ExOfficio Reef Runner Lite Long-Sleeve Shirt
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The lightest and best ventilated nylon shirt I've…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $40
The lightest and best ventilated nylon shirt I've ever owned!
Wow!...I really love this shirt. I have been using nylon shirts for bug protection for several years now...but I have always disliked how stuffy nylon is. The tight weave that defends against insect bites also makes these shirts considerably windproof...which is not always been a bad thing...as these shirts have more than once been a delight as an insulative layer on unexpectedly cool summer nights.
However...more often than not I am using these shirts in camp on hot muggy nights to defend against insect bites...and as a result I have often forgone the added protection of a nylon shirt (never my trekking pants and socks!) to stay cool...and dreamed of the day they would invent a shirt that is both comfortable on muggy nights while still providing excellent protection against insect bites.
I think Exofficio has done just that (or at least moved in that direction more than anyone else)...and the key I think is in the decision to use a lighterweight fabric and the introduction of ventilating mesh running down both sides of the shirt where the front and back of the shirt are sewn together (think really long pit-zips). The mesh is very subtle...so the shirt is very much appropriate for everyday use as it is use in the bush...and though they use a lighterweight fabric I have not had a problem with insect penetration (this shirt has only seen a year of heavy use...but it has been attacked relentlessly in the Ozarks!). In addition to the mesh sides and lightweight fabric the shirt provides roll-up sleeve tabs and mesh across the back and shoulders commonly found in similar shirts.
I have already mentioned that the shirt provides a little extra insulation...but the shirt also provides +30 UPF sun protection...while drying quickly and resisting stains. As if the added comfort...effectiveness...and versatility of this shirt were not enough...two additional features have me gushing over this product...and a product I highly recommend for anyone you can afford the steep price of ExOfficio clothing.
The two additional features being the forward shifted shoulder seams and the non-baffled chest pockets. I (like many I suspect)...get a little irritated where my backpack rubs my shoulders on miltiday hiking trips...so I have made it a policy to stay away from (as much as possible and affordable) shoulder seams which are situated at the top of my shoulders. The chest pockets are just a personal preference...as I find big puffy pockets on the chest of my shirts both unnecessary and bothersome...as I always seem to get things caught on them. Plus...the front zip security pockets give the shirt a decidedly less "jungle" look...that while not important...is something I find I no less prefer.
So I clearly love this shirt...but like all ExOffico gear I think the price is simply ridiculous...not Patagonia+TNF ridiculous...but still ridiculous. I had decided to experiment with the shirt this winter...so I stalked the product on Amazon till I was able to snatch one up at a more reasonable price (which I do all the time and am rewarded with a colorful array of clothing for my trouble)...but it is a strategy I cannot recommend enough!