For the sake of disclosure, Sombrio didn’t send us this shirt in hopes of a gushing review, bolstering sales, or gaining some ‘net cred. I was simply biding my time in a bike shop when I spotted the Vagabond from across the floor. Immediately after slipping it on, the words of Wayne Campbell, in reference to his object of desire (a 1964 Stratocaster), rolled off my tongue, “it will be mine… oh yes, it will be mine.”
On the surface, the Vagabond Riding Shirt from the Vancouver, B.C.-based mountain bike clothier, Sombrio, appears as nothing more than a standard, long sleeve plaid… but don’t let its simplicity deceive you.
- Materials: Dura Tek (polyester/cotton/spandex)
- Pockets: flap chest (2), side seam stealth stow (1)
- Features: armpit vents, reinforced elbows, bike light loop
- Colors: darkstone plaid (reviewed) and blacktastic plaid
- Sizes: XS – XXL (medium reviewed)
- MSRP: $99 USD
Bottom Line: Sombrio’s Vagabond Riding Shirt doesn’t just blur the line between function and fashion – it fits squarely in both categories with a modern fit, crisp look, performance materials, and creative, usable features for riders on or off the trail.
Fit & Features
The Sombrio Vagabond fits true-to-size with a slightly slimmer profile, ample arm and torso length, and a comfortable neck circumference. While the Vagabond has several tricks up its sleeve, what stands out the most is how effing comfortable this shirt feels! Sombrio’s Dura Tek–a blend of cotton, polyester, and spandex–is a sprightly fabric stretching as you do, but also snapping right back in place when at rest. The performance material is also very light, but with a certain reassurance it won’t snag on the first brush-up with a branch.
At the risk of adding weight, but with durability in mind, Sombrio uses metal snaps from top to bottom, as well as on the cuffs and the elbows, for an extra layer of reinforcement. The two front chest pockets of the Vagabond are fully stitched to one side, creating a semi-closed pouch and a third pocket, fully closable by zipper, hides along the side seam. You know you’re rocking this swag at the pub afterwards, and Sombrio has wisely added some pit vents to manage the odor. Don’t ask for the salt, go ahead, reach for it. And just in case you are bar-biking or squeezing in your last hot lap at dusk, the Vagabond’s posterior bike light loop has your back… literally!
On The Trail
A portion of my time in the Sombrio Vagabond was spent in Moab towards the end of March when a cold front moved in, dropping morning trailhead temperatures into the low 40s. At first, the lightweight Dura Tek material did not inspire much confidence, so I packed my friend’s jacket. Alas, there the jacket stayed–tightly rolled up in the bottom of my pack. Not only was additional layering unnecessary in the uncomfortably cool spring air, but the Vagabond also managed higher temperatures very well, as I forgot it was even on when the afternoon desert highs peaked in the low 70s.
The Vagabond’s sleeves are a bit long for my stocky build, but were never an issue when riding, and the wide cuff made it easy to roll up and stay put when needed. That said, I would recommend a second cuff snap to further fine tune the fit.
I’m more of a pack man myself to allow for unencumbered range of motion, but I did make some use of the handy chest and stealth pockets. While the chest pockets are not a good place for anything you don’t want left on the trail, the clever, semi-closed design was great for stashing goodies to which I needed quick access aboard the bike without fumbling with buttons.
While the aesthetics and comfort alone make the Vagabond appealing enough, the amount of features this shirt packs makes it more than worthy of its steep-ish price tag. What’s more, you’re not just buying a riding shirt with the Vagabond, but a do-it-all shirt–whether it’s riding trail, digging trail, or anything but the trail.
Party on, Wayne!