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

Vapor Apparel Solar Long Sleeve - Women's Review

Simple design for lots of activities, less coverage than some but a good value.
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $17 List
Pros:  Incredibly lightweight and breathable, solid UPF protection, very affordable
Cons:  Wider neck exposes skin, holds onto body odors easily
Manufacturer:   Vapor Apparel
By Maggie Brandenburg ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 7, 2019
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59
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 9
  • Comfort & Fit - 30% 6
  • Sun Protection - 25% 5
  • Breathability - 20% 7
  • Durability - 10% 5
  • Style - 15% 6

Our Verdict

The Vapor Solar Long Sleeve is a lightweight, quick-dry sun shirt that's an excellent option for runners and works pretty well for gardening, yard work, or trail building. It may not have the most coverage of all the sun shirts in this review, but it might just be your style and its comfort level is high. While it has a straightforward design compared to some of the other shirts you could purchase, its simplicity may be welcome by some, and its surprisingly low price tag is sure to be a relief to all.


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Price $17 List$20.83 at REI
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Pros Incredibly lightweight and breathable, solid UPF protection, very affordableIncredibly lightweight, very breathable, great coverage, super stretchyFlex fabric/vent in armpit, attractive cut and style, good for diverse activitiesSuper lightweight, built in hand covers, extremely breathable, ponytail hole in hoodSoft, comfortable fit, stretchy, ripstop material, classy design for versatile use
Cons Wider neck exposes skin, holds onto body odors easilyGets dirty easily, too stretchy to keep heavy items in the pocketWrinkles relatively easily, sleeve tab extremely highSnags easily, very low UPF, hand covers could be designed betterLarge fit; tricky to size, dark colors
Bottom Line Simple design for lots of activities, less coverage than some but a good value.A really useful sun shirt that's a great choice for just about any sunny activity.Comfortable and stylish, this sun shirt is great for both in and outdoor use.A super breathable shirt with handy functions that keeps you both warm AND cool.From spending the day hiking to meeting friends for dinner, this soft shirt from Columbia is sure to keep you protected and stylish!
Rating Categories Solar Long Sleeve Crater Lake Long Sleeve Hoody Co-op Sahara Long-Sleeve Echo Hoody Silver Ridge Lite Long Sleeve
Comfort & Fit (30%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
6
Sun Protection (25%)
10
0
5
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
6
Breathability (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
Durability (10%)
10
0
5
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
4
10
0
8
Style (15%)
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
Totals (%)
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
10
Specs Solar Long Sleeve Crater Lake Long... Co-op Sahara... Echo Hoody Silver Ridge Lite...
Sun Protection Level 50+ 50+ 35 15 40
Coverage Long sleeve Long sleeve, hood, thumb holes Long sleeve, collar Long sleeve, hood, hand cuffs Long sleeve, collar
Features None Extra large hood, draw string at waist, hip pocket (zipper) Chest pockets (snap), tab sleeves, back vent, vented underarm, sunglasses loop Fold-over mitt cuffs, ponytail hole in hood Chest pockets (velcro), back panel, tab sleeves, hip pocket (zipper)

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Vapor is a simple sun shirt without a hood, collar, or thumb holes. It's made of moisture-wicking microfiber and is rated with 50+ UPF protection.

Performance Comparison


This simple shirt from Vapor provides much needed UV protection as the sun rises in the Sierra.
This simple shirt from Vapor provides much needed UV protection as the sun rises in the Sierra.

Comfort & Fit


The Long Sleeve has a fairly relaxed and flowy fit. Not nearly as loose as the button-up shirts in this review, but with stretchy fabric, it doesn't need to be. All the colors available through Vapor are also pastel or light colors, helping to keep you cool even in the direct sunlight beating down on you while you trail run through the high Sierras (we know; we tried).


The fabric is soft, malleable, and not constricting and helps you forget you're wearing a long sleeve shirt. While our reviewers with a high ape index (aka have long arms) think the sleeves could be a tad longer, most of our reviewers think they were just right.

The Vapor Solar in size S on two 5'4" gear testers.
The Vapor Solar in size S on two 5'4" gear testers.

Sun Protection


The high UPF value (50+) of this shirt allows you to breathe easy knowing that your skin is well-protected. The lack of hood or thumb holes means you still need to reapply that SPF cream to your neck and hands, but if you're gardening with gloves and a big floppy hat, you may be glad to be rid of that extra fabric.


Our only real concern with the protection this shirt offers is that the neck is a bit wide compared to the other shirts we tested, leaving larger exposed areas of skin on your neck than any other shirt we tested. However, if your race is just a short 5K, you may not mind this short time of extra sun exposure.

Though it doesn't have thumb holes  the sleeve coverage of the Vapor Solar still keeps out a lot of those damaging UF rays.
Though it doesn't have thumb holes, the sleeve coverage of the Vapor Solar still keeps out a lot of those damaging UF rays.

Breathability


With a nice flowy fit and light color choices, this shirt does a great job allowing breezes to cool you off on a hot day. The material is quite thin and dries very quickly, which lets all that evaporating sweat do what evolution intended - cool you off!


While you may not enjoy running in a long sleeve shirt or wearing one to build that trail (that you'll later run on, in the same shirt!), this shirt is light and breezy.

The Vapor is lightweight and breathable enough to wear on a long run  but the smell it accumulates might not be worth it...
The Vapor is lightweight and breathable enough to wear on a long run, but the smell it accumulates might not be worth it...

Durability


Made of 100% microfiber with touted moisture-wicking technology, our reviewers are left with no doubts about this shirt's comfort and breathability. However, the thin material does have us questioning its durability.


While it didn't catch any snags during our testing, we're not so sure how it might hold up to trimming the rose bushes or playing with the new puppy. Yet our reviewers' biggest complaint is how it holds onto smell. If worn for more than a couple short, 3-5 mile runs without being washed, it develops an odor that's sure to deter those with sensitive (or maybe existing?) noses.

After just three sunny spring 5 mile runs in the Sierras  this shirt not only picked up a foul odor  but also some nasty-looking stains.
After just three sunny spring 5 mile runs in the Sierras, this shirt not only picked up a foul odor, but also some nasty-looking stains.

Style


The fit of this shirt is very easy. It may not be featured on a fashion runway anytime soon, but our reviewers also found it difficult to not like. It's meant to have a relaxed fit that's comfortable to wear, recreate, and sweat in.


As it comes in a plethora of colors, you can choose the one that best suits your style. Just like some of the other laidback-looking and specific-use shirts we tested, we don't recommend this shirt for a night out or around the office on Monday, but perhaps it may work as an underlayer on a cold winter day.

Staying cool and protected even on a high Sierra beach!
Staying cool and protected even on a high Sierra beach!

Features


This shirt has no additional features; it's a simple, straightforward design.

Value


This is one category that the Vapor excels in. For less than 20% of the cost of some other sun shirts, you can save your skin and wallet the burden of rubbing all those sunscreen chemicals onto the largest organ of your body. Hard to beat that!

Conclusion


The Vapor Solar Long Sleeve is a comfortable, breathable sun shirt with a great price tag. It does tend to get a bit stinky if you're sweating a lot in it, and your friends may call you out on it. However, if you don't have a specific activity in mind, but want to be saved from the sun (and yucky, sticky sunscreen) while you're at it, this shirt is a great choice for you!


Maggie Brandenburg