Prior the expedition to Malaysia this summer, Craghoppers very generously supplied the entire FxPedition Perhentian Islands team with clothing and equipment suitable for the jungle. This is the first post in a series of Craghoppers product reviews, detailing how the products coped with the toughest environment in the world- the jungle! Photographs for this post were provided by the wonderfully talented Joshua Gray (https://500px.com/joshuagray).
What makes this field shirt different from its competitors is the stretch material it is made from, hence the ‘Pro’ moniker. It’s an incredibly comfortable fit, being snug fitting but not at all too tight. It’s a modern cut, compared to the shirts of old, but this is my preferred style in the field anyway. I don’t want any snags in the jungle! The stretch material was a revelation when scaling rocks and steep slopes in the rainforest, facilitating movement where other materials would have been far more restrictive.
Despite being worn nearly every day over 6 weeks in that environment, the shirt has fared incredibly well. Given the amount of thorns and other spiky things I invariably managed to impale myself on, I find it impressive that I can’t find any pulls on the fabric, despite a proper search. There are no rips, no tears- it’s in pretty much perfect condition, to the extent that I’m able to wear it as work uniform, which is a big win from me!
As the top-end Craghoppers shirt, it has all manner of technologies and features packed into it, many of which were useful in the field. The glasses wipe built into the seam was unexpectedly useful when I managed to dunk my camera in the mud, and it’s a really useful feature for any photographers out there who, like me, constantly lose their lens cleaning cloths. The Nosilife mosquito repellency did better than expected, certainly making a difference for me personally. A combination of deet & nosilife kept me well protected even in the worst clouds of mossies, though of course there’s always one mosquito with near-Special Forces levels of stealth. I actually wore it to bed a few times, after my hips were massacred in the night- lifesaver!
The heat and sunlight on the islands was intense, regularly reaching in excess of 36 degrees celsius, though it felt more like 45 in the humidity according to the forecast! The shirts feature solar shield tech, and I certainly didn’t get burned once while wearing them. Whilst they look substantial, they are actually incredibly thin and well-ventilated, with special mesh patches under the arms. I had no qualms wearing them in the jungle, nor in the desert in the Sierra Nevada, USA a few weeks later!
I’m very hard on my kit, but these very lightweight shirts survived both the Malaysian jungle and arid California with ease. The mosquito repellency and solar protection were valuable features in a difficult environment, and the fit was perfect for me. Incredibly comfortable and very smart looking despite being a feature-packed, functional field shirt, this shirt truly lives up to it’s ‘Pro’ title. At this price point, you will struggle to find a product that even comes close.
PS. I’ve used the Craghoppers Nosilife ‘Trek’ shirt on previous expeditions, but for me the Nosilife Pro is worth the upgrade for the better comfort it provides.