Starter Long-Sleeve Dri-Star Shirt
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $12
Simple...Cheap...Functional...Walmart Performance Top!
- Shoulder seams
- No hood
So I've been trying to add reviews that you don't normally see on websites such as TS...reviewing gear that I think is better suited for the average or budget camper...than the UL or BoBo hiker.
The Dri-Star performance tops (both short and long-sleeve) by Starter is one of my favorite pieces of budget clothing...and I believe it stands toe-to-toe with my Patagonia and TNF tops...if not above them! Sure Patagonia and TNF have a few more bells and whistles...but the Starter Dri-Star tops are super cheap...just as durable...often lighter weight...and wick like nobody's business.
Are the Starter Dri-Star tops made in China? (probably)...do they have cool labels and do neat tricks? (nope)...but when I go outdoors there is nobody who cares about such things...and I have never figured out why clothing has so many pockets and things...and for the price of one Patagonia top I can get 5-8 of these! If you can afford the fancier labels...and can make use of 6-7 pockets on every piece of clothing plus a few zippered things here and there...then I say go for it (maybe you can figure out how to do away with a backpack!).
For me personally...I cannot afford the price of outdoor clothing...nor do I know why outdoor clothing is so expensive...give me a pair of nylon pants with two front pockets situated just below my waist-belt and a bunch of HOODED (why do so many men's tops come hoodless?) pocket-less pull-overs made with different weight fabrics of nylon + polyester + wool and I would never look for clothing anywhere else!
If you share the above perspective on clothing...then I think you'll find that Starter Dri-Star tops are everything you could ask for...and at an affordable price too. I use these shirts as undershirts all year...and I have never had a problem with durability (last 10 times longer than a cotton undershirt).
The fabric resist stains and dries super fast...and wicks sweat and moisture away from my skin as good as most other brands...even when worn more loosely in the summer. The fabric is really lightweight...which makes it great for layering (I so wish they made a hooded version). The tops do have a looser knit than other performance fabrics...this should mean that the tops do not wick as well...but when properly sized (snug) the tops have always served me well as an excellent baselayer.
Of course I do have a few complaints...though they are not make-or-break complaints.
The first complaint is that the tops have seams that sit directly on top of the shoulders...this can cause discomfort under a backpack...though with these particular tops I have not experienced any. The lack of discomfort might have something to do with the piece of fabric that sits underneath the shoulder seam...but regardless...I do try to steer clear of tops with similar shoulder seams when backpacking.
More importantly (at least to me)...the shirt does not come in a hooded option...why manufacturer's think men do not need lightweight hooded shirts (or hooded shirts in general) is beyond me...I swear our heads get cold too...no need to make thumb-holes...I'll punch some in if I really need them...but please do something about the overall lack of hoods in men's clothing.
All of my girlfriends over the years have had what seems like millions of lightweight hoodies made in every color and fabric imaginable...I have two (that are not women's)...and both cost a small fortune as far as shirts go (Ibex and ExOfficio). Some people might see hoods as unnecessary...but like long-sleeves...I find it easy enough to not wear the hood...just as I do to pull my sleeves up...and when I need either...there they are...attached and ready to deploy...didn't even need to dig them out of my pack!
In summary...if you're not trying to collect labels or have a bazillion dollars to spend on what amounts to urban-wear for me...give these shirts a serious look-over. I think you'll like what you find:-)