GRIP6 Belt

Belts are one of those necessary things, but also one of those items where it feels like people don’t bother to try and innovate. So I get excited when I see something new. I have SlideBelts and appreciate the ease of buying/adjusting/wearing their belts. But they are bulky to wear and problematic when needing to move through airport security. There’s Arcade Belts where it’s a fancy elastic strap that wears more comfortably than most any other belt, but doesn’t offer the rigid security of a leather belt, and leaves a lot on the looks side.

There’s a myriad of tactical or outdoors belts with variations of g-hooks, cobra buckles, and other intricate systems for latching what is essentially nylon webbing together. But it all ends in something you likely won’t wear to the office, on a date, or generally at all.

And then there is GRIP6 belts, which seem so simple and inexpensive you might quickly dismiss them, but then in doing so you would be missing out on what might be my favorite belt I have worn.

Materials & Concept

There’s two components to this belt: the belt itself which is offered in various colors and widths, but is just a nylon webbing strap; and then the buckle which also has various colors and some variations on materials but at the base is metal and slightly curved, with two slots on either end.

The end result of all this is a very low profile belt, which is easily adjusted, won’t trigger metal detectors, and is very secure overall. There’s even a model which is more rigid for those who need to clip things to their belt. For this I tested the narrow variant which is 1.1” wide with the metal buckle in the gunmetal color way.

Fit & Style

The fit of these belts is tricky to figure out at first, but order your normal belt size. I’ll spare you my rant on why belts aren’t sized so you order your normal pants size. Anyways, I wear a 34” pant, and got a 36 sized GRIP6 and that seems to be sized correctly for me.

The belt itself is essentially a fancy nylon webbing belt. As such I think it works in casual to smart casual styling, but won’t cross over the line to business casual. My office dress code is all over the place, but I have been wearing it to work with my Futureworks (and other chinos) and a button down without a second look from anyone — I think it looks good for that.

The narrow size is right for chinos, but too narrow for jeans. You’ll need to pick which works best for your clothing, I have two straps in narrow (brown and black) and will likely grab a standard width version in another color for wearing with 5-pockets styled pants.

Because the belt has no set holes or ratchet positions, you can fine tune the fit pretty easily.

Performance / Use

This belt is cumbersome to use for the first day. Because it doesn’t loop back to itself, instead you pass the free end into the buckle from the face, and then slide it along behind the buckle and down the other side. Friction essentially locks it in place, and you will notice the first time you try to take it off that there’s no worry about it coming undone by itself. I recommend watching this to get the hang of it.

Once you get going this belt quickly shows how great it is. It’s very low profile and never adds bulk or weight to your waist. The fit can be fine tuned and really comfortable. In the narrow model I have, I find the belt curves to your body very well — like a nicely molded leather belt. All in all: no complaints, just happiness here.

Overall

My only wish is that they looked more business casual because they are my favorite belts. I’ve instead decided to throw fashion to the wind, and wear these belts with everything. They are great, and you should own some.

Buy them here, for about $35.

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

GRIP6 Belt

Bonobos Tech Chinos

A year of working from home means that we forget about some types of pants. As jeans, and then joggers, and then whatever-is-clean takes over our non-video half of our wardrobes you would be forgiven for not really thinking much about the humble chino. But, things are changing and it is a good time to start looking at what might give you that jogger comfort while still being office presentable — on both halves of your body.

With that in mind, I picked up a pair of Bonobos’ Tech Chinos in Navy. I wasn’t expecting much, but I’ve been very impressed with these pants. Allow me to share…

Materials

These pants are made with Schoeller textiles, enough said? If not, they are 59% Cotton, 36% Polyamide, 5% Elastane. On top of that they have 3XDRY applied to them. All in all the fabric is pretty awesome.

It feels and drapes like cotton. It has grime/oops resistance with a strong DWR coating. And the stretch is fantastic — there’s not been a single time I felt restricted by the pants at all. I don’t know what to make of this fabric, because it is simply great.

Fit and Style

These pants have a lower rise than some of the other chinos I have tested, but not so low that they are hard to keep a shirt tucked into. Whether wearing them around the house, or into the office they look like chinos. A nice pair of chinos at that.

Bonobos offers a wide range of fits so you can dial in the fit to your body type, I went with a 34×32 in the Slim cut and find that it fits me really well with no tailoring needed. The only hint of these not being a standard chino are the back pockets where one is a snap and the other is (annoyingly) a zippered pocket.

