Most of the synthetic tops available today fit into one of two categories: plain or plaid. In the past, synthetic “style” has been limited to baggy shirts that are sold in a variety of colors ranging from neutral to garish. In the last few years, things have changed. Outdoor companies are offering products with slimmer cuts and patterns. These patterns are (for the most part) plaid.
This opens up a nice range of new possibilities when it comes to packing. These new shirts allow you to enjoy the benefits of a synthetic shirt without looking like you just stepped off the river or trail. The same shirt can be worn on a hike while also looking nice enough to be worn out to dinner. It’s impossible to pack less while receiving more benefits.
Of course, this is all a matter of personal preference. Pack whatever you feel comfortable in. Maybe I’m a bit vain and overly concerned with personal appearance. To me, packing is an art and anything that lets you get a little bit more and pack less is something to be embraced. Which do you prefer?