Some shirts fit in almost anywhere, and that’s what I love about these outdoor work shirts. You can wear them camping with friends, but also throw them on to do work around the yard. Many people turn to field shirts and guide shirts for outdoor work, and I personally like Filson shirts due to their casual, yet rugged design.
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These are our choices for the best guide and field shirts to use for outdoor work:
- Filson Alaskan Guide Shirt (click here to view)
- Filson Brushed Cotton Flannel Field Shirt (click here to view)
- Legendary Whitetails Men’s Navigator Fleece Button Up Shirt (click here to view)
- L.L. Bean Men’s Maine Guide Long Sleeve Shirt (click here to view)
- Topo Designs Twill Cotton Field LS Shirt (click here to view)
- Wrangler Authentics Men’s Long Sleeve Heavy Weight Fleece Shirt (click here to view)
- Eddie Bauer Men’s Guide Lightweight Shirt (click here to view)
- Pendleton Men’s Button Front Classic-fit Guide LS Shirt (click here to view)
- *Women’s* Filson Alaskan Guide Shirt (click here to view)
- *Women’s* Filson Brushed Cotton Flannel Field Shirt (click here to view)
- *Women’s* Legendary Whitetails Trail Guide Fleece Plaid Button Up Shirt (click here to view)
Obviously, some field and guide shirts will be more durable than others. Some will have a more lightweight, summer-friendly design which lets heat escape easily.
In the past, field shirts were used as outdoor gaming shirts, but over time they also worked their way into combat gear. CPO shirts (chief petty officer) have a very similar design to a field shirt. Today, field shirts are used for a wide range of outdoor activities, and are even worn casually.
Guide shirts are very similar in build, designed originally for *you guessed it* outdoor guide work. Both field and guides shirts need to be durable and functional.
Traditionally, these shirts relied on chest pockets for easy storage of supplies, maps, food, and small tools. That design is still used present day as most field and guide work shirts have two flap-close chest pockets.
Because guide work is often associated with hiking and/or summer expeditions, between the two, guide shirts tend to be the more summer-friendly option (yes, there can be exceptions). In this article let’s take a closer look at the best guide and field shirts to use for outdoor work.
Best Field & Guide Shirts for Outdoor Work
Filson Guide & Field Shirts
Filson is a clothing company based in Seattle WA that has a deep-rooted tradition in providing heavy-duty dependable workwear. Their founder, C.C. Filson, opened shop in 1897 and, at that time, specialized in making ultra-tough, ultra-dependable clothing for stampeders heading north for the Klondike Gold Rush.
Making clothes that could hold up in the sub-freezing wilderness meant C.C. Filson couldn’t cut corners, and had to emphasize toughness and dependability. And although the Klondike Gold Rush has long since passed, that tradition of toughness and dependability has carried over to Filson’s current collection of apparel.
Modern day, they’ve transitioned into a company that provides a wide range of outdoor gear (not just workwear). Their gear can be worn by fisherman, loggers, miners, engineers, explorers, and even just everyday folk looking for rugged casualwear. Field and guide work shirts are right up their alley.
Filson Alaskan Guide Shirt
This Filson Guide Shirt has that traditional design that looks good both on and off the clock. Although this is more of a winter shirt, Filson also offers this shirt in a more summer-friendly version which we discuss below.
Here’s what this Filson outdoor work shirt looks like:
This is the current price of this Filson Alaskan Guide Outdoor Work Shirt (affiliate link takes you to filson.com). Here’s what you need to know about this shirt:
- Material – The tightly-woven, 8-ounce cotton flannel is brushed on both sides, providing superior softness and warmth. The thickness and weight of this durable work shirt make it an ideal choice for pairing with a tee when the days are cooler or layered up when cool days turn cold.
- Pockets – The dual-flapped chest pockets are gusseted, allowing them to expand to accommodate bulky items such as a cell phone or wallet. They secure with custom Filson buttons.
- Pleated Shoulder – This relaxed fit, button-front shirt features pleated rear shoulders which gives you the freedom of movement needed when working outdoors. Button sleeve cuffs offer an adjustable fit.
- Lightweight Version – Filson also offers this same shirt in a lighter-weight version better for summer. The lightweight version uses a 5-ounce cotton fabric, instead of 8-ounce. Click here to view the lightweight version (affiliate link takes you to filson.com).
Click here to buy this Filson Alaskan Guide Shirt (affiliate link takes you to filson.com). This shirt is machine washable.
Filson Field Flannel Shirt
This Filson Field Flannel Shirt is made with 7-ounce 100% cotton flannel. This is a midweight fabric that can be used as a layering piece in winter, or worn on its own during the spring and fall months.
Click here to view this Filson Field Flannel Shirt (affiliate link takes you to filson.com). Here’s what you need to know about this shirt:
- Material – The mid-weight, 7-ounce, 100% cotton flannel construction of this shirt provides comfort and durability that will quickly make it a must-have in your wardrobe. It is garment-washed for shrinkage control and feels like your favorite old shirt on the very first day. The button-front closure features military-grade melamine buttons that are practically indestructible.
- Pockets – Two button-close flap chest pockets keep essentials secure.
- Fit – This shirt features a classic fit. Button-adjustable cuffs are customizable.
Click here to buy this Filson Flannel Field Shirt (affiliate link takes you to filson.com). This shirt is machine washable.
