First Impressions

Columbia Baselayer Lightweight Short Sleeve Top

Columbia continues to heavily invest in the development of new fabrics and aggressively market offerings based on those innovations. In keeping with that approach, the Baselayer Lightweight Short Sleeve arrived in unique packaging – a compact plastic tube – that allowed the shirt’s bright blue fabric to make an impact. Out of the tube, the Baselayer Lightweight Short Sleeve has a surprisingly soft feel and nice stretch.


The Columbia Baselayer Lightweight Short Sleeve uses two of the company’s proprietary fabric technologies – Omni-Freeze ICE and Omni-Wick. In Columbia’s marketing-speak, the first “uses a naturally occurring chemistry to start actively cooling you the moment sweat hits the surface of the garment.” How is that different from what my middle-school gym teacher described when he said “keep your shirt on ‘cause your sweat will keep you cool”? Frankly, I don’t think it is. We put it to the test on a run when the temps climbed into the high 90s and found no difference in the sensation of cooling.

Fabric: 90% polyester/10% elastane (aka spandex)
Weight: 5.0 oz

That doesn’t mean the Baselayer Lightweight Short Sleeve is a poor product. It just means that there’s a touch too much hyperbole in Columbia’s marketing. One other note, this lightweight short sleeve shirt was the heaviest in our test.

Nice features in the Baselayer Lightweight Short Sleeve include the flat stitching that help prevent chaffing, and the polyester/elastane fabric. It’s very soft and nicely stretchy, but we also found that it held onto a touch more funkiness than other shirts in the test.


Columbia cuts the Baselayer Lightweight Short Sleeve Top fairly close to the body. The sleeves are also trim, a little shorter than a typical t-shirt. However, we found no reason to size up or down. Order your normal size.

Final Verdict

Columbia’s Baselayer Lightweight Short Sleeve Top is well built, soft, stretchy and delivers solid cooling performance. Although the cooling properties and weight of the shirt are overhyped, it’s still worth a look.

First Impressions:
[Rating:4/5] Features:
[Rating:3.5/5] Fit:
[Rating:4/5] Final Verdict:

Thanks for reading another outdoor gear review from GearGuide. And thanks to Columbia for providing product for this review. Written by Matt K.