Performance

I’ll say it again: this are among the most comfortable chinos I have ever worn, that they look like normal cotton chinos is only more impressive. These are so good I’ll just shift to comparing them directly to Outlier’s Futureworks which are my gold standard for performance chinos:

  • Dirt/Grime Resistance: the DWR treatment is impressive and generally these pants don’t get that dirty. But when compared to the Futureworks there is one downside: the Tech Chinos tend to collect dust and light colored marks very easily. Where on the Futureworks I can brush such marks away with my hand, the Tech Chinos generally require a touch more effort — a damp rag generally cleans them back up. So if your are in a position where you are in a dusty area, or prone to brushing against things the Tech Chinos might become slightly annoying for you. Aside from that the performance for repelling splashes of water bests that of my Futureworks.
  • Movement Comfort: I find these to be even with Futureworks when it comes to how easy they are to move around in. They offer more stretch than the Futureworks but a lower rise and a trimmer cut negates that extra stretch — whereas the Futureworks have a better gusset on the crotch. Both are easy to move in, so much so I would not worry about wearing either for most things I might find myself doing.
  • Breathability: the one shortfall of these pants is breathability, the Tech Chinos don’t breathe nearly as well as the Futureworks. For cooler weather, the Tech Chinos will be great, but for summer the Futureworks are greatly preferable. I wish there was a slightly more breathable pair because that really is the biggest knock against these.
  • Durability: I suspect they both last a long time. In normal wear the Futureworks are likely to outlast. But if you are prone to snagging pants, the Tech Chinos will be a better option as Futureworks do tend to get a snag under certain circumstances — like cats and thorns.

Overall, the Futureworks are better for warmer weather and they dry much faster for travel. Otherwise the Tech Chinos are really neck and neck with the Futureworks.

Overall

I would peg these as a sleeper hit. I know a lot of people don’t want to play the waiting games for Outlier’s Futureworks to be in stock, in the color you want, in the size you need. I know that a lot of people want more fit options and wider size ranges. For those of you in that camp the Tech Chinos are the best option I found for performance chinos which are available in the size/colors you want on demand.

That said they come in at the same price as the Futureworks and given that I would still prefer the Futureworks over them, but the margin is much closer than I ever expected.

You can find them here.

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

Bonobos Tech Chinos

Rhythm Classic Linen Jam – 7”

Shorts are a tough area to review here, because shorts by very nature are performant for their use and really adding anything more on top of them has a lower net effect that it might in something like pants. But, these shorts caught my eye because a lot of the summer I spend hanging out after work in basketball/workout shorts and while those work fine, they don’t look great.

With that in mind, I snagged these Rhythm shorts to see how they faired as a good looking, casual short.

Material

As the name suggests the main performance attribute is linen and in this case: 45% cotton, 55% linen. The cotton is there to soften the material to the touch and add some more structure. Because of that the hand feel is very much linen with slightly less scratch to it. And a nice benefit here is that while these shorts have some rumple like pure linen does, they have far less and end up being a little less wrinkly.

Overall the material is really nice feeling, both to the touch and while wearing — while still looking pretty sharp.

Fit & Style

These are casual lounging shorts — I think you could say they are beach-eque. But to me they feel like ‘drinks by the pool’. So the style is casual but has enough structure and treatment that they are like a linen button up: casual but not sloppy.

As for fit they run slightly small. I ordered the Large and I feel like I would not want to have them any smaller. The material is loose fitting as well, which adds to the naturally loose/drapey style overall.

No real complaints here, I wouldn’t really wear them out to a dinner. But I have no worries about being social in them near pools, beaches, or otherwise relaxed settings like that.

Performance

As I stated at the beginning these are nearly impossible to evaluate on a pure performance basis. They are shorts, and they are lightweight shorts so by nature they dry quickly. They are also 7” inseam so they don’t restrict your leg and are cut loose so they further don’t restrict.

There is linen, but not a ton. They dry faster than most shorts, but not so fast that there’s anything to write home about. And the waist is elastic which is comfortable and that’s the nature of that.

The pockets are a standout feature, because unlike all my basketball shorts, stuff stays in these pockets. Which is awesome.

From a performancestand point they are comfortable and that’s about all I can say.

The one big negative for me is that the material has developed those orange bleach spots in areas — even though they have never seen bleach and only washed with like colors and hung to dry. I am not sure if this was a fluke, or something to expect.

