Jan 25, 2012 at 6:04 am #1284647
Has anyone seen a hiking shirt that is more like a dress shirt in breathability? I used to use a few different hiking shirts but found I could not wear them above the low 80s because I would start to overheat in them and just started using a dress shirt the last summer. The only draw back to it was that it was half cotton and prone to getting wet and chilly in lower temps if I used it in my kit but it did stink a lot less. The main purpose of the shirt is to keep the bugs off, the sun off some, layering and a little bit of class if I need it.
I have heard the RailRiders Bone Flats shirt is pretty good but I don't know and don't have $80 to find out.Jan 25, 2012 at 6:12 am #1829374
Ken T.BPL Member
Look at shirts marketed towards fly fishing. Like LL Beans' offerings. Most "technical" oxford type shirts vent on the back though. Something to look for. For me anything above the low 80's anymore means very hot. Happy hunting.Jan 25, 2012 at 6:33 am #1829384
Nathan WattsBPL Member
I use a Bone Flats shirt from Railriders. Great shirt for high temps. I bought the white one for sun protection. I usually drench it in sweat but it dries off super fast in any sort of breeze. Full button front is excellent for ventilation. And the large but low profile chest pockets are excellent.
I have the pants from them too, but prefer a similar pair from Exofficio.Jan 25, 2012 at 6:45 am #1829388
I really like the Columbia silver ridge hiking shirts, they have changed the name a few times, think its Columbia titanium something now. My favorite hiking shirt by farJan 25, 2012 at 7:26 am #1829399
When I hike over a big range of temperatures, lets say 40 F to over 100F, then I wear a Rail Riders Eco-Mesh. It does a great job. But I am going to sweat in anything when it gets above 80F if I have a pack on. With the RR the seat is mostly on my back.Jan 25, 2012 at 12:12 pm #1829537
I have an Eco-Mesh and it is a bit stifling as the temps get closer to 85FJan 25, 2012 at 12:49 pm #1829556
Something to take into consideration is different physiology's and climate locations. I live in one of the hottest deserts in the US, so what works for me and I how handle heat is different than many others. Also, typically I hike in very low humidity.Jan 25, 2012 at 12:50 pm #1829558
eric chanBPL Member
any good somewhat perforated running shirt … try it on in store and run around a bit … you should feel the heat flow out
runners tend to be hot people … and i dont just mean in looks ;)Jan 25, 2012 at 12:55 pm #1829564
Following eric's suggestion, I have a RR Eco-Mesh T shirt that is perforated and very good in heat, but you did mention you got cold in cotton when the temps drop. In really hot weather, if I am near water sources, I like cotton… I soak it in water and when it dries I do it again. Great method in the Grand Canyon. I also still have a 1980's REI perforated tank top and a T shirt with a single snap neck that I used a lot years ago.Jan 25, 2012 at 1:35 pm #1829580
Let me clarify that if the shirt gets wet it can get a bit chilly at lower temps because of the cotton. Really, it does not bother me because I don't get it wet. Just looking for synthetic as more of an insurance policy. I should test the dress shirt because it is really thin and is 50/50 so it might dry really fast and then I would have no worries.Jan 25, 2012 at 2:41 pm #1829619
@the_willLocale: Southern California
I made the switch to hiking in dress shirts about 3 years ago and now use them exclusively for all my 3-season wilderness travel. The versatilty–sleeves up or down, unbutton to vent, collar to ward of sun or wind–is unmatched, plus they can be had for around $2 at flea-markets and used clothing stores. I have one that is 60/40 cotton but still dries in a flash because the weave of the fabric is so flat. Dress shirts are a significant improvement over the coolmax variety of shirts I wore previously.Jan 25, 2012 at 2:45 pm #1829622
David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
I got a bunch of wool long-sleeve dress shirts through SierraTradingPost.com. They are merino wool, styled exactly like a dress shirt (because they are) and I use most of them as such. But I've historically used my beater cotton dress shirts for hot weather hiking and I'm using a few of these for outdoors wear too. The breathability is very high and I like the collar for mroe sun blocking. I'd use them in hot weather and I prefer them in cold or mixed conditions over cotton.
I got them at something like $13 through STP's 75% markdown and another 40% coupon. They seem to have one pretty foo-foo color left in odd sizes at $21:
plus some other colors in cotton at $13. RTK is the brand.
