By Mark McLauchlin
Name: Mark McLauchlin
Height: 1.76 m (5’ 9”)
Weight: 80 kg (176 lb)
Email: mark at swanvalleyit.com.au
City: Perth, Western Australia
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
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.
Manufacturer: Outdoor Research
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Size: Medium, also available in S, L and XL
Style: Shirt, relaxed fit.
Listed Weight: 272 g (9.6 oz)
270 g (9.6 oz)
Peat, also available in Burnt Orange, Bluejay and Barley
MSRP: $55.00 USD
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.
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
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
||Headphone Cable through Media Port
|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.
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."
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.
Relative light weight.
Things I disliked
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.
10th October 2009
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.
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
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
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
This concludes my Field Report for the Outdoor Research SoDo Shirt.
2nd January 2010
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
Stylish yet functional
Things I disliked
Too warm for Summer use.
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