This Patagonia Sun Stretch Shirt review considers the use of this shirt primarily as a trekking base layer or insect-protection layer in camp.
I happened upon the Patagonia Sun Stretch shirt while shopping specifically for a trekking shirt that had the following features: reasonably trim fit with good articulation; soft next to skin; fast-drying; collar and cuffs; mosquito-resistant weave; side-entry zip pocket (at least one). After what seemed like an exhaustive search, the Patagonia Sun Stretch shirt ticked all of my key feature boxes and was the lightest of all of the shirts I was looking at.
This review reflects my long term experience with the Patagonia Sun Stretch shirt – more than two years and hundreds of miles of use. That it has remained in Patagonia’s product line for several years may be a testament to its versatility and strengths, and its appeal to a broad audience.
My Long Term Experience with the Patagonia Sun Stretch Shirt
I’ve been wearing the Patagonia Sun Stretch shirt for the past two years on all of my summer treks during “hot sun” and “biting insect” seasons. It has seen hundreds of miles of use in the Sierras, Bob Marshall Wilderness, and Wind River Range. I’m still on my first shirt: it has worn exceptionally well and in spite of suffering lotions, balms, bug repellents, mud, sweat, and blood, it washes well and remains (mostly) stain-free. I’ve bushwhacked through the usual leafy/twiggy Northern Rockies and High Sierra fare with it, with no pilling or picking. Seams and fabric remain intact, in spite of wearing under pack straps with heavy (40+ lb) packs.
Features I Like
- Low water absorption;
- Fast dry time;
- Soft next-to-skin feel;
- Tight weave for biting insect and sun protection, but more breathable than other tightly woven plastic-fiber shirts I’ve worn;
- Articulated sleeves;
- Zippered chest pockets;
- Light weight: 6.5 oz (184 g) – Men’s Size M (actual weight of my shirt).
- Use as a trekking shirt in warm, sunny, or buggy weather;
- Use over a wicking base layer in camp for bug and breeze protection.
- Next to Skin Comfort in Cold/Wet Weather: This is a very comfortable shirt next to skin, even when damp. However, it can’t compete with merino wool for next-to-skin comfort when wet, so it suffers as a base layer in cold and wet conditions.
- Limited Durability for Serious Bushwhacking: This is not the shirt I would use for serious bushwhacking through North Slope birch, New Mexico briars, or Pacific Northwest devil’s club/slide alder – these conditions are for 3-layer Supplex. It has held up fine, however, for the leaves and woody bush most of us encounter routinely.
A two-layer system combining the Patagonia Sun Stretch shirt and a short-sleeve wicking t-shirt provides more versatility than a single long sleeved base layer. During the peak of summer, this system even allows me to leave a tightly woven nylon wind shirt at home. For trekking in cold and wet conditions, I’ve found that a merino wool base layer, the Patagonia Sun Stretch shirt, and a rain jacket to be just about perfect for any type of inclement weather trekking that I’ve experienced in the Lower 48 between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Patagonia Sun Stretch Shirt Review: Statement of Disclosure
The author purchased this shirt for personal use, and has no obligation to review it with the manufacturer.
Where to Buy the Patagonia Sun Stretch Shirt
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