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Reviews > Clothing > Shirts > OR Cypress-Sodo SS Sunshirt > Test Report by Mark McLauchlin

Outdoor Research SoDo S/S Shirt
Initial Report 7th August 2009
Field Report 10th October 2009

Long Term Report 2nd January 2010
By Mark McLauchlin

SoDo S/S Shirt


Reviewer Information

Name: Mark McLauchlin
Age: 30
Gender: Male
Height: 1.76 m (5 9)
Weight: 80 kg (176 lb)
Email: mark at swanvalleyit.com.au
City: Perth, Western Australia
Website: http://lightweighthikersblog.blogspot.com

Backpacking Background

I have been hiking since 2006 with most of my hiking consisting of day walks averaging 16 - 22 km (10 - 14 mi) and short overnight trips where possible. Most of my hiking is along the Bibbulmun Track and Coastal Plains Trail. I consider myself to be a light hiker with an average pack weight of 13 kg (29 lb), which I am working to reduce. I generally sleep in my tarp tent or huts that are often scattered along the various hiking trails.

Product Information

Manufacturer: Outdoor Research
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.outdoorresearch.com
Manufactured Location: China
Size: Medium, also available in S, L and XL
Style: Shirt, relaxed fit.
Listed Weight: 272 g (9.6 oz)
Measured Weight: 270 g (9.6 oz)
Colour: Peat, also available in Burnt Orange, Bluejay and Barley
Fabric: Quick-dry 100% nylon
MSRP: $55.00 USD


Product Description
The Outdoor Research SoDo S/S Shirt has been designed as a lightweight, breathable and wind-resistant shirt that provides protection from summer rays. Outdoor Research (OR) boast a UPF 30+ sun protection factor which will be great for Summer (Beruc as it is also known in the Indigenous culture).

Some additional features straight from the OR website:
Relaxed fit with straight hem.
Front button closure.
Zippered napoleon pocket with media port.
Chest pocket with button closure.

Initial Impressions
Wearing the SoDo makes me feel like I am dressed in my Sunday best, it has a very stylish look and feel about it. Perhaps this is makes it ideal for both on and off trail, reducing the need to carry a shirt for each occasion.

The sizing appears to be nice and accurate when using the chart on the manufacturers website. My chest measurement was around 108 cm (43 in), which corresponds to a large (L). Trying it on the fit is good, not too restrictive that it will cause any discomfort and not too large.

The Zippered napoleon pocket with media port is a neat feature of the shirt, not something that I would have associated with a hiking shirt but each to his own, I guess there are some that like to listen to some form of audio while out on the trail. Still a great idea and something that I will definitely try. The setup basically consists of a button hole on the inside of the shirt for the headphone cable while the media device itself is positioned inside the right breast pocket. This pocket has a zippered opening followed by a fit for purpose inner pocket for the device. Conveniently the internal pocket is sewn in on an angle for easier access. The images below show the media pocket features in use.
 

internal media port internal media port
  Internal Media Port Headphone Cable through Media Port

 

internal media pocket internal media pocket
Internal Media Pocket iPod inside Internal Media Pocket

One of the other good pieces of workmanship I have noticed is that they have reinforced areas of the shirt that have the potential to rip or tear. This is evident on the bottom hem of the shirt, as can be seen from the image below to the left. On the other hand there are a few places where the stitching itself has started to fray, which is definitely something that I will need to keep an eye on.

reinforcement frayed stitching
Reinforced areas Frayed stitching

Reading the Instructions
The instructions are printed on a tag attached to the inside seam of the shirt. They relate to washing care and are both simple and easy to understand. They state;

"Machine wash Cold. Do not bleach. Tumble dry low. Iron low. Do not dry clean."

Summary
Overall the Outdoor Research So/Do Shirt looks to be a real winner, the workmanship and design of the shirt is definitely top quality.

Things I liked
Style and comfort.
Portable media feature.
UV Protection.
Relative light weight.

Things I disliked
Frayed Stitching.


This concludes my Initial Report. The Field Report will be amended to this report in approximately two months from the date of this report. Please check back then for further information.


Field Report
10th October 2009
 

Field Conditions

During this phase of my report the Outdoor Research SoDo shirt has been worn on three multi-day hikes and a further two-day walk. The multi-day hikes were along the Bibbulmun Track and ranged from 13 km (8 miles) to 26 km (16 miles). Two of these hikes saw large amounts of precipitation and the temperatures ranged from a low of 8 C (46 F) to a high of 29 C (84 F). The terrain was relatively flat, as are most of the areas I hike in. The trails are well defined which has meant the shirt has not suffered any rips or tears from being caught on branches.

