Reviews You Can Rely On

Mountain Hardwear Canyon Long Sleeve Review

Comfortable with a great balance of features and functionality, this shirt is great on and off-trail
gearlab tested logo
Mountain Hardwear Canyon Long Sleeve Review (Roll up the sleeves and unbutton a few front buttons to transform the Mountain Hardwear Canyon into a perfect after...)
Roll up the sleeves and unbutton a few front buttons to transform the Mountain Hardwear Canyon into a perfect after work trail running top.
Credit: Justin Simoni
Price:  $70 List
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Manufacturer:   Mountain Hardwear
By Justin Simoni ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 4, 2023
78
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 16
  • Comfort and Fit - 30% 8.0
  • Sun Protection - 25% 8.0
  • Breathability - 20% 7.0
  • Versatility - 15% 8.0
  • Durability - 10% 8.0

Our Verdict

The good looks of the Mountain Hardwear Canyon attracted us initially, but then we looked closer to find a well put together and durable sun shirt that's brimming with sun protection and travel features. A well-thought-out balance of excellent sun protection, comfort, durability, and versatility make this shirt shine above the rest we tested, earning it our coveted Editors' Choice Award. It's a little pricey and not quite as breathable as some other options, but for an all-award solid layer that excels both on the trail and in the city, this one can't be passed up. Compare it to top competitors in our review of the best sun shirts.
REASONS TO BUY
Off-trail style
Dobbyweave fabric wears well
Ideal length
Good overall sun protection
REASONS TO AVOID
Tight in the yoke
Expensive
Not as breathable as some competitors

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award   Best Buy Award 
Price $52.99 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$50 List
$49.95 at REI
$26.00 at BackcountryCheck Price at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$23 List
$22.99 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
78
79
77
74
68
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Bottom Line A comfortable, good looking, feature-packed, and versatile button-upWith a great balance of sun protection, features, and breathability, this is an excellent and versatile sun hoodieThis simple, lightweight sun shirt offers excellent sun protection thanks to its extra long sleeves, hood, and thumb holesAffordable and super light for its feature selection, this shirt competes with the most technical outdoor brand namesA great value that packs the essentials to keep you covered from the sun's rays
Rating Categories Mountain Hardwear C... REI Co-op Sahara Sh... Mountain Hardwear C... Columbia Silver Rid... Baleaf UPF 50 Hoody
Comfort and Fit (30%)
8.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Sun Protection (25%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Breathability (20%)
7.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
Versatility (15%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
Durability (10%)
8.0
6.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
Specs Mountain Hardwear C... REI Co-op Sahara Sh... Mountain Hardwear C... Columbia Silver Rid... Baleaf UPF 50 Hoody
Sun Protection Level (UPF) 50 50 50+ 40 50+
Coverage Long sleeve, collar Long sleeve, hood Long sleeve, hood Long sleeve, collar Long sleeve, hood
Features Roll-up sleeves, zip pockets Thumb loops, anit-microbial treated fabric Thumb loop holes, gusseted underarms, moisture wicking Roll-up sleeves, anit-microbial treated fabric Large hood for added protection
Fit Regular Relaxed Regular Regular Relaxed
Material Polyester Dobby 92% Polyester, 8% Spandex 88% Polyester, 12% Elastane Omni-Wick Ripstop 100% Polyester 100% Polyester
Odor Control? No Antimicrobial treatment No Antimicrobial treatment No
Available SIzes S - XXL S - XXXL S - XXL S - XXL S - XXXL

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Canyon held on for many a trip, stroll, hike, dinner, and more. We even slept in the darn thing. It packs well and seems to look good no matter what it's paired with. Like others in our test, this shirt was subjected to a number of controlled tests for smell and drying time and generally put through whatever paces are typical for a garment in the travel and hiking sector.

