Rohan Backcountry Shirt
Mid Layer for Men
Product Review / Walking Gear Test
Backcountry Shirt Mid Layer for Men
Colours: Ranger Green (shown)
Rohan says:"Our Backcountry Shirt is a super-functional alternative to that North American classic - the padded work shirt. It looks like a shirt, protects like a jacket and insulates like a thick fleece. The outer is made from our Thermocore™ polyester fabric - it's warm, light, very quick drying and extremely breathable. The lining is made from our highly-efficient Insuloft™ synthetic wadding - this boosts the insulation and offers protection from the wind. It features a zipped chest pocket and open hand-warmer pockets"
Features to Note:
- Insulating, wadded work shirt
- 100% polyester Thermocore™ outer
- 100% polyester Insuloft™ filling
- 100% polyester lining
- Popper fastening front
- Open hand pockets
- Pack Size: 2200ml
- High wicking
- Quick drying
- Crease resistant
- Rohan warmth rating: Mid
The Rohan Backcountry Shirt's fit is generous. It doesn't have any tapering on the torso (such as in a M&S 'slim fit' garment). The collar is quite loose and the length is good, reaching to just blow my crotch - I'm 5'10'' and of average build. I am normally XL but I did think that this XL sized shirt was a little on the big side for me so I would suggest trying one on before purchasing.
There is a single external chest pocket that is secured by a zip. This is big enough for a mobile phone or spectacles case but not a folded OS map. There are two side pockets which are quite deep and large enough to keep your hands warm (but - again - not a folded OS map) and each one is secured by a single centrally located popper. This poppered closing leaves quite a large gap either side from which smaller, pocketed items could fall. There are no inside pockets.
The front is secured with seven poppers evenly placed from the very bottom hem up to the neck. There is a small collar that can be turned up. There is no hood. The sleeves are a generous length (see the above comment about sizing) and the cuffs are also secured with poppers. Apart from a choice of poppers for the cuffs (tight on the wrist, or not so tight), there are no other means of adjusting the garment.
During several late Autumn/early winter walking stints in the Cheshire region of the Peak District I found the Rohan Backcountry Shirt shirt to be surprisingly warm. It is not as warm as an insulating jacket - but it did keep me warm as I strolled along the canal towpaths. Rohan themselves give the Backcountry shirt a warmth rating of 'Mid' in a range that goes from Base - Mid - High - Extreme.
It can be packed away into a parcel about the same size as a small loaf of bread and at 705g is certainly light enough to carry. Furthermore, after several days stuffed at the bottom of my day pack, it came out and unfolded without looking too creased.
Clearly the Backcountry shirt from Rohan is not waterproof or even shower proof - however if you do get caught out in a downpour (this is the UK, right?) Rohan claim that the garment will dry in 5 hours. This proved to be pretty accurate when dried indoors but it took longer when we tried to dry it outdoors in cooler conditions.
As a big fan of the layering system, I can't quite make up my mind about the Backcountry Shirt from Rohan. It is too thick to wear as a stand alone hiking shirt yet it is not warm enough to replace a fleece or insulated jacket. But if you want an item of clothing for rugged walks where the weather is mild, dry but a bit blowy then you should consider it over a thin base layer as your main protection against the elements. You'll also look good in the pub later in the day when you partake of that well-earned pint!
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