Pistol Lake Minimalist Boxer Briefs

The item in this review was provided by Pistol Lake for review purposes.

Pistol Lake recently gave me the opportunity to try out their Minimalist Boxer Brief, which is made out of the same Lightweight Eudae fabric as their Minimalist Tee (our review). I’ve been testing these for a few months now, and they have some compelling attributes, including great resistance to riding up.

Fabric

The custom Lightweight Eudae fabric is 76% recycled polyester, 19% Tencel, and 5% spandex. You might think that with the high polyester content it will feel just like all the other synthetic underwear out there, however it doesn’t. The Tencel (Eucalyptus pulp derived fiber) gives the fabric a luxurious soft feel, you might even believe it’s a stretchy cotton. When sewn up as boxer briefs, this makes for an extremely comfortable pair of underwear.

Fit

I found myself right on the borderline of L and XL according to the size chart, so I gave both a try. If you are in the same situation and are looking for a tight, more supportive fit size down, otherwise size up.

With a longer leg length and great stretch, these boxer briefs do a great job resisting riding up, especially if you wear them on the tighter side. They are my only underwear, other than some with special leg grippers, that I’ve never had issues riding up while working out. Another area some other underwear can have issues is the waistband. On these, It is nice and wide and is thick enough that it stays flat and never digs in.

If there was anywhere I’d recommend some improvement in the fit, it would be to add some shape to the pouch — something that can take a great pair of boxer briefs and make them excellent.

Performance

The Eudae fabric does a great job of wicking moisture. While it does hold more than a full polyester or nylon fabric, it dries almost as fast. During really sweaty workouts, these can start to feel a little like wearing cotton. They don’t hold as much sweat as cotton, but I did notice that they felt more sweaty than my other performance underwear. In this situation, the quick drying nature only helps once you are done heavily sweating.

As far as odor resistance, I have never found underwear to be something I want to/can wear more than once (even merino), so I can’t comment. However, the Eudae fabric in its t-shirt form, performs almost as well as merino (and better than full synthetic, see our comparison).

Of course, the topic of packability and drying speed is also a factor for travel. In comparison to other options, they are about middle of the road as far as packability and while fast drying, not as fast as some of the thin, pure synthetic blends.

Overall

The Pistol Lake Minimalist Boxer Briefs are compelling mainly in the comfort area. They also solve the problem of riding up with their length and the stretch of the fabric, which isn’t something that most $29 pairs of underwear can do. However, my experience with them during very sweaty workouts makes them less than ideal for me. They are worth a look, however, if you want cotton-like comfort with great stretch, don’t sweat a ton when working out, or are traveling (where sweat and heat aren’t a concern) and want the comfort and drying performance these offer.

Pistol Lake Minimalist Boxer Briefs

Bluffworks Departure Jeans

Note: these were provided by Bluffworks for this review.

The best I can recall, it’s been 2 years since I owned a pair of jeans, and perhaps a little longer since I wore them at that. So the Bluffworks Departure Jeans are my first jeans in quite some time, and I will fully admit that it was weird for me (and for my wife) for me to be wearing jeans again. At the same time, these are super comfortable jeans.

The idea with these jeans is that there are some people who refuse to give up denim, and thus they should be offered a better pair for travel. Bluffworks did this with a custom material, as well as adding a few slick features.

Material

First thing you need to understand is that these are not like many of the “modern” 5-pocket type of pants we talk about. They are not made from a completely technical, non-cotton material. They are trying to improve upon jeans, while still keeping them jeans. To that end, Bluffworks came up with a blend of: 68% Cotton, 22% COOLMAX Polyester, 9% Rayon, and 1% Spandex. There’s a lot going on there, but suffice to say they basically feel like a stretchy pair of standard jeans, even the weight/warmth feels like jeans.

These feel closest to a pair of jeans I had which were made by Mavi, meaning they are very soft to the touch. They look and act mostly like traditional denim with the stretch barely noticeable. Happily, the jeans will easily cuff and remain cuffed — something which more technical materials still find mostly elusive.

