First Impressions

Dolly Varden Outdoor Clothing hails from Calgary Canada and boasts an All-American-Made line of apparel. Their fly-fishing and travel inspired gear includes shirts, pants, shorts, tees (imprinted with such phrases as I’d Fish It) and, of course, the obligatory hoodie and trucker hat. What fashion-forward apparel brand would be caught dead without these latter two critical pieces? We had the chance to check out a number of their items – including the Men’s Roaring Fork Shirt – which arrived in a bright blue check pattern, one of three options for this nicely tailored product.


The Dolly Varden Roaring Fork Shirt is a mid-weight product made from a combination of cotton, spandex and Coolmax. It feels heavier than most fly fishing shirts like the Ex Officio Air Strip that’s made from all synthetic fibers. In fact, it’s about two ounces heavier than the eight ounce Air Strip. And the Roaring Fork lacks all the geegaw features of many of those other fly-fishing-forward shirts. There’s no big vents across the back, no bellow pockets to cram full of fly boxes and no tabs to hold up your rolled-up sleeves.

Materials: 68% cotton, 30% Coolmax and 2% spandex
Weight: 10 oz

What you do get with the Roaring Fork is a very attractive shirt that doesn’t scream “I’m here just for the fishing.” It’s attractive and will work around town, on a plane and in camp. The one chest pocket on the Roaring Fork is zippered and big enough for one medium fly box. When not in use, that pocket is subtly hidden, part of the interior of the shirt and nearly invisible when not in use. Around the side, the company places another hidden, zippered pocket, also large enough for a fly box, sandwich or whatever else you might need on the river. Nice design, Dolly Varden.

Dolly Varden lines the cuffs and collar with a contrasting fabric giving the Roaring Fork an almost custom-shirt look. Well done, again, Dolly Varden.

In addition to the men’s Roaring Fork, Dolly Varden makes a women’s version called the Rividavia. Same fabric, same feel and detailing. This shirt includes three pockets: one chest patch pocket and two hidden, zippered pockets around back. Not sure why there’s pocket distinctions for the men’s and women’s versions. But given that all Dolly Varden apparel is designed by a husband and wife team, they must know a thing or two about the differences between the sexes.


Well, I must say, Dolly Varden nailed the fit. Roomy enough to ride over a tee shirt, but not so bulky that you’re swimming in it. Sleeve length – which can often run well over the hand – is just right on the Roaring Fork. The Rividavia also delivers a flattering women’s fit.

Final Verdict

Dolly Varden has some real winners on their hands in the Roaring Fork and Rividavia shirts. Not flashy but certainly fashionable, comfortable and with enough on-the-river features to be at home on the water. We also have a pair of the company’s Willowemoc pants to try. Look for that review in a few weeks. Available on the Dolly Varden website.