By: Blonde Two
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Well! would you know it?

It’s turned out to be a sunny September and, after all that August rain, people are still getting sunburn.

At least they are down here in Devon.

September Cirrus Clouds Devon

Sooner or later though we won’t be walking in a heatwave, autumn will make itself known and our outdoor gear thoughts will turn to thermals and how to keep warm.

Especially when we are camping.

During the colder months, long sleeve tops have obvious advantages over their shorter sleeved counterparts but (because it is still warm) I’m here to tell you why I prefer to wear long sleeved tops in summer weather too.

And it’s not because I don’t like my elbows.

Which long sleeved tops work for walking and camping?

Before I write my list of reasons (and before you all go shopping), I had better explain exactly what I mean by a long sleeve top. I’m not talking about a walking shirt here.

Although shirts do meet most of the criteria below.

I’m talking about a garment that covers your arms right down to your wrists (and a bit beyond). This garment is made of a thinnish stretchy fabric and is equally wearable on its own as it is underneath warmer layers. How tightly it fits is up to you.

Or how many post-walk pasties you’ve eaten.

Why long sleeved tops are best for outdoor life

I do love a list. Especially one that makes me feel like I’m right. Of course, you’re perfectly entitled to disagree with me, but below are the reasons I’ve found myself leaving the short sleeved tops in the drawer this summer.

  1. Long sleeve tops give you some sun protection. Some fabrics are better than others at this so on a long day on the hills, sun cream as well might be a good idea.
  2. A long sleeved top can stave off a breeze long enough to mean you don’t have to stop and put a jumper on.
  3. In showery weather, wearing a short sleeved top underneath a waterproof can feel a tad sweaty.
  4. At camp a long sleeved top can stave off the wee biting beasties (but not horseflies or the mosquitos in my Dad’s garden).
  5. When it cools off at night, a long sleeved top will keep you warmer in your sleeping bag.
  6. If it gets really cold, where your long sleeved top under a fleece and it can become your baselayer.
  7. If you’re travelling it’s worth remembering that covering your arms up can sometimes be culturally respectful.

So which fabrics are best for long sleeve tops?

For warm weather try Patagonia’s Capiline Cool range. I’ve lived in mine this summer.

I thought you’d never ask!

As you can imagine, over my years of walking and camping I’ve tried many different kinds of tops. Most of them are still with me. Some sadly aren’t. I could write for ages about them all but you’ll be pleased to hear I’m not going to.

Here’s my quick long sleeve top rundown.

  1. Merino – natural fibres – super breathable – great in cold and hot weather – very rarely gets smelly – holes easily – can become baggy.
  2. Bamboo – natural fibres – lovely and soft – warm at night – breathable – slightly shrinkable in the wash – quite clingy.
  3. Synthetic – easy to wash – quick drying – often cheaper – can get smelly – may use ‘forever’ chemicals – can be made from recycled materials

From sports gear to walking gear

In this post’s header image, I’m wearing a colder weather long sleeve top from Adidas in my garden to prove my walking and camping gear can also be my sports gear as well as my work-from-home gear, my go-to-the-dentist gear and my Friday-TV gear.

To look after our planet, we all need to buy a bit less clothing and choosing items that work for lots of jobs is on way to do this.

Adidas very kindly gifted us some items, including the outfit above. This autumn, we’ll be taking the opportunity to test the theory that one item can do lots of jobs.

  • Men’s gym clothing can also take them camping
  • Yoga tops make great pyjamas
  • Leggings work really well underneath waterproof trousers
  • Walking socks are also warm in front of the TV

We’ll let you know how we get on.