Performance Comparison


mountain hardwear canyon long sleeve - the mountain hardwear canyon is a durable yet still breathable sun...
The Mountain Hardwear Canyon is a durable yet still breathable sun shirt that can't help but look good outdoors.
Credit: Justin Simoni

Comfort and Fit


The Canyon features a normal fit that is looser and more relaxed than what you may expect from a regular button-up shirt, though it is more form-fitting through the chest than many other traditional options. Both sleeve and hem length are similar to other button-up shirts we've tested as well.


The sleeves themselves may be easily rolled up above the elbow and kept in place with simple tabs. The internal tabs that secure the rolled sleeves in place are extra long, allowing for the folds to hang below the elbow, and they can be adjusted easily with one hand.


The collar extension on the Canyon is nicely executed, and there's no annoying chokehold when buttoned fully in front. The mesh interior of the pockets is soft and unnoticeable when empty, but you'll be made pretty aware of anything inside them beyond a passport, which can fit inside snugly after a bit of fidgeting. The Canyon features flat, invisible stitch lines throughout, which Mountain Hardwear defines as “Smart Seams.


Sun Protection


The Canyon does what its label promises. There's an ultraviolet protection factor of 50 on this shirt, meaning it allows only 1/50th (2%) of the sun's harmful UV rays to pass through. That's on par with other products we've tested.


When buttoned, the cuffs can extend past the wrist, and when unbuttoned, can travel as far as the knuckles. The doubled-over sun collar can be extended to help protect the back of the neck, or tucked back into place, and hidden from view. The shirt's seam length is longer than a usual button-down shirt, helping to protect the belly and lower back. Unlike the hooded sun shirts we've tested, you'll want to pair a button-up shirt, like the Canyon, with a generous hat, perhaps an additional neck gaiter, and sun gloves for maximum sun protection.

The normal collar can be worn on the street or the trail.
The normal collar can be worn on the street or the trail.
A high-collar turnout adds one layer of sun protection.
A high-collar turnout adds one layer of sun protection.
Pop up the collar on the Canyon for some extra protection.
Pop up the collar on the Canyon for some extra protection.

Breathability


The fabric of the Canyon is not as thick as some of the other products we've tested, which seems like it should enhance breathability. But our air permeability test showed a very surprising result: the fabric used in this shirt was the least permeable to air out of every shirt in this category! It is almost as if there is a thin layer of plastic-like material on the inside of the fabric. To help facilitate airflow, this shirt has a number of vents on its back: one in the center pointing down and two gill-like ones on the sides. These do a great job of enhancing breathability, allowing actual perspiration to escape quickly.


The upper back and chest pockets feature mesh material that rests on the skin, helping to spread and dissipate perspiration. One of the main advantages of a button-up shirt like the Canyon is the option to simply unbutton some of the front buttons to allow for enhanced airflow — something none of the hooded sun shirts we tested can mimic.

The Mountain Hardwear Canyon Long Sleeve looks and feels good during...
The Mountain Hardwear Canyon Long Sleeve looks and feels good during high intensity activities, like running.
The Mountain Hardwear Canyon Long Sleeve looks and feels good during...
The Mountain Hardwear Canyon Long Sleeve looks and feels good during high intensity activities, like running.

This shirt showed average performance in our line dry test, in terms of the time it took for the shirt to fully dry once out of the wash. We're pleased with this result, even if it's not a standout feature of the shirt.

mountain hardwear canyon long sleeve - the canyon makes a perfect hiking shirt for long, sunny, exposed...
The Canyon makes a perfect hiking shirt for long, sunny, exposed days, interfacing with a pack without any problems.
Credit: Melissa Dozier

Perhaps the most noticeable issue with breathability is the prolonged scent from our fire smoke test. The stench of fire smoke isn't an easy thing to eradicate (the exact point of our test), but it lingered on the Canyon even after a wash and air dry — which is noteworthy. Outside of this pretty tough test, the Canyon remains an otherwise light and comfortable option in most scenarios. Stench the next day from a hard hike was also noticeable, as there is no antimicrobial treatment of the fabric itself.

