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- Finding the perfect UPF-treated shirt for comfort, protection, and breathability is a never-ending chore for those of us who like to enjoy the elements, but I’m a step closer now.
- Filson’s Alagnak Shirt ($98) is all those things and more, with an open, unrestrictive collar. It’s also made of ultra-lightweight, 1.6-ounce nylon that’s highly packable.
Being about a shade darker than pasty as pasty gets, there is, practically speaking, no amount of sunscreen on earth that could protect my poor, already sun-tattered body from the havoc wrought by that merciless old ball of fire up there.
I worked on fishing boats as a kid. In those days, there were no UPF-treated shirts to speak of. And no, that wasn’t a century ago. But they were only just becoming widely available, unbeknownst to me and the old-time fishermen for whom I worked. I also wasn’t allowed to don sunscreen; it gets on fishing gear, and lore (and quite possibly science) has it that the sight and scent of it deter fish.
So you could suffice it to say that my poor, beleaguered epidermis will be making some lucky dermatologist a lot of money in the coming decades. But it’s not over yet.
It’s a fallacy that most of the sun damage we do to our skin occurs before the age of 18, according to Real Simple’s citing (without a link) of a study published in the American Journal of Photobiology, which allegedly found that while we do more harm during our early years, we continue to accrue about 10% of our total sun damage during each successive decade. In short, don’t give up hope. There’s still time to change your ways.
And what better way to do so than with a comfy, flowy, tissue-paper-thin shirt that you hardly even notice is there? The 1.6-ounce nylon that Filson uses for its Alagnak shirt feels like spinnaker or parachute nylon, and it’s every bit as durable.
Specs for the Filson Alagnak Shirt
1.6-ounce nylon is some unbelievably light stuff, which is why it’s so remarkable that it can handle its fair share of abuse.
The shirt is fitted with an open collar for unrestricted motion and air flow (appreciable in the heat, but maybe a little loose for the office), a UPF rating of "50+" (I’ll concede that the "+" is a little hokey — here’s why), and reinforced shoulders for added durability. It also has button tabs for rolling up your sleeves and some sort of moisture-wicking technology that, plainly speaking, works.
My field notes
I wore this shirt all weekend — a weekend that involved everything from hiking to ATV-driving and pistol firing, fly-fishing, regular fishing, moving wire fencing, and even catching it, rather aggressively, on the sharp edges of said fencing. I also moved a mattress, an exercise during which I snagged my shirt yet again on a doorknob and a handrail post. Not once, not twice, but thrice I looked down in amazement as I came to the conclusion that I hadn’t torn or inflicted my newly beloved even the slightest.
And, as soon as I broke a sweat (and started to notice it), or pulled my arm from the water after reaching for or releasing a fish, it was already well on its way to drying.
The only thing I found to be remotely troublesome is that it wrinkles easily, but what can you expect with such a material? By the same token, hanging or wearing it seems to bring it back to life.
The bottom line
If you haven’t gathered, I had a rough weekend. You also have no dearth of evidence that my shirt might have had a difficult go of it too, no thanks to me. You’re not wrong. But Filson, oh Filson, you’ve not let me down yet.
Pros: Ultra-light, moisture-wicking, UPF 50-treated, comfortable open collar
Cons: Sort of on the pricier side (but well worth it), could stand to have one or two more pockets (mainly for anglers’ sakes)
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