Field Performance

Durability wise the shirt has held up well, there are no signs of wear or tear. There are no further signs of the frayed stitching worsening or becoming apparent in any other area which is definitely a good sign. Buttons and general construction are still in excellent condition.

The SoDo has been washed both by hand whilst on the trail and then in the washing machine (front loader) when back at home. It has not shrunk or distorted in any way, which seems to be a typical fate of many of my hiking shirts. The shirt dries reasonably well when hung out in a sunny position such as a make shift line between two trees. Drying time average has been about 5 hours in a variety of temperatures as listed above in the Field Conditions.

I have used several different packs while wearing the SoDo shirt and not encountered any issues where the shoulder straps or hip belts put pressure on the shirt seams in turn causing any discomfort to myself. The shirt stays in place and does not bunch up in areas which adds to its comfort. Several other shirts I own have shown early signs of wear on the back from rubbing with the pack, the SoDo does not.

I have made use of the media pocket when using the shirt off the trail as I do not like to listen to anything but the sound of my shoes on the ground and wind through the trees while hiking. While the pocket is functional and does not add any extra complexity to the shirt I think it has some further benefits of simply providing extra storage space when needed e.g. Credit card. For a trail shirt I do not find the media pocket to be personally of much use for its designed purpose. Having said that, I did mention in the Initial Report that the shirt could definitely be worn regularly off trail.

The UV protection of the shirt is something I have not yet had the opportunity to test, however as we are now approaching warmer temperatures in preparation for Summer I will be able to provide feedback during the Long Term phase. I will note and pay closer attention to the fact the shirt does make me feel rather warm even in the cooler temperatures which may be an issue.

One concern I have had with the shirt, and perhaps localised to myself, is that the material of the shirt seems to irritate certain parts of my chest, namely my nipples. This is easily overcome at the moment by wearing a singlet underneath. This is not something which I am going to be able to do in Summer so hopefully its just a phase or perhaps due to the cooler temperatures at the moment my skin is behaving slightly different. Now that was difficult to say diplomatically.

Summary

To date I am happy with the performance of the SoDo shirt and do not find there to be any major issues. I will endeavour to report back further on how it handles UV and its comfort in the warmer temperatures.

This concludes my Field Report for the Outdoor Research SoDo Shirt.


Long-Term Report
2nd January 2010

My son and I

Over the past two months the Outdoor Research SoDo Shirt has seen a significant amount of wear both on an off the trail. In total I have been out on the trail for a further five days and an estimated 12 days off trail.

Days on the trail have included various sections of the Bibbulmun track, all towards the Northern most end in temperatures ranging from 15 C (59 F) to approximately 32 C (90 F). No precipitation fell during this period. I also wore the shirt on one trail maintenance trip on a section of trail I am responsible for, which covers a distance of approximately 30 km or 18 miles. This was a great work out for the shirt as not only did I have to contend with the heat but also the extra physical activity of trail maintenance.

After continued use of the shirt and subsequent machine washing the shirt shows no signs of wear and tear nor has it become stretched and ill fitting. There are no stains or tears in the shirt from field use or signs of pack wear. The loose threads which were previously reported have not shown to cause any further issues.

My experience with the shirt has been very positive and it is something that I will continue to use in the cooler weather on the trail and as a regular shirt off the trail. I do believe the shirt is a little too warm to be worn during summer time in Australia where the temperatures are frequently over 30 C (86 F), the material is rather thick and does not breath all that well. Having said that some may find this to be OK. I have found no need to apply sunscreen to areas covered by the shirt which to me indicates the UPF 30+ rating holds true.

I still seem to have an issue with the material of the shirt causing an irritation to my nipples on occasion, I was hoping that with continued use and washing the shirt would perhaps soften up, however this has not been the case. I do not experience the same issue with other shirts I use for hiking which infers their is something in the material of the SoDo, perhaps the nylon. I hope that not too many other people would experience this issue as apart from this it is a great shirt.

There is not a great deal more that I can say about the shirt besides the fact that it has lived up to my expectations in terms of function and durability and it was a very enjoyable item to test.

Things I liked
UPF 30 + rating
Hard wearing
Stylish yet functional

Things I disliked
Too warm for Summer use.
Skin irritation

This concludes my Long-Term Report and the test series for the Outdoor Research SoDo S/S shirt.


Thank you to Outdoor Research and BackpackGearTest.org for the privilege of testing the SoDo S/S Shirt

 
 

 

Read more reviews of Outdoor Research gear
Read more gear reviews by Mark McLauchlin

Reviews > Clothing > Shirts > OR Cypress-Sodo SS Sunshirt > Test Report by Mark McLauchlin



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