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Reviews > Clothing > Shirts > OR Cypress-Sodo SS Sunshirt > Test Report by Peter Spiller

Outdoor Research SoDo S/S Shirt

a test report by

Peter Spiller

Initial Report:  (July 1, 2009)Tester Information
Field Report (September 11, 2009)Product Information
Long Term Report (November 4, 2009) 

Tester Information:

Name:Peter SpillerBackpacking Background: I have been camping and hiking avidly since childhood.  In the last several years my passion for backpacking and kayaking has grown.  I am a Chapter Outing Leader for the Sierra Club, I have trained in Wilderness First Aid, and am a staff member for a wilderness basics course.  I enjoy solo backpacking and group trips.  I have an adaptable style that is fueled by my interest in backpacking gear.  I pack as light as possible when the situation dictates, but I am not against hauling creature comforts. I average 1 hike a week, and 1 backpack a month year-round.
Age: 39
Height: 6 ft 0 in (1.83m)
Weight:190 lb (86 kg)
Torso Length:18 in (46 cm)
City, State, Country:La Mesa, CA U.S.

Product Information:

Manufacturer:Outdoor Research
Loki Midi Micro Fleece
Photo from theOutdoor Research Website
Manufacturers Website:
Model:SoDo S/S Shirt
Size Tested:XL
Weight (manufacturers):9.6oz (272g)
Weight (as delivered): 10.25 oz (291g) size XL
Lightweight, wind-resistant nylon
MSRP:$60.00 USD

Initial Report:

July 2, 2009

Product Description

LogoThe Outdoor Research SoDo Short Sleeve Shirt is a button down shirt with a collar.  It is made from a light weight breathable, wind resistant fabric, and has a patch style pocket with a button closure on the the left chest, and a voluminous hidden napoleon style pocket on the right chest that zips closed. The Napoleon style pocket has a smaller pocket nested on the inside, and a small slit cut and hemmed on the interior designed to pass a a headphone wire into the pocket. The front of the shirt closes by a series of small metal buttons that are threaded through a narrow nylon webbing which is then sewn on the front of the shirt.

The bottom has a straight cut, and the entire shirt fits loosely.  There is a small logo patch on the front left pocket, and the Initials "OR" embroidered on the back left shoulder, as well as the words "UPF 30+" embroidered on the right sleeve. The shirt I received is a dark blue color, referred to by Outdoor Research as "Abyss".  The shirt is also available in a green color (Peat) and a tan color (Barley).

Initial Impressions

headphone portThe shirt arrived in good condition, and my initial inspection of the shirt gave me the impression that it was well constructed.  I had ordered an extra large shirt, as I am in between a large and extra large size, anticipating that it would fit loosely.  The shirt's relaxed fit is indeed loose fitting, and comfortable.  The blue color is fairly accurately depicted on the Outdoor Research website, what you do not see is the subtle mottling within the fabric, making it look almost like a denim material.

The design of the buttons, and how they attached to the shirt via the thin nylon webbing was intriguing, and is a unique detail I have never seen before. The design appears to me to be very sturdy, and I will pay attention to and report whether the buttons remain secure during the testing period.  The shirt worked well during my initial use on a particularly humid day.  The shirt breathed well and was comfortable to wear; the loose fit allowing the shirt not to bind or pinch me despite my often erratic movements while photographing a youth soccer game.


button detailThe Outdoor Research SoDo S/S Shirt appears to be a well made short sleeved button down shirt that will be ideal for hiking and backpacking in the warmer summer months.  I will test this shirt in a variety of different backpacking and hiking conditions, and report back on its versatility and functionality.

Field Report

September 11, 2009

Field Locations:

Mammoth Lakes- California
Elevation: 9500 ft (2896 m)
High Temperature: 80 F (27 C)
Low Temperature: 35 F (2 C)
Precipitation: 0.0 in
July 6, 2009- July 10, 2009

Silver Strand- California
Elevation: 0 ft (0 m)
High Temperature: 72 F (22 C)
Low Temperature: 64 F (18 C)
Precipitation: 0.0 in
August 11, 2009-August 14, 2009

Laguna Meadows- California
Elevation: 6000 ft (2896 m)
High Temperature: 74 F (23 C)
Low Temperature: 42 F (6 C)
Precipitation: 0.0 in
August 28, 2009-September 1, 2009

I have used the Outdoor Research SoDo Short Sleeve Shirt for a total of 5-nights in the field, including two separate overnight backpacking trips.
near the lake

Field Performance:

shirt near the rocksThe Outdoor Research SoDo Short Sleeve shirt has performed admirably this summer.  I have used the shirt extensively in a variety of conditions, and it still appears as new.  The shirt is comfortable to wear while hiking and backpacking in warm conditions, and breaths very well. While the shirt is very breathable,  the back of the shirt does tend to hold in warm air, and become somewhat warm when hiking.  I believe the addition of mesh venting on the side or back of the shirt would make the good ventilation of the shirt superior.  I spent some time car camping at the beach, and wore the shirt for several days and nights on the beach in and near the salt water.  The shirt became wet several time while playing in the waves with my children.  It dried very quickly after a soaking and did not suffer from the buildup of salt water. 

