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Outdoor shirts have new features that make them more comfortable and durable.

By Gibbs Milliken

With each new season, we search the stores and catalogs for the latest clothing that is both comfortable and tough enough for use in the field. Currently, the best outdoor shirts are long-sleeved for sun and insect protection and are made of special fiber blends that will last for many years.

When it comes to high-tech clothing, the Hook & Tackle Air/X-100 shirt is one of the most advanced designs and the only shirt to hold a U.S. patent for its unique airflow. Made of micro-Supplex with a wick-away CoolMax lining, it has multiple vents on the back, sides and shoulders controlled by zippers to allow the transfer of heat and moisture through air convection. The Nylite Nylon is a water-repellent, quick-drying, stain-resistant fabric. This well-made shirt also features multiple storage pockets, a roll-up collar and sleeves with tab retainers, as well as the highest possible sun protection rating of SP50. ($59.95. Air/X Shirt, Sport Tailor, Inc., (305) 754-3255, <www.hookand tackle.com>)

Another design sporting long, air-venting mesh gussets is the Tilley Globetrotter Air-flo shirt. This strong Nanotex fabric shirt, made of 71 percent nylon and 29 percent polyester, comes in a variety of colors. The shirt is soft, lightweight, fast-drying and comfortable, with classic styling that makes it great for either travel or everyday wear. ($100. Globe-trotter Air-flo Shirt, Color: Brick, #ND01, Tilley Endurables, (800) 363-8737, <www.tilley.com>)

Among the most durable is the safari-styled Tilley Bush shirt made of an extremely tough fabric blend of 65 percent cotton and 35 percent polyester. In the past three years of field use, we have found this shirt becomes even more comfortable with daily wear and frequent washings. Its traditional design retains practical features like shoulder epaulets for securing camera and binocular straps. All the stress points are reinforced with seams double stitched for strength and wide elbow patches added for extra life from constant abrasion. The construction and attention to detail is excellent and just what one would expect from a highly respected manufacturer. ($95, Long-Sleeved Bush Shirt, Khaki, #TE32 Tilley Endurables)

The Ex Officio Buzz Off Lite shirt is unique for discouraging bugs by having an odorless repellent Permethrin impregnated into the cloth. This is a man-made version of a natural plant product long known to effectively dissuade insects. According to the manufacturer, the treatment is approved for this application by the Environmental Protection Agency and will last through at least 25 washings. ($79, Long-sleeve Lite Shirt, Color: French Blue. Men’s and women’s sizes. Ex Officio, (800) 644-7303, <www.exofficio.com>)

Many anglers consider the design of the G. Loomis Bonehead shirt to be an ideal, roomy cut for casting. Made of cool, soft cotton, it is fully vented across the back with a shoulder cape and chest pockets that are specially designed to accommodate flies and tippets. Embroidered above the pocket and center of the back is the distinctive “Fear No Fish” Bonehead logo. ($65, Bonehead Shirt, Color: Aqua, G. Loomis, (800) 456-6647, <www.gloomis.com>)

For hunters, the RedHead Ladies Camo Silent-Hide Shirt is a garment designed especially for the feminine figure with a cut that’s slightly narrower at the waist, flared through the hips and roomier across the top. Made of 7.5-ounce, brushed 50/50 poly/cotton, the shirt is lightweight and comfortable, yet very durable, breathable and remarkably quiet. The full cut provides unrestricted room for high activities like wing shooting and the extra-long tail stays tucked in. It is also available in men’s cut and sizes. ($29.95, Ladies Camo Silent-Hide Shirt, RedHead, (800) 227-7776, <www. basspro.com>)

All of these shirts are excellent products and feature individual qualities that clearly set each apart from the other. Taste, form and function play such a large part in selecting personal clothing that no single design can be expected to fulfill everyone’s needs or wishes.

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