Summertime is about staying cool and being ready for whatever plans pop into your head – and Merrell makes apparel that shifts from casual to active whenever the spirit moves you.

Merrell Grafton Shirt Features:

  • 100% polyester fabric
  • Merrell Opti-Wick technology for moisture transfer
  • 20+ UPF
  • Snap closure chest pocket
  • 23.5” center back length
  • Five plaid color options
  • MSRP $65

merrell grafton shirt

My Experience

For many years, my typical day hiking shirts have been performance fabric running shirts; and while they do the job fairly well, they lack something when it comes to style on the trail.  Which is why it’s nice that companies like Merrell make performance apparel that can pass for everyday casual wear as well.

Merrell’s Grafton is composed of a very lightweight wicking fabric that feels as soft against the skin as my best running shirts.  It’s cut fairly loose through the trunk, and has a second layer of thin mesh across the shoulders to further improve breathability on top of the garment.  Trunk length is adequate for tucking into shorts underneath a shell in the early morning, or for wearing untucked once the morning heats up.

merrell grafton at yosemite

I wore the Grafton for a 10-hour day hike in Yosemite on a day when temps approached 100 degrees, and didn’t have any problems with chafing or irritation along seams or under my pack.  I also had plenty of opportunity to test how quickly the fabric dries – either on my backside after taking the pack off, or after complete water immersion in mountain lakes or rivers.

Cooling off in the Merced River

Cooling off in the Merced River

Like most performance shirts, the Grafton tends to accumulate odor if it’s used for multiple days without washing.  However, for long trail outings without laundry facilities, odors are managed fairly well with simple freshwater rinsing in the nearest available stream.

The Good:

  • Versatile styling for active and casual wear
  • Comfortable feel for long trail days
  • Highly effective moisture management

The Bad:

  • Retains odor with extended casual use

The Bottom Line

Merrell’s Grafton is a lightweight, comfortable top that effectively combines campfire style with through-hiking function.

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About Author

Donald is a physical therapist, ultrarunner, barefoot aficionado, and father of three with more than 20 years of experience in endurance sports. When he's not training for ultramarathons, he enjoys hiking or slacklining with his family in Monterey County, CA.

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