Review: Patagonia Bandito Shirt

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Basic summary:  Performance fabric meets trucker couture in the Patagonia Bandito, which is an evolution of the company’s original Long Haul shirt from a few years ago. It is a lightweight, moisture-wicking, odor controlling, highly ventilated and comfortable Western-style button-down shirt that is ready for rugged days on the trail.

MSRP:  $89

Features:

  • Weight: 138g (4.9 oz)
  • Fabric: 100% recycled, bluesign approved polyester plain-weave fabric
  • Polygiene permanent odor control
  • Slim fit torso
  • Ventilation holes across shoulder blades
  • Dual chest pockets with button closures
  • Eyelet venting under arms
  • Ring-snap button fasteners

Deep dive:

The subset of runners who wear button-down shirts is relatively small, but here’s something the rest of you need to know: those of us who wear them sacrifice absolutely nothing in terms of comfort or performance on the trail – especially if we’re wearing the Patagonia Bandito.

For starters, the fabric is super thin and lightweight; at a mere 138g, the Bandito is comparable to most of the shirts from our summer apparel roundup. It also feels very soft and comfortable against the skin, is highly effective at wicking moisture, and dries quickly when soaked or immersed in water. This was our shirt of choice at the Hardrock 100, and stayed on the whole way as a baselayer or a standalone layer without any skin chafing or irritation.

Apart from its fabric construction, the design of the Bandito is rather brilliant and very functional on long hot trail days. The front fastens with snaps that also ride comfortably against the skin, even when riding under hydration pack straps. The snaps are very easy to fasten or open with a single hand, and allow you to ventilate your torso to any degree you’d like. Running with two snaps open ventilates you significantly better than a crewneck collar shirt, and three snaps open is the equivalent of a half-zip shirt. And on super-hot days, take the snaps all the way down to run in full-on Bee Gees mode.

Underarm eyelets and button chest pocket

When breeze blows into the shirt, it doesn’t billow up, thanks to back vents across the shoulder blades that let air pass through relatively unimpeded. Even when the shirt is fully buttoned, the back openings provide nice ventilation to keep you cool in hot conditions. The slim torso cut also helps prevent billowing, as the shirt isn’t excessively baggy to start with. On a related note, if you like your shirts a little bit loose on the trail, consider sizing up with the Bandito.

If conditions are cold, the length and cut of the Bandito torso makes it easy to tuck into a pair of shorts and stay in place. Here’s one pro tip we picked up when wearing the Bandito under a jacket at Hardrock: the dual chest pockets of the shirt are perfect for stashing hand warmer packets to keep your chest warm when running through frigid mountain nights.

As far as the collar goes, it’s not nearly as cumbersome as you might think. Because the material is so thin and lightweight, it doesn’t feel excessively warm or bulky against your neck, and also feels comfortable inside a jacket. One novel feature of a full collar is that it provides you the option of standing it up to help prevent sunburn on your neck if necessary; however, the downside is that on breezy days, the collar can flap up from time to time when you don’t want it to.

Finally, one more outstanding benefit of the Bandito is its utilization of Polygiene permanent odor control. Polygiene is a treatment technology that uses silver salt as an antibacterial agent woven into the fabric; this prevents odor-causing bacteria from settling into the material, so your clothes won’t stink. You can wear the Bandito out to dinner after your race without offending the other restaurant patrons, or you can wear it for repeated workouts without needing a wash.  The technology is eco-friendly, safe on your skin, and is guaranteed for the life of the garment.

Conclusion

The Patagonia Bandito is an ideal combination of Western style and high-performance. It’s the perfect companion for your beard and trucker hat on the trail, or for your craft beer when you’re kicking back after the race.

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About Author

Donald is a physical therapist, California native, barefoot aficionado, and father of three with more than 25 years of experience in endurance sports. He was a collegiate rower at UCLA, then dabbled in marathons and Ironman-distance triathlons before falling in love with ultras in the early 2000s. His favorite locations to run include Marin County, CA, and the Sierra Nevada mountains, and he loves exploring America's National Parks. When he's not training for ultramarathons, he enjoys hiking or slacklining with his family in Monterey County, CA.

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