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Reviews > Clothing > Shirts > Pendleton Wool Shirt > Owner Review by joe schaffer

Pendleton Wool Shirt
Owner Review
by Joe Schaffer

December 28, 2019

NAME: Joe Schaffer
EMAIL: never2muchstuff(AT)yahoo(DOT)com
AGE: 72
HEIGHT: 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 175 lb (79.4 kg)
CHEST: 40 in (102 cm)
WAIST: 34 in (86 cm)
NECK: 16 in (41 cm)
HOME:  Bay Area, California USA

   I frequent California's central Sierras, camping year around with a goal to match my age in nights out each year; often solo. Summer trips typically last 5 to 10 days; 40 lb (18 kg), about half food related; about 5 mi (8 km) per hiking day. I winter camp most often at 6,000 to 7,000 ft (1,800 to 2,000 m); 2 to 3 nights; 50 lb (23 kg); a mile or so (1.5 km) on snowshoes, pulling a sled.

The Product: Board shirt
        Manufacturer: PendletonPendleton shirt Woolen Mills
        Web site:
        Product: Men's Wool Shirt
        Received: 12/2016

My measures: Men's L
    weight (very used): 14 oz (400 g)

Manufacturer specs: none
Available sizes:
    Regular:  XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL, 3X
    Tall: M, L, XL,  XXL, 3X
    Colors: 17
    Pure virgin wool from Umatilla, County, Oregon, USA
    Mid-weight, US-made fabric (shirt not made in USA)
    Odor, water and stain resistant
    Square tail
    Two breast pockets
    Machine washable
    Machine wash with like colors, warm, gentle cycle
    No bleach
    Tumble dry low; remove promptly
    Light steam press warm iron, as needed

    90-day return is pretty clear and well explained on the website.
    "Warranted to be a Pendleton" provides no explanation.

MSRP: $149

    This Pendleton is an unlined, mid-weight, square-tailed, somewhat water resistant premium wool shirt that can be machine washed and dried. The shirt has a collar and two breast pockets. The pockets have a flap over the top, but no fixed closure. The front buttons to the neck in six buttons. Sleeve cuffs button with two choices. Full disclosure: This shirt was a gift several years ago and not researched by me before purchase. I'm not positive it is a Board model, but it does precisely resemble that model in all aspects that can be viewed online--pockets, buttons, hem, tail and collar; and similar plaid/color availability.

    I've carried this shirt on 242 nights of backpacking, wearing it most evenings and some days. I hike in it on cold days. I've worn it in the rain, sun and wind. On a few occasions where the rain was heavy, I wore the shirt with nothing under it in order to have the wool make direct contact with skin. More often I wear some kind of layer under it, most often a polyester shirt as slightly noticeable in the photo. For cold events I may install a base layer under a hiking shirt. In nasty cold that I'm only marginally prepared for, I may wear a non-breathable waterproof shell over the shirt. If rain is expected I'll have a waterproof breathable shell over it. Most nights I pull the shirt over the top of my mattress as a bottom sheet, when I'm using the sleeping bag as a quilt.

    Nothing I carry could be considered expendable or I wouldn't carry it. As a comfort camper my Pendleton shirt is the most comfortable, versatile piece of clothing in my kit; and perhaps third only to a tent and a chair in terms of critical importance to the comfort mission. I never go backpacking without it. I love good wool and this shirt's wool is so good I can wear the garment on bare skin, which I do on laundry days or if I'm caught in the rain without a shell. One of wool's most remarkable attributes is being warm when saturated. It does resist a bit of downpour, but will soak through. It gets heavy and stretches a little, but still feels warm. It actually works well enough that unless I feel fairly certain of getting rained on, I don't carry rain gear. I've gone out as long as 12 days with no rain gear, confident that if I get wet, the Pendleton will still keep me warm. Of course when it gets saturated, drying out takes a long time.
    Backpacking is hard exercise for me. Most shirts retain too much heat and moisture. A key feature of wool is how well the fabric allows a lot of that moisture and excess heat to pass through. With this shirt I don't get as wet in the cold and I don't feel like I'm in a sandwich bag. In a sharp blow, the shirt is not the best wind blocker. Almost never is it too hot to wear this shirt and never does it feel clammy. It does not get stinky or grimy.

    I spend a lot of time pressing my chair into the dirt around campfire. Cinders are a common enemy to all fabrics, but I find wool to be the most resistant to burning. I've spent hundreds of hours in this shirt within the cinder gods' reach and they've managed to perpetrate only two small burn holes. I nap at the fire without fearing I'll wake up in a conflagration. Whereas synthetics derive from the same compounds as napalm, wool does not like to burn.

    Clothes do not have a hard wear-life with me. I find Pendletons nearly impossible to wear out and have willed mine to the thrift store, from where most have come. The only real enemy is moths, and they don't seem to favor the taste of premium Pendleton wool. Perhaps a second foe is me not paying attention in the laundry, as too much heat for too long in the dryer has shrunk this shirt a size or so, but not so much I can't keep using it. My prime thrift store target is a multiple-X size that has been too long in a dryer. Once shrunk, then, I don't have to pay any mind to efforts to avoid shrinking further, such as pinning and air drying. I wash clothes one load at a time with no sorting, warm-cold water. If enough of the load is wool and/or I happen to think of it, I may use Woolite. More often than not, I use whatever's in shortest reach on the shelf.

    I'm reluctant to put anything in the pockets that can't grab hold of the fabric. A button to secure the flap would make the pockets more useful; and many Pendleton models do have fixed closure.

    The shirt is not particularly compact or light. However, for most outings the Pendleton lets me leave out a heavier wrap or even a lighter one. The incredible range of utility makes it a foundational element of my kit in trying to maintain the comfort requirement in a kit as light and compact as possible.

Quick shots:
    a) comfortable
    b) durable
    c) fire-resistant
    d) susceptible to moth damage

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Reviews > Clothing > Shirts > Pendleton Wool Shirt > Owner Review by joe schaffer

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