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The Outdoor Research Echo Duo long sleeve shirt is…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: around $40
The Outdoor Research Echo Duo long sleeve shirt is a fantastic shirt for backpacking. It is lightweight, breathable, wicks moisture, dries quickly, and provides UV protection — all from a fabric that is silky soft against the skin.
- Very lightweight
- Very breathable
- Moisture wicking
- Quick drying
- UV protection
- very comfortable – soft drape and silky soft against the skin
- Can snag more than tightly-woven nylon
- IMO color choices aren't great
- Mozzies can bite through
This is a review of the Outdoor Research Echo Duo long-sleeve shirt. The Echo comes in four styles: short sleeve, long sleeve, long sleeve zip, and long sleeve hoodie. I have one of each but the zip. The fabric and cut are the same on all of these versions. The long sleeve differs from the short sleeve by having longer sleeves (duh) and it also has a little key pocket on the bottom front of the wearer’s right side.
They also make one-color and two-color versions of the shirt that are virtually identical except for the two-color Duo having contrasting colors. This review is of the Duo standard long sleeve because that is the first of these I owned and the one I’ve used the most. I am not affiliated with Outdoor Research or any retailer that sells their stuff in any way.
The OR Echo is a fantastic shirt, just not enough stars on the rating scale for it. The shirts are featherlight. My Duo long sleeve weighs 3.6oz on my scale, while the short sleeve weighs 2.9oz and the l/s hoodie weighs 4.5oz (all size M). The fit is true and on the athletic side.
This shirt is extremely soft and comfortable. The polyester fabric, which OR calls AirVent, has a soft drape to it and has a silky smoothness against the skin. The fabric is very breathable, wicks moisture well, and dries quickly. It has a “waffle” like grid pattern with little squares of denser (but still thin) fabric separated by a grid of thinner fabric, which no doubt increase the breathability.
And yet, when the weather turns chilly, this shirt delivers a surprising amount of warmth for something so thin and airy. I often will bring two of my Echo shirts and layer them for warmth while sleeping or in camp on chilly evenings or mornings and then peel down to one layer when hitting the trail.
The fabric has a bit of give so it stretches with you but doesn't get stretched out and baggy. Raglan sleeves means no seam across the top of the shoulder, helpful when wearing a backpack. The construction is top quality.
The Echo Duo also has decent UV protection. While the shirt is only rated at UPF 15, I have worn the long sleeve version for 8- to 10-day trips in summer in the Sierra, mostly above 8,000' and above treeline, and I have never gotten a burn or even any color through the shirt.
The fabric also is treated with Polygiene for odor control, and I have found it to work really well. I basically wear the shirt all day and then sleep in it as a baselayer at night, so literally have it on 24/7 for over a week, and as long as I wash in a lake or river every other day I don’t get stinky (or so say the people I hike with and bump into after coming off the trail).
There are a few points on the minus side of the ledger, but they are minor. Some people feel this shirt can be a little too revealing, with the soft fabric letting nipples or belly buttons show through, but I have not found that to be the case personally (see photos below). The fabric overall is not prone to catching a snag, but it is more prone than a tightly-woven nylon hiking shirt. Still, I have put 300+ miles on my shirt including busting through manzanita, slogging through pine branches, and scraping against granite with little wear, no holes, and still 100% functional.
I am not wild about the color choices. I find most of the colors either too dark for weather in which I would want such a lightweight, breathable, moisture-wicking fabric, or too bright and gaudy for my taste. I own the “pewter/alloy” color combination, which is mainly a very light taupe (at a glance you would call it off-white) with medium gray color accents. I wish they made a light tan or light olive color, something in a more “natural” color and a light tone (because darker colors hold more heat and attract mosquitoes).
Which brings me to the last point on the negative side of the ledger, with the fabric being so airy and breathable the mozzies can bite right through. But I just treat with permethrin every Spring and have not had significant bug problems.
All in all a great. Light and very comfortable, fits well, wicks moisture, and dries quickly.