The COOLMAX is the biggest addition, which is a fiber designed for moisture wicking and breathability. Given that we are in the dead of winter, I have yet to be able to test anything about this aspect of the pants. I will note that they don’t seem to dry any faster than standard jeans when they get wet.

Travel Pockets

I’ll first start by saying that I really hate it when clothing manufacturers add zippered pockets to clothing. These types of pockets almost always look silly and get in the way. The Departure Jeans have two of these zippered pockets on the back, which are hidden in the seam above the standard back pockets.

What’s really amazing here is that you cannot tell these pockets exist in any way. The inner part of the actual pocket is a thin and almost nonexistent material. On the outside of the pants the zipper is perfectly hidden and perhaps the most discrete zippered pockets out there.

What this all means is that if, like me, you wish pockets like this didn’t exist then these won’t bother you at all. However, if you do like having secure pockets like these, then they are here for you and are the best I have seen.

Comfort and Wear

I have been wearing these jeans non-stop since I got them, with only one day (while they were being washed) switching back to the pants I normally wear. I’ve found them to be extremely comfortable. There’s no doubt about it, for non-travel and casual lounging wear, cotton still is king. These pants prove that out.

Moreover, they move very freely, more so than any other jeans I have owned. I have had no issues working in the yard, folding piles of laundry on the floor, watching TV, chasing the kids, or any other activity I’ve done while wearing these. If nothing else, these move extremely well.

The fit on these is classic, not slim or baggy. They also look identical to standard jeans. There’s nothing to tell people that they are anything but ordinary jeans one way or the other. The wash is accurate at a medium, but I might prefer a slightly darker wash. All in all, I have no complaints whatsoever in the comfort department.

Travel Friendly?

I think the elephant in the room for me is whether or not these work for travel. This is largely going to depend on how you travel. If you are among the many people who simply refuse to travel anywhere without jeans, then these are certainly a better option that what you normally pack. Bluffworks says that these are 11oz per yard, whereas most jeans are 14oz — that’s hard to conceptualize, so think of it that these jeans are going to weigh less than standard jeans.

However, if you are someone who wears more technical pants (like me) then you’d be hard pressed to want to travel with these. They will not dry very fast if you sink wash them. They won’t repel dirt or grime any better than standard denim. And they will take up more space than your technical pants.

Where these really fit in for me is in the classic style domain. If I am not flying to my destination, I wouldn’t have a good reason not to pack these. So while they may not be the best option for a jet setter, they are a very good option for a weekend away. How much better than a standard jean — for that you’re going to have to ask someone who regularly wears jeans.

Overall

One thing I tested with these is a wash and dryer cycle. Though, not recommended, I found that tossing them into the dryer only barely shrunk the waist, while nipping a bit more off the length of the jeans. I mostly did this to break them in a bit more, and because I find myself in between sizes with my pair being slightly too big in the waist. I wouldn’t recommend you do this, but the pants didn’t fall apart when I did.

My only nitpick about these jeans is the fifth pocket, which seems unnecessarily large. Other than that, these are very comfortable and classic looking jeans. The price is right in line with what I always paid for jeans, and is certainly less expensive than most other pants I buy.

These are jeans, and if evaluated solely against other jeans, they rank very high for me. Evaluated against more technical five pocket pants, they only win on aesthetics. That said, there are very few Americans who don’t own, or like wearing, jeans and these are a particularly comfortable pair of them.

Bluffworks Departure Jeans

Pistol Lake Minimalist Pullover Hoodie

The item in this review was provided by Pistol Lake for review purposes.

If you’ve been reading Everyday Wear, you know we are fans of Pistol Lake apparel. They recently sent me their Minimalist Pullover Hoodie to check out and I’ve been pleasantly surprised. I typically am not a hoodie person, but this hit the perfect balance of being shirt-like with the benefit of a hood and kangaroo pocket.

Fabric

The fabric is another one of Pistol Lake’s custom fabric blends, Eclon (46% nylon, 42% polyester, 12% spandex). It does not have a technical sheen and has that Pistol Lake softness we’ve come to expect. Is somewhat heavier than the Midweight Eudae used in their One-Bag Henley (our review). For me it’s the perfect weight for a hoodie. It strikes a balance of warmth, where it is suitable throughout all the cooler months inside while still keeping you warm outside in the shoulder season. This also lends to being able to easily wear a jacket over the hoodie when needed.

