Sierra Designs Long Sleeve Pack Polo
This is a really well-designed shirt that could be great with tweaks to the fabric and sizing.
- Sun protection
- Sized small
- Fabric too coarse and constricting
I bought this shirt hoping that it would be my go-to shirt for backpacking. Unfortunately, the sizing is simply too small, and the fabric is not all that comfortable.
Fit & Comfort: Sierra Designs products run really small, I guess. The size chart says 34-37" in the chest for a small, and they really mean it. I normally wear a 37" or 38", and this shirt fits snugly around my chest. The really constricting area is in the shoulders, though, and I always felt like the shirt was limiting my shoulder movement.
It doesn't help that the fabric has almost no stretch. This lack of stretch has the added downside that it is almost impossible to push the sleeves up to your elbows for more venting or when trying to keep the cuffs from getting wet when washing hands, for example.
The fabric is lightweight but not particularly soft. The mesh knit feels rough on the skin, and after two days on the trail, the combination of pack shoulder straps and the rough mesh was causing the skin on my collar bones to become raw. I ended up using strips of Leukotape to cover those spots and prevent blisters or worse.
Adjustability: There is a three-button placket, which offers some venting but not nearly as much as the long 1/2 zip on my Rab Interval (reviewed separately). The collar can flip up and button around the neck for sun protection, but it was a little tight on the neck to wear it like that for very long.
Breathability/wicking/warmth: The shirt was very breathable, thanks to the aforementioned mesh knit, and seemed to wick moisture away from the skin. Because of the mesh fabric, this shirt is not particularly warm, but it is easy to use it like a baselayer and slip a fleece over it.
Abrasion/durability: This is a robust fabric—possibly too tough—and looks like it can handle a lot of wear.
Function: There is a small chest pocket that is designed to be usable even with pack straps. I couldn't find much use for it, and it's so small that anything of size will make a big lump there since the shirt fits so closely.
Summary: All in all, this is a pretty well-designed shirt that could be much better. Maybe adding a little spandex to the fabric—not so much that it affects the wicking performance—could make it less constricting. And people should know that it really runs tight. I gave it to my 14-yo son, who weighs about 10 lbs less while being two inches taller, and it fits him better.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $55
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Historic Range: $47.97-$79.99
Reviewers Paid: $55.00