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Free Fly Bamboo Lightweight Long Sleeve

photo: Free Fly Bamboo Lightweight Long Sleeve long sleeve performance top

Specs

Price MSRP: $49.95
Current Retail: $49.95
Reviewers Paid: $30.19-$50.00
Weight 140 GSM
UPF 20 sun protection
Materials Bamboo Breathe 140 (70% viscose from bamboo / 30% polyester)

Reviews

2 reviews
5-star:   0
4-star:   1
3-star:   1
2-star:   0
1-star:   0

If you're tired of stiff performance shirts, this shirt is a great soft and lightweight option. The bamboo polyester blend feels more like a cotton shirt than other performance tops I've found. It is so comfortable that I also wear this shirt around the house and to bed (in addition to hiking, biking, and backpacking). I don't do that with other performance tops.

Pros

  • Soft/comfortable
  • UV protection
  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Quick drying
  • Moisture wicking
  • Layers well

Cons

  • Gets pilly after medium wear
  • Odor resistance falls short

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I've had two of these shirts for over three years and I love them. They have no bells or whistles (outside of UV protection). They are just straightforward, comfortable active tops. 

I opted for the men's version rather than the women's because 1) I didn't want an overly fitted top and 2) I didn't want the extended length in the sleeves or the thumbholes (also the men's version was on sale). 

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Water Resistance/Breathability/Moisture: Not water resistant at all!! But it is very breathable, dries really fast, and wicks moisture. This shirt was designed as a fishing shirt, so it is meant to get wet and dry quickly. 

That being said, I decided not to take this shirt on my PCT thru-hike, because of how the shirt felt when soaked with sweat under my backpack. I don't mind the moisture for a few days to a week, but longer than that I worried about chafing. I felt like a stiffer, more synthetic material might hold up better for a multi-month trip.  

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Warmth/Layering: I've worn this shirt in the desert and as a base layer in the winter. It is an easy lightweight layer that handles hot temperatures (100°F+) and extended sun exposure really well, and moves sweat away from your skin on cold days. 

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Construction/Durability/Abrasion: Over the past three years I've used these shirts for 4-5 day backpacking trips, cycling, and many, many day hikes.

From a performance perspective they hold up well to heavy use—no stitches or seams have ripped, though there is a loosening in the armpit seams (pictured below).

From an aesthetic perspective they get "pilly" after about 10 wears and washes. This hasn't impacted the performance, but is worth noting if you're particular about fabric. The armpits get discolored with sweat after heavy use. 

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***I'd like to note that since I purchased these shirts three/four years ago the logo location on the shirt has changed and I do not know if other features have changed. As far as I can tell from the Free Fly website, everything outside of the logo location looks the same! 

Experience

I've owned two of these shirts for more than three years. They have probably each done about 400 miles.

I've used them on multi-day backpacking trips in New Hampshire, California, and Arizona, as well as on many day hikes and bike rides.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $30.19 (on sale)

Jake W

Great review, Christine!


2 years ago
Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

Yes, great review, Christine! I also appreciate you bringing an outdoor brand to our attention that hadn't been reviewed yet. It's also interesting to hear about brands that may be focused on one activity (fly fishing) but have plenty of crossover to general outdoor use. Thanks!


2 years ago

No question, Free Fly fabric is superior to all synthetic when it comes to cooling, but the tailoring is not up to a snuff for a garment at this price.

RE: Free Fly Bamboo lightweight long sleeve shirt, the sleeves and side seams are single needle with standing selvage, basic cheap t-shirt approach. When compared to the NRS silkweight poly shirt with all double needle flat seams and angel wing shoulders, Free Fly comes up way short.

Pros

  • Natural fabric

Cons

  • Poor tailoring

No question, Free Fly fabric is superior to all synthetic when it comes to cooling, but the tailoring is not up to a snuff for a garment at this price.

RE: Free Fly Bamboo lightweight long sleeve shirt, the sleeves and side seams are single needle with standing selvage, basic cheap t-shirt approach. When compared to the NRS silkweight poly shirt with all double needle flat seams and angel wing shoulders, Free Fly comes up way short.

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Free Fly is gray and NRS is blue.

Looking at sleeve design, the gray Free Fly is basic t-shirt construction while the blue NRS has angel wing for non-binding movement not to mention much stronger construction. Sleeves on Free Fly are single needle standing selvage like the sides. NRS are flat seam double needle.

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Experience

Still looking for a cool lightweight shirt for kayaking in full sun.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $50

Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

Welcome to Trailspace, Bart. Can you show others some pictures of your Free Fly shirt in your review? Thanks!


3 months ago
Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

Thanks for the pics, Bart.


3 months ago

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