Fishing Shirts Reviewed: The Redington Slipstream
The Slipstream is one of Redington’s core fly fishing technical shirts. It is available in both long- and short-sleeve styles, with a suggested retail price of $40.00 for the short-sleeve model and $50.00 for the long-sleeve model. I reviewed the long-sleeve model, and have been wearing and fishing two of them, off and on, just to see how they would perform. I used them on my recent trip to Montana and Wyoming, and also here in Michigan while fishing the Boardman and Manistee Rivers.
The Slipstream model features a 60-40 cotton/poly blended fabric, in a small range of attractive, earthy colors. Among the shirts I have been wearing recently, this is one of the heaviest fabrics, and feels most appropriate for fall or spring fishing outings, or angling trips to cooler and more temperate parts of the world. It would be least appropriate for saltwater anglers who would regard the fabric as way too heavy in comparison with the many other offerings out there specifically targeted for use in tropical and subtropical environments.
As with many of the manufacturers working in this part of the industry, Redington pushes the fact that the fabric provides for UPF 30+ sun protection, which is excellent.
All of my big complaints with the Redington Slipstream have to do with the fit of the shirt. I’m a fairly tall guy, and I’m not particularly skinny, and in almost all other garment lines, I buy XL shirts. In the Redington line, an XL is a terrible fit on me. I can’t close the top collar button because the neck hole is then too small. I’m close to having the same problem at the wrists. The arms, shoulders, and chest feel extremely tight, and overall I am unimpressed with how frame-fitting the shirt is.
I also like to tuck my shirts in the waist of my pants. With the Slipstream this is hard to do, as the shirt is cut with a square-bottom and so has no tail. The result is that if you try to tuck it in, the tail of the shirt will pull out the first time that you sit down. If you’re a person who normally leaves their shirts untucked, then this will not be a problem, though even then I find that the shirt is really just a little two short.
One appropriate reply would be to point out that, in my case, I need a 2XL — I might, though when I tried that one on it did fit better in some ways, but at the cost of feeling too long in the arms. In short, I think that the Redington shirt dimensions in their standard sizes are just not very good for my frame, and I fear the frames of many others.
I’m sure that there is a body-type out there for which these shirts will fit fine, but I’m not one of them. And this leads to my big caution with this shirt — if you buy one, try it on in the store and think about how you’re going to use it. If you do lots of casting, in particular, and want that looser fit, you might look elsewhere.
The Slipstream offers a horizontally-split and vented back panel, ample chest pockets, and integrated roll-up sleeve tabs, which I like. The collar offers a button-down design, which I like, and adds to the shirt’s overall clean look.
One thing that is, thankfully, missing is an attempt at an integrated rod holder tab. Many of the leading manufacturers of angling shirts feel it necessary to add that particular detail, though I find all of them completely useless. Such tabs are a good example of adding something just to add it, rather than as a serious attempt to come up with features that would really be helpful to most actual anglers (like a place to slip a pair of hemostats for easy retrieval).
Overall the quality of the shirt appears to be excellent. The fabric continues to be soft and holds its color through multiple washings. The thread on the buttons appears to be holding tight, and the shirts I have been wearing appear just about new even after getting some real use in my driftboat.
I like the uncluttered and earthy look of the Redington Slipstream. Although I am no fashion maven, I appreciate the clean lines of the shirt, and the button-down collar. The fabric doesn’t look weird and it irons-up well.
Those two big fit complaints come back though — I find that the shirt fits me poorly — it is way too tight — which is easy to see, and I don’t like the square bottom and the need to keep the shirt untucked.
Overall, for me, good fit in crucial in a product like this, and the fact that I struggle a bit in these shirts to get comfortable really bothers me. For that reason, I can’t give this product high marks. Nevertheless, I’m certain that there are users for whom the shirts would fit much better and if they also do not mind the square bottom, these shirts would be near perfect for fishing in cooler climates in the Pacific Northwest, the Upper Midwest, and in New England, in particular.
Note: This is the first in a four-part series of reviews on popular fishing shirts, with a focus on their fit, functionality, quality, and appearance. Look for upcoming installments in future weeks.