Bouldering at Salt Point State Park, CA

Bouldering at Salt Point State Park, CA

Photo credit: Kevin Huang // @hd_mouse

Product: Pearl Izumi W Elite Escape Shrug 

Price: ~$35

Details: (from the website)

     ◘ ELITE Transfer Dry fabric provides superior moisture transfer

     ◘ Zippered front

     ◘ Reflective elements for low-light visibility

Fabric: 91% Polyester/9% Lycra Elastane


Pearl Izumi W Elite Escape Shrug


I bought this looking for a product that was lightweight, protected my arms and shoulders from the sun so I didn't need to wear sunscreen, and would be sturdy for climbing outdoors. When I purchased this, I was pretty skeptical about it holding up but so far it's done a good job. I wear this on hikes as well, and it's performed fantastically.

I purchased it in a size Small which fits me pretty well. They do have an Extra Small size but based on the size chart, the major difference would be a smaller chest. I already have a relatively flat chest and I haven't had any issues with the size Small.

They've since discontinued the Elite Escape Shrug but they've come out with an updated model called the Symphony Shrug which is basically the same thing but seems a little less breathable and lightweight, and comes in darker colors.

A disclaimer about this - I haven't actually worn this on really shredding rock with lots of arm involvement so it's not been put through quite the ringer BUT I've gone on many multi-pitch climbs with minimal damage to the sleeves.


When I go outside, I tend to wear tank tops and I don't want to wear something that will keep me warm when it's already warm outside. It is so breathable that I never feel hot wearing this. In fact, it feels like it helps my thermoregulation by protecting my skin from the sun and of course, sunburn.

This is a great covering that takes up little weight and space in my pack. It's more convenient than wearing a long sleeve shirt/layer where it easily zips off, and it's not as comprehensive and heavy as a lightweight jacket.

It's certainly protected me from scraping up my arms when doing crack climbing which I view as a huge plus.

It's also very stylish. It does look kind of strange but it gives your outfit a really unique, almost futuristic look.


The sleeves are pretty long but the arm openings don't stretch so they don't fall off your arms and onto your hands like a sweater might. 

I do wish that the material was a little more sturdy since it does tend to lightly snag on climbs. I would be worried about long term durability but so far it's been good to me.

If you also get this wet, it does take quite a while to dry off. It's good if you're trying to retain moisture for the cooling evaporation, but when you aren't, it gets slightly difficult to take off and does tend to stick to your skin. Again, not really an issue if you're sweating.

I expect that since it does retain moisture, it may also retain body odors as well. I don't really smell when I sweat so that's never been an issue but you may want to consider another product if you're self conscious about that.

If you're a particularly buff gal with beefy arms, it might be too tight for you on the forearms but the material stretches pretty well so it might not be an issue.


     Overall: 4.6/5

     Fit - Length: 4.5/5

     Aesthetics: 5/5

     Durability: 3.5/5

     Flexibility: 5/5

     Comfort: 5/5

     Cost: 5/5

Size Chart:


     Chest: 33-35 in

     Arms: 27 in

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