I’m always on the lookout for shirts that look good and are practical for travel. The problem I have with most travel clothes is that they usually look like travel clothes. The checklist of travel-shirt cliches include:
– variation of green/beige/khaki (army/explorer colours)
– ugly fabric
– zips and multiple panels
– a big logo of the travel company
This is acceptable if you spend most of your travel time in the jungles of Borneo, but for me I’m mostly a slow city explorer. I like to spend time in one place and at least look like I am living there.
When I go out I like to wear long-sleeves with a collar (and without branding). Finding a shirt that is practical for travel has been a tough quest. Most shirts that I find require ironing after washing which is useless for travel. I have found some cheapo cotton shirts from chains like H&M that can get by without ironing, but they do not fare well for multiple days of wear.
Earlier this year I found my ideal travel shirt. Libertad Apparel is the travel shirt that doesn’t look like a travel shirt.
I’m friends with Libertad founder, Kyle on Facebook and I saw that he was developing a dress travel shirt. The prototype looked exactly like what I would wear, so I contacted him to be a tester. He sent me a sample shirt to try before it went live.
The Libertad shirt is made from fine merino wool. When you think of wool maybe you think of itchy blankets and heavy flannel shirts. These wool products use wool with a larger micron (basically the strand of wool is thicker). Using a fine micron means that wool can be woven and is more breathable. It is also resistant to odor.
You can read more about the technical details on the site though; I’m here to tell you about my experience wearing the shirt. I’ve had the shirt for six months which I’ve been wearing during my usual travel scenarios, as well as extended everyday wear.
Road-testing the Libertad
The shirt was sent to me in Saigon. The day I picked it up from delivery I took it out of the package to inspect it, then stuffed it in my backpack. When I got home it was a wrinkled from being in the bag so I hung it up overnight. The next day it was presentable enough to wear.
My first test walk was a typical sweaty-hot dry season day in Saigon. I went for a walk for a few hours where I worked up a sweat in no time. Usually on such a walk if I wear a t-shirt it would be unwearable afterwards. I got home that day and put the shirt over my chair and didn’t get round to washing it. The next day I put it on again and it didn’t smell or feel clammy. I have been able to wear it for multiple days without needing to wash.
The shirt is machine washable but I did a sink wash to simulate the common travellers washing method. I hung it up in my room and it dried overnight. Of course most of the time I wash it after a really sweaty day, but it is good to know that I can pull this out of a bag after days of travel and not feel bad about wearing it.
Where to buy
This shirt is now available to buy on Kickstarter. As an introductory incentive the shirt is on offer at a discount to what the eventual retail price will be.
Also check out this review by James Schipper, one of the product testers.