For us, travel shirts are a must have when you are planning to go somewhere hot and humid. The question of the long sleeve is debatable but for optimal sun and bug protection it is often what it takes.
We had plenty of time to test the Columbia Silver Ridge during our recent trip to Malaysia and here is what we found out.
The Silver Ridge appears in the mid range of Columbia’ travel shirt offering. It doesn’t come with the Insect Blocker insect repellent fabric but it is equipped with Omni-Shade for sun protection and Omni-Wick for high evaporation.
It’s got vents on each side and the sleeves can be rolled up and secured with a button but it doesn’t include an adjustable collar, like you can find on other travel shirts. The overall quality is good, with strong stitching and good look.
The fabric is very very light and feels very soft. The shell is made of 100% nylon with a polyester lining. It’s not common for this kind of rugged shirts to feel this luxurious and we were worried at first that it could easily be torn off on branches and rocks. Experience proves this could be an issue if you like going through the bush rather than along the path. If you are looking for something very resistant to thorns and branches, maybe this is not the shirt for you.
After 2 weeks of almost constant use, we noticed areas where the fabric started to wear out, like interior of the arms and belt. Another problem with the fabric is that it sticks to Velcros. Not a big issue depending on what you wear but it was always getting stuck to my Trangoworld trousers back pocket Velcro or even the one of my camera pouch. Beware.
What interested us most was its wicking properties during demanding activities. That’s the whole point of buying this king of shirts. When you are in the jungle you sweat a lot, and there is not much you can do about it but the Silver Ridge kept itself dry. It didn’t retain moisture for long and the large fit let enough air circulate inside.
If you are not wearing a backpack, the vents on the back do a good job too. If completely soaked (read sudden rain shower without protection) the shirt would dry out in less than an hour, even in high humidity. Nothing to fault here, Columbia’ Omni-wick works.
As mentioned in introduction, the lack of extra length in the collar so you can protect your neck from the sun is a shame. It is a real plus when walking in an exposed area or even for extra bug protection.
Another downside of this shirt are the Velcros on the two front pockets. First they do not always secure properly. When the pocket is full, they generally don’t stay in place. Secondly they tend to stick to the shirt’s fabric, like on the sleeves when operating, which is very annoying.
Not a bad Shirt, the sweat gets out, the shirt stays dry and it feels great on the skin. Iron out the few issues with the collar and the pockets and it would even be great. It’s fragility however will mean hardcore travellers will want to think twice before getting this one. Would we take it to the jungle again: yes, definitely.