Fit and Performance

While not as close fitting as the One-Bag Henley or Minimalist Tee (our review), the cut is still athletic and fits close enough that it makes for a comfortable layer without looking bulky. The generously curved hem at the bottom makes it a little longer, which is great for a hoodie.

It has become my go-to layer for around the house since the weather has gotten cold, as well as being nice enough to wear around town on the weekend. The combination of the softness and stretch of the fabric makes it the most comfortable layer I own. As far as odor resistance, I haven’t really noticed any smell before I’ve had to wash it for other reasons. When washed, the fabric dries surprisingly fast for its weight.

There is one unique feature — a hidden cell phone zip pocket inside the kangaroo pocket. While I always find it awkward to carry anything in a hoodie pocket, my iPhone XS does fit. While I haven’t used the pocket for my phone, I could see using it to hold a key and/or ID when I don’t want to carry a wallet or phone.

Overall

The Pistol Lake Minimalist Performance Hoodie surprised me and has become a staple in my cooler weather wardrobe. The soft and stretchy fabric makes it comfortable in any situation, while the cut and styling makes it nice enough to wear around town. If you are looking for a midweight, comfortable, and good looking hoodie, this one should definitely be on your list.

Pistol Lake Minimalist Pullover Hoodie

Proof Nova Series Insulated Jacket

I have been testing the Proof Nova Series Insulated Jacket for about a month now, and found it to be quite impressive. The jacket is billed as an insulated jacket for travel and adventure, which is in line with the other clothing Proof produces.

Material

This jacket is made of two materials, with the insulation being PrimaLoft Gold at 60 g, and the shell being a “Japanese four-way stretch nylon fabric, with a durable water repellent finish”. I know what to expect with PrimaLoft Gold, but I have no clue what this outer fabric is.

Nylon with stretch? When I got it I found that the nylon itself is very thing feeling, and the stretch is, well, very stretchy. I expected the jacket to have just a touch of stretch, but instead the jacket has a good amount of 4-way stretch. So much so that the jacket fits me rather snug (good for a mid layer, or something you don’t want a lot of bulk under) and if it were not for the stretch, I would need to go up a size. However, the stretch allows the jacket to fit me a little closer, while not restricting my movement in anyway. This is rather impressive.

The nylon, while being thin, feels durable and overall offers me no worries about wearing this as a primary outer layer. The thickness is in line with other jackets of this nature, like Patagonia’s popular Nano Puff Jacket. I will note that the nylon used by Proof is a matte finish and thus offers a unique look.

Warmth

This jacket is warm. PrimaLoft Gold is great synthetic insulation, and proven to work well. This jacket is no exception, and the biggest issue I have had with this jacket is that it is often too warm to wear in a lot of situations. I am only able to drive while wearing this jacket if I am only wearing a t-shirt under it.

I recently reviewed the Triple Aught Design Catalyst Field shirt, and while that weighs more, it is about half as warm as this Nova jacket. After buying this jacket, I am confident I will not need to get a heavier down jacket at all. This is all the warmth I need.

The unfortunate part is that the jacket doesn’t breath well. So when you move into say a store, you will have been warm outside, and now will start to overheat being inside. You’ll need to remove the jacket. Even unzipped I have at times found the jacket too warm. The best way I have found to mitigate this is to wear the jacket with only a t-shirt under it.

In temps below 44 degrees F, this jacket excels, but it has been unseasonably warm in the Pacific Northwest so far this winter.

Comfort

This jacket is very comfortable and cozy to wear. The materials used form well to my body and move fairly easily. The stretch is a little odd, as it offers more resistance than you might expect, but once you start stretching it moves decently well.

Overall it’s a warm jacket with stretch, so it’s perfectly comfortable.

Packing

The compressibility of this jacket is less than what you get with down jackets, but the jacket does come with a stuff sack which is attached to the inside of the breast pocket. As with most synthetic insulated jackets, this doesn’t pack down to any impressive size. The stuff sack does help get the jacket out of the way, but it is made out of a stretch material, so the compression offered by the stuff sack is limited. It is also sized a bit too large for the jacket, thus affording extra room.