Overall

For $50 I don’t know that these are worth it, at something closer to $40 I think they would be a much better item to recommend. I do like them, but $50 seems like a high price point for something with pretty low performance which would be hard to find a ton of uses for.

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

Rhythm Classic Linen Jam – 7”

Houdini Sportswear Omni Pants

Houdini Sportswear has been on my radar for a while because of their sustainability initiatives. They are best known for their Mono Air Houdi, a fleece hooded jacket made from a special Polartec fabric designed to reduce microplastic shedding, is at least 50% recycled, and the whole jacket is designed to be fully recyclable. The whole jacket is also open source. But that’s not what I’m reviewing today (I already have plenty of fleece…).

Houdini recently released a few pieces geared more towards lifestyle than outdoors, and when I saw the Omni Pants, I figure they were the perfect piece for me to give the brand a try.

Material

The pants are made from a fabric Houdini calls Thrill Twill, a blend of 41% EcoCircle® recycled polyester, 38% polyester, 21% PTT stretch polyester at 180 gsm. It is one of their tried and true fabrics they describe as “dense enough to shelter you a little bit from wind, but also light and open enough to provide high breathability. It is fully recyclable.” This seems like a lightweight but durable fabric.

When pulling up the fabric info to write this review, I was surprised at the high “stretch polyester” content, as the fabric doesn’t feel noticeably stretchy in the hand until you look for it (it is two-way stretch in the horizontal direction). The fabric is matte peached on the outside, but softer on the inside. You will also notice a lack of a DWR finish here.

My main point of comparison when thinking about these pants is the Outlier Futureworks. The F. Cloth is made from a 200 gsm 97% nylon, 3% elastane canvas, with a 35% two-way stretch. Comparing the two fabrics, they don’t feel noticeably different in weight, but the F. Cloth feels a bit more rough and tightly woven, with more texture and a bit more stretch.

There is, however, some technical swoosh here. This does seem to be getting a little better as I wear/wash them though.

Fit & Style

Houdini describes the fit as a “regular tapered fit”. I’d say compared to the typical tapered chino or the Futureworks, these are more of a straight or relaxed fit. Some of this may come from the fact that the sizing is XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL (I was able to get a good fit with the XL), vs. waist sizes, but it is also the general design of the pants. I don’t think they look sloppy, just more on-trend for the more full pants that seem to be coming back into style.

This style to me is more “technical pant that you can dress up” vs. “chino you can hike in” for the Futureworks. Not a bad thing, and considering the dress codes we will likely see post-pandemic, these likely could be worn in a lot of offices.

Performance

Wearing these pants in the spring, I was able to test their wind/chilly weather resistance. I think they are about on par with the Futureworks, which is somewhat surprising due to their weight and what looks like a more open weave. I’m really looking forward to seeing how these compare in hot weather.

The movement feels great here — the slight give the two-way stretch imparts combined with the cut make these pants stay out of your way. Additionally, the pre-bent knees help with binding around the knees when crouching or squatting.

While there is a lack of DWR, these pants dry so quickly, I don’t think that detracts from the appeal too much.

A few other hidden performance features are the zippered compartment in the right front pocket — a feature I often don’t love, but this one seems to stay out of the way (and the zipper pull docks at the top). There are also pulls at the leg cuffs, to all you to cinch them out of the way of a bike chain, as well as a hanging loop under the back belt loop.

Overall

I really like these Houdini Sportswear Omni Pants. The cut combined with the fabric make them comfortable and durable, and they fend off the chillier weather while seeming like they will do great in the heat. For those looking for sustainability, they contain 41% recycled polyester and can be recycled at the end of their life.

While they won’t replace my Outlier Futureworks for office wear (for now at least), they will remain at the front of my closet. At $140, they are competitively priced. Recommended.

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

Houdini Sportswear Omni Pants

Farm to Feet Socks

When I last did a round up of socks, I commented how bummed I was that Outlier stopped producing socks. Which is actually how I came across Farm to Feet, as I saw a rumor that perhaps they were the company who manufactured the socks for Outlier. I have no idea if this is true, I honestly doubt it, but since hearing about them I knew I wanted to check out their socks. I bought two different types to try out, but I want to focus on just one of them: Damascus 3/4 Crew.

The other is a thicker Merino hiking sock, which I will comment on briefly but otherwise nothing super special about it.

The thing about the Damascus though is that it is generally a light weight sock, but has full cushioning that Farm to Feet calls “targeted”. I’ve found them pretty great, so let me share with you.

