve certainly been a bit spoiled by the light weight material they use in all their products.

Many GoLite products, the Manitou included, utilize a special polyester called Minerale.  Minerale was developed by Cocona, Inc. and uses material derived from volcanic minerals to provide increased moisture wicking, odor control and UV protection.

Just as the Wildwood Men’s Top that we reviewed earlier, the Manitou top provides a UPF, or Ultraviolet Protection Factor, of 50+.  This offers you protection against the damage of the sun’s rays while on the trail or the road.

One thing you might notice is the unique design of the shirt back.  As we mentioned, GoLite makes gear for hikers and campers and the Manitou is designed to be comfortable under a backpack.  You’ll notice the interesting cut outs on the back of the shirt.  If you’re wearing a sports bra under this shirt, you won’t have any exposure issues, but if you try the shirt with a regular bra, say to run a quick errand or the like, the cut outs display your straps.

Testing the Manitou Sleeveless Top:

We’ve been testing this top in a variety of situations for about three weeks now.  We have used the Manitou in spin classes, running, lifting, and doing P90X.  The most attractive thing about this shirt is the weight.  It’s almost not there.

The next thing you’ll notice is the wicking and cooling properties of Minerale.  This is a very interesting fabric and is used in many of GoLite’s products.  We’ve been pleased with it’s performance as a sweat wicking agent and will look forward to testing the claims that it reduces odor buildup in the long term.

As we mentioned above, this shirt is designed for the trails, not for triathletes.  We didn’t find anything about the shirt that prevents it’s use by triathletes, runners, cyclists, etc., except the lack of a pocket.  Of course, you don’t need a pocket if you’re using this shirt as designed, on the trails, with a pack on your shoulders.

In all of our testing, the Manitou fit well, wicked well, and didn’t bunch or fit strangely.  Though this may seem unlikely, we’ve tested shirts that fit great on a run and were a mess while lifting or doing a cardio routine.  The Manitou was equally at home running, lifting, spinning, and doing P90X.  We’re hoping to put a little trail time on this shirt before we finish the review process.


After a bit more than three weeks of using this shirt, we’re pleased with the performance to date.  The shirt does what it claims.  It wicks moisture, it’s light, the seams are well constructed and lay flat.

We don’t have any complaints about the design or fit of this shirt.  We used the online sizing chart and didn’t have any problems with getting the right fit.  The shirt remained comfortable and well fitting in all our test activities: running; cycling, P90X, and weight training.

We have been testing the Tilly Jane Skirt, also from GoLite, and ordered both the Tilly Jane and the Manitou in a very attractive Coral color.  A word of caution: dyes color different fabrics differently.  So, while both are considered Coral, side by side, they’re different colors. This happens because of variations in how different materials hold dye.  There can also be minute color differences between different lots of dye, so we certainly don’t blame GoLite or their fabric supplier.  Just a word of caution if you’re buying these online.  If you can’t match the color exactly, it’s always better to go with a complimentary color or a contrasting color.

We’re excited to put on our packs and test this shirt on some hiking trails before the final review.  We’re also looking forward to testing the odor controlling claims of the Minerale material.  Stay tuned for our final review.

About Eric H. Doss

Eric is a triathlete and writer. He has competed in all distances of triathlons, from sprints to full Ironman distance races. He founded FitEgg.com in 2009 to meet the increasing need for professional, unbiased reviews of triathlon gear.

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