All in all, I don’t think it is fair to call this jacket packable. Yes, it is very svelte in the overall weight, but I’ve had lighter and warmer down jackets which pack down to a much smaller size. This is always going to be the trade off.

Style

This jacket is as basic as it comes. It is designed to cut more athletic in looks, and yet be simple enough that it can reasonably blend in anywhere. I think the big thing to note about the style of the jacket, is that it doesn’t look tacticool, nor does it look like a jacket for hiking.


It’s simple and fairly innocuous in design. The biggest miss for me with the style is the collar, as it leans into your neck instead of standing up on its own. I think this looks a bit odd, and am unsure if this is something unique to my body or not.

A Few Complaints

This jacket isn’t perfect and thus there are a few areas I think need improvement:

Stuff sack: It’s too big and too stretchy. It needs to be smaller and not stretchy. I also don’t understand why it is connected. I am removing it so I can ditch it from the jacket.

Wrinkling: The material of this jacket is prone to wrinkling, which sucks when you stuff it into a stuff sack for travel. It can get quite wrinkly and the wrinkles don’t fall out that quickly. Typically it takes about 3-4 hours wearing the jacket before the wrinkles release.

Pocket zippers: The zippers for the exterior pockets are very small, and the zipper pulls are even smaller. They are hard to operate. The stretch on the material means that you often need two hands to open the pockets, and it can be quite difficult to open and close them without the jacket itself zipped up. It’s nice they are zipped, but they are hard to use.

Cuffs: The jacket sues a narrow elastic band for the cuffs, which is pretty typical of this style/type of jackets. However, they are almost rolled under, so that you do not see the actual cuff when you wear the jacket. It’s really odd and makes the cuff catch on my watch when I put the jacket on. It also looks a little odd and takes some getting used to.

Overall

Despite the small little issues I have with the jacket, I really do like it. I had been considering many of the more common mid-layer insulated jackets, and am glad I went with this one over those. It strikes the right balance with style and performance. I am glad it is as warm as it is, and prefer jackets to trend in that direction over being not warm enough.

What I like the most is that this jacket moves really well, fits great, and doesn’t look like something I just came from a hiking trail wearing. I could see taking this jacket anytime I need a warm layer when I travel, and will likely wear it a ton this winter.

Proof Nova Series Insulated Jacket

Patagonia Long-Sleeved Recycled Wool Shirt

Patagonia has been pushing the boundaries with recycling clothing fibers into new clothes for a long time, and the Long-Sleeved Recycled Wool Shirt takes recycled wool, polyester, and nylon and makes it into a great, all around casual, heavy shirt. You also can’t beat having Patagonia stand behind a shirt like this, as I could see it used in many conditions, from a casual day around town to camping in the woods.

Fabric

The fabric is a 6.9 oz blend of 60% recycled wool, 30% recycled polyester, and 10% recycled nylon. The Forge Grey color shows good variation in the color and has a nice texture to give it some visual interest. I’ve seen some complaints of the shirt being scratchy, but it doesn’t bother me due to the lining in the cuffs and neck/collar. However, if you generally think wool is scratchy, this is definitely not the shirt for you.

For those interested in sustainability, the 100% recycled nature of the fabric is also a plus. The wool actually comes from old sweaters, which is a very old process that is now aided by modern technology. Patagonia has been recycling polyester for a long time, starting with making water bottles into fleece, and now they can take other sources such as old clothing. Most interestingly, Patagonia wasn’t able to find a quality recycled nylon fiber until about five years ago and now they are using textile waste as well as experimenting with used fishing nets.

Fit, Performance, and Styling

This shirt fits me well. Sizing is right as expected for Patagonia, so I found the large to fit well (and have long enough sleeves). The cut works well as it’s close enough that you can wear it with just an undershirt, or it can be worn as an overshirt. Patagonia calls this their “Regular Fit”, and for me it only works untucked (which is perfect for this shirt).

