A warm weather shirt with sun and insect protection
In warm weather I prefer to wear a hiking shirt rather than a wicking base layer as I find one cooler and with more useful features, especially pockets and roll-up sleeves. Recently I’ve been trying the Craghoppers NosiLife Adventure Long-Sleeved Shirt. This is made from polyamide with anti-insect and anti-microbial treatments and an SPF of 40. The fabric has a pleasant cotton-like feel. There’s a mesh lining across the top of the back and a vent in the main fabric – this is covered by a rucksack and so not actually much use when walking. The collar has an inner flap, so it can be turned up to cover your neck. There are five pockets. The sleeves have inner tabs to hold them in place when rolled up. The Large size weighs 290 grams though I don’t think the weight matters is this is a shirt for wearing all day not carrying in the pack.
I’ve found the Adventure Shirt comfortable and quite fast wicking on really hot days – there’s been a few of those this year. When it does get damp it dries fast. The sleeves can be easily rolled up and the high collar is useful to prevent a sunburned neck. The sleeves are quite long and so can be pulled over your hands if needed. The shirt is quite long too and stays in trousers when tucked in. I prefer the shirt outside my trousers for maximum ventilation, but it is useful to tuck it in if it gets a little chilly. The fabric isn’t windproof, but it is more wind-resistant than a base layer and will keep off breezes and light winds.
The NosiLife anti-insect treatment – Craghoppers don’t say what it is only that it’s permanent and doesn’t wash out – seems to work well. On one day there were many clegs buzzing round me looking to bite. I noticed that several landed on my trousers but that others approached the shirt and then backed off. On a midgey evening the little monsters didn’t land on the shirt either. They did land everywhere else of course!
Mostly I like the Adventure Shirt and think it’s a good choice for summer walking. But – and for me it’s a big but – there’s the pockets. Only one of them is useful, a napoleon-style zipped one. This is roomy and will hold a map (though in hot weather this’ll get sweaty – maps aren’t breathable!). The other pockets are just too small. There’s a tiny one on one sleeve that could hold a bus ticket. It has a popper opening and so is easy to get into. The two patch pockets have small openings and aren’t very roomy despite having bellows sections. My smartphone fits in but the top sticks out so it isn’t secure as I can’t close the pocket. Not that doing so is easy anyway. The pockets have tiny buttons I find difficult to open and close. Poppers would be better or else much bigger button holes. There’s a zipped security compartment inside one of the pockets but again I find this hard to use as it’s so small. Pockets like this are useful for passports when travelling but this one isn’t big enough.
With bigger, easier to open pockets this would be an excellent shirt. However, for me the pockets are one of the advantages of a shirt like this so the ones on the Adventure Shirt greatly reduce its usefulness. I use pockets all the time for my smartphone and reading glasses and sometimes map (especially abroad with smaller maps), compass (not in the same pocket as phone), notebook and other small items I want to hand. If pockets aren’t important then this shirt is pretty good. The fabric is excellent, and it provides good sun and insect protection.