Built for backpacking, not BS’ing – that’s the tagline for Sierra Designs’ trailwear collection this summer.  Sierra Designs is making a huge push with their new gear, intending it to be just as flexible as an outdoor lifestyle demands – their stylish Pack Polo is the perfect example.

Sierra Designs Short Sleeve Pack Polo Features:

  • Active fit with drop hem
  • Zippered chest pocket
  • Convertible windproof collar
  • Three-button placket for ventilation
  • Polyester knit with bamboo anti-odor treatment
  • 6.5oz total weight
  • MSRP: $69.00

Sierra Designs Pack Polo Review

 

The lines are getting blurry

In our recent tests of Sierra Designs’ new product line, there’s been one very big trend: style.  All of their new gear is built on the narrow ridge where high-performance outdoor apparel meets urban styling.  I’ve had plenty of time to test their new Pack Polo everywhere from Nevada’s glaring sunshine to the PNW’s humid trail days.  As their name implies, design is central to their mission: this is evident with every step you take under a pack when using their new product line.

The Pack Polo wears particularly well under a backpack due, in part, to its excellent fabric.  The polyester weave is very resistant to wear and it’s treated with a bamboo solution that helps minimize odor.  Big kudos to SD for this one – it works very well.  For testing’s sake, I’ve had five or six activity days without washing the Pack Polo and the garment still only picked up mild odor.  If I really wanted to, I could mountain bike in the shirt one day and then wear it to church the next and no one’s nose would be able to tell the difference.

photo 1

The Polo features a very low-profile pocket just over the heart.  Its slim zipper is concealed by two tightly-abutting fabric edges that make the pocket barely noticeable from the outside.  It’s easy to access the pocket even when your sternum strap is buckled up.  That said, it’s an awkward place for a vented pocket; the shirt doesn’t support weight well, so anything bigger than a tube of chapstick (which is liable to get quite warm against your skin) tends to be awkwardly saggy.  Still, I’d rather have the pocket than not since it’s so low profile.

Sierra Designs built the Polo with a dramatic three-button placket that descends all the way to the nipple line for epic ventilation on a warm day. Being a heavy sweater myself, this is a feature that I liberally take advantage of and it’s definitely very appreciated.  The last unique part of the Polo is its flip-up wind collar.  I didn’t end up using this very much during my testing period, largely because of the season and terrain that I was on.  When I was high enough to encounter serious winds, I usually had a hardshell on which made the collar useless.  That said, I’ve spent time hiking through the desert where the wind can viciously whip sand at you – this wind collar would be a life saver in such conditions since it not only blocks your wind from the irritating particles but also helps seal them out of your shirt.  The collar is completely discrete and only becomes visible when you’ve actually deployed it up around your neck.

The wind collar does something to break the sleek aesthetic.

The wind collar does something to break the sleek aesthetic.

The Good:

  • Excellent fabric that breathes well, wears well and doesn’t smell
  • All of the features are carefully considered and integrated
  • Excellent construction and fit

The Bad:

  • Fits small – I usually wear a Medium (I’m 185lbs and 5’11”) but I had to go with a Large

The Bottom Line

There really aren’t very many companies who are producing outerwear on par with this polo – Sierra Designs is right up there with a narrow range of companies (including names like Arc’teryx) who make products that perform this well and can be worn for style.  It’s a killer combination that places the Pack Polo at the top of my lists for 2014 tops.

Buy now: Available from Sierra Designs

About Author

Kevin Glover is an outdoorsman living, climbing and biking in Spokane, WA. Originally from the Nevada high desert, he moved to the PNW for its mild winters and allergen-free summers. He has guided throughout the Cascades and Enchantments for Peak 7 Adventures.

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