[best all-around synthetic]
This perennial favorite—made with a unique Polartec Power Dry yarn—got a face-lift this year, and our testers declare it lighter, faster drying, and softer than previous versions after wearing it from Norwegian glaciers to Colorado trails. It fits closely and wicks well, yet doesn’t feel clingy (thanks to pointelle-like indentations on the interior).
The mock turtleneck, which is Adam’s-apple-high, adds sun and draft protection without the bulk of a zipper. The shirt turned slightly smelly (though less ripe than the Merrell) after several days of use. But one Cascades tester rinsed and hung it after sweaty days. “It never failed to dry in time for alpine starts on Rainier, Hood, and Bachelor,” she says. Eco-bonus: The durable fabric has 65 percent recycled content. $55; 6.1 oz.; m’s and w’s XS-XXL; patagonia.com