Stepping into the mid-day glare on an oceanfront veranda, your choices become clear. Guard against relentless rays and rising temperatures or look like you belong in this idyllic place. Active Junky’s taken away the choice with three “both and” shirts from respected labels; One offers insect protection as a bonus.
Toad & Co Pilotlight SS shirt Starting at: $68.96 Life isn’t neat and tidy, every trip running according to plan and schedule. Enter this Modern Travel piece from Toad&Co. Even when jammed, crammed, soaked and scorched (by the sun, that is), this short sleeve option keeps coming back for more. Board shorts to casual slacks, Seersucker flows into the line-up by minimizing wrinkles and maximizing comfort. Active Junky opted for the Nightsky colorway where the left breast zippered pocket blended in like a gecko on a banana leaf. Worn untucked, Toad& Co wants to see you get years of globe trotting out of this piece along with their entire collection. For more sun and bug protection, a long-sleeved cotton/poly style incorporates proven Insect Shield technology.
Tester Comments: A total stand-out piece on the trip. Enjoyed the wearing so much, the first move during cooler temps was to throw on a light jacket rather than swap it out for a long-sleeve shirt (although Toad&Co put some beautiful options in our bag for the trip). Classic looks fit hotel, beach and in-transit settings. The vertical zipper chest pocket was great for Happy Hour margarita money in Loreto.
Best For: Moderate to warmer temperatures, travel and everyday casual wear
ExOfficio Sol Cool Cryogen LS Plaid Starting at: $82.76 You didn’t come all this way to get sizzled by the sun or stressed out about what to wear. Cryogen adds the chill whenever you go out, mustering UPF30 sun protection to stop up to 97% of both UVA and UVB rays. As with other ExOfficio pieces, this one is easy to wear with stay-put buttons that work even with lotioned or sandy hands. Shoulder gussets channel sea breezes to shore up Cryogen’s quick-drying, moisture wicking performance. Keeping skin up to five degrees cooler, the shirt drifts through outside activities and tiki-torch Happy Hours with confidence; The smooth-operating security pocket prevents disappointment at the end of the day. Multiple collar positions handle cool early morning breezes when trolling for marlin offshore (or incredible espresso near your hostel).
Tester Comments: This trip found us with some of the best shirt options ever. ExOfficio’s relevance couldn’t have been higher when the sun soared and the glare off the water bordered on blazing. Fabric moves quietly and easily, not a simple chore for such a technical piece. Sol Col is an ideal way to try the brand, finding the shirt’s piece is trimmer and more fashionable than many others on the market.
Best For: Multi-day travel across time zones and weather conditions
Bearing the renowned climber’s name, this brand brings classic styling into sunnier environments. A worthy UPF50+ rating handles most conditions with luxurious Modal fabric drawn from beech wood fibers originating in Austria, no less. Softer than more performance fabrics, the cloth in Pucker pulls sweat away and dries quickly in hotel room or tent. Wrinkle resistance is superior and the standard issue chest pocket is of average utility. Where Active Junky got fired up was Pucker’s all-day comfort, whether in a cramped bus or at a beachfront fire pit. Twenty percent polyester helped Pucker stay in form through trying conditions. Stain resistance of this fabric is subject to debate so butter-swamped lobster boils may not be the optimum pairing for this value-priced Royal Robbins shirt.
Tester Comments: Comfort is where this one wins. More testing is needed to measure the washability and durability of Pucker, although testers are pulling for this one simply because of admiration for the brand’s namesake. Of all three featured shirts, this one better suits everyday wear at home or in the office.
Best For: Everyday utility in moderate conditions, travel where some level of fashion decorum is important