Mana Loa Cambodian Buddha T-Shirt Review

Mana Loa Cambodian Buddha t-shire worn in the BWCA

While in Cambodia clothing company Mana Loa visited a Buddhist monastery near Siem Reap. They donated food and toiletries to the monastery and were taught chants. In the temple, the monks allowed them to make a carbon copy of a painting of Buddha. They used the copy they made as artwork on their Mana Loa Cambodian Buddha T-shirt. I received a sample to review.

So, why review a fashion t-shirt instead of a high-tech wunder-shirt on a website about paddling? I asked myself the same thing when the opportunity arose. On low-mileage canoe and kayak camping trips, I like to bring along a shirt to wear in camp. Typically, it’s a synthetic t-shirt that can do double duty as a paddling shirt. I liked the design on this t-shirt and when I saw that the shirt was a tri-blend of 50% polyester, 25% combed ring-spun cotton and 25% rayon I thought it was close enough. I had also been thinking about Robert Wright’s new book, Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment and am interested in Buddhism, especially lately, so the t-shirt seemed to fit my frame of mind.

Mana Loa Cambodian Buddha t-shire worn in the BWCA
Yes, that is a book about haiku.

The Cambodian Buddha t-shirt is soft to the touch with 40 singles thread weight and it is comfortable to wear. Mana Loa calls it a contemporary fit, which to me means slightly tight and trendy — something like a big-city hipster would wear (when he wasn’t wearing flannel). Or as Alfred Tong, author of the the Gentleman’s Guide to Cocktails, wrote when describing what fashion terminology really means, “Real-world meaning: It’s a bit tight, isn’t it?” While I prefer the old-school, classic t-shirt fit from the 90s, this fit wasn’t as tight as some of the t-shirts I’ve bought that have a contemporary fit. It was comfortable to wear and not too tight. Nice. The fabric, even after being smashed into a dry bag, stays wrinkle free. The shirt weighs 5 ounces and rolls up to a size less than half of a Nalgene bottle. It took up little room in the 8 liter dry bag that I stuffed it and all my other spare clothing into.

After five days of wearing it around camp on a Boundary Waters canoe trip, it still smelled good enough to wear into Trail Center for lunch after the trip was over.

To sum up: Comfy. Check mark symbol Cool looking. Check mark symbol Light. Check mark symbol Good fit. Check mark symbol I like it enough to consider buying more of their t-shirts.

As a bonus for each piece of clothing sold, Mana Loa donates a days worth of food and essentials to a child in need from a developing country. That’s a cool commitment.


mockup on the Mana Loa Cambodian Buddha T-shirt

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received Cambodian Buddha T-Shirt for free from Mana Loa in consideration for a gear review.


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