The shirt is light and comfortable.  I have not found any area where it binds or chafes.  The shoulders accommodate pack straps without any awkward or uncomfortable bunching or bumps.  The collar stands up just far enough to block any stray UV rays that are not repelled by my hat.  The sleeves of the shirt are a comfortable length, and have a large enough circumference to keep them from binding on my biceps, or under my armpits.  My biggest complaint  about the shirt is one that I have with many other shirts as well, and is more likely related to my build.  In order to fit my shoulders and arms I wear an extra-large size.  The upper part of the shirt fits great, but as it goes down to my waist, it does not taper, and there is just too much volume at the waist, making it too baggy.  

close upI have washed the shirt in excess of 6 times since receiving it 2 months ago.  The shirt washing out clean, and still appears as new as when it arrived.  The colors are still vibrant, and there is no evidence of damage.


The Outdoor Research SoDo Short Sleeve shirt is an excellent all around summer hiking shirt.  The shirt is made from durable materials, and constructed well.  The design is such that it functions well in the field, and looks good when you arrive in town.  While I found the shirt remains somewhat comfortable in warm weather, it could use some additional ventilation to aid cooling.  The shirt fits me somewhat baggy below the chest, this is more of an issue with my build than with the shirt itself.  The shirt provides adequate protection from the sun,dries quickly and is comfortable to wear with a pack.  At this point I am very happy with the performance of the shirt, and look forward to two more months of testing through the fall.

Long Term Report

November 4, 2009

Test Locations

The Outdoor Research SoDo Short Sleeve Shirt was used during the Long Term Testing Period on two overnight backpacking trips, along with multiple dayhikes. During the entire testing period I was able to use the shirt for a total of seven nights over a total of five trips. The shirt was used in a variety of different conditions, in a variety of different climates.

Orriflame Canyon (Anza-Borrego State Park)- California
October 3-4, 2009
Elevation: 2500 ft (762 meters)
High Temperature: 71 F (22 C)
Low Temperature: 58 F (14 C)
Precipitation: 0.0 in (0.0 cm)

Mount San Jacinto- California

October 24-25, 2009
Elevation: 9500 ft (2896 m)
High Temperature: 71 F (22 C)
Low Temperature: 42 F (6 C)
Precipitation: 0.0 in (0.0 mm)

Field Performance

Mount San JacintoAs our warm Southern California Summer ran into the increasingly cooler fall weather, the Short Sleeve Sodo shirt was not always my first choice for dayhiking, but it continued to be a viable shirt during my backpacking trips both coming in the month of October.  The short sleeve shirt was perfect for the midday hiking, although it quickly became to cool in the evening, and for one trip I layered a jacket over the top. On the second, I layered a long sleeve wool shirt under the shirt for the last portion of my hike.  Both options worked well, as the shirt is loose enough for layering underneath, and it did not unduly bunch up under a jacket.

There is not too much more to say about the Outdoor Research Sodo shirt that I have not already reported in the Field Report.  The shirt continues to impress me with its stylish looks and durability.  I have washed the shirt four more time since the Field Report, and it continues to look like new. The shirt is easy to pack, and wrinkles smooth out fairly quickly after being unstuffed from a pack.  The shirt dries very quickly, and has not stained from the various substances I have spilled upon it.  Coffee is probably the most stain prone liquid that has seen the front of my shirt.  All button and zippers remain securely fastened, and in good working order after 4 months of use.   I really like the large napoleon pocket on the shirt, as it swallows  just about anything I put in there.  At various times I have had snacks, sunglasses, an iPod, and my small camera, ready for quick access. 

Continued Use

I plan to continue to use the Sodo Shirt for moderately warm hiking and backpacking trips.  For really hot weather I prefer a light weight shirt, and cooler weather demands a long sleeve shirt.  Fortunately the majority of the days in Southern California are moderately warm, so the shirt should see a lot of use in the near future.


The Outdoor Research Sodo Short Sleeve Shirt is a great hiking shirt for moderetly warm weather.  The button up collared design is very functional, and very durable, standing up to the abuses of my backpacking and hiking trips looking like it is brand new.  The shirt does not wrinkle easily, and dries fast.  The cut of the shirt is not tapered, and I found the extra large size fit me well over the shoulders and chest but was baggy around the midsection.  The shirt's chest pocket is large, and is easy to access, and the buttons are uniquely designed and easy to button.  The shirt is both stylish and technical, appropriate for wearing in the backcountry as well as in town.

Thank You Outdoor Research and for the opportunity to test this fine shirt.  Ths concludes my test of the Outdoor Research SoDo Short Sleeve Shirt.

Read more reviews of Outdoor Research gear
Read more gear reviews by Peter Spiller

Reviews > Clothing > Shirts > OR Cypress-Sodo SS Sunshirt > Test Report by Peter Spiller

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