Being a avid fisherman, hunter, whitewater rafter, backpacker, and day hiker most of my 65+ years has given me a lot of experience in the trials and tribulations of outdoor clothing. As a young lad starting out in cotton to a young adult who could afford wool, the difference made all the difference in the world. Problem was there was no breathable, lightweight material for warm weather until polypropylene came out. The only problem with polypro was the odor factor. If you perspired at all, the smell would not only drive off any animals, but people as well. Then Lycra came on board and eliminated the odor problem mostly, but its fine density could be too warm for active use and caused more perspiration than normal.
The most incredible and comfortable outdoor breathable shirt I have ever put on is the Orvis drirelease Casting Tee. When it was introduced 4+ years ago, I bought the two original colors in the crew neck. A year later, the zipper Henley type came on the market, and I bought three of those in different colors. This shirt is the best all-around shirt that I have found for any outdoor endeavor in the mountains, deserts, rivers, lakes, and urban environments. I wear them hunting, fishing, skiing, snowmobiling, rafting, power boating, traveling, sightseeing, and lounging, or working around the house and Lodge.
I have worn this on a 24-day Grand Canyon/Colorado River raft/hiking trip in April, a 14-day Middle Fork/Main Salmon River rafting trip in July/August, a January winter fly-fishing excursion on the San Juan River in New Mexico, fall and winter steelhead days in Idaho, chukar hunting in fall and winter, and walking the streets as a tourist in San Diego. From sea level to elevations over 9,000 feet, this shirt alone or layered is my only choice. No odor no matter how strenuous the activity. The breathability and comfort is second to none. Oh, the comfort, the wide amplitude of air temperatures this shirt can be worn is incredible. Made by Orvis for the fly fisherman, this shirt is simply not limited to that activity.
I prefer the zipper neck for extra cooling when needed. I get a lot of compliments on the styling from fellow outdoorsman and also the non-outdoor community. It is my go-to shirt for most any activity.
Check out all the drirelease shirts on the Orvis Fishing Shirts page.
Jim Blair is an Orvis-endorsed guide who runs The Last Resort Outfitter in Idaho, where for 23 years he has specialied in a variety of species, including steelhead, salmon, and smallmouth bass.