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Patagonia Capilene Lightweight T-Shirt Review

Patagonia Capilene Lightweight T-Shirt
Photo: Patagonia
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Price:  $39 List
Pros:  Very light, super comfortable, very fast drying
Cons:  Slightly restrictive fit under arms
Manufacturer:   Patagonia
By Andy Wellman ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 4, 2015
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  • Comfort - 30% 9
  • Breathability - 20% 8
  • Drying Speed - 15% 10
  • Versatility - 15% 8
  • Features - 15% 6
  • Style - 5% 6

Our Verdict

The Patagonia Capilene Lightweight T-Shirt is a streamlined and exceedingly simple running shirt that nevertheless does an extremely good job. It was easily one of the most comfortable shirts in the review, and was the fastest shirt to dry in our drying test, making it a great choice for hot, sweaty days, or as a base layer for other outdoor sports. As is usually the case with Patagonia clothing, simple is a very good thing, and we know you will love this shirt.

Our Analysis and Test Results

Compared to the other running shirts we tested, the Capilene Lightweight T-Shirt seems perhaps a bit too simple. But don't be fooled, Patagonia has put a lot of thought into making this a great shirt. The seams use "flat-sewn" construction, and this turned out to be the least abrasive method of seam sewing of all the shirts we tried. The recycled polyester fabric is very smooth to the touch, exceedingly comfortable, and was the fastest drying of any shirt.

This shirt was a close second to our Editors' Choice winner, the New Balance Ice. While we love the Ice, we recommend choosing the Capilene Lightweight T-Shirt if you value durability, layerability, and desire a sleeker fit. The Ice is a great running shirt with more running-specific characteristics, while the Capilene Lightweight T-Shirt is a great running shirt that will also work well for other outdoor activities.

Performance Comparison

It's so light it makes everything else feel heavy, like our pants...
It's so light it makes everything else feel heavy, like our pants and sunglasses.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman


This tied with the New Balance Ice 2.0 as the most comfortable shirt in the review. We loved the lightweight, super soft weave on the recycled polyester, and the total lack of abrasion from the seam sewing. For us, it was a slightly tighter fit than the other shirts, and we noticed this mostly under the arms.

The light material gives you full range of movement as we found in...
The light material gives you full range of movement as we found in our YMCA test.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman


It's made exclusively of one fabric and does not include special breathable mesh panels like some of the others. It is still highly breathable and especially fast drying.

Drying Speed

There was no way we could give this model anything but a perfect 10 as it was dry hours before some of the other shirts in our drying test.

Photo: Jenna Ammerman


The simplicity of this shirt actually makes it very versatile, as its lack of mesh paneling adds to its durability. It layers well with packs or jackets, and would also work well as a winter base layer. Our only concern is whether this very lightweight shirt is durable enough to withstand many days with a pack on.

Photo: Jenna Ammerman


At first appearance, this shirt is as simple as they come, but Patagonia was sneaky by including useful features into the weave of the fabric itself. It incorporates Polygiene odor control to stop smell-inducing bacteria from building up. It has a little hook for hanging in a locker.

Photo: Jenna Ammerman


Like most of Patagonia's clothing line, less is more when it comes to style. Looks-wise this is a simple, plain t-shirt.

Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Best Applications

It is designed as a running shirt and it will serve that function great, whether you are on trails or roads, layering or not. But we also think this shirt could work great in almost any outdoor sport where you want a technical t-shirt.


The MSRP is only $39.00, lumping it together with the most affordable shirts in our review. It is a great product and we believe is a great value.


This is a plain and simple technical running shirt that is nevertheless one of the best ones we tried due to its comfort and exceptionally fast drying speed. It is a great option for running or just about any other outdoor sport. We highly recommend this shirt.

Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Andy Wellman