I have hiked in hundreds of different shirts, baselayers,…
Source: bought via a "pro deal"
Price Paid: $30-ish
I have hiked in hundreds of different shirts, baselayers, fishing shirts, sleeveless monstrosities, they all kind of work just fine. The Pack Polo is more than fine, it is AWESOME!! It stretches, it breathes, it layers, and it doesn't look ridiculous!! This shirt is ideal for the adventure traveler, hiker, backpacker, or bike commuter who wants something technical, yet presentable.
- Excellent collar
- Three button neck ventilation
- Super tough fabric
- Only comes in two colors
- Tiny chest pocket is useless
While wearing a pack or while bumming around town, the Pack Polo fits comfortably in the arm pits and mid section, offers enough length to be tucked in, but a straight bottom seam looks good hanging out too. The collar snugs up around the neck for blustery mornings and summits, but folds down and unbuttons to look nice while also breathing beautifully.
I wore this piece up and over three 4,000 footers on a cool early autumn day in New Hampshire's North Country. I wore the Pack Polo over a merino wool quarter-zip baselayer. Both shirts worked in concert for excellent breathability and moisture management. While taking a break in the sun I changed out of the wool and wore the Polo alone, it was magnificent and silky on the skin. It dried on my body in as long as it took me to eat an apple.
While traversing the alpine zone above Little Haystack, Lincoln, and Lafayette, in Franconia Notch State Park, I was subjected to both high winds and narrow trails. While moving past branches and stones I caught the Pack Polo on countless snags, never once did it pill or tare in any way. While taking a snack break and enjoying the views I threw a hooded softshell on over the Polo. The collar was wrapped nicely by the hoodie and I was warm and toasty instead of strangled and bunched in my multiple layers.
The tiny pocket on the chest is too small for some items and, even when used to store very small items, it bulges in a strange sort of way. I get having a pocket specifically for chapstick, perhaps a compass, but if that pocket looks silly, then I expect the target market for this semi-fashion piece are going to keep on looking. However, as a user that did not use the pocket, I still found the shirt to be amazing in every important way.
(Perhaps Sierra Designs will create a better utility pocket, one that holds chapstick, a writing instrument, and a compass… wouldn't that be sweet?!?!)
That being said about the pocket, I can't stress my love for the collar enough!! I believe the pocket can be improved once the designers at Cascade embrace their inner nerd. The collar, however, is an example of designers having embraced their inner backpacker!! Collar up, I look cool, but also stay warm and dry. Collar down, I'm casual, just kind of hiking and being a Badass. Collar buttoned keeps me toasty, Collar open, my core is nicely ventilated!! I could wash the Pack Polo in a creek before bed and throw on the same stink free and bone dry Pack Polo by dawn!!!
This is going to be my go-to travel and adventure shirt. I'm going to wear this piece like a uniform on every summit day and week long backpacking trip. I'm going to get several for all of my employees and have them wear it as a staff shirt in Badass Outdoors, Littleton, N.H.!!! I feel solid about wearing it to an art opening in Paris under a jacket, and great about trekking for three days in the German Alps and then tumbling into a Bavarian ale house to celebrate the climbs!!