mountain hardwear canyon long sleeve - roll up the sleeves and unbutton a few front buttons to transform...
Roll up the sleeves and unbutton a few front buttons to transform the Mountain Hardwear Canyon into a perfect after work trail running top.
Credit: Justin Simoni

Versatility


Workshirt, date shirt, climbing shirt, backpacking shirt, 0-day shirt while on a thru-hike: it's hard to miss how much of a chameleon the Canyon can be. This is one of the more handsome button-up shirts in our tests, with good color choices and an understated fabric pattern. It doesn't outright scream, “outdoor sun shirt” like some other shirts we've tested, and that opens it up to other casual and active uses. Wear this shirt even on casual days at the office, and we doubt anyone would even notice the sun shirt-specific features while at the all-hands meeting.


The fit is more complementary to an athletic build, being a little more trim in key points of the shirt and a little less blousy. If you have a slim build and find yourself swimming in traditional button-up shirts, the Canyon could be even more appealing to you. That said, the cut isn't so slim as to be hard to move about or hinder the dissipation of heat and perspiration away from the body.

This is a clean looking shirt, just as at home hanging with friends...
This is a clean looking shirt, just as at home hanging with friends in town or on the trail.
The large front pockets allow you to easily stash items like...
The large front pockets allow you to easily stash items like sunglasses.
A zippered stash pocket helps keeps items secure, or can double as...
A zippered stash pocket helps keeps items secure, or can double as additional ventilation.

Durability


Like many sun shirts in our review, durability is inexorably linked with breathability. Exceptionally durable shirts can also act like body ovens. A fine balance has to be found to allow a shirt to weather the worst of abuse, while still being comfortable enough to wear all day.


The Canyon fares well in durability, and after our real-world testing of off-trail bushwhacks, hard outdoor work days, trad climbing on sandstone, and early morning trail runs, no noticeable rips, tears, seam weaknesses, or missing buttons have been found. The shirt even resists wrinkling and once washed, looks much like it did on the first day of ownership.

The Canyon is a nicely constructed shirt.
The Canyon is a nicely constructed shirt.
You're able to button the sleeves up to hold them in place.
You're able to button the sleeves up to hold them in place.
Downward facing vents on the back help improve breathability.
Downward facing vents on the back help improve breathability.

The Canyon does sport two extra buttons for on-the-trail repairs, which is a nice touch. There are more durable button-shirts that we've tested, but for mid-to-high-intensity activities, we'd rather be shod within this shirt than any of those other, more stuffy-feeling options.

mountain hardwear canyon long sleeve - even after weeks of testing the mountain hardware canyon all over...
Even after weeks of testing the Mountain Hardware Canyon all over mountain trails, it still looks practically brand new after a washing.
Credit: Justin Simoni

Should You Buy the Mountain Hardwear Canyon Long Sleeve?


If you are looking for a durable button-up sun shirt, and prefer to not look like you just stepped off of the set of a Bass Pro Shop commercial, the Mountain Hardwear Canyon is the sun shirt for you. It's versatile, performs admirably, and is plenty packable to be taken on the road. This is a shirt we highly recommend and was the clear pick for our Editor's Choice Award.

Considering the careful balance of durability, breathability, and versatility, the moderate price of the Canyon seems more than justifiable. We tested cheaper alternatives, but none that combine the same stylish looks and features as this one.

What Other Sun Shirts Should You Consider?


Many of the other button-ups in this review are comparable in terms of features, and all are up to the task of protecting you from the sun — what matters is your personal preference for how they look and how they look on you. The Columbia Silver Ridge Lite and Columbia PFG Super Tamiami are comparable shirts, but both say “fishing” a little more loudly than the Canyon. If it's budget that rules your roost, look into the Baleaf UPF 50 Hoody, a minimalist hooded sun shirt.

Justin Simoni