Review: Patagonia Capilene Cool Daily T-shirt

A short while back I got a few items as a birthday gift that I unfortunately had no need for, so I exchanged them for a shirt that I might actually use.  My favorite travel t-shirt was updated this season, so I picked out one of the newer models to see how it compares to my current batch of travel tops.

The Patagonia Capilene Cool Daily shirt is a heavier version of the Capilene Cool Lightweight shirt.  Both are made of 100% polyester, but the Daily is made of denser material and is $10 cheaper with a retail price of $35.

A brief aside:  why so many Patagonia reviews on my site?  Because they make clothing that fits my body type well.  I used to be a Columbia guy, but over time their shirts declined in quality and the sizes kept getting larger.  I swear the last 2 Columbia t-shirts (in a small size) I bought felt like wearing loose potato sacks.  Patagonia is one of the few brands I’ve found that is easily accessible to try out where I live, and they make clothing that is suitable for short skinny people like me.

Back to the shirt.  Here are some more pictures:

As you can see in the photo above, a small size shirt weighs 3.8 ounces, which is lighter than a standard cotton t-shirt, but significantly heavier than the Capilene Lightweight tee which is 2.5 ounces in the same size.  As far as travel shirts go, the Capilene Cool Daily is definitely on the lighter side, so having a few of these in your bag shouldn’t add too much of a burden on your shoulders.

Drying time using my usual wash/dry routine is 4 hours and 15 minutes, which is quite a bit longer than the exceptional 2 hour and 15 minute drying time of the Capilene Lightweight t-shirt.  This is still considerably faster drying than a standard cotton t-shirt, and for traveling purposes is usually plenty of time for an evening wash to be dry and ready by the next morning.

A few observations about the Capilene Cool Daily shirt:

  • The fabric on the Daily feels softer and more cotton-like than the Lightweight.  Not that the Lightweight is an uncomfortable shirt by any means, but this one does feel better on the skin.
  • The fabric on the Daily is also more cotton-like in that it soaks up more water than the Lightweight.  I tested out this shirt this weekend on a trail run, and by the end of an hour in the sweaty hot sun, the Daily felt soggier and heavier compared to the other shirt.
  • It is a regular fit instead of a slim fit like the Lightweight.  I’m a skinny guy, so the Lightweight fits my profile better.  The Daily has a little more room around the stomach area, and it feels a little loose on me.  If you have some extra weight around your mid-section, then the Daily will fit you better whereas the Lightweight will accentuate a protruding gut and look unflattering.  The stock photo of the shirt (up at the very top of this post) is misleading; it shows the body tapering down a bit like an hourglass, but in reality the sides of the shirt go straight down.
  • The sleeves are too long.  For a size small, the sleeves are noticeably longer than my other equivalent travel shirts.  Again, this might look better on someone about 30 pounds heavier than me.

Overall, the Patagonia quality is all there, but this shirt won’t be making its way into my regular travel luggage rotation.  It just doesn’t fit well.  I’ll likely use it for trail running where having a roomier fit is fine.

If you’re on the heavier side with a little extra around the midsection, this shirt may work perfectly for you, so I’d suggest finding it locally to try it on.  Otherwise, if you have a slim profile, I’d strongly recommend paying an extra $10 and buying the Lightweight version of the Capilene Cool t-shirt.  Not only is it slimmer with a more appropriate sleeve length, it also dries in about half the time and weighs over an ounce less than the Daily.

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