REI New Route Henley T-shirt
This merino/nylon blend shirt is the pleasant surprise of the season. Though advertised for casual wear, it is a fine shirt for warm weather hiking.
- Airy mesh weave
- Quick drying
- Great looking
- Machine wash and dry
- Cut is a bit short for my long torso
A warm spring day in the foothills
Being a Merino wool lover, I was looking for a casual henley style shirt for everyday wear. Seeing that it was described as having a "Merino Wool/nylon blend mesh" weave, I thought it might be a comfy shirt in warm weather, so I ordered it up.
After wearing it a couple of times, I thought I should take it out hiking to see how it performed. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the 86% merino/14% nylon weave worked in changeable weather conditions.
The fit is close and a little bit "athletic" for a shirt marketed as casual. I got a size XL which is my normal size, and found it to have a fairly close fit, which is great for hiking as it wicks moisture really well. If you wanted a more casual fit, I'd recommend sizing up.
My only other remark is, that the fit seemed a little short for me (I have a long torso). But overall fit is good, and the back hem is dropped a little for better coverage there. There is also a long visible seam down the spine of the shirt, which I thought might be uncomfortable with a backpack, but I have never been aware of it at all.
There is a two button placket at the neck, which makes for a little bit of ventilation which you might not get from a regular t-shirt.
Now to the special sauce: Breathability and moisture transfer are exceptionally good. When cranking uphill on a warm Sierra foothill afternoon, I was hardly aware of the shirt at all. Those tell-tale sweat spots which you usually get on merino shirts barely appeared, and dried in a jiffy. I couldn't tell if it was "wicking," because there were almost no visible signs of it! I stayed cool and comfortable all the time in the sun, and when walking into those shady "cold" zones, I didn't get chilled.
When the wind kicked up a bit, there was plenty of layering room under my ultralight shell, and I continued to feel comfortable, all the way back to the car. At the end of every hike, the shirt finishes almost completely dry. With the small amount of nylon in the blend, I wasn't sure how the shirt would handle my copious perspiration. But the moisture management is quite remarkable.
I have had this shirt for a couple of months now, and have worn it hiking, out on the bike, and sitting around the porch having a glass of wine on a warm afternoon. After several machine wash and dry cycles, it still looks good as new. I am hopeful that it will continue to wear well.
Although I have several merino and merino blend shirts in my arsenal, this seems to be the one I am reaching for most of the time, especially in really warm weather. So even though REI markets it as a casual/travel shirt, I am loving it for warm weather hiking. Can't wait for our trails to open back up again so I can hike in it more!
I am a dyed in the wool (sorry!) Merino fan. This "casual" shirt has moved to the front of the closet for warm weather hikes and rides.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $60
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Historic Range: $23.83
Reviewers Paid: $60.00
86% merino wool/14% nylon