A long-time staple in the classic outdoor closet has been the chamois shirt. First, a little background – the word “chamois” has its origin as the name of a sub-alpine goat-antelope native to various European mountain ranges. Chamois leather, was (and still is) a very supple, smooth leather used for a variety of applications. It was originally made from this animal, but in the States at least, “chamois” leather is now made from sheepskin or lambskin. At some point, the word “chamois” also began to be applied to a thick, dense, cotton flannel used for heavy-duty shirts. The warmth and durability of this fabric made it very popular for a variety of outdoor pursuits in the cooler months. A good chamois shirt will wear like iron and last for many years.
I’ve been looking around for a while now for a well-made chamois shirt that doesn’t approach the triple digit price mark. Far too many examples have either not impressed me in terms of the quality and thickness of the fabric, or the overall workmanship, or because after washing and drying, they shrank so much I couldn’t wear it. While the latter problem is not uncommon with a dense cotton such as chamois, it’s my opinion that the shirt should either be cut accordingly to accommodate shrinkage, or the manufacturer should provide advice to order a size up from normal.
I finally found the shirt that addresses all of the above. It is made from good quality, thick chamois, and with solid attention to detail. It is pre-shrunk, so the normal size you would wear is the size you buy. It also retails for the reasonable price of $50.00. The manufacturer is a company named Arborwear, which got its start making heavy-duty clothing for arborists and others for whom clothing is equipment for tough work situations.
The Arborwear Chamois Shirt gets used for just about everything I do, from bird hunting to fishing to work to loafing around. I can honestly say that I see no reason to pay any more for a shirt like this.
To check out all of Arborwear’s durable clothing, click here.