Home > Gear > Gear Review: Long-Sleeved White Shirt

Gear Review: Long-Sleeved White Shirt

The past three seasons I’ve been wearing long-sleeved white camp shirts for touring.  I have three of Columbia’s quick drying nylon Titanium shirts with the caped back.  Campmor has this style shirt for half the price and other manufacturers offer something similar.  You may think long-sleeved shirts would be too hot for summer touring, but the lightweight moisture wicking fabric, caped back and reflective white color makes this type of shirt a good choice for spending the day under the sun.  

Desert dwellers have known for centuries that creating a microenvironment of shade around your body keeps you cooler than being exposed to the sun’s harmful rays.  I’m not a big fan of sun block.  It’s greasy, messy and never stays put, but I’m not a big fan of skin cancer either.  Look for a high UPF rating when shopping for sun protective clothing. Ultraviolet Protective Factor is the term used by the industry to describe how well a garment protects the wearer from UVA rays (causing premature aging and wrinkling) and UVB rays (causing sunburns).  I’m not sure if there is a standard method manufacturers use to measure this or if there is any oversight that they adhere to the standard. 

The shirts are easy to launder in a sink or creek, dry quickly, pack well and work as both on and off bike attire.  Thanks for reading, Jack

  1. May 8, 2011 at 8:22 am

    I bought one of the Columbia branded shirts last year and would agree whole heartedly with your assessment of their quality. It is a very comfortable shirt for warmer weather. I must admit that I had not thought of it as cycling apparel but it makes perfect sense upon reading your post. I gravitated to long sleeve white shirts some years ago when touring on my Harley for the very reasons you list here for bicycles. I found it to be much more comfortable than the sun baking my forearms all day and it is actually cooler. I still tend to slather on the suntan lotion though. In fact, I wore my trusty white long sleeved shirt yesterday after picking up the Harley following some bodywork and new paint and doing a ride along the BRP.

    I know that this shirt would also fit very nicely into most any work environment so it could be an excellent addition to the wardrobe of a commuting cyclist.


  2. The Velo Hobo
    May 8, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Thanks for the comment Zeke. You’ll see lots of tourists wearing long sleeved shirts for protection from the enormous amount of sun the forearms get from long days in the saddle. My forearms and the tops of my knees seem to get the worst of it. I usually wear a lightweight baggy mountain-bike short over my bike shorts to add a little more protection.


  3. May 8, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    Fantastic suggestion! Last year I added a wide brim hat. This year, I’ll add the long sleeve shirt. Just in time for summer. Thanks!

  4. The Velo Hobo
    May 9, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    Yep, a hat has become an important of the bike item for me. I also wear a coolmax head thing under my helmet to control sweat and to avoid getting a blotchy suntan through my helmet vents on my bald head. 😉

  5. May 11, 2011 at 7:12 am

    Yes indeed. I discovered the same thing years ago canoeing, where it served a an added purpose of cover from mosquitoes and black flies on portages (Canadian for suffer-fests between two lakes). I use a similar indestructible shirt from mec.ca, but choose off-white for it, and trousers: I’m not tidy enough for true white.

  6. The Velo Hobo
    May 12, 2011 at 6:34 am

    That’s true, protects against skeerters and ticks without the need for chemicals.

  7. May 19, 2011 at 4:55 am

    Good idea. When I tour with my boys I’ve been having them wear what we call, ‘traveling shirts’, which are button up seersucker short-sleeved shirts. They are cool, comfortable, and feel great when a full water bottle is dumped over the head! They also have the advantage of looking nice when we stop to explore a town.

    I had not thought of long-sleeved versions, but now will look for them. I wash the tops in the Rite dye which washes in a UPF which reportedly lasts several washings.


  8. The Velo Hobo
    May 19, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Rite dye…great tip! I’ve never thought of treating my shirts for UV protection, but that would be a good end of the season thing to do. I do oil my saddle, water proff my tent and so on.

    Thanks Gina. By the way, great blog! Jack

    • May 19, 2011 at 8:57 pm


      thanks for the nice words about Pedal Paradise! Your blog inspires me to take better photos – yours are stunning!


  9. The Velo Hobo
    May 20, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    Thank’s so much Gina.

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