Long Sleeve Sun Protection: Patagonia Capilene Silkweight Base Layers


Long Sleeve Sun Protection: Patagonia Capilene Silkweight Base Layers


Photos by Kyle Kelley

This website focuses a lot on Made in the USA products, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t share products like this when I put them through the ringer, especially if it saves you some money.

The summer sun is unforgiving and while I’ll wear sun sleeves and a normal jersey on my road bike, I spent a good amount of time this year looking for long-sleeve sunblocking options for mountain bike rides. A large misconception about long sleeve shirts is that they’re too hot to wear on a sunny summer day and while that can be true for materials like cotton, there are silkweight options that will wick sweat, keep you cool and most importantly protect your arms from the sun’s harmful rays…


At less than $40, the Patagonia Capilene Silkweight base layers are a deal and have become my favorite trail shirt. The problem is, they’re not in stock online, but can be found at Patagonia stores’ sale bins for $23. Or online at Backcountry.


I’ve been wearing the black, striped, white and camo patterns almost exclusively in the Texas heat. The silkweight material gets “glossy” with sweat, but it cools you down considerably. The cut is long enough to cover your back and the sleeves have loops to keep them extended, even under your gloves.


The only think that is a slight turn-off for this material, when compared to an ultralight merino is it will smell after one use, whereas merino will remain odor-free after multiple uses. However, the silkweight material dries incredibly fast, so you can always wash it.

Apparel is an interesting market to me. Do we always need “bike specific” clothing? Especially when it comes to mountain bike, touring, trail or in general, off-road wear. While I do have some apparel designed for wear on the bicycle, I’ve found most “outdoors” wear works just fine.