Hands-on Gear Review

Vapor Apparel Solar Long Sleeve - Women's Review

Best Buy Award
Price:  $16 List
Pros:  Incredibly lightweight and breathable, solid UPF protection, very affordable
Cons:  Wider neck exposes skin, holds onto body odors easily
Bottom line:  Simple design for lots of activities, less coverage than some but a good value.
Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Sun Protection Level:  50+
Coverage:  Long sleeve
Features:  None
Manufacturer:   Vapor Apparel

Our Verdict

The Vapor Solar Long Sleeve is a lightweight, quick-dry sun shirt that's an excellent option for runners and might be right for gardening, yard work, or trail building. 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.



RELATED REVIEW: The Best Sun Protection Shirts for Women


Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Maggie Brandenburg

Last Updated:
Wednesday
April 11, 2018

Share:

The most significant difference between the Vapor and the rest of the sun shirts in this review is in its simplicity. Rather than being built for a specific activity or having all the latest do-dads and whiz-bangs attached, it's straightforward design allows you to piece this shirt into your life wherever it's right for you. Read on to learn more!

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 loose 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) thought the sleeves could be a tad longer, most of our reviewers thought 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 may mean 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, so you may need to consider sunscreen on the exposed areas. However, if your race is just a short 5K, you may not even need it! Overall, we gave it a 5 out of 10.

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 and not half as bad as our reviewers feared. We scored it an 8 out of 10.

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 did have them questioning its durability. While it didn't catch any snags during our testing, we're not so sure how it would hold up to trimming the rose bushes or playing with the new puppy. Yet our reviewers' biggest complaint was how it held in smell. If worn for more than a couple short, 3-5 mile runs without being washed, it tended to develop an odor that's sure to deter those with sensitive (or maybe existing?) noses. We gave it a 5 out of 10.

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 the O'Neill Women's Basic Skins, we wouldn'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. We gave it a 4 out of 10.

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.

Best Applications


Our reviewers feel that this shirt is best suited to running. However, if you're not a runner, we could also see this shirt being a great fit for gardening or other yard work. 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. If you're looking for a sun shirt with extra hand protection (aka thumb holes), you might want to check out the Black Diamond Alpenglow Hoody or Patagonia Women's Sunshade Hoody. If you'd rather have a shirt with pockets, buttons, and a collar, you might try the Columbia Silver Ridge Light or REI Co-op Sahara.

Value


This is one category that the Vapor excels in. For as little as $16, 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


You Might Also Like

OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: April 11, 2018
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (2.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
 (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 100%  (1)
1 star: 0%  (0)


Have you used this product?
Don't hold back. Share your viewpoint by posting a review with your thoughts...