This will probably come as a surprise to some, but the clothes we wear during hiking or camping trips—especially lengthy ones—can have as much impact on our comfort and overall experience as the tent we use or the boots on our feet. While it may be tempting to throw on an old pair of jeans for a weekend hike this summer, I can guarantee that you’ll be miserable before long. The shirt on your back will make a big difference in your comfort on the trail, so just any sweatshirt in your closet won’t do. As we continue along with March’s Gear Up frenzy, today’s article covers the REI Venturi, a quality hiking shirt that provides customers with much more than good-looking style.

At first glance, the Venturi doesn’t look that much different from a lot of the other shirts available these days. This long-sleeve, ¼-zip shirt does a lot more than many of those shirts, however. The Venturi focuses on comfort in the outdoors, a goal made evident by its numerous characteristics. Firstly, the shirt is comprised of a blend of polyester and spandex that provides 4-way stretch and gives you free range of motion. Furthermore, the shirt possesses raglan sleeves, which remove the stitching normally found along the shoulders. This reduces the discomfort that interior stitching creates when pressed beneath backpack straps.  

REI’s Venturi does much more than increase physical comfort, though. The shirt’s true effectiveness stems from the comfort it provides against the heat and sun. For instance, the shirt has a UPF 50+ rating, which helps protect its wearer from UV rays. Also, the fabric wicks away moisture and dries quickly to keep you cool on warm days. Furthermore, beneath the arms, you’ll discover mesh fabric that creates ventilation for your underarm. Lastly, the ¼-zip collar is easily adjustable to increase breathability and is made of a sweat-wicking material.

The Venturi also possesses a chest pocket—often called a Napoleon pocket—that can be used to stash small items. With a $70 price tag, this shirt is worth a second look the next time you’re in the market for a quality layer between you and a hot day. I’ve known hikers who’ve worn it for days without any complaints and have found it to be so much more comfortable than any other shirt they’ve worn.

I know I sound like a spokesperson for REI, but the company was created by outdoorsmen for outdoorsmen, and pays attention to customer needs, growing trends, and advances in technology to continually provide us with great products. The Venturi is no exception and I hope you’ll check it out the next time you visit your nearest REI store.