Materials

Merino wool, I mean there’s no other way to go with socks, but yes these are all wool blends. The Damascus is 52% US Nylon, 44% US 10.5 Micron Merino Wool, and 4% US LYCRA® Spandex. The Boulder is a little higher merino: 71% U.S. Merino Wool, 28% U.S. Nylon, 1% U.S. Spandex. Essentially you reduce merino in the thinner sock to maintain durability of the item. Either way, my general sock comment is that anything close to 50% merino is all you need in socks, so both check that box.

Generally the feel of both socks is pretty luxurious. Even at only 19.5 micron, they are very soft feeling. The down side is that the stretch is oddly low in both. Especially the Boulder, where it can be a little tough to put on your foot at times — needs more stretch. The Damascus works a little better for stretch, but I still wouldn’t mind a little more.

Fit and Style

The Boulder is firmly a hiking sock in style. Whereas I think the Damascus in a neutral tone is fine for wearing with any type of boot — dress or otherwise. Beyond that it’s more of a casual athletic sock look.

As mentioned the stretch is not as prevalent as it is in other socks, and as such my roughly size 11 feet found the size Large (rated for 9-11.5 to really be on the edge of being too small. I worry that the XL would just be too large. But if you are on the top edge on the size chart, I would recommend sizing up. I can make it work, but I certainly need to pull the sock over my heel to stretch it around the heel into a proper placement.

Performance

Outstanding is my general review on the performance of these. Better than Darn Tough? Better than Outlier? Better than Wildly? Hold up there. Let me tell you what I mean, sock by sock.

Damascus Performance:
– The targeted cushioning works exceedingly well on this sock. Often when wearing boots like my Iron Rangers I need a thicker sock for the tongue of the boot to rest against my foot, but this sock has that ribbed cushioning along the top of the foot and that makes the boots wear really nice.
– Generally a light compression around the arch, which gives a nice fit.
– Zero to seam issues.
– Moderate odor resistance, I would say two all day wears and then wash. Mostly to push the sock back into shape given the higher nylon and spandex content.
– Durability seems perfectly fine on this sock, no issues to report.

Boulder Performance:
– The full cushioning feels like pure luxury to wear.
– There’s very light compression, instead the sock is shaped really well.
– No seam issues at the toe box.
– Very good odor resistance because of the very high merino content. I get about 3 wears, but the lack of spandex does mean the toe box gets floppy decently quick.
– The durability has me worried. After the first wear the heels on both pairs of my Boulder socks showed a lot of pilling. Subsequent wears seem to not be adding more, but I am worried that the socks will wear out in hot spots much quicker than they should for the price.

Overall, on par with most merino socks. They are soft, without being fuzzy soft. I prefer them over my Darn Tough socks for comfort, but worry about performance as I have had other Darn Tough socks for a very long time without issue.

Overall

I need to give you the sum up by sock type. The Boulder socks are really nice, but I wouldn’t buy them again. They are expensive enough and I worry about durability and if I were actually hiking in them I would think I want something that generally has a little more stretch and a much better fit — I’d stick with Darn Tough.

The Damascus though, even with it costing more money than the Boulder, I think it is a great sock. I’ll buy more of these. The targeted cushioning is smart, it makes the sock feel smart. Makes it fit and wear better — but only if you are wearing it with shoes. It’s not a good around the house sock. If you typically wear boots, you might give a pair of these a try — they are really nice.

Find them here.

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

Farm to Feet Socks

Ministry of Supply Newton Active Shorts

Note: these shorts were provided for review.

Living in Southeast Texas you learn very quickly which workout clothes actually breath well. When even pre-sun workouts can be humid 80°F workouts, it matters. And shorts are a must, lots of workout shorts are in my house.

The Ministry of Supply Newton Active Shorts are among the best I have on hand, and the reasons for that are surprising to me. Let’s dive in.

Material

Since these are shorts with a liner, there are two materials at play. The outer ‘short’ is 88% recycled Polyester, 12% Elastane and while Ministry of Supply doesn’t list a gsm on these, I’ll add they are extremely thin feeling. Overall a very light shell which never binds or gets in the way.

The liner itself is a different makeup completely at 75% Nylon, 4% S.Cafe Silver, 21% Elastane. I was actually surprised to see Nylon here, as it very much feels like polyester, which is a testament to the nylon being used. Here’s what Ministry of Supply says about that “S.Cafe” bit: ”S.Café® Silver threading to help naturally control odor.”

