'm going to kick off this review with the technical specs for the shirt. The Patagonia Next To Skin Shirt, Level 9 is made of the following materials, body: 68% Modacrylic, 29% Rayon, 3% Lycra, sleeves: 50/50 Nylon/Cotton, which meets no melt no drip requirements. The body's fabrics offer great moisture wicking to manage body heat under equipment.

General features of the shirt are the following:

  • Zippered collar
  • Velcro adjustable cuffs
  • Articulated elbow pockets for elbow pads
  • Expandable shoulder pockets with velcro
  • Extended hem, which is longer in the back
  • Fully Multicam construction

Let's look at those features in detail!

Collar - is shorter than on other combat shirts.

When I was choosing my next combat shirt one of the biggest worries regarding the Patagonia one was that I had learned from Garand Thumb's Youtube review that the collar is a little shorter than on other models. But as the Patagonia Level 9 was pretty much the only one with full Multicam construction (yes, there's also Propper's version but I've already tried it and was disappointed) so I decided to go with Patagonia.

Fortunately in use I haven't personally noticed the shorter collar to be an issue and I have a pretty long neck. It seems to be just the right size so that you won't chafe your neck to your rifle sling for example. I also appreciate the zipper on it as that gives a good amount of adjustment for temperature control you'd not have with buttons. I sometimes even use it with the zipper pulled all the way up and it does not bother me. The zipper is also fully covered with fabric so it won't touch your skin.

Cuffs - adjustment could be improved a bit.

A small gripe is the cuffs. They're huge! While I appreciate that there's a great amount of adjustment I often find the shirt's cuff fabric escaping under the adjustment velcro strap especially when they're close to the minimum adjustment. This means the cuff is a little uncomfortable at times and often requires readjustment. It's not a big issue but I think it could be made better, a little wider adjustment strap might help with the issue for example.

Elbow pad pockets.

Like other combat shirts the Patagonia Level 9 also features elbow pad pockets for internal elbow pads but I never use elbow pads so can't really say anything about the pocket other than that they're cut to form and they feature a short velcro closure that's easy to open. Sometimes velcro closure's can be hard to open if there's a lot of velcro but that's not an issue here.

Shoulder pocket velcro area - could be bigger.

The shirt also features shoulder pockets on both arms. The Multicam velcro is a very nice detail that completes the shirt's look nicely. I would prefer that there would be a little more velcro real estate vertically for team insignia etc. The current setup mostly accommodates callsigns, flags etc.

Shoulder pockets feature both velcro and buttons.

Opening the shoulder pockets is easy and you've got two options to close them either with buttons or velcro. The small velcro makes them very easy to open with one hand, something that's not the case on all combat shirts. The pockets are spacious and will accommodate stuff that you'd usually put in there, such as a Write-in-the-rain, pen or other admin items.

Armpit material is moisture wicking.

One little detail that's easy to miss on the shirt due to it being Multicam all-over is that the armpit material is actually the same as on the torso. This helps a lot with moisture wicking and the shirt is really comfortable to wear, usually I just notice moisture on my torso which is also covered with a chest rig or other load bearing equipment, and by now I've worn this on some pretty hot days (for Finland that is)...+25 celcius conditions and it has performed really well. Additional detail that helps with comfort is that the hem of the torso has been made longer so that it stays nicely in your pants even when going through quite dynamic movements.

In summary I'm really happy with the shirt currently and would definitely recommend it! I was able to snatch one for $90 on eBay which is a really competitive price compared to Crye for example... and if you're a Multicam addict the choice is obvious ;-)

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Jul 7, 2020

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