Poncho Outdoors Flannel Shirt Review
The company that brought you the claimed "best fishing shirt in the world" comes out with a flannel version for cooler climes. Let's see if this is good for active travel as well.
Poncho Outdoors Flannel Shirt Review Introduction
This isn't my first go-around with reviewing a Poncho Outdoors shirt. I did that with one of my first reviews ever, actually. You can read that here - Poncho Outdoors shirt review. That's a fishing shirt. But really, it's an active shirt. And for me specifically, was a fantastic active shirt for travel. Think: camping, hiking, safari, super hot weather, whatever. I don't fish but it's a great shirt serving as multi-purpose due to its utility, and frankly, looking like a regular shirt with a good cut and fit so you don't look like you're on a Rick Steves tour (no offense Rick, I use your self guided walks and love them but your clients need to upgrade their apparel! haha).
So here, we've got all the ideas and theories that go into that other shirt, but in a flannel version. I'll trim this one down a little since it's basically the same shirt but heavier, cooler weather material. For a real deep dive, be sure to check the original review linked above.
Like with the other shirt, when I travel (even for active travel) I don't like to look like a retiree on safari. Also as I've said, nothing against those folks, they are good people. But I'd rather feel comfortable in public and bars/restaurants looking fairly normal. If you check out the link to the Poncho site you'll see what I mean. That's a core tenet of their brand.
This is my review of the Poncho Outdoors Flannel shirt - again, as a travel/active shirt. For full transparency, I purchased this shirt with my own money and had no interaction with Poncho about this shirt specifically. The below article does use affiliate links that help support the site if you decide to click and make a purchase, but you're under no obligation to do so and it does not cost anything to you.
Poncho Outdoors Flannel Shirt Overview
The flannel shirt from Poncho comes with all the great stuff the original has, but is made of one of the softest flannels I've ever worn. They aren't lying there.
It's soft, made of quick drying fabric, and stretches. Stretching is not something I'm used to in a flannel so it was a great add on.
In terms of features (yes this shirt has FEATURES) - it's jam packed. I'll show you in pics below as well but we've got moisture wicking abilities, fast drying, snap down collars to keep you neat, faux pocket buttons with hidden magnets for easy access, a slot for your sunglasses, a zippered hidden chest pocket for whatever (I use it for my passport while at the airport or on the go), and a hidden microfiber cloth to wipe down your glasses when they get wet or sprayed.
The shirt does lose the back vent (more on that later) and the safari sleeves you can button up.
Important to note - there are two fits. Regular and slim. I had the regular in the original shirt. For reference, I'm 5'6" and about 145lbs. I'm athletically built, but not thin/climber slim. I recently invented this category: climber slim during the review. I wear a Gap XS in my normal day to day. I actually purchased a second shirt in slim, and think this is what most guys will prefer unless you're a bit beefier. It's not euro-slim. Just has nicer fitting sleeves and a bit slimmer cut through the waist and stuff. I don't usually wear slim shirts if that helps with context. Sleeves were the biggest difference I saw - in a good way. The flannel you see in the pictures is slim.
Right now it's priced at $84.95 on their website, which I think is a fair price for a manufacturer-direct, premium shirt.
Also, how bout that gratuitous sunrise shot? Heads up, pal! In all seriousness that's the sunrise on Cadillac Mt. and it's a special one if you get a chance in this life - one of the first places the sun touches the continental USA.
Flannel is one of the world's great cool and cold weather fabrics. It's soft and comfortable and helps keep you warm on days that aren't. This one is no exception and I found the stretch and the sheer softness of this fabric to be pretty fantastic. I wore it while hiking in Acadia in the early morning to the top of a small mountain and it provided the needed layering for a trip like that. I also wore it for a sunrise viewing on top of Cadillac Mt which gets COLD and it was a great inner layer under my down. Good stuff on the material.
The utility and features are awesome as well. I particularly like the pockets and the hidden pocket which is handy for traveling to keep money in, or your passport, and not be able to lose it or have it picked. Further, I also found the pockets to be great places for my camera lens caps since I use interchangeable lenses.
Overall fit (while having one flaw I'll mention in the next section) is a plus. It's like any other shirt you'd feel good wearing when you're not fishing, hiking, hunting, etc. You can go back to society and blend in. I love the selection of plaid and solids they have in this shirt. Again I'm a big believer of being a traveler that doesn't look like an old school retiree when they are traveling - but demanding performance from my clothes as well . For active travel, that gets harder and harder. But this helps with that.
Lastly, I do like that they removed the vent on the back of this shirt. I think in the original that was one of the things holding it back from being able to sneak in as a real going out shirt to nicer places. While I wouldn't wear this to a high end place (because it's a flannel shirt, not because it's a Poncho shirt) - it's going to fit in pretty much anywhere else and no one will know it's an active focused shirt. Good stuff.
There isn't a lot here to knock. They kind of hit it out of the park with this one considering what their goal was.
That said - I do think it loses a little utility with the loss of the safari style sleeves.
Along those same line, the cuffs are pretty beefy. This might not be an issue for most, and it wasn't for me in most cases, but it makes it pretty unwieldy to roll the sleeves. Not the end of the world if that's what I'm finding as "bad points". They weren't annoying in every day wear, I want to be clear on that.
Lastly, I think the magnets in the pockets could be stronger. Since the material is thicker, they are less grabby in this version of the shirt.
The Improvement Requests
No huge asks here. I think redesigning the cuffs might make sense unless there was a specific reason for those.
Lastly, and part of this is my personal problem, I would like to see the overall length of the shirt shortened. For tall guys that wear smalls, won't be an issue. I found it a LITTLE long for a short dude. But again, that's a pretty specific ask for a specific use case. Most people won't have this problem. In the same vein, sleeves could be a little shorter since I won't be rolling them as much. Like anything fit though, YMMV so take this with a grain of salt for your personal use case.
Final Thoughts on the Poncho Outdoors Flannel Shirt Review
Like the original shirt we tested way back when - I'm a big fan of the flannel version of the Poncho Outdoors shirt. It's very well made, super comfortable, and loaded with utility. Apart from some very small nits, I couldn't find much to complain about. I've now taken their shirts to a camping trip in the White Mountains in summer and a small getaway to Acadia and they were both perfect for my use cases while being very comfortable while actually traveling.
If you're looking for an active shirt for travel, are a fisherman, hunter, etc. - but you want a shirt that looks like a real shirt rather than those ill fitting, boring outdoors shirts you typically see - I think this is the shirt for you. And I do put my money where my mouth is, I own three. (The tan original, the light blue original, and the flannel you see here). At least two will be coming with me on safari in 2022.
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