Coolibar Sun Escape Shirt

Looking for a lightweight, moisture wicking, stylish alternative to conventional long sleeved dress shirts?  A shirt that’s versatile enough for the bush –  or the boardroom?  If yes, you ought to check out the Coolibar Sun Escape.

Though not quite as well known as Ex-Officio or Columbia, Coolibar has been producing a line of full featured, high quality sun protection clothing since 2001.  Particularly impressive is the fact that although Coolibar’s clothing is more fully featured than that of its direct competitors, its prices are very competitive.

Let’s take a closer look at the Sun Escape shirt – it’s a great example of the quality and ingenuity that upstart Coolibar is investing in its products.

Weighing in at a mere 8.7 ounces, the Sun Escape offers SPF 50+ protection, is made of 100% nylon & 100% Coolmax mesh (more on this in a moment) and boasts a couple of unusual features:

Coolibar Sun Escape:  "Triple Layer" CollarAs with other SPF shirts, the Sun Escape does a great job of protecting your skin from the sun’s rays.  But what about the back of your neck?  The Sun Escape has a clever extra layer on its collar that is normally completely hidden; flip it up, however, and it completely keeps the rays off your neck (left).

If you’re having trouble distinguishing the normal collar from the extra flap, it’s a bit more apparent in this shot (the collar is flipped up, but the extra flap is down):

Coolibar Sun Escape:  Triple Layer Collar

When the collar is down, no one would suspect it’s hiding a secret flap!

Coolibar Sun Escape side vent (1 of 12 total)Coolibar doesn’t skimp when it comes to ventilation, either.  While other manufacturers hide vents away under the shirt’s yoke or add a single vent under the arm, the Sun Escape (and the similar, button-down Breezeway shirt) is equipped with 3 vents on each side in front, and 3 vents in the corresponding locations on each side in back – for a total of 12 side vents.  Each vent is lined with Coolmax mesh to keep misquitoes – or anything else – out.  The result?  The venting on this shirt actually works – air has a chance to flow in from the front (or back, depending upon the wind or your motion) and out the opposite side. In the photo to the right, I’ve purposely puckered the material so you could see a couple of the vents (click for a close-up view).  In actual practice, the vents are discreet; I’ve worn this shirt to work without anyone noticing the vents.

Coolibar Sun Escape shirt - button tab on sleeveAs is the norm with lightweight adventure/travel shirts, the sleeves feature a button tab for keeping the up when rolled up.  Securing the sleeves only takes a moment.  If this feature strikes you as superfluous, keep in mind that the material with which this shirt is made is extremely lightweight; if you wore it hiking or certainly fly fishing, the tabs are absolutely necessary.

Which logically brings me to another key point about the Sun Escape.  Although made with lightweight, breathable 100% nylon “lite Suntect”®, the shirt has a marvelous feel or “hand.”   Some nylon adventure / travel shirts have a flimsy feel; not so with the Coolibar shirt.

You can machine wash the Sun Escape in warm water with like colors, and tumble dry on low heat.  If you’re on the road, you can wash this shirt in your hotel room (or other) sink, squeeze (don’t wring) out the excess water, and roll it up between two clean towels.  Step on the roll a few times, hang up the shirt, and it’ll be dry in a few hours – faster if there’s a breeze.

The quality throughout – be it stitching, buttons, or the material itself – is first rate.  The sun Escape also features a buttoned chest pocket, and additional Coolmax mesh inside the yoke of the shirt:

Coolibar Sun Escape shirt - labels; mesh inside yoke

The Coolibar Sun Escape shirt is available in 4 colors (shown here in Vintage Blue Plaid).  The shirt is available direct from Coolibar (click on the link at the beginning of this paragraph) and is also available via  Price, $65.95. The similar, button-down Breezeway shirt is $69.95. Coolibar also offers sun hats, swimwear, and other items for both women and men.  My order, incidentally, was accompanied by several coupons for discounts on future orders.

Finally, I almost forgot…   SPF 50+ means that the Sun Escape blocks 98% of UV radiation; a rating of 50+ is the highest available for clothing.

Visit the Coolibar site by clicking here:  Coolibar – Quality Sun Protection

The Fine Print:  I have no connection to Coolibar

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