Our dads dismissed them as “lumberjack” shirts and deemed them unworthy for special family occasions. Now these long-sleeve, plaid performers are back in style, gracing the pages of the latest fashion magazines.
Fashion benefits aside, they work double-duty as a technical midlayer, hiding features like moisture-wicking, breathable fabrics, wrinkle-free care, and built-in stretch for climbing or scrambling. That means you can complete a multi-day trek on the mountain—accumulate sweat, dirt, and strong aromas—and appear (at least from a safe distance) appropriately attired for dinner Sunday night.
The Best Performance Plaid Shirts: Arcteryx Borderline Revised Shirt
The Borderline uses a 78 percent cotton, 22 percent poly blend for a shirt that dries quickly. Its mesh yoke also increases airflow in hot weather. All told, it’s lightest-weight shirt among our favorites.
Weight: 7.1 ounces
The Best Performance Plaid Shirts: Outdoor Research Tempo Shirt
A shirt that expects to get a little grubby, the Tempo is made from drirelease cotton (a 85 percent polyester, 15 percent cotton mix) that wicks sweat fast, dries in a hurry, and has built-in odor control. A UPF shield on this lightweight layer has you ready for a range of conditions.
Weight: 8.9 ounces
The Best Performance Plaid Shirts: The North Face Gallito Flannel
No special powers for the outdoors here, but North Face washes its 100-percent cotton Gallito with enzymes so it feels soft from the start. It’s a great shirt for breaking camp in the cool evening.
Weight: 13 ounces
The Best Performance Plaid Shirts: Patagonia Kiragg Shirt
Patagonia’s Kiragg blends 60 percent organic cotton and 40 percent recycled polyester to resist wrinkles and keep you feeling cool.
Weight: 11.7 ounces
The Best Performance Plaid Shirts: Burton Fletcher Woven Shirt
The Fletcher is just straight-up 100-percent cotton twill from Burton. Two colors—red and even more red.