Orvis DRIRELEASE Review: Maybe The Best Fly-Fishing Shirt You’ll Ever Own

Since I’m not playing the affiliate marketing game (right now) you can at once call me crazy and a guy who writes honest gear reviews.

If you are not familiar with affiliate marketing, it’s a system in which one business rewards another—or an individual—for bringing customers to their plate. If a customer who’s reading a blog or a social media post about a product decides they want to buy, they follow a link to immediately purchase the item and the content creator/blogger gets a nice kickback for each sale.

It’s a pretty nice system for the customer, meaning instant gratification, and it’s a lifeline for writers, but it does dumb-down most gear reviews and should place a big, fat question mark in the heads of anglers who are buying product based on these incentive driven descriptions. I’m not saying that all reviews are tainted, but many are and it’s not difficult to find the ones you shouldn’t believe.If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

That’s a long way of getting to the point I really want to make here—if you want to own some of the most comfortable fly-fishing shirts on the planet, which double as great shirts for mountain biking, hiking, hunting, backpacking and general travel, check out Orvis’ Drirelease long-sleeve and short-sleeve Crew.

Orvis sent me both versions of the Drirelease back in early March and I’ve been wearing them, for a variety of activities (mostly fly fishing, of course), since the day I got them. That means I’ve worn these shirts in all weather conditions while hiking through the Fiery Furnace at Arches National Park, while scaling backcountry canyons in southern Utah, while mountain biking in Montana, while fishing on western Montana’s Rock Creek, Blackfoot, Bitterroot and Clark Fork rivers, and while fishing a bunch of lakes and ponds . . . and the Drirelease shirts have served me well on all occasions. These Drirelease short sleeve and long sleeve crews are comfortable, and depending on the weather and bug conditions, you can use full or partial arm coverage.

Cool and dry while wandering through Arches National Park.

Orvis touts the Drirelease Crew as a warm-weather, sweat-management tool, but it’s equally versatile for cold-weather fishing. The Drirelease fabric is a very soft blend of cotton and polyester fibers, and it dries really fast. It can be worn under layers to stay warm and keep a nice moisture wicking fabric against your core.

Another attribute is an odor-blocking Outsmart Fresh protection that Orvis winds into these shirts. Don’t ask me how it works, but I can tell you when I soak one of these shirts on a mountain bike ride, or hike into a lake or a remote section of the Blackfoot, or some other stream, it’s as if the stink shakes itself out. Don’t get me wrong, wear these often enough during major exertion and they’re going to stink. Nothing that a rinsing or a wash can’t solve. I have actually just dipped these shirts into the stream or into a mountain lake and rubbed them a bit, and then laid them out to quickly dry in the wind, and most of the smell is pretty much gone.

Orvis Drirelease short sleeve version. Lots of colors to choose from. You could take a couple of these shirts on a backpacking trip and be good to go. Rinse in a stream or a lake and you’ll be set for another 10 miles.

There are times when the Orvis Drirelease may not be your go-to choice, That is true if you need major sun protection on your neck. Lack of a collar on these shirts means your neck, unless you wear some other form of sun protection (possibly your new Covid-19 mullet cut or a sungaiter), is at risk to the big burn. Which is no fun about the time you take a shower or when the doctor says you have skin cancer. Overall, however, for summer living in Montana, and a nice base layer for other seasons, I can’t think of a better shirt.

The Orvis Drirelease shirts come in an awesome variety of colors (that don’t fade) and numerous sizes and retail for $49 and $59 respectively. Check them out: https://www.orvis.com/p/drirelease-long-sleeved-crew/2Z5X —Greg Thomas

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