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6/2/2016 10:33 AM
 

A few years back I picked up a Columbia long sleeve, button up shirt with the flap pockets without buttons on the chest, and that has been my go-to shirt for most of my outdoor adventures.  However, lately I have been searching for what in my mind would be the ideal outdoorsman's "performance" shirt but have not found what I am looking for, so I have this idea.

My inspiration stems from the old frontiersman, or "hunting" shirts that were a pullover style with a quarter length button or lace up front and a fold down collar.  Other than Carhartt's Hickory Stripe Shirt, which is a little heavy for warm weather use, the closest thing I have seen to this design is the current "combat" shirt that is popular with military and law enforcement.   

The problem with most combat shirts is that they are designed to wear under armor, so the moisture wicking fabric on the torso is not durable enough to stand up to repeatedly snagging on brush without pilling or tearing.  So my design would have to incorporate a moisture wicking fabric for the torso that would be durable enough to withstand exposure to brush while maintaining a tougher fabric for the arms as the combat shirts already have. I would keep the quarter zip collar that can be folded down and either remove the sleeve pockets completely, or re-design them to be low profile, slash type pockets with zippers. 

I am on the fence as to whether or not I would incorporate chest pockets with this shirt.  If I did, they would be of a similar design to my favored Columbia shirt, ie. flap pockets without buttons.

So the idea is a shirt that can be worn as a stand alone garment for warm/hot weather use or as a layer in cooler climates, can be worn tucked or un-tucked, wicks moisture but is durable, has minimal snag points for use in heavy brush, has a collar that can be folded or zipped up, no buttons to cause hot spots if using a chest rig or kit bag, long sleeves that can be rolled up, comes in earth tones (tan, green and grey) and minimalizes a tactical appearance. 

So my question for the experienced outdoorsmen here is, does such a design have merit?  If so, what features might you add or change?

 
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6/2/2016 12:34 PM
 

Look at Australian and New Zealand work shirts, half button is very popular over there and as it gets hot it isn't hard to find fairly thin fabrics. Swanndri and Hard Yakka are the two brands I bought when I was over there.

I think we will start to see more combat-shirt style hybrid shirts on the market as more brands have a military division. Arcteryx has one that trickled over from the "LEAF" side, knit merino torso with woven nylon sleeves.

I like twin flap pockets (large enough for a pocket notebook), a non-pointed collar (wither mandarin or just more rounded) and a cuff without the normal split placket (open tube like a BDU blouse). the reverse button arrangement of the USMC blouse cuff is perfect, nothing exposed to snag. Half button with tape buttons or snaps, haven't decided which I prefer.

 
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6/2/2016 2:39 PM
 

I find that I have two different "shirts" I wear in the backcountry and really nothing else. For warm weather, I wear either an Ely Cattleman or Pendleton Frontier shirt. These are mostly cotton with some poly western snap shirts in a very thin fabric. When it's hot, nothing else comes close to the performance of this fabric type. I usually size up some for freedoom of movement. They don't last forever because of the fabric weight. 2 or 3 years ago now I put together a prototype using this kind of fabric not very different than what you describe. Haven't gone anywhere with it though.

The other is a woven synthetic baselayer with a Windcheater over it. What I've found in my environment is that if it's warm enough to take the Windcheater off, it's probably warm enough to go straight to the aforementioned cowboy shirt and put the other layers in my pack.


We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
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6/2/2016 3:46 PM
 

I remember you guys where experimenting with thin woven cotton hoody/smocks a few years ago, did you just find a shirt+sun hat to work better? Probably largely superseded by the windcheater as well I imagine.

I really like woven shirts but I hate layering with them. Once its cold enough to need more then the shirt and a wind shell I definitely go back to knit. Rail Riders have always had a few shirts that where close to what I wanted but never quite close enough for me to buy one. I'm looking for some better mesh to try the underarm panels but I don't know if they are really much better then just having a thin enough shirt.

 
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6/2/2016 4:03 PM
 

Coincidentally, the First Spear  "Asset" Technical Field Shirt is the closest combat shirt design I have found to what I have in my head, albeit without the pockets and using different material.  FR material is a nice option, but for a hiking/hunting/backpacking shirt I don't see the need.  Plus the Polartec material used in the Asset seems to be geared more towards warmth, and I'm interested in a warm weather option.  http://www.first-spear.com/product.ph...

What I like about my Columbia shirt is it's very lightweight, (100% polyester) has good freedom of movement in the shoulders and arms and breathes well.  The material stands up to outdoor use and doesn't snag easily on vegetation. I purchased it several years ago at a Sportsman's Warehouse on clearance but unfortunately, Columbia doesn't make a shirt in that style anymore.

In regards to having a pullover shirt instead of a button up, I may be a bit jaded from my years of wearing poorly designed uniform shirts while working in the Sonoran Desert.  In my experience, buttons have the potential of getting snagged on gear or when climbing up rocky terrain, as well as breaking or getting ripped off.  In my opinion, a pullover style shirt would be lighter, cooler, streamlined and more comfortable. 

 
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6/2/2016 4:42 PM
 
As Fowler mentioned, Rail Riders makes some shirts that are sort of between Evan's cowboy shirts and your feature set. The Equator HT is lightweight nylon/polyester that should be very breathable. If it holds up at all like my RR pants, it will last a very long time. Not at all tactical though. The challenge is always what they have in stock re: size and color. Sometimes they have exactly what I want, sometimes nothing close.
 
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6/5/2016 12:00 PM
 

This time of the year, when it clouds up or the wind picks up, I usually go with a pullover wind shirt over whatever wool/syn layer I have. Have a couple of older beater ones, but picked up a Wild Things in very fine weave nylon that I like. Zip neck and only pocket is zip left high and doesn't interfere with packs.

 


"Law is error, you see. It's an attempt to write down a lot of things that everyone ought to know anyway" ~~~ Freeman ibn Solomon - The Gone-Away World (Nick Harkaway)
 
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6/11/2016 3:38 PM
 
I have most of the different Railriders shirts. Look at the Equator, Adventure, and the Ecomesh tops. The Ecomesh is a really popular top for long-distance backpackers.

I don't have the Equator top, but it's similar to the other two. It also comes in a decent Eucalytus color. They are out of stock right now, you'll have to wait until they get their next shipment in.

I used to be a Railriders dealer BTW. Good stuff all around.
 
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