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NRS H2Core Silkweight - Women's Review

A comfortable shirt that's great to paddle in with bright colors for visibility
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Price:  $45 List | $44.95 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  All seams are flat, very soft, comfortable, active-wear seams in armpits, dries quickly
Cons:  Lacks many features, holds onto body odor easily
Manufacturer:   NRS
By Maggie Brandenburg ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 28, 2020
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66
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 14
  • Comfort and Fit - 30% 7
  • Sun Protection - 25% 6
  • Breathability - 20% 6
  • Versatility - 15% 7
  • Durability - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The NRS H2Core Silkweight is a paddle-specific shirt that is expertly tailored for exactly that purpose. Every seam on the shirt is sewn flat and perfectly placed to avoid rubbing. Its loose, stretchy fit dries quickly in the sun, and we love just how soft it is against the skin. A few small, reflective logos are a nice touch on top of high visibility colors for added safety. It's also a decent choice for everyday use in the sun, though the shorter sleeves and slightly wider neck provide less coverage than some others. But if your primary purpose is to get out paddling, this is a purchase we doubt you'll regret.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The NRS H2Core Silkweight is a 92% polyester, 8% spandex shirt carrying a 50+ UPF rating. Its very relaxed shape features all flat seams that are completely removed from high-traffic areas (like armpits and shoulder tops).

Performance Comparison


More water  less worry in the NRS H2Core.
More water, less worry in the NRS H2Core.

Comfort and Fit


The H2Core Silkweight is one of those sun shirts that's so soft it feels like a fine dry powder and almost cool to the touch. NRS has also flat-stitched every single seam on this paddle shirt, further adding to its comfort. If that's not enough, the seams have also been removed from spots with a high potential to rub as you move your arms. That means no seams running up the insides of your arms, through your armpits, or on the tops of your shoulders. It is an exceptionally loose-fitting shirt, though. Our 5'4", 120 lb main tester wore the small and probably would have preferred the torso fit of the extra small. However, the sleeves of the small are already a bit on the short side. This lesser length keeps your hands free for intense paddling but leaves them exposed for regular wear when you're not paddling.

This shirt is so soft and comfortable to wear - it doubles as both a paddle shirt and a Lazy Sunday top.
This shirt is so soft and comfortable to wear - it doubles as both a paddle shirt and a Lazy Sunday top.

Sun Protection


With a UPF rating of 50+, the H2Core Silkweight is among the highest of its kind — and on par with most other models we tested. The torso is quite long, keeping you well covered even as you dig deep into your paddle strokes. It lacks many features other sun shirts often have, such as a hood or thumbholes, which lowers its score for coverage. Its crew neck is also a bit on the wide side. However, while this lack of features may detract slightly from the shirt's sun protection, they all contribute significantly to its comfort as an all-day paddle partner.

The crew neck is a bit larger than some but still provides solid protection. It also features a very long torso that won't leave your lower back exposed in a kayak.
The crew neck is a bit larger than some but still provides solid protection. It also features a very long torso that won't leave your lower back exposed in a kayak.

Breathability


Though it's not the thickest or heaviest top we tested, the H2Core is far from the thinnest. We found it quite comfortable and reasonably breathable to run in up to about 75-80°F, but that's not what we'd recommend using it for. This is yet another metric in which NRS has chosen to make a trade-off that furthers this garment's intended usage. Its loose fit, moisture-wicking properties, and particularly quick dry time all make it (once again) an excellent choice to wear paddling. With that said, we also enjoyed wearing it for more casual protection, like long dog walks and afternoons gardening.

Though it's a bit heavy for running  we actually don't mind it on milder temp days.
Though it's a bit heavy for running, we actually don't mind it on milder temp days.

Versatility


Though designed as a paddle shirt, we found the Silkweight to come in handy for many other activities. Its lack of some of the more casual-appearance features, like thumbholes or a hood, allow its versatility of both style and use to be slightly expanded. Without seams in high-wear areas, it's also a solid choice for more movement-involved activities. Though the loose fit of this shirt may not be everyone's cup of tea, it's more accommodating of the many body shapes that exist. It's best for fans of bright colors too, as the few options available all "pop."

Not just for paddling  the NRS is also a solid choice for casual everyday wear.
Not just for paddling, the NRS is also a solid choice for casual everyday wear.

Durability


For a relatively thin, stretchy sun shirt, the H2Core offers decent durability. Its 92% polyester, 8% spandex blend ensure it's not about to rip while you flex. Its smooth exterior and flat seams also lend a fair amount of credibility to its ability to withstand prolonged rubbing against a life jacket. It's not ripstop, though, nor do we think it's ideal for scraping against particularly snag-happy surfaces, but we didn't pick up any snags during our several months of testing. Our only real complaint about its durability is just that it tends to trap body odors easily and quickly, needing to be laundered more frequently.

We had no problems scrambling through some riverside shrubbery while scouting a nearby river.
We had no problems scrambling through some riverside shrubbery while scouting a nearby river.

Features


This shirt lacks many traditional features such as a hood, pockets, or thumbholes. Instead, it features all flat-stitched seams and excellent seam placement to avoid common areas of friction.

NRS nailed the placement of these seams. They're not only perfect for paddling  they're exceptionally comfortable for just normal life too.
NRS nailed the placement of these seams. They're not only perfect for paddling, they're exceptionally comfortable for just normal life too.

Value


The H2Core Silkweight is on the lower end of the price range we tested but isn't the cheapest. However, if you're in the market for a sun shirt that's a great top to paddle in and also works for regular use, this is an awesome shirt that's very much worth the cost.

Conclusion


The NRS H2Core Silkweight is an exceptionally comfortable sun shirt that's easy to wear. It's meant for paddling and has the flat seams all over (but not in high traffic areas) to prove it. It also makes a reasonable transition to everyday wear. It may stink easily if you sweat a lot, but it dries quickly, and we are big fans of how it feels when you're in it.

All decked out in NRS gear to paddle one of our favorite spots.
All decked out in NRS gear to paddle one of our favorite spots.

Maggie Brandenburg