A little bit of class can help a lot when your hitchhiking to or from a trailhead!Jan 25, 2012 at 3:20 pm #1829633
Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
if you're talking about the most breathable shirt, then it's probably sunny and you need sun protection
mesh shirt offers little sun protection, may as well just take shirt off
baggy nylon supplex shirt offers good sun protection, but it's not real breathable, bagginess helps
sun protection requires the threads in the fabric to be close together with no gaps which means it's not so breathableJan 25, 2012 at 3:31 pm #1829638
"may as well just take shirt off"
Isn't that the best way to hike? Do it often, but then I have a Mediterranean complexion and normally a good tan. However, I do at least wear shorts :)Jan 25, 2012 at 3:40 pm #1829643
I have some craft "arm coolers" that boast 50+ UPF sun protection. They look goofy, but they're cooler than anything I've worn (or not worn). I'm still trying to figure out what to do with my torso in this situation.Jan 25, 2012 at 4:02 pm #1829660
eric chanBPL Member
mesh shirt offers little sun protection, may as well just take shirt off
running companies figured it out a long time ago … theres alot of money in running … backpackers will try to reinvent the wheel and call it new ;)
look for running shirts with SPF protection … very few backpackers go as hard as people running marathons and other such i suspect .. or have to deal with as much sweating in hot conditions …
running companies often make a SPF shirt with perforated sides and possibly back as well … even rail riders makes one i believe with SPF protection
CRAFT offers the coolest solution for hot summer
activities: the Cool Tee with Mesh with is extremely
lightweight, yet heavily loaded with function! The test
winning COOL material guarantees effective moisture
transportation, great ventilation, is soft and elastic
and provides maximum sun protection (UPF 50+). This makes
the Cool Tee with Mesh a fantastic versatile piece, which
keeps you cool on days when temperatures go from hot to
Jan 25, 2012 at 4:19 pm #1829666
Erik BasilBPL Member
Egyptian cotton just classes-up the trail, know what I'm sayin'? I use button compasses on my cufflinks, usually, but I am looking for a firesteel set… I wove a tie out of paracord.
I like the fishing/tech shirts which enable me to ventilate via the caped back, choose between rolled or unfurled sleeves and can be soaked in pyrethrin so I can assure myself at least one or two mosquitos has died a twitchy death before giving me dengue fever. My best shirt is one marketed as a fishing shirt, but BSA just released a hi-tech, caped hiking Uniform shirt that has be figuring ways to UL my Class A's…Jan 25, 2012 at 4:56 pm #1829685
Tom KirchnerBPL Member
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"Has anyone seen a hiking shirt that is more like a dress shirt in breathability?"
Arc'teryx Motus LS crew neck. Excellent breathability, SPF 53, quick drying, and <4 oz in a size S. At $75 it ain't cheap, but I love this piece for Sierra hiking, and from what I can tell on hot East Side Sierra ascents it would be great for desert hiking as well. If you are a REI member, you get a $7.50 dividend rebate.Jan 25, 2012 at 5:37 pm #1829718
@tom: Says it's the same fabric as the Phase SL ($65). Sounds like it might be the Spring 2012 replacement for the Phase SL, which means sales. It's lighter than Patagonia's Cap 1 (UPF 15)…Jan 25, 2012 at 6:46 pm #1829742
@rcowmanLocale: Canadian Rockies
Motus is the same fabric different fit and features reflective striping because its a running designed tee. phase stuff is really fitted. there wont discontinue either one this seasonJan 25, 2012 at 7:59 pm #1829763
Thanks for clearing that up Robert.Jan 25, 2012 at 10:53 pm #1829812
Dustin ShortBPL Member
I'm going to also back up the Arc'teryx phase SL material. It is by far the lightest and most breathable shirt I've ever worn. I have a long sleeve and it's my default shirt for summer. I'm glow in the dark white AZ native (my mom's hispanic and my dad is irish that tans, I must be adopted), so I feel my skin "burning" in summer almost instantly. The Phase SL is the only shirt I've found that keeps the sun off but breathes enough so that I actually feel like I'm in a breezy shade.
The material also wicks sweat away so well that it provides a great cooling effect. It's not the warmest under 60dF (I shiver at mid 70s though so YMMV).Jan 26, 2012 at 7:25 am #1829898
But wouldn't these shirts also add warmth? And they are not exactly loose for the warm temps.Jan 26, 2012 at 7:35 am #1829902
Joe ClementBPL Member
I've never unnderstood why you'd want something to wick sweat away when you're hot. Kind of kills the natural cooling cycle, doesn't it?
And despite our love of pricy logos, I have to call $2 thrift store shirts for the win.Jan 26, 2012 at 10:58 am #1829995
I think the biggest thing to consider is the humidity of the area you'll be hiking in. I'm in Minnesota now, but lived in FL for the first 22 years of my life, so I can safely say that I've done the vast majority of my sweating in very humid, very sunny conditions.
In that type of weather, sweat just does not evaporate like it does in low humidity. By wearing cotton, all you're doing is making yourself soaking wet with very little cooling effect. With a shirt that wicks sweat, you will be noticeably cooler because it will at least give the sweat a fighting chance to evaporate, though you'll most likely still be soaked. There's a reason why football players in FL who wear cotton shirts under their pads will literally cut off every inch of fabric they can. It ends up looking like a sports bra and is simply there to prevent the pads from chafing. I've even seen this done with wicking shirts as well because those sometimes prevent evaporation as well.
IMO the most versatile type of shirt for hiking in hot conditions is a super thin nylon fishing shirt, WHITE in color, and with mesh vents on the sides, under the arms, and under flaps on the back. It's the same as with WP/B rain jackets. No matter how breathable the material, the best way to dump heat and moisture is to vent! The built in vents, buttons for adjustable venting, and collar for added sun protection can't really be beat.
If I knew I was going to be in a desert, then I'd probably go with a cotton or 50/50 type dress shirt simply because I know the sweat is going to evaporate there. I don't have much experience in those conditions, but I can certainly imagine that the evaporative cooling effect would be worth it. Unfortunately I'm used to sweat just dripping off rather than evaporating.
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