EXOFFICIO BUGSAWAY BREEZ'R
LONG SLEEVE S
TEST SERIES BY
November 30, 2014
HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT
bhart1426ATyahooDOT com |
||5' 9" (1.75
||145 lb (65.80
I have been backpacking for over
20 years throughout Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and most recently in Western USA.
In addition to backpacking I enjoy family camping with my wife and kids and
being outdoors in general. I would describe myself as a mid-weight backpacker.
I use fairly light weight equipment and gear but still like to bring more than
the bare essentials with me while on the trail.
|Photo courtesy of
Year of Manufacture:
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.exofficio.com/
Listed Weight: 8.5 oz (241 g)
Measured Weight: 8.8 oz (249
Fabric: 100% Nylon
Mesh: 100% Polyester
Sizes: Small, Medium, Large, XL, 2XL, 3XL
Size Tested: Small
colors: Algae, Bone, Cayman, Dusty Olive, White
Other details provided by Manufacturer:
Uses Insect Shield
repellant for effective protection against biting insects
ventilation on front and back for increased air flow
Security zip chest pocket
Critical seams moved off the shoulder to
UPF Sun Guard 30+
Per the manufacturer the Breez'r shirt is "part of ExOfficio's
BugsAway line of insect repellant clothing which uses Insect Shield technology
to aid in the battle against insects that carry diseases."
The BugsAway Breez'r shirt is a long-sleeve,
collared, button-up shirt made of 100% ripstop nylon and polyester mesh. It is
light weight and carries a UPF 30+ rating for sun protection. The UPF30+ rating
means that at least 96% of all UVA and UVB rays are blocked from reaching the
skin. Over the past few years I have made a conscious effort to buy UPF rated
clothing to help protect my skin from overexposure to the sun's rays. In
addition to providing UPF30+ sun protection, the BugsAway Breez'r shirt also
repels mosquitoes, ticks, ants, flies, chiggers, and no-see-ums using a patented
process called Insect Shield to bond a proprietary formulation of the Permethrin
to the shirt's fibers. From my research, Permethrin has been used in the United
States as an EPA registered insecticide for over 35 years. It is also used in
lice shampoos and other products that are regulated by the FDA, and seems to
have a very good safety rating. A couple neat properties of Insect Shield
clothing are: 1) the bug protection does not wear off over time, 2) the active
ingredient, Permethrin, is invisible, odorless and non-greasy and 3) Insect
Shield clothing has been tested and certified by the EPA as well as independent
labs with a 99% reduction in mosquito and tick bites among test participants.
Not only do I find mosquito and tick bites annoying, but they can have
serious consequences from any one of a number of diseases such as West Nile
virus, malaria and Lyme disease. The Insect Shield process is designed to
prevent loss of the active ingredient Permethrin over time by tightly binding it
to the fabric fibers so that the shirt retains its full effective repellency
through its life. In fact the repellency of Insect Shield apparel is
EPA-registered to last for 70 launderings (see charts below), which is
considered the expected lifetime of a piece of clothing. In addition to shirts,
ExOfficio also makes pants, hats, socks and bandannas that provide the same
insect protection as noted above.
Even though from what I've read
Permethrin can be bonded to cotton just as easily as nylon, I like the fact that
ExOfficio chose nylon fabric for its wicking and quick-drying features. I am
hoping this shirt not only keeps the bugs away but also keeps me cool and dry
during our usually hot and humid Midwest summer.
|Photo courtesy of
|Photo courtesy of
It's almost impossible to
backpack in the woods of Indiana or anywhere in the Midwest, between May and
September, and not get swarmed by mosquitoes and ticks. Till now I've always
used DEET as my bug repellent of choice, and it does a good job of repelling
mosquitoes when applied generously. However, I haven't found it very effective
at repelling ticks. For this reason I was really excited about the opportunity
to test the BugsAway Breez'r shirt. After going online to view the
manufacturer's sizing chart I ordered a size 'small' and patiently waited for it
The Breez'r arrived at my doorstep in
excellent condition and looked exactly as pictured on ExOfficio's website. It
sports a simple, stylish design and tailored fit that ExOfficio refers to as
'Natural'. The shirt has a single left side chest pocket which is 6 x 6 in (15
x 15 cm) with a zipper for securing important items. I really like the fact
that the pocket is zippered as that eliminates any chance of something falling
out while bending over to drive in a tent stake or light a campfire.
shirt placket is 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide with double stitchings on each side. The
stitches are inset slightly from each edge. Seven small plastic buttons are sewn
onto the placket equidistant from each other while a spare button is sewn onto
the care tag. It will be interesting to see how sturdy the buttons are and
whether they loosen or fall off over time from the force of weighted backpack
straps tugging at them.
