By: Britany Greenwalt + Save to a List
Uncomfortable clothing can quickly ruin an activity. When thinking back on a hike, I will remember how often I had to tug my shirt down, fix my sleeve, or got too hot/cold over most other details. That is one of the reasons I was excited to test out Eddie Bauer’s Guide UPF 2.0 Shirt.
I’m not a huge fan of summer. I know, I know, it sounds crazy. The Midwest can be brutal as the rollercoaster of heat, humidity, and rain rolls in. Oh, and the bugs – a LOT of bugs. My summer hiking wardrobe is pretty sparse when it comes to shirts that can hold up against all those things.
When I unboxed the Guide UPF 2.0 Shirt, I hoped I had found an answer to my problems. I was thrilled that it was feather-light. The fabric felt durable while remaining breezy – the perfect combination for outdoor apparel.
The Guide Shirt arrived with one sleeve long and one rolled short. I love this versatility for Midwest weather. I have tried other shirts with roll-up sleeves but found many were bulky or didn’t stay in place. The first thing I did once I put on the Guide shirt was to attempt to roll the sleeve.
I was ecstatic when I started to roll it up, and it resembled the sleeve that had arrived already cuffed. This almost never happens, and I credit the fabric because the rolled sleeve didn’t slide around and become undone as easily as some other lightweight fabrics. The material allowed for a firm and even roll. The length of the cuffed sleeves was great for movement, falling just at the elbow. My circulation wasn’t cut off when I flexed my biceps in this shirt!
Eddie Bauer created a perfect balance of fit and function with the Guide UPF 2.0 Shirt. It is loose and comfortable but slim – no box-like fit with this one. You can show off curves, and the shirt actually fits without being tight in some spots.
After wearing the shirt for just a few moments at home, I knew I could live in it for a variety of activities, and not just hiking. I immediately put it to good use as I got sidetracked by the landscaping rock in my backyard. Two hours later, I finished and felt accomplished, but most importantly, I wasn’t miserable or soaked in sweat.
The FreeDry® moisture-wicking technology kept its promise and kept me dry. My hiking window for the day had passed, so I continued working outside around the house. I found the FreeShade® UPF 50 sun protection to be a bonus. Once again, the quick-drying fabric saved the day, as I got out the trimmer to finish what I had started.
One of the most impressive things about the shirt is that it didn’t have an odor after all that work – not even a hint of a ripe, sweaty body. I prefer to wear something over and over and only wash it when necessary. I hate laundry, and I try to reduce water usage wherever I can, which gives the Guide UPF 2.0 another win in my book. I am also a part-time traveler, so the ability to get apparel I can wear for multiple days and functions, requires little space, and doesn’t require frequent laundering on the road is crucial.
A few days later, I had the chance to try the shirt on a day hike with my girlfriend and dog. The morning air still had a chill when we left, so I started the day with the sleeves long. The button snaps on the cuffs and the straps that hold them made it easy to unroll the sleeves and go.
I am sometimes wary of snap button closures and usually opt for traditional buttons, but Eddie Bauer has changed my mind with these heavy-duty snaps. I consider myself a decently strong human, and I almost had a little trouble unsnapping the front buttons because they fit together so well. This is not a complaint; it is a compliment. It was still much easier than most buttons.
My pack was on my back, and we were on the trail. The true test had begun. Would the shirt ride up? Would I be pulling it down every few seconds? The answer was a resounding and welcomed, “No!” Thanks to the length of the center-back, the shirt stayed in place, and I spent more time enjoying the trail than tugging down my shirt. Thanks to the vented mesh back panel, my back stayed drier than usual. The mesh kept me much cooler overall, even with a pack pressed to my back. I felt an unexpected breeze when I dropped the pack as we played around near the stream.
I rolled the sleeves up as the day got warmer under the canopy. The ease of rolling and snapping them into place was a huge win as I could quickly get to our dog, who was making mud angels. The muggy Ohio weather tested the FreeDry® technology, and it passed with flying colors.
I quickly felt the difference on my exposed skin, which had also become a lunchtime snack for my biggest rival in the summer: the mosquito. The convertible sleeves transformed into long mode for the rest of the hike. The sun protection from the FreeShade® fabric kept me from resembling the red rock of the Western states.
Back at home and not wanting to do extra laundry, I jumped into weeding my flower beds and found, once again, that the Guide UPF 2.0 Shirt is a versatile piece that will become an absolute staple in my wardrobe, no matter the season or activity. I might have already ordered another one. Oh, and it still didn’t smell.