REVIEWED: Columbia Mens Silver Ridge Long Sleeve Shirt
Can this lightweight and smart looking travel shirt cut it both on a backpacking and a business trip?
Travelling light is all about making choices, and hopefully not making any compromises. You know those two pairs of shoes you always take on your travels? Pick one, And leave the other pair at home. the same goes for underwear and everything else in your luggage, and you can usually get away with it if you go for the wash and wear tactic. But does it all break down when a trip involves both leisure and business?
Here at TravGear, a lot of our trips involve a day or so at a conference or conducting business meetings, followed by a few days of general travel. sometimes that involves a hike, humidity, rain, sunshine … whatever. being prepared for anything is very difficult when you’re committed to travelling with one carry on cabin bag. Which is why we’ve always been a bit obsessed with Columbia’s travel shirts. Seeing that the latest Silver Ridge collection included a bright white shirt, we had to try it out.
Rule of thumb
Something has happened at Columbia. Whether it’s gone for a cheaper fabric is unclear, but the material used in this new Silver Ridge shirt is not the same as in former iterations. It’s not as soft, and there’s a tighter weave. In use it feels a little colder on the skin when in air-conditioned places like airports, but functionally it behaves just the same. As a rule of thumb, when it comes to travel gear you should find a brand you love and that fits you well, then use it all the time … for about two years. Then re-asses, because by then, its suppliers, its designs and its manufacturer will have completely changed. However, although different, this shirt is almost as good as its previous versions.
Sizing is important. Although I wear large men’s shirts – bought in Europe – almost all the time, when it comes to US brands like Columbia and ExOfficio, I have to buy medium size. This example includes two clever pockets that use Velcro to seal, but also have one side sewn-up so they don’t open easily. Still, neither are particularly secure. The collar has a fold-up section to offer more protection from the sun, which is perfect for hiking. Another design change sees the straps used to hold-up the sleeves attach to a button that’s now shielded. Nice touch – as are the slightly tapered cuffs, another new addition. However, it doesn’t drop creases as easily as the previous version.
The fabric is sun protective and does perform well in humidity, wicking away just enough sweat to lay claim to being a travel shirt. How long will the fabric last without getting blemishes and tears? About two years probably – as with must travel shirts, though once you’ve assembled clothes specifically for travelling in as a capsule wardrobe, it’s best to set them aside and use them only for travel. For a bright white shirt like this one, that goes double.
Ideal for general travel and just about smart enough for a smart-casual appearance at a meeting (though don’t turn up to a banquet in it), the Columbia Mens Silver Ridge Long Sleeve Shirt proved ideal for hot and humid conditions, kept the sweat at bay, and dried-off quickly after a wash. White is a brave colour for travel, of course, but the Columbia Mens Silver Ridge Long Sleeve Shirt is also available in dark grey, brown and blue. However, as impressive as this shirt is, it’s not quite as good – as smart of as soft – as the former version. But on value, we’ve got zero complaints.