Dec 30, 2007 at 9:33 am #1226501
Although I had been leaning toward a RailRiders Adventure long-sleeved shirt for a long time to use in the desert portion of the PCT, I'm starting to reconsider. If I wear this, I figured I'd also need to carry a silkweight base layer that is tighter fitting to stay warm during the chilly nights. Now I'm wondering if hiking in a white Capilene 1 shirt would be entirely too hot in 90* days. The Railriders shirts seem perfect because of their loose fit and vented sides. Is wearing a sealed off, tighter shirt much more miserable? I should also say that I'm going to be carrying a chrome umbrella, which should help keep me quite a bit cooler.
Although I'm a huge fan of carrying 2 shirts to have a clean one to change into at camp, I'd like to go even more lightweight on the PCT. Having a shirt that is cool enough in the day, yet warm enough at night would be perfect. Then again, maybe the RailRiders shirts would be perfect during the day, yet warm enough at night when coupled with a windshirt.Dec 30, 2007 at 3:51 pm #1414182
@jetcashLocale: Southern Arizona
I have a Columbia safari-like sun shirt since i am too cheap for a Rail Riders. I sweat like a pig in this knockoff, though and refuse to sleep in it. It also collects stink like a sponge. You could wash/rinse out the shirt every couple of night and run around shirtless until it dried if it was your only baselayer. The more body-hugging Capilene would keep you warmer in your sleeping bag. Either way you're gonna need to do periodic washes of sweaty shirts.Dec 30, 2007 at 4:03 pm #1414187
I just use a Columbia knock-off fishing shirt. They're $14 at my local academy. Nylon is nylon. If you also used one of those base layers with the silver in it, it might not smell as bad.Jan 8, 2008 at 5:36 pm #1415362
@johnbrown2005Locale: Portland, OR
A silkweight capilene is my main desert shirt. When it's hot, it's hot, and the evaporative cooling from the capilene helps a little. It's also worked as sun block for me, although I'm not particularly sun sensitive… Main disadvantage is no collar for the back of your neck.
On occasion I've worn a very light cotton dress shirt, cooler, but obvious disadvantages.Jan 8, 2008 at 5:55 pm #1415367
@don-1-2-2Locale: Koyukuk River, Alaska
I'm a desert rat and have hiked the PCT in thru hiker season.
I prefer the looser Rail Riders type shirts. I've used Rail Riders and also the Mountain Hardwear Canyon top. As someone said – when it's hot, it's hot. I prefer loose fitting tops to let in some breeze, and long sleeves for sun protection.
I recommend you consider some sun gloves for your hands, especially if you are using trekking poles. Look at coolibar.com.
If you've got a wind shirt and/or a WPB top, along with some insulation, you won't need 2 tops.
The PCT is fabulous – I'll be going back soon.
DonJan 8, 2008 at 6:03 pm #1415369
Well, I found Capilene 1 shirts for $25 at REI, so I got one, oversized to Large, in White. I'm a huge fan of Merino Wool, wore it on my AT thru-hike, and now completely fear the funky smell of synthetics after using wool for 5 months. It's a bummer that Smartwool doesn't make their microweight shirts in white. Water under the bridge now…
I definitely plan on wearing sun gloves for my hands. I'm very sun sensitive, so I plan on having every inch of me covered. I've even decided to go for sungloves from Coolibar that cover all the way to the fingertips. In addition to all of this, I'm going to using a Birdiepal Swing Liteflex umbrella, which I'm hoping will give me enough shade to go shirtless for long stretches. This would help save my shirt from getting drenched, and allow me to wear it to sleep at night. So, one shirt it is!Jan 8, 2008 at 7:15 pm #1415384
I noticed some comments about the smell of synthetics. Nylon is a synthetic but very resistant to smelling. Yes, you can make it smell if you jam it right against your underarms, but then cotten will also stink in these conditions and wool too for that matter.
I am not exactly sure of why polypropylene and polyester stink so quickly, but I do understand why they keep on stinking even after washing. Namely, because they don't absorb water. Body oils can get pressed into the fibers, but then it is very difficult to get these oils out, because of how the fibers don't absorb water.
By contrast, nylon absorbs just enough water to make it very easy to clean, but not nearly so much as cotton and wool (for comparable strength garments) and thus it dries quickly.
I have several times worn my supplex nylon shirts for a week at a time without washing them, while hiking in desert-like conditions (100°F heat and sunny). The shirts start out light grey and by the end of the week are coated with white streaks of salt, but they don't have any smell, provided I keep them away from my underarms (which is possible if I use the Jardine one shoulder carrying method). Beyond a week, the shirts will start to smell due to body oils going rancid. These salt-stained shirts can then be washed very easily in cold water in a sink, and they come out perfectly clean.
The real secret to comfort in desert conditions, regardless of the fiber, is to allow ventilation. So buy a shirt of either supplex/taslan or cotton or polyester/rayon–it really doesn't matter which–but make sure it fits very large so you get plenty of airflow. Long sleeves will help protect the hands. The Jardine one-shoulder carrying method allows maximum ventilation. Carrying the pack with both shoulders and a hip belt results in minimum ventilation.Jan 8, 2008 at 8:14 pm #1415394
I would imagine capilene (probably merino wool too) has a pretty low UPF sun protection and when it's wet even worse sun protection. Post any info to the contrary.
