I’ve worn Patagonia Capilene baselayers for a long time now, but never had tried any of their lightweight shirts until recently. Before a camping trip in the hot and humid southeast this summer, I decided to grab one of the Capilene Cool Daily shirts. I had heard a lot of praise, so I had high expectations.
This shirt is made from 100% polyester, with 50-100% recycled content depending on the color. The version I have is treated with Polygiene odor control technology, however, they just launched them with some new treatments: miDori bioSoft for added wicking and softness and HeiQ Fresh for odor control.
Even without the softening treatment, I found this fabric to have an excellent, smooth hand feel. Even better, it was also extremely lightweight while still maintaining a UPF 50+ sun protection rating.
Despite the lightweight nature of the fabric, I saw no indication of pilling from my GORUCK bag, which I have seen in the past on some of my other outdoors shirts. I typically don’t have issues with my GORUCK bags, but the combination of sweat and hours of exertion can take their toll. I suspect the silkiness of the fabric helped here.
Fit & Style
Patagonia lists this as a “Regular Fit”, however, I found it to be cut on the smaller side. In my normal Patagonia size (Large), the shirt was tight. I’m guessing they use their base layer sizing here, so that is understandable. If I were wearing this as a baselayer, Large would be the correct fit, however, wearing it as my only layer, I prefer the fit of an Extra Large.
As far as style goes, there isn’t much to say. It’s a technical-looking shirt, so I’m not picking this up for the looks. However, there is almost no sheen to the fabric — quite impressive for 100% polyester.
The shirt performed very well when it came to wicking away sweat. The shirt did get wet, but never felt heavy, and in fact, I think the sweat evaporation helped keep me cooler.
Secondarily, the UPF 50+ sun protection rating kept me from having to worry about sunscreen on my arms, which was initially why I wanted to go with a long sleeve shirt. Ultimately, I also appreciated the sleeves because I no longer had sweat running down my arms and dripping off my fingers.
When it came to odor resistance, the Polygiene did not work for me. The shirt stunk after just one day of hiking. Unless the new odor treatment is better, this is definitely a one wear shirt despite any claims.
The silky nature of the shirt also helped prevent chafing. If you are a hiker, you will be familiar with the dreaded nipple chafing — none of that here.
Overall I was impressed with the Capilene Cool Daily fabric. The wicking exceeded my expectations, and even though the odor treatment did not seem to work for me, I still think this is a great fabric.
The long sleeve version I tested has the extra benefits of protecting your arms from the sun and helping keep you comfortable even when you are sweating profusely. I can see this shirt staying in my hiking lineup and becoming a lightweight baselayer for the cooler weather.
If you are looking for a durable, comfortable, lightweight shirt for active pursuits, I think the Capilene Cool Daily line represents a great value.
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