Sunday, September 21, 2014

Gear Review: Perfect Hot Weather Shirts

With temperatures in the high 80s, and the humidity soaring above 80%, I walked around Hanoi, Siem Reap, Luang Prabang and Bangkok in perfect comfort. It wasn't because I was so well acclimatized to the hot, rainy season in Southeast Asia. (I wasn't.) I was wearing shirts that allowed me to briskly race around these towns without becoming a damp mess. Of course, I hadn't checked luggage on this month-long journey, necessitating frequently washing my clothes. Again, these shirts dried quickly and didn't wrinkled when packed in my small backpack. 

I only carried two of these Travex shirts manufactured by Eddie Bauer: One was the Adventurer Convertible shirt that allowed me to roll up the sleeves, thanks to the button tab. (I did find that the sleeves kept on unrolling despite the tab, but this was a mildly irritating problem that didn't detract from the comfort of wearing this shirt.) The second was sleeveless, referred to as the Gingham Sleeveless Camp shirt. 

They come in an array of colors and paired so well with pants, skirts and shorts that some Westerners I met on my travels wanted to order the exact same shirts. The Adventurer and the Gingham come with a sunscreen factor of 50+, are constructed of a soft, polyester/nylon fabric that easily wicks away sweat, and both have venting in the back to reduce the sweat factor. But the real surprise was the hidden zippered pocket; so hidden that it took me three days to stumble upon it.  It's perfect for some bills, credit cards or a hotel key. 

Now that I'm home, I'm still turning to both these shirts when it's hot here in New York City -- it was a humid 80 degrees F today. Because when you find high performance shirts that not only function well but also look appealing, you don't want to leave them in the drawer.