The cut plays right into the weight of the fabric, as I’ve found it comfortable to wear indoors on a chilly day while being warm enough to wear as an overshirt on a colder day. As far as the odor performance, I have worn this shirt many times and have not had to wash it yet. The combination of it not being a close to skin piece and having over 50% wool content seems to make it odor resistant.

The pockets and weight of the fabric definitely land this shirt squarely in the casual category, however, it does still pair nicely with a nicer pair of pants (like the Outlier Slim Dungarees or Futureworks) and a pair of boots.

Overall

Since the cooler months have arrived, the Patagonia Recycled Wool Shirt has been my go-to shirt for looking put together and casual. When compared to other similar offerings on the market, the $129 price is an excellent value. The weight and good looks of the fabric, combined with the cut, make it a piece that I’m sure will be in my wardrobe for a long time.

Patagonia Long-Sleeved Recycled Wool Shirt

Myles Apparel Tour Pant

The item in this review was provide for Myles Apparel for review purposes.

Myles Apparel recently released their Tour Pant to compete in the technical, 5-pocket pant market. It’s marketed as a “classic 5-pocket pant design upgraded with modern features”. I had a chance to give these a good try over the holidays.

Material

The fabric is described as a “breathable stretch woven twill” and is 100% polyester with DWR. While there is no elastane, the fabric is quite stretchy, although not as stretchy as my Outlier Slim Dungarees. The weight seems to be similar to the Workcloth in the Slim Dungarees, but this fabric doesn’t have as strong of a texture and has a noticeable technical sheen. I found the weight to be decent for cold weather, and could see the pants transition to the warmer months.

One interesting material touch is a tight mesh fabric used for the pockets. I’m guessing this is to help with the breathability, although I typically feel this is a gimmick that can hurt the durability of the pockets.

Fit

These pants are a slim/athletic cut with a slight leg taper. The odd thing, however, is the sizing. They are only offered in S-XXL rather than waist sizes. In talking to Myles, I was told that the sizing is consistent with their other pants, so I got an XL (this choice also made sense with their sizing chart). The XL turned out to be unusual baggy in the seat, so I exchanged for a L.

In a L, the waist was slightly tight — made OK because of the stretch, however there is some pulling at the top of the fly flap. Since the pulling is right below the button, it’s hidden by an untucked shirt, but makes these pants unwearable for me with a tucked in shirt. The seat did fit much better though. I also tend to have concerns with tightness around the thighs in athletic/slim pants, but the fit on these, while a little tighter than I usually go, was comfortable.

Also, rather than providing an inseam measurement, they list a max height for each size (6’5” on the L). I am 6’2”, and I found the inseam to be perfect, they do offer free hemming by mail though, if needed.

The rise of the pants seem to be a bit lower than what I’m used to. I found squatting down to cause the pants to pull down in the back a bit. The lower rise also makes the back pockets fall lower than I’m used to — this is something I didn’t notice right away, but became apparent when sitting with a wallet in my back pocket.

Wearing Them

The stretch of the fabric is surprising given the lack of any stretch component to the blend. I never found the pants to constrict my movement and found them to move with my body, although not as easily as a pant with some elastane blended in. The gusseted crotch also helps with freedom of movement, although I found the back of the pants to pull down a bit when squatting or moving around on the floor when playing with my niece. I’m guessing this is a function of the rise.

While not severely tapered, I did find the taper to cause the pants to sometimes get caught on my calves when standing up.

The fifth pocket is sized to hold your phone, and it does indeed just hold an iPhone XS. My phone seems secure there, although the pocket is situated high enough that I didn’t find it to be a comfortable place to carry my phone. The other pockets are all nice and deep and things seem to stay put. The right back pocket also has a zipper portion designed to securely hold a wallet or passport, a nice touch and well implemented. I’ve found some zipper pockets like this to get in the way, but the zipper seems to be well designed here as to stay hidden and out of the way.

Finally, the technical sheen — this one is a deal breaker for me when wearing the pants. I hoped it would become less noticeable with some wear and washing, but that did not come true. Maybe it’s most noticeable in the Charcoal color I have, but for pants that are targeted for wear from outdoors all the way to work, I expect less sheen.

A Few Complaints

These pants aren’t perfect. While I think a lot of what I don’t like is a factor of the fit, there are definitely some improvements that could be made.

