California Cowboy High Water Tropic Shirt: Form and Function

One can argue that the classic Hawaiian shirt, also known as the Aloha shirt, reached its first peak of coolness when Tom Selleck made them his uniform on the classic 80’s TV show Magnum P.I. Following their endorsement by the godfather of mustaches, they reached a nadir when retirees made them their uniform of choice when lounging around in Florida. California Cowboy brought the Aloha back with its terry cloth-lined High Water Shirt with its custom designs, slimmer fit, and hidden tech. And now, the company has released the High Water Tropic,  a hot weather version with all the features, minus the lining for comfort in warmer temps.

California Cowboy High Water Tropic Shirt

Features, Testing, & Review

One thing is clear when you put on this shirt: these guys know how to party. Every feature on this shirt is designed to make your drinking and socializing more efficient, from the sunglass loop on the front to the perfectly sized beer koozie/pocket just above the back hem. There’s even a hidden pocket for your phone that’s completely waterproof, so you don’t have to do that frantic twist-and-throw if your buddies decide to throw you in the pool.

While all of those features are well thought out and useful, they don’t mean anything if the shirt is too ugly to wear. Over my years of gear testing and reviews, I’ve come across countless pieces of apparel that sport handy features but look geeky as hell. Sure, I love a bunch of secure pockets, but I’m not going to go out with a shirt that makes me look like Bill Gates on safari. The dude has a lot of gifts, but style is not one of them.

During testing, it was immediately apparent that the style of the California Cowboy High Water Tropic shirt wasn’t going to be an issue. I wore the shirt during a night out, and people constantly stopped by my patio table and complimented the sweet pineapple design throughout the evening (it was a tiki bar, so natch). California Cowboy clearly knows what looks good.

It was comfortable as well — the fabric was stretchy yet substantial, and the cloth-like feel never gave me the impression that I was wearing workout clothes or a T-shirt. It was as comfortable as my favorite pair of sweats but looked and felt like my higher-end dress shirts.

And the features might seem gimmicky at first glance, but I used every part of this shirt — the sunglass holder gave me a perfect place to hold my sunnies when I went indoors, and the beer koozie and tech pockets gave me full use of my hands without having to put my drink or phone down.

Also, whipping out an open beer from behind my back and taking a swig looked like a magic trick to the inebriated.

California Cowboy Game Over

The California Cowboy High Water Tropic: Conclusions

It is abundantly clear that the people who made this shirt are folks you’d want to hang with. The High Water Tropic (MSRP $115) is packed full of “why didn’t I think of that” features that we’ve all been wishing that we’ve had on our favorite shirts ever since we were old enough to drink.

While most tech-heavy shirts prioritize utility over style, this shirt is the perfect blend of both: it is loaded with features buried within an extremely comfortable shirt that looks great. This shirt will be the life of the party, even if you aren’t.

It’s available in sizes XS through XL and five different custom prints.

Key Features:

  • Hidden waterproof phone pocket
  • Bottle pocket for hands-free beer storage
  • Bottle opener pocket
  • Sunglass loop
  • Camp collar with loop
  • It comes with a beer koozie, bottle opener, and a pack of Conversation Stopper cards


  • Great update to the classic Aloha shirt
  • Stretch fabric
  • Sunglass storage loop is genius
  • The beer pocket securely holds an open beer bottle
  • Hidden waterproof phone pocket


  • You’ll have to buy several different prints, so your friends don’t get sick of you wearing the same shirt all the time


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