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  • Writer's pictureAllen Crater

Gear Review: Duckworth Snowcrest Shirt

Updated: Jun 28

woman rowing a driftboat while a man fly fishes on a river


I'm a bit of a dichotomy when it comes to gear. On the one hand I embrace the latest technologies, tools and materials for outdoor pursuits. On the other, I am drawn to the archetypes found in old Filson Catalogs. Despite all the advances in fabrics, it's hard to beat a fine Merino wool. That was the appeal of the Snowcrest - a classic-style woven-wool top layer that can endure the elements as well or better than anything on the market today and look good in the process.

The Snowcrest is Duckworth's hand-made, 710 gsm (21 oz), 100% Montana Merino wool cold-weather shirt. It is the epitome of fine wool apparel craftsmanship: American-made at one of the nation's oldest woolen mills (dating back to the 19th century) using a proprietary ultra-thick wool cloth, this shirt is naturally water, snow, and wind resistant - the ideal choice for outdoor adventures, even when the elements have other plans.

The Snowcrest is oversized just enough to be worn over a t-shirt or thin base layer, but soft enough to be worn next to skin if you'd prefer. Order a size up and it makes a killer shirt-jac; more than tough (and warm) enough for any hardcore outdoor activity, yet refined enough to wear out on the town.

Over the last few months, I've had a chance to put this shirt to the test as an outer layer with a light base and quarter zip underneath in single-digit temps and with just a light base when the morning starts at 27 and the Mercury hits 67 by afternoon. From breaking clays, hiking trails, or days on the river in sun, rain, sleet, wind and snow, the Snowcrest has seen a bit of everything.

It retails for $300.

man wearing black Duckworth wool shirt and hat in the snow

What I like: I honestly can't say enough good about the Snowcrest .

For me, four things really stood out.

Fit: The first thing I noticed about the Snowcrest was the fit. Though it is substantial, it isn't bulky or boxy. It features a modern tailored fit and runs true to size. If you want to layer, you should order a size up. While still rugged it has a very refined cut.

Finish: Speaking of refined, the finish on this shirt is impeccable. I was surprised at both the softness and smoothness, how substantial it felt and the incredible attention to detail including the stitching. It was obvious this was a piece that was crafted by hand and heirloom quality. While I wouldn't hesitate (and haven't) to run this shirt through the wringer, it has a style that both times I have worn it to the office has had co-workers asking why I dressed up for the day.

Weather resistance: Like I covered in the overview, this Merino shirt is wind, rain and snow resistant, and that's not just a claim, that's a reality. If you have doubts, watch the video here:( The Snowcrest is nearly as effective as any synthetic shell on the market. It seems impenetrable to wind and sheds water like it's a job, all naturally.

American Grown and Made: Last, this product is 100% Amercian made, from start to finish. Starting at their ranch in Dillon, Montana and then sent to the Carolinas for spinning, knitting, and dyeing. Although the U.S. textile industry has been on the decline for decades, with competitors seeking cheaper opportunities oversees, Duckworth's Sheep to Shelf™ supply chain brings jobs back to small American communities, keeps technical knowledge close to home, and assures maximum life-cycle sustainability. To me that's important.

man fly fishing in a river wearing a Duckworth Snowcrest shirt

What I don't like:

Price: Let's just get it out of the way, fine Merino hand crafted into heirloom-quality clothing is pricey. It is a resource and labor-intensive product to manufacture and that is reflected on the tag. But, if properly cared for, Merino is very durable, often over-performs its expense, and can last a lifetime. How many synthetic products do you remember being handed down by your father or grandfather? Exactly.

Beyond that, all of Duckworth's products are American grown and produced and, that, in my opinion, is worth paying for. Plus, Duckworth is currently offering this shirt at 15% off as part of their spring sale, or take 25% off your purchase if you sign up for their email list. With those incentives, it's the time to invest in an heirloom-quality piece you can pass along.

Care: Caring for wool products is a bit of a process. This isn't a piece you chuck in the washing machine with all the rest of your clothes and then toss in the dryer. This one needs to be dry cleaned. Yes, it's a bit of a pain, however, because of the oder-resistant properties of Merino, the durability of the fabric and the weather resistant nature, it does not require frequent cleaning beyond basic spot cleaning.

close up of a black Duckworth Snowcrest wool shirt

Perfect For: The Snowcrest is a top-of-the-line, heirloom-quality wool shirt/jac. Rugged yet refined and very weather resistant, this piece is perfect for cold weather adventuring, hunting or angling and stylish enough to wear out for drinks or to the office. Plus, if you take care of it properly, something you can hand down to the kids or grandkids.

Stars: 5 out of 5

Duckworth no longer produces the Snowcrest shirt from this review, but they have an updated version as a shirt/jac ($599). Learn More Here.

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