This past summer, my fiancee and I traveled 6540 miles; from the 110+ degree depths of the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts, through the cool nights of the Sierras in early summer, and to the just above freezing peaks of the Cascades. In every scenic environment we visited, I wore my White Sierra Kalgoorlie Long Sleeve Shirt, and in every environment, I was pleased with its performance.

Pros

The Kalgoorlie promises three things: lightness, sun protection, and ventilation. In all cases, the garment keeps its word.

Firstly, at only 6 oz the shirt weighs basically nothing, and wearing it feels like wearing almost nothing. The Kalgoorlie also doesn’t give up any any toughness in being so lightweight. The fabric, though thin, is vey strong. It’s 100% polyester, but it’s a good weave.

If you hold the shirt up to a light, you can actually see the little squares that give the shirt its strength. I snagged it on cacti and dead pine branches numerous times, and it is no worse for the wear. It also held up well beneath my backpack straps, something which I cannot say about any of my cotton shirts. This will easily become the first or second shirt I pack when I prepare for a trip.

 

Secondly, concerning sun protection: I am a blue-eyed, red-headed, son of Scottish immigrants, and barring the use of SPF 30+ sunscreen and thick cotton shirts, I can burn on cloudy days in late October.

In both the blazing sun of the Southwest’s deserts and the clear air of the Northwest’s mountains, I trusted my sensitive, unexposed skin to the Kalgoorlie’s fabric, and in both cases, the Kalgoorlie did not let me down. My upper arms and torso remain as pasty white as ever.

Thirdly, the Kalgoorlie provided superior ventilation. I stayed perfectly cool during all of our desert hiking. The shirt’s back panel is actually just an open panel connected to the shirt’s inner mesh lining, and the sleeves roll up and fasten via button and strap to the sleeve’s bicep, turning the shirt’s long sleeves short.

In the direct sun, however, I tended to leave the sleeves down for the added sun protection, and the fabric itself breathed well enough that I didn’t mind the long sleeves. Conversely, when we engaged in some light spelunking in New Mexico and some easy snow hiking in Oregon, I kept the sleeves long and enjoyed the added warmth.

Finally, and this isn’t necessarily an advertised feature, the Kalgoorlie also still smelled relatively fresh after four days of continual, sweaty use. This is probably a byproduct of the shirt’s excellent ventilation system, and I count it as one of the shirt’s best features. I’m sure your trail mates will thank you for being kind on their noses just as my fiancee thanked me.

 

Cons

The only thing “wrong” with the Kalgoorlie, is related to the sizing. My healthy 200 pounds is spread evenly over my slightly above average five foot eleven inch frame, and my dress shirts (the only other long sleeve button down shirts I regularly wear) feature a 16 1/2″ neck and a 34/35″ sleeve length.

In technical clothing, which isn’t typically sized like dress clothes, I tend to wear a “Large.” The Kalgoorlie I tested is a Medium, and while it fits a little snuggly, I wouldn’t want it any larger. I encourage you to try one on for yourself before you buy, but if you are ordering online and can’t try it on first, you might want to consider skewing a size smaller than you’d normally wear.

Conclusion

The White Sierra Kalgoorlie Long Sleeve Shirt is an excellent article of technical clothing. It is lightweight, tough, offers sun protection and superior ventilation, and will even helps whisk away odor. The sizing is different than most other shirts though, so consider buying a size smaller than usual. It’s a little pricy (MSRP $50), but assuming it’s as durable as it seems, it will likely be part of your backpacking wardrobe for years to come. It will be for me.
Click Here to Purchase the White Sierra Kalgoorlie Long Sleeve Shirt

 

 

Tech Specs

Manufacturer: White Sierra

Date Available: Currently on the market

Manufacturer’s Website: White Sierra Kalgoorlie

MSRP: US $50

Listed Weight: 6 oz

Actual Weight: 6 oz

Materials: 100% Polyester

Size/Model Tested: Medium/Bark

Colors Available: Stone, Bark, Riviera, Wheat

 

 

 

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