We’ve had our fair share of silver infused garments here, and they exist to manage odors. This is one of the big selling points here.

Fit & Style

These are athletic shorts with an athletic short fit. The outlier shell is decently short as the length varies by size, but never more than 7.25 inches on the inseam. The liner is almost the same length as the shell, which might seem odd and first, but is actually great, it prevents the edge of the shell from chaffing against your leg.

Performance

There’s four main claims here, so I will go through each:

  • Moisture-wicking: yes, everything but the waistband wicks moisture extremely fast. And I would rate the waistband as wicking moisture ‘pretty’ fast.
  • Hidden pocket: I had no clue this existed until I started writing this review. I am not sure why a pocket there is needed but this does expose the one big problem: storing keys securely proved challenging. This pocket doesn’t solve it, as it could only hold a phone or wallet.
  • Featherlight: they really are lightweight and fantastic.
  • Breathable: I have two pairs of lined shorts (including these) and they are easily the most breathable. I can’t say if it is the shell also, but the liner itself really works well. Very comfortable.

The one thing not touted, which I think is my favorite part is the waistband on the shorts. They don’t sit too tight, and are very soft and comfortable against the skin while sitting very flat. I didn’t even realize this until I switched out to another pair of shorts and then back to these the next day. Just an excellent waistband.

As for odor control: I never noticed the shorts smelling, and I don’t need much odor control on my workout shorts. For me this is a bit of a moot point, unlike a button down shirt, I am not essentially going to be trying to wear lined shorts more than once such that I would need odor control. And thus they got through every workout without adding to stink, which is more than good enough for me.

Overall

If I were doing floor workouts and needing to keep my keys in my pocket, these would be problematic for me. But if all I needed was to keep my phone or a keycard in them, they would excel. For my workouts (rucking) I have found that I can easily carry my keys and phone in the hand pockets without issue. They don’t smack against my leg uncomfortably nor do they threaten to fall out.

The biggest downside to these for most might be the price. At $95 they are certainly in the ‘expensive’ bracket for workout shorts. I think the value is there, but I think that you need to know what you are getting at that price. If you are someone going into a gym and lifting weights moving from bench to bench, I think I would want something different to secure my phone or keys. But runners might prefer the lining pocket for a phone. That said, the lining on these is far and away better than I expected and better than any underwear I own.

I really like these shorts, and think the liner on these is excellent.

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

Ministry of Supply Newton Active Shorts

Ministry of Supply Apollo Shirt

Note: this shirt was provided for review.

I had one of Ministry of Supply’s original Apollo shirts and found that while it was insanely performant, the looks left a lot to be desired. I was and am also a big fan of the Apollo polo shirts, as they look better and are very comfortable. So I was excited to give Ministry of Supply’s latest Apollo Shirt a test drive.

This shirt is hard to miss when you start looking for performance button ups. It is, as Ministry of Supply says best: “NASA-grade temperature regulation and a 19x more breathable than cotton pique knit combine to make the most comfortable shirt on the planet.”

That’s a heck of a claim, and it is no lie.

Material

Whether or not this shirt is actually NASA grade is outside my expertise, but it is a simple material blend: 57% Polyester, 43% PCM-infused Polyester. The ‘PCM’ bit stands for Phase Change Material and it is the “NASA” part of this entire thing. Another way to think about this is that when people talk about thermo regulation in garments, this is what they mean.

The end result of this is two fold:

  1. It is very soft to the touch with a comfortable hand feel.
  2. I am shocked there is not some amount of spandex in this, as it moves far better than the material make up would lead you to believe.

This is a great fabric.

Fit & Style

This is an office ready dress shirt. I don’t know about wearing a tie with it (I wouldn’t, you probably could), but generally if your office trends more towards business casual — this shirt was made for that. The collar is stiff enough to not lay flat when the top button is undone.

The drape is heavy and free flowing. It looks sharp basically at all times, but if you want a crisp starched look — you will not get it here.

There are only two fits and a standard letter sizing to each. Slim Large is what I went with and what I typically buy in brands, it fits well and has a nice cut to it, but it is certainly better made for tucking in, but you can wear it untucked if you are fine with a little longer shirt.

My only wish with the fit/style of this shirt is that the top most button (not the collar button) was a touch closer in to the neck of the shirt. As it is now, the shirt does tend to show a little more chest with the collar undone — not too much, but enough that you need a solid v-neck if you want to hide an undershirt.

