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Backpacker Magazine – Online Exclusive

Gear Review: Multi-Use Shirts - Icebreaker Superfine 200 Top, First Ascent Cloud Layer 1/4 Zip, Columbia Leadout Shirt

Just because you can't be in the backcountry everyday doesn't mean you can't dress for it.

by: Will Rochfort

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First Ascent Cloud Layer 1/4 Zip (Courtesy Photo)
First Ascent Cloud Layer 1/4 Zip (Courtesy Photo)
Columbia Leadout Shirt (Courtesy Photo)
Columbia Leadout Shirt (Courtesy Photo)
Icebreaker Superfine 200 L/S Top (Courtesy Photo)
Icebreaker Superfine 200 L/S Top (Courtesy Photo)

For the Boardroom Houdini Columbia Leadout Shirt
6 oz. (Men’s M), Men’s S-XXL, $60, columbia.com

You know the feeling: it’s getting into the afternoon on Friday, and every second you wait is another minute you’ll be sitting in weekend traffic instead of on the trail. Sporting the Leadout shirt will make your corporate escape significantly easier. The button-down, collared, professional appearance camouflages a sophisticated piece of wilderness apparel that can handle more than just PowerPoint and Excel. I’ll admit I was a bit concerned about performance when I read the 62/38 cotton/poly blend, but during unseasonably warm autumn hiking in the Eastern Sierra’s Palisades, I kept just as sweat-free as with any of the backcountry shirts I normally wear.

Credit Columbia’s Omni Dry technology, which pulls moisture off the skin and then spreads it around the fabric for faster evaporation. The fabric is thin, so although I didn’t have any concerns about durability, you’ll definitely want another layer if you’re headed somewhere with cooler climes. The fit is also a bit fuller than most of the shirts I prefer for backpacking, but some of my friends preferred the extra room. Should you don the Leadout for climbing or other activities that can get inverted, there’s also a zippered security pocket for small valuables. Full disclosure: some of my women friends commented that plaid is for lumberjacks and antediluvian octogenarians (I just call it manly), but I still got a few compliments around the office.

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