Most travel and activewear fits the first four criteria; it’s the last two that have proven difficult. But urban/outdoor performance apparel manufacturer Nau assured me their Lightbeam men’s shirt was the bee’s knees, exactly what I was looking for. So they sent me a sample.
Here’s what I found …
First, in Nau’s words, the Lightbeam is:
… at the intersection of tailored shirt and water and wind-repellent cycling jacket, this recycled poly soft shell is a highly breathable shirt crafted from a puckered, two-way stretch knit fabric that moves with the body.
… with features including:
Two-way stretch fabric for unrestricted movement
DWR finish protects from the elements
Self fabric placket with ring snaps for easy on/off
Self fabric collar with snap tab for increased neck coverage
One chest zip pocket and one back zip pocket with stowable reflective tape provides visibility in the saddle
Snap sleeve plackets and cuffs
Tailored details: Internal bound seams
The Traveler’s Take
Let’s see how it stacks up against my “perfect travel shirt requirements”:
Lightweight: Definitely. After slipping it on, it feels less “shirt” and more “ultra-lightweight rainshell”. This is a good thing as it’s extremely comfortable – almost like wearing nothing at all.
Quick drying: Yes – the recycled polyester construction means the Lightbeam dries very quickly.
Synthetic construction: Check.
Breathable & stays comfortable in all conditions: Mostly. I wouldn’t recommend it for hot climates, but it’s quite comfortable when the temperature dips below 85 F
Look like a tailored/dress shirt: Definitely. It’s stylish, minimalist … “urban traveler chic” if you will.
Wrinkle-resistant: After keeping it crumpled in my bag for a week, there were noticeable wrinkles. But they weren’t nearly as bad as I’d expect. Definitely not wrinkle-free, but plenty wrinkle-resistant.
Is the Lightbeam the perfect travel shirt? It’s pretty damn close. Considering everything I’m asking of it, I’m loving it. For the foreseeable future, it’s definitely going to be my go-to active/travel/dress shirt.
Pricing & Availability
Available now in three colors (Caviar, Indigo, and Zest) for around $160 (USD) directly from Nau.