Worn in Costa Rica's humid spring jungles, as well as during an all-day, red-eye flight parade around North America, the Columbia Silver Ridge Lite can easily transition into a travel-casual comfort choice for the frequent flying adventurer. This is a versatile, soft, and airy option for anyone spending a good deal of time outside. Drawbacks included the process of securing the rolled sleeves because of the size of the button-hole, and the top button sitting a bit low, exposing more of the user's clavicle. Still, given its competition, Columbia should be lauded for the design and feel of the Silver Ridge Lite long-sleeve sun-shirt.
This shirt checks all the boxes for a terrific all-around men's sun shirt. Ideal for travel and relaxing.
Comfort & Fit
Soft and flowing with a 30'' back length, yet wearing true-to-size, the Silver Ridge Lite becomes hard to notice when worn given its 6.4-ounce weight, even under backpacks or early morning mid-layers. The Omni-Wick polyester is smooth against the skin and feels like a fashionable dress shirt at times. If not for the Patagonia Capilene Cool Daily hoody, the Silver Ridge Lite would have brought home the Editors' Choice award.
The extra length granted the cuffs and height on the collar are nice touches, and the collar design stands out for not being at all tight when closed. Our primary tester is by no means lanky at 5'9'' with a soccer player's build, and the cuffs reach well over the back of the hand if not rolled back, but also rest nicely against the wrist with the second cuff button secured.
Long waistlines are standard for the products that excel in this category, but they can go too far, as in Columbia's other entry, the PFG Terminal Tackle hoodie, or not far enough, as this case with the OR Astroman. The Silver Ridge Lite, like the Sol Patrol II, falls at crotch-length but manages to not make the shirt look big or baggy. Still, it certainly doesn't land in the category of "athletic fit." In essence, this shirt is as comfortable as it gets, wears smoothly, and like most products in this silo, won't convince anyone that you're not a trail bum.
One of the larger shirts when packed. The Patagonia Sol Patrol II was a similar size.
Again, the Omni-Shade Silver Ridge Lite finds itself—ahem—neck and neck with the Patagonia Sol Patrol II. The latter's secondary collar flap is an extra touch of protection, but the wonky snap closure system up front is way over-engineered. Both shirts are embedded with UPF protection, leverage long sleeves and waistlines, have sleeve capture tabs, multiple cuff-closure buttons, and mesh venting panels. In modern parental parlance, everyone's a winner when it comes to keeping the Vitamin D at bay. If buyers want something to take away, know that the Silver Ridge can be had for about $30 less.
Hot high desert days are ideal testing grounds for sun shirts. Fastening the sleeve tabs are more tedious on this shirt than they should be.
Columbia's Omni-Wick fabric makes for an excellent choice when shopping for a hiking and travel shirt that will absorb breezes and dry quickly when shuffling up talus slopes or after sprinting to catch a rickshaw. The yoke and back vents are mesh-lined and ensure the air gets to where it needs to go to help you stay cool. Granted, these vents get rendered mostly meaningless when under a bigger backpack (they are sectioned, allowing the top to foster airflow when the bottom is under a pack) promoting perspiration build-up. Otherwise, the wide-mesh netting under the breast pockets and along the back perform as promised, as does the basketweave polyester Omni-Shade material.
Sleeve tabs obviously help with cooling, as does the more open collar and overall relaxed-fit. The sleeves are annoying to roll-up and fasten one-handed, so be patient.
In the controlled smell test, when held above a campfire for five minutes, the Silver Ridge Lite performed admirably. The smell remained evident after 12 hours, but it was tolerable. The Sol Patrol was second in the smell test, falling to the Hanes' odor-prevention fabric.
Another way to secure rolled sleeves is this sewn half-loop of micro-cordage.
When it came to a controlled quick-drying test, this shirt performed as well as the others being tested. Each shirt was left outside to dry after being pulled from a washing machine. The Eddie Bauer was the only entry still damp after 30 minutes.
Whether worn in jungle-humid tours in Central America or on Nevada's arid, sun-parched dust-tracks, the Silver Ridge Lite never stayed wet long enough to make testers uncomfortable during breaks or post-trip beers.
Testing revealed no obvious material or stitch flaws in the Silver Ridge Lite. Everything held in place and did what it was supposed to do. That said, a few potential weak points should be noted, namely the prolonged adhesiveness of the breast pocket hook-and-loop closures. However, the impact such a development would have on the shirt's ability to block UB and UV rays is likely minimal.
Lighweight and soft, the Columbia Silver Ridge Lite's pocket design eschewed traditional button closure for a patch of hook & loop (VelcroÂ®) under each flap.
Here's a shocker: this sun shirt looks good in the shade, too. It's clearly a technical adventure shirt and probably not a great idea for your sister's wedding unless she's getting married in someplace like Thailand, or New Orleans in July. The test sample came in a cool grey that was subtle and attractively neutral. The relaxed fit of this category, generally speaking, makes style points tough to muster (the Mountain Hardwear Canyon notwithstanding), so don't expect to be complimented at the office happy hour unless you work for a rafting outfitter or your fellow accountants are through-hikers. Still, the pockets sit flush and the sleeves can rest snugly at the wrist to help you at least look put together—and not like you work for a rafting outfitter.
The long-sleeved Silver Ridge Lite is a 40+ UPF-protected shirt with a nicely selected array of options to support the goal of keeping the wearer cool and radiation-free. The best of the lot is its Omni-Shade, Omni-Wick basket-weaved polyester. It's very comfortable to wear and hard to take off. Still, all other shirts in the test have UPF+ 50 rating.
Sun shirts need to be packable and road-ready.
The sectioned back-vent is clever, but large backpacks could still prevent the top panel from functioning. That aside, the mesh-backed front pockets, closed via hook-and-loop, aren't hiding a sub-pocket, which helps reduce fabric and overall weight. The micro-cordage sewn into the bicep helps hold the sleeve-capture tab in place, and there are two buttons on the cuff. Surprisingly, the sun collar doesn't restrict the user when popped and fastened.
Unlike its closest competitor in this test, the Sol Patrol II by Patagonia, the Silver Ridge Lite doesn't offer more than what's needed in this category.
This could be your new favorite hiking shirt, perhaps alongside the OR Astroman.
It rests nicely below bulky waistbelts, breathes very well, and keeps the sweat at bay. No question it would serve one well on a boat or along the river shore, but it's packability, low weight, and Cliff-bar® ready pockets overlap very well with the light and fast mission of long-distance hikers, beach-dwellers, and anglers.
A good view of the yoke venting common in sun shirts, and how a larger, relaxed fit encourages movement.
A quick Google search finds the top shopping results for the Silver Ridge Lite coming in at under $40. Given its comfort, features, and functionality, this is the test's best value, hands-down. While the Hanes CoolDRI is by far the cheapest at below $10, it can't compete with the more technical, backcountry-inspired options it's up against.
It's hard to argue against the Silver Ridge as a top-of-the-line sun-beating adventure shirt, narrowly behind only the Patagonia Capilene Cool Daily Hoody. The comfort will immediately surprise any buyer, as will its ability to float along with you while active. An excellent choice for travel, boating, and hiking—and a superb value at under $50 in most stores—don't hesitate to grab a couple of these for everything you do between May and October.
Have coffee, will travel.