Legendary Whitetails Men’s Navigator Fleece Button Up Shirt
Legendary Whitetails is a great brand to consider if you are looking for a outdoor work shirt. They make mostly outdoor casual gear, and this fleece button-up shirt is very popular and styled very much like field and guides shirts.
Here’s what this Legendary Whitetails shirt looks like:
This is the current price of this Legendary Whitetails outdoor work shirt available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). Here’s what you need to know about this shirt:
- Material – You will have the best of both worlds in this 100% heat-trapping polyester shirt and the look of a worn-in plaid flannel with the incomparable warmth and comfort of heavyweight fleece accented with corduroy.
- Pockets – Stash your essentials in the flap chest pockets that feature button closures and a pencil slot.
- Fit – This button-up shirt offers a traditional fit and the button-adjustable cuffs help keep cold air out.
Click here to buy this Legendary Whitetails outdoor work shirt available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). This shirt is machine washable.
Eddie Bauer Men’s Guide Lightweight Shirt
Eddie Bauer founded his outdoor brand in the 1920’s and is often credited for making America’s first patented down jacket, which changed cold-weather gear forever. The Eddie Bauer brand today is known for modern activewear, and this is a great option if you are looking for a lightweight long sleeve work shirt for summer.
Here’s what the Eddie Bauer Men’s Guide Lightweight Shirt looks like:
This is the current price of this Eddie Bauer long sleeve shirt available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). Here’s what you need to know about this shirt:
- Material – This shirt is made using a 68% polyester/32% lightweight nylon fabric blend.
- Hot Weather – This shirt is built for hot weather. Rear mesh-lined shoulder vents allow for maximum airflow. Its micro-textured interior is built to keep fabric off the skin, accelerating evaporative cooling. It is moisture wicking and also designed to provide UPF 50+ sun protection.
- Pockets – There are two secure-zip chest pockets, one with a mesh inner pocket, ideal for keeping valuables secure. A small tool loop is a convenient addition near the left chest pocket.
- Fit – The classic fit is universally flattering – neither too slim nor too relaxed. Rolled-off shoulder seams provide added comfort with wader/pack straps. This shirt also features button-tab roll-up sleeves with asymmetric sun cuffs.
Click here to buy this Eddie Bauer lightweight outdoor work shirt available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). This shirt is machine washable.
Other Guide & Field Shirts to Consider
- Topo Designs Twill Cotton Field LS Shirt – Topo Designs is an outdoor-focused gear brand launched in 2008. Like many field work shirts, this shirt is inspired from military workwear, made with a durable, yet functional, build. The fabric is 7-ounce 100% cotton. Large buttons help this shirt stand out. Click here to view this Topo Designs Outdoor Work Shirt (affiliate link takes you to topodesigns.com).
- L.L. Bean Men’s Maine Guide LS Shirt – L.L. Bean is another well-known name for outdoor gear, and their Maine Guide Shirt has that classic outdoor rugged vibe. This is a heavyweight shirt made of a 14-ounce wool/nylon fabric blend. Traditional fit with two flap-close chest pockets. Be aware the care instructions call for this shirt to be dry cleaned. Click here to view this outdoor work shirt (affiliate link takes you to llbean.com)
- *Women’s* Filson Alaskan Guide Shirt – Filson also offers their traditional guide shirt in a women’s version. This shirt is made with 8-ounce cotton flannel. One main difference compared to the men’s version is the women’s version just has a single chest pocket. This shirt is machine washable. Offered in several different colors. Click here to view this women’s guide shirt (affiliate link takes you to filson.com).
- *Women’s* Filson Brushed Cotton Flannel Field Shirt – Yes, Filson also offer their popular field shirt in a women’s version. Just like the guide shirt we discussed above, the main difference compared to the men’s version is this shirt only has one chest pocket. This shirt has been garment washed to help prevent shrinking and give it a worn-in feeling on the first wear. Click here to view this women’s field shirt (affiliate link takes you to filson.com).
3 Things to Consider When Buying Guide & Field Shirts
Weight of Material
The weight of the material is usually what impacts the durability of an outdoor work shirt the most. Most heavy duty work shirts will be in the 6-8 ounce range, but some shirts can be 10 ounces, or even heavier.
Obviously, the tougher your job, the tougher you will need the material to be. But I would caution against overkill. Extra weight can add toughness, but it can also make the work shirt feel heavy and stiff, and can trap extra heat. I often use a 7-ounce material, and it does the job.
Of course, field and guide shirts come in shirt-jacket versions, often very similar to lumberjack jackets. And there are also field jackets and coats designed for outdoor winter environments. Filson has a field jacket which you can view here (affiliate link takes you to filson.com).
One thing you’ll want to consider about sizing is the length of a button-front work shirt. Many of these shirts have extra length so they can be tucked in.
If you plan to wear your shirt untucked, just make sure to consider the length when choosing a size. For example, here’s a button-front outdoor work shirt I own compared to a same-sized t-shirt:
Type of Material
What type of material do you want for your outdoor shirt? It is most common to find cotton twill or cotton flannel for field and guide work shirts.
As I mentioned earlier in the article, guide shirts sometimes come in lightweight versions built for warmer environments. Most field shirts are built either with mid-weight or heavyweight material, and are best for fall and winter months.
Cotton canvas is a very durable material used heavy duty work shirts, but it is very uncommon to find field shirts and guide shirts made with canvas. These shirts, traditionally, were built for comfort and responsiveness, and canvas (although durable) can be very stiff. Moleskin shirts are another great outdoor work shirt option (can moleskin cotton get wet?).