Name: Fuzzy Monkey (David)
Date of Review: May, 2012
Photo Album – REI Sahara Tech Long-Sleeve Shirt
DISCLAIMER: Readers should be aware I’m currently employed by REI, however, I was not paid to write this review. The information in this review is from my own actual experience and done on my own time. Readers should also be aware I purchased this shirt using my employee discount.
BACKGROUND: I’ve successfully thru-hiked the West Coast Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and Appalachian Trail. I also have numerous other backpacking trips under my belt. The weather I’ve dealt with ranges vastly from the sun drenched deserts to snowy mountain peaks. I choose to wear this REI Sahara Tech Long-Sleeve Shirt for my 2010 Pacific Crest Trail Thru-Hike. I purchased this shirt in late 2009 or early 2010 prior to my PCT hike.
DESCRIPTION: This is a long-sleeve men’s size large shirt. There is mesh ventilation on the back shoulders covered and secured with velcro. This mesh rolls forward to the front pockets. There are two large chest pockets one on either side held closed by Velcro. A small parts pocket is on the left sleeve held closed by a single button. This is a center button-up shirt with collar around the neck. Extra buttons on the sleeves allows you to roll up and secure them in place. There is also mesh in the armpit area. There are two cord loops one on the back of the shirt and one on the left front pocket.
REVIEW: I worn this shirt for my 2010 Pacific Crest Trail. Whenever, I talk about this hike people end up asking what type of gear or equipment I used. I choose to wear this shirt and ended up buying a second shirt in Bend OR. This particular shirt worked well for me while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.
The first reason I wanted a long-sleeve shirt was to shield the sun from my forearms. I knew hiking in the desert was going to be hot and sunny. So having a long-sleeve shirt was one of my first criteria for selecting a shirt. Since I use trekking poles when I hike I knew the tops of my forearms would get sunburned if I didn’t have them covered. The Sahara Tech shirt fit really well for this purpose.
The second reason I choose this shirt is that I wanted something light and airy. The Sahara Tech shirt is made from a light nylon material. I also liked the mesh in the armpits and back. Hiking the desert is hot and I sweat a lot. I wanted a shirt that would not be really hot and stick to my skin a lot. This shirt worked perfect for hiking in the hot desert. I also found that having a long sleeve nylon material shirt in the desert also protects you from the prickly plants and vegetation in the desert.
A minor benefit is the shirt is visual appealing. The shirt is designed in a dressy fashion. The collar, long-sleeves, and button cuffs makes for a nice looking shirt. For any long distance hiker you often look homeless and dirty. By having a nicer looking shirt I felt a bit more distinguished and not so homeless looking.
PERFORMANCE: Both my Sahara Tech shirts worked well for their intended purpose. I worn my fist Sahara Tech every day for several months. As a thru-hiker, you are often limited to the amount of times you have a washer and dryer available to you. My shirt often went weeks without being washed or cleaned and performed well. I worn this shirt in the desert and in the High Sierra’s. It worked fine for all of the weather conditions I endured during this trek.
I take a lot of pictures when I hike. One of the things I like about this shirt is the large front pockets. My point and shoot camera fit well inside the front chest pockets.
I also sweat a lot, when I’m hiking, even in the cold mountains or colder fall weather I still sweat. The nylon material is quick drying and very effective. If the weather is sunny just hanging the shirt out to dry is quick and easy.
The only disappoint I had with the shirt was the buttons are not secured very well. After only a few times of wearing the shirt two of the buttons fell off. I ended up sewing them up really well and never had a problem with the two I re-sewed myself. Eventually the other buttons needed to be re-done. For a shirt that is rated as a hiker shirt, this was a little disappointing. It only took a little effort to re-do the buttons but for a shirt that cost what it does I’d expect a little better quality securing the buttons.
CONCLUSION: I’ve been really satisfied with my REI Sahara Tech Long-Sleeve shirt. I put this shirt to the test for thousands of miles along the Pacific Crest Trail. When my first shirt started to show real signs of wear I ended up purchasing another shirt to finish the trail. The buttons are the only quality issues I had with the shirt.
Fuzzy Monkey Likes:
- Light and Airy
- Large Chest Pockets
- Quick Drying
Fuzzy Monkey Dislikes:
- Buttons not secured well
Fuzzy Monkey Approved: YES