Although the debate between synthetics and wool is never ending, the timeless appeal of the button-up backcountry shirt, in my humble opinion, is without question. This shirt combines modern function with a classic style in a package that is effective for most three-season conditions. As a bonus, it looks sharp enough for Fridays at the office when you need cross-functional attire for an early weekend clandestine escape.
The material is their proprietary Summit Stretch Plainweave, which is a 93% nylon/7% stretch blend with superior wicking. It breathed so well that I didn’t even bother rolling up the sleeves during our long uphill days on the Grand Canyon’s notoriously hot Tanner Trail. And though I deemed them frivolous at first, the mesh vents that run up the sides and under the arms were a welcome addition for the few breezes we caught while resting at Seventy-Five Mile Saddle.
This shirt is also all about keeping you safe from the burning ball of gas in the sky. The long sleeves, UPF 25, and flip up sun protection collar (yes, I actually used it) provided all of the coverage I needed to keep my skin from getting cooked. You also have the option of using the roll-up tabs if you prefer short sleeves.
Additional details like zippered, oversized chest pockets provided a secure location for odds and ends, and the quick-dry fabric never got soaked despite the sweltering conditions. I was thankful for the rotated seams when I loaded my pack with eight liters of H2O; although my backpack felt like a sack of bricks, at least I didn’t have any chaffed spots.
One thing this shirt does not do, however, is fight the funk. I smelled especially ripe after three days of nonstop wear, and if I hadn’t brought a clean shirt with me, I might have been hiking alone on day four.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a shirt with enough function to handle grueling days on the trail but enough form to handle the equally arduous nights at your girlfriend’s parents’ dinner table, this shirt is worth a look.