Although the BugsAway Breez'r is tailored it fits
me just fine. I looked at the sizing chart on ExOfficio's website before
ordering and the chest and waist measurements they provided were accurate. With
most shirts and jackets, I am right in between sizes so I make my decision to
size up or down based on whether I am going to be wearing anything underneath
it. In this case I sized down as I will almost always wear this shirt
standalone. The Breez'r is light weight and feels comfortable against my skin
with no raised seams or scratchy tags inside the shirt collar. The shirt felt
comfortable and breathed well during its initial debut on a quick walk around my
block this evening. Overall the BugsAway Breez'r appears to be well-made with
precise stitching and straight seams. The design and craftsmanship are
impeccable. I look forward to wearing this shirt a lot in the next few
For cleaning, ordinary home
laundering is recommended. The BugsAway Breez'r can be bleached, starched,
pressed, etc., without effect on the repellent quality; however, it should not
be dry cleaned as that removes the treatment.
Care instructions for the
shirt are included on one of the tags sewn to the lower left seam of the shirt.
They read as follows: Machine wash cold; Wash with like colors; No bleach or
fabric softeners; Tumble dry low; Iron low setting; Do not dry clean.
mentioned above, but worth repeating, the repellency of Insect Shield is EPA
registered to last through 70 launderings, which is the average life expectancy
of a garment as listed by the International Fabricare Institute.
The ExOfficio BugsAway shirt is a
well-designed, well-made shirt that is perfect for backpacking, camping, fishing
and/or hiking in warm weather. Over the next two months I plan to test it in a
variety of conditions and report back on its comfort, fit, UPF protection and
most importantly its ability to fight off biting insects. This concludes my
Initial Report. Thanks to ExOfficio and BackpackGearTest.org for the
opportunity to test this shirt.
Bug repellant is built into the
clothing so it does not need to be applied to the skin
Insect Shield lasts
for the life of the clothing so no reapplication is needed
Insect Shield is
not greasy, it doesn't wash off and it doesn't smell
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
During this test period, I wore the ExOfficio
BugsAway Breez'r on three multi-night backpacking trips for a total of five
nights in the field. I also wore this shirt on several day hikes and around my
neighborhood many evenings.
1. Franklin County, Indiana (IN): My
first outing during this test period was for two nights. The weather was mild
this particular weekend with mostly sunny skies and daytime temperatures in the
mid 70's F (23 C). Nighttime lows were in the mid 60's F (18 C) and there was
no precipitation. The terrain I hiked in was hilly and heavily
2. Oldenburg, IN: This was an overnight trip with my mom, dad
and brother. The terrain was moderately hilly with a mix of forested areas and
open fields. Daytime temperatures peaked at 78 F (25 C) with nighttime lows of
70 F (21 C). Skies were overcast for most of the day with a brief but heavy
overnight rainstorm. We spent most of our time around camp on this trip and
consequently I only hiked about 1.5 mi (2.4 km).
3. Hoosier National
Forest, IN: The weather during this two night trip was partly sunny and humid
with daytime highs in the mid 80's F (29 C). Evening temperatures dropped to the
low 70's F (22 C). The terrain was very hilly and heavily forested. I hiked
approximately 14 mi (22.5 km) during this trip.
I also went on several
day hikes in Central Indiana, traveling anywhere from 9 - 12 mi (14.5 - 19.3 km)
on each trip. Weather conditions on these outings were mild with partly sunny
skies and temperatures in the low to mid 70s F (22 C).
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The BugsAway Breez'r has proven
to be an excellent backpacking shirt. It's comfortable, breathable, durable,
and it keeps the bugs away. It's truly a great addition to my backpacking
Comfort and fit: During the past two months of Field Testing the
BugsAway Breez'r was comfortable to wear and felt soft against my skin. I also
really liked the way it fit. There was plenty of room in the chest, shoulders
and arm pits and the sleeves were just the right length. I didn't notice any
rubbing or chafing of seams thanks to ExOfficio's attention to detail in moving
the seams off the shoulder area. Two things I never liked about insect sprays
were their smell and the oily residue they left on my skin. With the BugsAway
Breez'r those issues are gone. The Insect Shield repellent is odorless and it's
tightly bonded to the fabric so no residue gets on my skin. I don't know how
they did it but even when the shirt was wet from rain or sweat I couldn't detect
the Permethrin, which surprised me.
Performance: The nylon and polyester
fabric of the Breez'r performed really well in the summer heat. It breathed
well and did a good job of wicking moisture away from my skin. Even when I
sweated the shirt dried out fairly quickly once I removed my backpack and rested
for a while. After several days of wearing the shirt I noticed some odors but
they quickly went away after washing the shirt (and myself). Another feature I
really liked about this shirt was the sun protection that its UPF30 rating
provided. Even though the long sleeves made me hot, they protected my arms from
sunburns as well as thick brush. At this point I am very happy with the
performance of the shirt and look forward to two more months of testing.
