The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of gear

Columbia Silver Ridge Lite Review

Good-looking and a great value, this shirt floats around the torso and has a smart selection of features
Best Buy Award
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $55 List | $41.25 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Great value, lightweight, very breathable, looks good off-trail, excellent comfort
Cons:  Only UPF 40, doesn't pack as well as others, difficult sleeve-capture tabs
Manufacturer:   Columbia
By Justin Simoni ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jul 3, 2020
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
76
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 11
  • Comfort and Fit - 30% 7
  • Sun Protection - 25% 8
  • Breathability - 20% 8
  • Versatility - 15% 8
  • Durability - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The Columbia Silver Ridge Lite is our Best Buy choice for a button-up sun shirt. It provides excellent overall sun protection, long hemlines, ample yoke venting, easily accessible breast pockets, sleeve roll tabs, and terrific all-day comfort. It is lightweight, and the Omni-Wick polyester basketweave breathes excellently. The pockets' use of a small hook and loop Velcro closure gives the wearer one less button to fuss with or fall off. This shirt is super comfortable to wear under a pack, dries rapidly, promotes airflow around the torso, and — happily — won't break the bank.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Columbia Silver Ridge Lite 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 this excellent long-sleeve sun-shirt.

Performance Comparison


Light  simple  and straightforward  the Columbia Silver Ridge Lite is a comfortable  breathable  and versatile sun shirt.
Light, simple, and straightforward, the Columbia Silver Ridge Lite is a comfortable, breathable, and versatile sun shirt.

Comfort and Fit


Soft and flowing with a 30" back length yet wearing true-to-size, the Silver Ridge Lite becomes hard to notice when worn, even under backpacks or early morning mid-layers, given its 6.4-ounce weight. The Omni-Wick polyester is smooth against the skin and feels like a fashionable dress shirt at times.


The extra length granted on the cuffs and height on the collar are nice touches, and the collar design stands out for not being at all tight when closed.

With sleeves longer than usual shirts  the Columbia Silver Ridge Lite easily covers the most ape index'd-out individual  without being overly loose in the chest and torso.
With sleeves longer than usual shirts, the Columbia Silver Ridge Lite easily covers the most ape index'd-out individual, without being overly loose in the chest and torso.

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. The Silver Ridge Lite falls at crotch-length but manages to refrain from looking 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 buff.


Sun Protection


The Silver Ridge has a 40 UPF rating, which is lower than other shirts in our review, as the fabric is thinner. Thankfully, this also has the positive effect of making it more breathable.


For maximum protection, you may still want to employ a wide-brimmed hat, a neck gaiter, and sun gloves; hooded sun shirts may have an advantage on button-ups in general, but no hooded shirts we've tested have a way to unzip/unbutton the front to dump excess heat.

The front of the Silver Ridge Lite can be buttoned up snuggly, and fit is still generous enough to allow good airflow. The sleeves are generously long and can cover up as far as the width of your hands allow or be rolled up for higher-intensity activity/breathability when sun protection isn't paramount.

Hot  sunny  high-elevation desert days are ideal testing grounds for sun shirts.
Hot, sunny, high-elevation desert days are ideal testing grounds for sun shirts.

Breathability


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 on the Silver Ridge 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. Another way to secure rolled sleeves is the sewn half-loop of micro-cordage.

Roll up the sleeves  and unbutton a few buttons to enhance the breathability of the Columbia Silver Ridge Lite.
Roll up the sleeves, and unbutton a few buttons to enhance the breathability of the Columbia Silver Ridge Lite.

In our 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. 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 Silver Ridge never stayed wet long enough to make testers uncomfortable during breaks or post-trip beers.

Utilizing thinner fabric than other sun shirts  with a semi-relaxed cut  the Columbia Silver Ridge Lite helps keep you cool  without looking too blousy.
Utilizing thinner fabric than other sun shirts, with a semi-relaxed cut, the Columbia Silver Ridge Lite helps keep you cool, without looking too blousy.

Versatility


The Silver Ridge Lite lives on as an "updated classic." Not as blousy as some of the other button-up shirts we've tested, it's as if once the Silver Ridge Lite made it to its 40's after a rollicking first three decades, the shirt took on a better diet and exercise regime Rich Roll-style. Its streamlined fit and secretly technical fabric is the happy result.


The Silver Ridge Lite won't look out of place with traditional apr├ęs trail activities, backpacking, casual gatherings, and perhaps even at work. Bike commuters may enjoy a shirt that doesn't look like they're a member of the local bike shop's roadie team. And the garment resists wrinkling when stuffed in a pack.

The Columbia Silver Ridge Lite is versatile enough to perform as a make-do running shirt
The Columbia Silver Ridge Lite is versatile enough to perform as a make-do running shirt

Durability


Testing revealed no obvious material or stitch flaws in the Silver Ridge Lite; this is a well-designed shirt. 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.


Features


The technical fabric of the Silver Ridge is moisture-wicking, UPF 40-rated, and has a silver chloride antimicrobial treatment embedded in the fabric.

The Columbia Silver Ridge Lite sports simple  dual chest pockets  that keep closed with a small bit of velcro.
The Columbia Silver Ridge Lite's sleeves can be rolled up and kept in place by simple sleeve tabs.

Present are back and side gill vents to keep airflow moving along, and the sleeves can be rolled up and kept in place with tabs. There are dual chest pockets, both with the same mesh backing the upper back also sports. There's no double collar found on other button-up sun shirts we've tested — so bring along a neck gaiter for maximum protection. All in all, the Silver Ridge Lite is a little more middle of the road when it comes to features then some of the other options we've tested.

The dual chest pockets of the Columbia Silver Ridge Lite are backed with a mesh material.
Gilled vents in the back of the Columbia Silver Ridge Lite help keep the wearing cool. The back is lined with a mesh material.

Value


The Silver Ridge can usually be found at a great price, mostly due to the fact that it's not burdened with too many features (something that tends to increase the amount of fabric and sewing needed — and hence the price). For the performance it brings to the table — most notably the well-tuned durability to breathability balance, we find this shirt a great value for the money.

The Columbia Silver Ridge Lite starts out looking good enough to be adapted to a casual top for just about anyone.
The Columbia Silver Ridge Lite starts out looking good enough to be adapted to a casual top for just about anyone.

Conclusion


It's hard to argue against the Columbia Silver Ridge Lite as a top-of-the-line sun-beating adventure shirt. 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. Don't hesitate to grab a couple of these Best Buy Winners for everything you do between May and October.

Justin Simoni