The only thing better than getting new gear is putting it to the test. I made a serious dent in my gear budget last month and have been itching to hit the trails for weeks. I finally broke free on Friday for three wonderful days in the Rincon Mountains. One bit of gear that I always appreciate is quality clothing. Certainly you can get by on blue jeans and flannel shirts, but with the proliferation of performance fabrics the outdoor lifestyle is so much more comfortable.
A good example is Columbia’s Titanium line. These clothes aren’t exactly cheap, however they deliver in comfort, weight, breathability, drying, and durability. I picked up a Columbia Silver Ridge II Long-Sleeve Shirt for $50 primarily because I was looking for a light weight long sleeve shirt to protect my arms during the inevitable bushwhacking phase of my hikes. The Silver Ridge exceeded my expectations. At 8.5 ounces, the shirt is extremely light and breathable. Plus, you can wad it up to fit into any crevasse in your pack. The shirt has large vents behind the sleeves and a soft, mesh liner along the shoulders and upper back. The sleeves each sport a button loop to keep them rolled up when you want a little extra cooling.
The breast pockets are OK. They are a good size and the right pocket has two compartments which is a nice feature, but with the microscopic velcro tabs I wouldn’t trust these pockets to secure an after dinner mint. Columbia, if you are listening, either put on a decent button or a larger strip of velcro! The pocket closures are the one bad feature of this shirt.
The material is great. They used a very tight weave nylon rated to UPF 50 UV protection and I am very pleased with the durability. My gear is exposed to cactus and mesquite thorns, rock abrasion, and all manner of branches, brambles and thickets. After three days this shirt may have smelled bad, but there were very few pulled threads.
So, two thumbs up to Columbia (but fix the pocket closures)! This is as close as I have come to the perfect desert shirt.
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About the Author: Tucson, AZ Realtor & Investor. My true passions however are hiking and whisky (although generally not at the same time). If you have a question about any of these just drop me a line!