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REI Co-op Active Pursuits T-Shirt Review

A do-it-all adventure shirt that is casual when you're relaxing but can ramp up the octane when you're on the move
REI Co-op Active Pursuits T-Shirt
Photo: REI Co-op
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Price:  $25 List | Check Price at REI
Pros:  Durable, versatile, comfortable
Cons:  Heavy, slow to dry
Manufacturer:   REI Co-op
By Jeff Colt ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 8, 2021
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68
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 12
  • Comfort - 30% 8
  • Breathability - 30% 6
  • Drying Speed - 20% 5
  • Features & Versatility - 20% 8

Our Verdict

The Active Pursuits from REI is aptly named as we found this tee to perform across a whole spectrum of activities. This is among the most versatile shirts we tested because the fit and design are relaxing but also compatible with any other layer. What it lacks in UPF rating and some higher quality accents, it makes up for in simplicity, comfort, and value. The polyester weave is durable, inspiring longevity no matter what your favorite activities are, and without spending a cringe-worthy amount of dough.

Compare to Similar Products

 
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Price $25 List
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Durable, versatile, comfortableHighly breathable, comfortable, lightweight, quick dryingComfortable, fast-drying, breathableExtremely comfortable, versatile, affordable, soft material, odor resistantInexpensive, comfortable stretch, durable, 360ยบ reflective banding
Cons Heavy, slow to dryTaped seams on shoulders less durable than sewn seamsUnnecessary flap of fabric across the backHeavy when wetHeavy, not very breathable
Bottom Line A do-it-all adventure shirt that is casual when you're relaxing but can ramp up the octane when you're on the moveExceedingly comfortable and fast drying are the two top attributes for the best running shirt you can buyThis shirt outperforms many of the best in terms of comfort and breathability without being cost-prohibitiveA great running shirt that is as soft as silk but far more affordableA comfortable running shirt with a full feature set for a fraction of the price
Rating Categories REI Co-op Active Pu... Patagonia Airchaser Under Armour UA Str... Brooks Distance Baleaf Quick Dry
Comfort (30%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
6.0
Breathability (30%)
6.0
9.0
9.0
5.0
5.0
Drying Speed (20%)
5.0
10.0
8.0
4.0
6.0
Features & Versatility (20%)
8.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
Specs REI Co-op Active Pu... Patagonia Airchaser Under Armour UA Str... Brooks Distance Baleaf Quick Dry
Weight (size medium) 4.9 oz 2.6 oz 4.4 oz 5.2 oz 4.8 oz
Material Polyester Recycled polyester 93% polyester, 7% elastarell 88% polyester, 12% lyocell 90% polyester, 10% spandex
Reflective Areas? Yes - 1 Yes - 2 Yes - 3 Yes - 2 Yes - 4
Seam Type Flatlock Flatlock and Taped Flatlock Flatlock Flatlock and Overlock
UPF? Not Stated Not Stated Not Stated Not Stated Not Stated
Odor Control? No Yes - HeiQ Fresh durable odor control Yes - Active biocide zinc microbes Yes - DriLayer Burst fabric No

Our Analysis and Test Results

The REI Active Pursuits is a standout shirt with high value. Were this review about general activewear, this shirt might take the cake, but alas, we are focusing on running shirts, and there are better running specific shirts at a comparable price. Still, the Active Pursuits is durable, versatile, and comfortable. What else could you want?

Performance Comparison


The name Active Pursuits is fitting for this shirt, as we found it...
The name Active Pursuits is fitting for this shirt, as we found it comfortable and capable on trail, during pick up soccer, mountain biking, and in the gym. This shirt has a comfortable do-it-all fit that is highly versatile.
Photo: Jeff Colt

Comfort


Did we mention comfortable? The fit of the Active Pursuits is relaxing yet suitable for high output exercise, permitting a range of motion without ever feeling sloppy. Flatlock stitched seams connect a uniform polyester weave, and large paneled underarm gussets prevent the restriction of movement. These wide gussets are especially nice for natural arm swings while wearing a hydration vest.

Flatlock stitching along the full length under arm gusset. While...
Flatlock stitching along the full length under arm gusset. While this stitching isn't our favorite, having a large paneled gusset under each arm prevented any point of restriction during arm swings.
Photo: Jeff Colt

Some comfort forward features of this shirt include an integrated sweatband and tagless collar, two simple design choices that reduce points of discomfort. Additionally, REI removed the tag from the side of the shirt along the torso. These small details only add to the comfortable cut of the shirt, which fits wonderfully.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Breathability


Some shirts take the approach of having a loose weave or integrated mesh to promote airflow. Other shirts have a tighter weave designed to wick moisture away from the body and help cool the back through evaporative cooling. The Active Pursuits falls into the latter category, and while it doesn't permit airflow, it is highly effective at thermoregulating and keeping the body cool and dry.

A tighter weave on a shirt has other benefits, too, including durability, comfort, and wicking properties. It also means the shirt is likely heavier, doesn't feel airy, and stays wet longer when saturated.

The uniform polyester weave is heavier, which means in this case...
The uniform polyester weave is heavier, which means in this case less breathable and more durable.
Photo: Jeff Colt

Drying Speed


This is among the few shirts that didn't perform well in our kitchen science experiment but never disappointed out on the trail. In our drying tests, the weight and tight polyester weave of the Active Pursuits didn't do it any favors, taking a full 30 minutes in the dryer to return to its dry weight. On the trails, however, we occasionally felt dampness on the back of the shirt, often related to wicking and shedding heat, but we never felt like we were notably sweaty or weighed down with moisture.

At 4.9 ounces and one of the heaviest shirts we tested, the Active...
At 4.9 ounces and one of the heaviest shirts we tested, the Active Pursuits was not the quickest to dry.
Photo: Jeff Colt

Features & Versatility


One of our favorite parts about this category is asking ourselves, could we wear this to the office? What about a girlfriend's parent's house for dinner? The Active Pursuits scores well in this framing of versatility as well as the variety of activities it's good for, including running. We prefer tighter woven, cotton-feeling shirts to the really plastic slippery tech-forward shirts for every activity wear. This shirt is comfortable against the skin, comfortable to layer, and relaxing enough to hang out in after summiting a 14er.

There are some drawbacks to the "feature set" on this tee. We would love to see a UPF rating for added sun protection and perhaps an odor control agent, as polyester is destined to get stinky. A simple reflective band on the back is the extent of visibility, which also could be improved upon.

Reflective banding can be done in a tasteful way that still works...
Reflective banding can be done in a tasteful way that still works for morning runs, but doesn't turn an otherwise comfortable nice shirt into an overly techy shirt as seen here on the REI Co-op Active Pursuits Tee.
Photo: Jeff Colt

Value


Yes. Value value value! We are confident that you will end up wearing this shirt for all sorts of activities and certainly when you head out the door for a run. There must be some analogy with comfort and affordability where one is the king and the other is the crown, but don't strain your brain thinking about it. This shirt is comfortable, affordable, and will likely last you a long time.

Conclusion


The REI Active Pursuits is a shirt we want in our shirt drawer because we feel great wearing it to work and jetting out the door for a run after we wrap up meetings for the day. Its versatility makes it a great value, considering it is one of the more affordable shirts in our review. Don't worry too much about the breathability or drying speed unless you are specifically shopping for a shirt to race in. While we still think this is a great bet, there are better options for really high output activity.

Jeff Colt

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