Durability: The Breez'r has held up really well so far. Exofficio has
done a wonderful job of constructing a shirt with excellent durability. After
two months of hauling a pack, scrambling up steep inclines and trekking thru
heavy brush it only has minor wear on the shoulder and elbow areas. Although
the Breez'r hasn't stopped me from getting painful thorn pricks, its tight weave
and ripstop nylon fabric has most likely prevented many rips and tears that
would have occurred with lesser quality shirts. The few snags I've gotten have
been quite small and have not frayed. Once back home, I've had no problems
removing sweat and soil stains in the washer and the BugsAway Breez'r has shown
no signs of fading or shrinking despite numerous washings.
Repellency: Despite rumors that last year's brutal winter killed off lots of
insects, the ticks and mosquitoes were out in full force this summer. That,
along with reports that some mosquitoes in Indiana tested positive for the West
Nile virus, made this the opportune time to test this shirt. As it turned out,
the BugsAway Breez'r did not disappoint. It worked great for me while camping
with family and on my solo trips to Southern Indiana. After gathering firewood
with my brother in the woods by a small creek and then making our way back to
camp, my brother found 4 ticks on him yet I couldn't find any on me. In
addition my parents and brother had many mosquito bites on their neck, arms and
legs after fishing that evening yet I only counted four mosquito bites total on
me and they were all on my legs.
A similar scenario to the events above
played out while I was solo backpacking through the forests of Southern Indiana;
I found no ticks on me and very few mosquito bites, which once again were mainly
on my legs. For testing purposes I wish my shirt was white or some other light
color instead of olive as the dark color made it very difficult to tell if the
mosquitoes and ticks were landing on me and then falling off and dying or if
they were repelled by Insect Shield and never touched me in the first place.
Ultimately I'd like to determine if Insect Shield provides a radius of security
or safety zone and if that zone extends to my hands, neck and face. I will
research these questions further during the next two months and report back on
I really like this shirt. It fits
well and is comfortable to wear on the trail and around town. Its ability to
ward off mosquito and tick bites has made it my go-to shirt for summer
This concludes my Field Report. Please check back in two
months for my Long Term Report and final analysis of the BugsAway Breez'r. In
the meantime, thanks to ExOfficio and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity
to test this shirt.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND
During this test period I wore
the Breez'r on two more backpacking trips to Southern Indiana and on two day
hikes to local parks in Central Indiana before the weather got too cold for
continued testing. I also wore the shirt around my house on many buggy evenings
for protection from mosquitoes.
The temperatures on my outings ranged
from the mid 50's F (11 C) to the upper 70's F (25 C). Skies were clear on my
first overnighter and partly cloudy with a brief period of rain on my second
trip. As for my trip to Wisconsin (WI) last week, the BugsAway Breez'r sadly
stayed at home as WI had 6 in (15 cm) of snow on the ground and temperatures in
the teens when I arrived.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The BugsAway Breez'r performed
admirably during these last two months of testing. With cooler overnight
temperatures during this period I wore a T shirt under the Breez'r most nights
and mornings and together they provided adequate warmth while working around
camp. While backpacking during the day and generating lots of heat I removed
my T shirt and the Breezr's lightweight fabric breathed well and dried quickly
similar to what I witnessed while wearing it during Field Testing. While
busting new trails in the Charles Deam Wilderness Area of the Hoosier National
Forest, I was sweating hard after a few hours and the Breez'r did a great job of
wicking moisture away from my skin so it could evaporate. Despite washings
after each of my trips the BugsAway Breez'r has shown no signs of pilling,
fading or any other negative effects from laundering.
The shirt's ability
to ward off mosquitoes and ticks during this test period has continued to be
outstanding. With careful watch I have seen a few mosquitoes land on the shirt
but they don't stay long, and most importantly for me they don't bite. My field
research during the past two months appears to confirm what I've read about
Permethrin, that it's a contact insecticide. Mosquitoes and ticks don't like it
and I've witnessed a few of them fall off after coming into contact with it,
although I think it takes anywhere from 30 minutes to 12 hours for them to die.
The shirt also seems to have some ability to repel insects although its
effective radius only seems to be a few inches (75mm - 100mm) as I have gotten
bit on the face and legs while doing testing.
There is not much more to
say about this shirt other than to reiterate that it's a great performer.
After two more months on my back it remains soft and comfortable to wear. At no
time while backpacking have I had any issues with the shirt seams rubbing on my
shoulders or causing discomfort. I also haven't experience any twisting or
bunching of fabric under my pack straps as shirts sometimes do when they don't
fit just right. The biggest thing for me, though, living in the Midwest is that
I no longer have to coat myself with DEET before going into the woods or outside
during summer months.
The BugsAway Breez'r is a
comfortable long sleeve shirt that offers great sun protection and even better
protection from biting insects. It is well designed and has also proven to be
quite durable. Given its outstanding performance during the past four months I
plan to order a pair of ExOfficio pants for next summer to complete my
wardrobe.This report was created with the
Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.
This concludes my Long Term Report for the BugsAway Breez'r and
this test call. My sincere thanks to ExOfficio and BackpackGearTest.org for the
opportunity to test this shirt.
Read more reviews of Ex Officio gear
Read more gear reviews by Brian Hartman