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  • Writer's pictureAllen Crater

Gear Review: Poncho Hidalgo Denim Shirt

Updated: Jun 5

Green shirt hanging on a tree with a lake in the background


Among my friends and family it's no secret that I love Poncho brand shirts. At last count I had eleven of them hanging in my closet – originals, short sleeves, and my favorite, the flannels. I've been known to preach the gospel of Poncho to anyone who will listen.

Not long ago Poncho introduced their Denim line which is available in seven colors and promises a comfortable, worn-in feel with a touch of stretch. I ordered the Hidalgo, which is essentially a faded green color that features pearl-snap buttons in a medium-weight material with a soft, broken-in feel (99% ultra-soft brushed cotton and 1% spandex). I have been wearing it throughout the spring around camp, on the river, and it recently accompanied me on a camping and fishing trip in the Ontario backcountry.

Before I get into the details of the Hidalgo specifically, there are a few things I should mention about Poncho shirts in general.

First is the fit. I tend to fall into the taller (6' 1"), slimmer (185 lbs.) category and find that many brands of shirts do not fit me well. Typically when I order a shirt that gives me enough length for my torso and arms, it tends to fit very big and boxy. Poncho offers their shirts in a regular cut as well as slim cut and, for me, the Large Slim has always been the perfect fit – the right length with a trim, athletic cut.

Second is comfort. The Poncho shirts - both the originals (which are lightweight, quick drying performance fabric with slight stretch that breathes well and dries quick), and the flannels (which are light-to-medium weight, super-soft flannel with a bit of stretch) – are extremely comfortable to wear, with the original being my go to for warmer weather and the flannel being my choice for fall, winter, and spring. Both of them are comfortable right next to the skin.

Third is care. One of the best things about Poncho shirts is how easy they are to take care of. I always wash mine in cold/gentle and line dry them. Right from the line they are ready to wear – no wrinkles, no fuss. Just easy.

Last, is versatility. Poncho shirts are marketed as outdoor performance shirts, which they certainly are, but they are nice enough and feature such a perfect, wrinkle-free fit that they can work great as office wear too (I'm in one almost daily). You can wear them untucked with jeans, khakis, or shorts or tuck them in and be ready to go for most any setting, from casual dinners to cocktails on the patio, social gatherings to family events. Expect compliments.

All Poncho shirts are quick drying, offer UPF 50 sun protection, and feature a built-in lens cleaner (which gets used more often than I expected).

Poncho shirts range from $75 (original short sleeve) to $110 (new curduroy). The Hidalgo shirt retails for $100.

Fisherman wearing a green shirt holding a pike in a boat on a lake

What I like:

Feel – like my other Poncho shirts, the Hidalgo is just downright comfortable. It has the look and durability of worn-in denim without the stiff, scratchy feel you might associate with the material. Think of a soft, brushed touch with just a little bit of stretch.

Look/styling – The Hidalgo has sharp western styling accented by the pearl snaps, and the look of a worn-in-but-well-cared-for outdoor shirt you might have seen on your grandpa or favorite uncle around a campfire or on a fishing trip.

Care – the Hidalgo is probably a bit "tougher" than my other Poncho shirts, making it even more worry-free. And, like the others, the care is a breeze – wash it on cold/gentle, line dry, and you are ready to go.

What I don't like:

I have to really nitpick to find anything I don't like about this shirt, but here are a couple of considerations.

Fit – While fit is one of my favorite things about Poncho shirts, the Hidalgo just feels a smidge shorter in the hem and the sleeves compared to my originals and flannels in the same size (Large Slim).

Price – I hate spending money on clothes and find most shirts to be ridiculously overpriced. The Hidalgo rings up at about $100, which is no small chunk of change. That being said, I have found every Poncho shirt I have ever owned, including this one, worth the price. Sure, it's on the steep side, but in this case I think the product is worth the spend.

clothes and sleeping bags hanging out to dry by the water

Perfect For: The Hidalgo is a stylish and tough around-camp, fishing or chores-at-the-cabin shirt, and, while a little more "rugged", could even be worn "on the town" if tucked in, and in the right setting. I also used it as an outer layer on cooler mornings or evenings, layered with a thin hoodie, on my recent outing.

Stars: 4.5 out 5

Learn more: here

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