A bit unseasonal perhaps, but now is when these things are in the sales, so it’s a good time for a review. On test all summer were a cracking pair or oranges from Haglöfs, the Zando and the Mondo.
The Zando is the checked shirt and although both shirts are cut from Climatic fabric with a UPF40+ rating, the actual fabric used on both shirts is pretty different as are the features.
The Zando’s fabric is smooth and silky, very nice against the skin with no bulky seams. The cut is well shaped but neither slim nor baggy which makes it ideal for hot summer hill days as well as for general use, you can go undercover as a tourist but still get fabric performance when you need it.
I have sweated buckets in both these shirts and the way the fabric deals with sweat is very different to a regular baselayer, it works more like a windshirt by sucking in the moisture and spreading it right out where it then evaporates. This means a big sweaty back on the move, but take your pack off and it dries quick.
Under a pack it’s great, pack straps mover well over the fabric and the fully opening front is brilliant on hot days, just let it all out I say, who’s going to see you.
The Zando has a buttoned pocket and a zipped pocket, both of which are secure and useful and the collar stays up when turned up to keep the sun off.
The Mondo has two buttoned pockets which is the major feature change and it also has a different fabric. The Climatic fabric here is less immediately smooth, the fine ripstop has an initially more denim shirt-esque feel to it, but in use the next-to-skin comfort turned out to be better for me than the Zando. I think the moisture management was better too, that’s more of a feeling than a fact though.
The same good cut is present here and the collar serves as a sun blocker just as well.
Both shirts have a hang loop at the back and the fabric has been Polygiene treated for stink avoidance. This seems to work, both shirts stay fresh during use and both have been washed plenty times with no signs of any reduction in any fabric performance.
I’m been a born again shirt wearer the past few years, I think they’re great for summer outdoor stuff, and not just pottering about either, for proper hill days with full packs. The fabric is better than a regular base layer in many ways, it manages the sweat just fine but has a bit of wind resistance so it’s perfect for a breezy ridge under a midday sun where a windshirt would either be too hot or a clammy horror if worn against the skin.
I think we’ve been brainwashed into believing only tech-looking kit is suitable for the hills which is rubbish, shirts rock.