Sizing: Only having S-XXL sizing in these pants makes it less likely that you will find a great fit, and seems unusual for a pant billed as looking good enough for work wear. I’d consider making these in the usual waist sizings.

Rise: The rise on these pants turned out to be a little too low for me, causing the back to pull down in some situations. I didn’t notice if it was different in the XL pair I had first, but in order to get a fit that was reasonable, I had to size down.

Sheen: The sheen of the fabric is too noticeable for a technical pant that is supposed to be able to be worn in many situations. While it may have been OK in the past, there are too many good, non-shiny offerings these days.

Overall

The Myles Apparel Tour Pant is not the pant for me. While some of my issues are probably due to not being able to find a great fit, the fabric could use some work. If you can find a fit that works for you, the $118 price is compelling when compared to my gold standard of the Slim Dungarees ($198), and it might be worth giving them a try.

Myles Apparel Tour Pant

Proof Passage Tee

One of the most common things I hear from people when I tell them to buy merino wool t-shirts is that wool is too scratchy for them, or the person they want to get a shirt for. While I don’t find merino wool scratchy, and many people agree on that, there are still some who do. The issue is that the majority of non-merino shirts out there don’t perform nearly as well as wool. Which brings us to the Proof Passage Tee.

I used to tell people to go buy Pistol Lake’s Minimalist Tee (our review). Both of us were surprised by the performance of the Eudae fabric, but the shirt is very lightweight and more geared towards an athletic look. Proof makes technical clothing with the traveler in mind, and they do it out of a range of fabrics. The brand (formerly Proof NYC) is now owned wholly by Huckberry and sold through them.

I picked up their Passage Tee on a whim and have been impressed by it since. I bought another too. Let’s dive in.

Fabric

This shirt is a cotton blend of: 48% cotton / 47% polyester / 5% spandex. This isn’t specifically listed, but I am confident it is treated with some anti-odor chemical as well, but we cannot determine which.

The fabric itself feels like some of the softest cotton out there. It’s very soft, almost feeling slightly fuzzy at times. The shirt stretches well, and is thick enough that you will have no worries about any see through aspects, and yet light enough that it packs well.

Comfort

The moment you put this shirt on, it is comfortable. Nothing beats soft cotton against your skin. The shirt is made even more comfortable with the addition of stretch and moisture wicking. It’s not as moisture controlling as a wool shirt, but it is far better than straight cotton. It’s almost as good as wool for general wear when it comes to moisture.

The stretch seemed like an odd choice to me in a t-shirt, but it works out quite well. Allowing the arm openings to be cut closer to the body, without restricting the movement of your body. The stretch isn’t a ton, but it’s more than enough for this shirt to make it a really nice touch.

At the end of a long day, I am generally happier with a merino t-shirt, but for shorter wears this Passage Tee is really hard to beat for comfort. Because, while it doesn’t quite have the performance of merino which aides in comfort throughout the day, it feels very relaxing to wear.

Performance

My benchmark for performance is that I generally can get 4-5 days of wear with merino, and 3-4 with something like Pistol Lake’s shirt. I find the Passage Tee to be about a 2-3 wears shirt. If I air it out for longer between wears, I might be able to get an extra day. Cotton kills this for a ton of wears in a row.

However, that’s not to say this shirt doesn’t perform well, because it is quite impressive for a shirt with such high cotton content. I first tested the shirt by wearing it for 24 hours straight, airing it out for 8 hours, and then wearing it for another 12 hours. It didn’t stink so bad after all of that, but it smelled enough that I would prefer not to wear it again without washing it.

Speaking of washing, the shirt dries well when hanging. It’s not as fast as a merino shirt, but it is pretty quick drying overall.

Overall

As I mentioned at the start of this review, I bought a second of this shirt. The Passage Tee is the pure comfort of a well worn cotton t-shirt with much better performance. It’s not something I’ll be traveling with, but if I know I am going somewhere to relax and lounge, it is the shirt I would want to have.

At standard retail of $42, it is a decent buy. Right now it is on sale for $28, and at that price it is a steal.

Proof Passage Tee