Patagonia Capilene Lightweight Crew ReviewMay 30, 2018
- Doubles as base layer
- Elastic thumb loops
- Fast to dry
- Very little warmth control
- Fabric unravels easily
The Patagonia Capilene Lightweight Crew is the thinnest and lightest top tested and can be used as a standalone running top for warmer days to provide some protection from the sun. It does not provide much standalone warmth on cooler days during which it is best used as a baselayer.
Nothing stood out as overly comfortable or uncomfortable with the Capilene Crew. The fabric wasn’t as soft against the skin as the Outdoor Research or Smartwool tops which largely contributed to the average ranking. Double knit polyester design helped give the tee a light and airy feel, which allowed for unrestricted movement. Seams were noticeable, but not in anyway irritating or uncomfortable.
Compared to other tops, the Capilene Lightweight Crew fit as expected for a base layer, snug against the body. The sleeves fell perfectly just past the wrist with ample space to pull them up when needed. There was some tension throughout the sleeves when using the thumb loops, however due to the elasticity of the loops, it never became an issue.
Patagonia Capilene is legendary amongst skiers and climbers for its ability to wick sweat during high activity outings, so it’s no surprise it excelled during running. Being one of the thinnest tops in the test, the Capilene Lightweight Crew performed best on warmer days when moisture output is high. The open grid pattern next to the skin provided excellent breathability and moisture wicking. This shirt had the fastest drying time of all the tops.
There is very little protection from the cold with this top and it was the thinnest in the test using 2.3-oz (80-g) recycled polyester. Although it’s designed to be one layer among many, it did serve as a nice standalone long sleeve option for mild days.
The Patagonia Lightweight Crew is loaded with features, mostly designed to help it excel as a base layer. Elastic thumb straps kept the sleeves from riding up and a full underarm gusset offered unrestricted range of motion.
For such a thin shirt, the Capilene Lightweight Crew held up surprisingly well. There were minor pulls in the fabric over time, but that didn’t affect the performance of the top.
Fabric: 2.3-oz (80-g) 100% Recycled Polyester Double Knit
Cory is a Santa Barbara, CA based athlete, online running coach and freelance journalist specializing in running and climbing related content and gear review.