Which Fabrics are Best?
As a rule, light-colored, lightweight and loosely-woven fabrics do not offer much protection from the sun. That white T-shirt you slip on at the beach when you feel your skin burning provides only moderate protection from sunburn, with an average ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 7. At the other end of the spectrum, a long-sleeved dark denim shirt offers an estimated UPF of 1,700 – which amounts to a complete sun block. In general, clothing made of tightly-woven fabric best protects skin from the sun. The easiest way to test if a fabric can protect your skin is to hold it up to the light. If you can see through it, then UV radiation can penetrate it – and your skin.
The color of the fabric also plays a role. Darker-colored fabrics are more effective than lighter at blocking out the sun. For instance, the UPF of a green cotton T-shirt is 10 versus 7 for white cotton, and a thicker fabric such as velvet in black, blue or dark green has an approximate UPF of 50.Jan 14, 2008 at 8:49 pm #1416145
Simms fishing gear has some shirts coming out in March 2008 that boast of high SPF, lots of venting, and light weight. Anyone have any experience? I saw a random review in Popular Mechanics, and thought to myself, huh, who are these guys?!
G$Jan 14, 2008 at 11:03 pm #1416154
My Terramar VisaEndurance SS Shirt keeps me cooler than the RR Adventure shirt… but I mostly wear the Adveture Shirt so I don't have to mess with applying sun screen several times a day.
I have been very happy with my RR Adventure shirt. I wish it was a bit more air permeable, but the loose fit and side vents help a lot. I am very sun sensitive… I have burned wearing SPF 15 shirts (that's what I think capilene 1 is), but never burned wearing the RR shirt. BTW: if you don't mind the dirt showing… I recommend getting a white shirt… it seems cooler than any any of the colored shirts.
I would use the Adventure shirt until I hit the cold/rain of northern OR/WA not just for the sun protection but also protection from bugs. The supplex is tight enough to keep them from biting, but more air permeable than my wind shirt. For whatever reason they tended not to try to bite through the side mesh panels most of the time, and when the bugs were really bad just keeping my arms to by side seemed to work.
I know others have said that nylon doesn't stink the way polypro does… but both my supplex shirts do seem to get ripe pretty quickly. I try to wash mine each night.
I carry a featherweight powerdry shirt to sleep in while the supplex shirt is drying. The powerdry shirt is sometime worn during the day for a bit of extra insulation on very cold days (often layered under the supplex shirt).Jan 14, 2008 at 11:25 pm #1416156
"It's a bummer that Smartwool doesn't make their microweight shirts in white."
Icebreaker do… see the 150gsm range
FrancoJan 15, 2008 at 1:32 am #1416162
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
I have both a Cabela's Guidewear polyester fishing shirt and a similar REI Sahara poly shirt. Both work great here in the Mojave Desert & I never get any sun tanning with them. The Cabela's has a nice high "sun collar" and both front and back ventilation, among many other features and I prefer it to the REI shirt.
EricJan 15, 2008 at 7:09 am #1416177
@foodLocale: Colorado Rockies
Dickies long sleeve chambray work shirt.Jan 15, 2008 at 8:49 am #1416187
.Jan 18, 2008 at 9:22 pm #1416723
I think I may be trying too hard here. The Capilene seemed like a winner because it was thin and cool, yet would provide a bit of warmth at night. I'm assuming that Supplex can't boast the warmth, but at least won't get me sun-burned? Are there other options that have a tightly woven fabric for high-SPF ratings, yet still able to retain warmth well like Capilene 1? Also, do the side vents really make a huge difference like I imagine they would? I'm tempted to just find a $20 nylon shirt if the difference isn't that great. Oh, and is this SPF protection really necessary if using an umbrella? I'm thinking that the shadow should cover me below the shoulders, but I've yet to test it out in the expansive desert.Jan 18, 2008 at 10:46 pm #1416729
.Jan 19, 2008 at 7:08 am #1416756
> I think I may be trying too hard here.
Maybe? If it was me, I would happily carry an extra 8oz for a shirt to use for sleeping or for a bit of warmth. This would help keep my sleeping bag clear and make it easy for me to wash my hiking shirt.
Supplex won't provide that "warm" feel that capilene does, but it does provide some "warmth" especially if there is a modest wind.
The side vents really do help a lot. Supplex has less air permeability than capilene. The vests help air circulation a lot.
Do you need high SPF if you are using an umbrella? Someone else needs to answer this… I don't have sufficent experiences.Jan 20, 2008 at 10:25 am #1416855
Can anyone comment on the fit of the RailRiders shirts? Do they need to be bought a size up like most other shirts? I was hoping that since they are made to be used in really high temps, they may already have a pretty baggy fit compared to Patagonia and other shirts.Jan 20, 2008 at 11:06 am #1416863
I found RR shirts true to size.
–markJan 20, 2008 at 1:15 pm #1416880
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
True to size, but far more drafty than I had expected.
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