Whereas I always felt the first generation Apollo dress shirts didn’t look right, those problems have long since passed by. You’re not going to pass this off as a cotton shirt, but it also doesn’t look like something that performs to anywhere close to the level it does — and I mean that in the best possible sense. It now looks good enough to wear into almost any office.

Performance

Ok, I don’t know how to really evaluate that 19x more breathable claim, so instead I want to focus on the three main claims to fame with this shirt: breathable, sweat-wicking, and wrinkle resistant.

But before I dive into each, I should point out that this is by far the most performant shirt I own. It’s rather crazy how well it performs compared to anything else — but that’s as a well rounded shirt.

  • Breathability: yes, all the yeses here. It is hugely breathable, and at times wore slightly too cool for me. I felt like I had my own A/C system when I wore this shirt. Didn’t matter if I went outside into the humidity or was inside, this shirt breathes better than any shirt I own (including workout shirts).
  • Sweat-wicking: generally this also falls to moisture management. I did have a couple days where I was sweating in my arm pits a lot while wearing this shirt, and the shirt handled it extremely well. Polyester just handles moisture well. It dries so fast that by the time I stopped sweating it seemed to be dry. No marks, never anything bad looking. Awesome. It also dries very fast after you wash it, which is also excellent.
  • Wrinkle Resistant: I do have one shirt that resists wrinkle better than this, but does none of the other things as well. That said this shirt never looks messy out of the wash if you hang dry. If you follow the label instructions and tumble dry it on low, it’ll look perfect. If you wear the shirt for an hour or so, most of the wrinkles are gone. And while wearing the shirt if any wrinkles show up, they will be short lived. So really high marks here.

So while the performance sounds nearly perfect there is one caveat I have found: durability. Specifically for pulls in the knit. The weave of the fabric is so open, that there have been a couple times when it looks like I slightly snagged the fabric. To the shirts credit, I cannot find that now. But this is one of those shirts where I do think you want to make sure you don’t use overly rough bags with it (think GORUCK) or you might be asking for unnecessary wear on the shirt.

Generally, for a dress shirt, the performance is nearly off the charts.

Overall

If it’s not clear already, I am impressed and I like this shirt a lot. I want to see how it continues to wear overtime, but I can easily recommend this. As of this review, the Ministry of Supply website shows the shirt having over 1,008 reviews with somewhere around a 4.5 star rating average. I can see why.

I always have liked the Apollo materials, but the collars, cuffs, and fit had always been off. Those are rectified now. The collars are a normal thickness, as are the cuffs. The collar sits nicely, and the shirt looks good. It’s the shirt to wear for warm days when you need to stay cool. Or to stuff into a bag just in case you need to pull out a nice shirt to wear.

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

Ministry of Supply Apollo Shirt

Vollebak Planet Earth Shirt

I want to start by highlighting two truths: I have wanted this shirt forever; this shirt was a gift for my birthday. Next, I shall say that this shirt does not disappoint and I love it. I love it so much that I no longer look at the $345 price tag and laugh, but wonder how much of a look I might get for buying another one.

I am not saying that you should for sure go get it for $345, I am saying that I like it enough that I might be willing to justify owning more than one — I certainly want more than one.

And that’s my summary of the Planet Earth Shirt from Vollebak, the makers of the most insane clothing out there. It’s pretty awesome and I love it, and I want more of it, but the price scares.

Materials

Amazingly, for how much I like this, it is primarily a cotton shirt clocking in at: 68% cotton, 21% polyamide, 11% elastane. Now, this isn’t typical cotton/performance blend — it’s a Schoeller fabric. And in addition to that it is treated with ‘Schoeller 3XDry and an antimicrobial treatment’. If there’s one thing you learn testing a lot of performance clothing, it’s that Schoeller makes some really nice stuff, this shirt is no exception.

It doesn’t feel like pure cotton, yet it drapes and is comfortable like cotton. It’s stretchy, smooth, and tough feeling all at once. This is a great material.

Fit and Style

From a fit perspective this shirt is very trim, cut high in the arms, with a good sleeve length. The body is short, so it is easy to wear untucked, and generally a very modern fit to it.

Buttoned all the way up, collar down.
Buttoned all the way up, collar down.
Top button undone, collar down — this gives a better looking collar.
Top button undone, collar down — this gives a better looking collar.
Collar standing, it has enough structure to stay flipped up.
Collar standing, it has enough structure to stay flipped up.

The style though, I don’t know what in the world to tell you about the style on this. I’ve worn it all over and no one has said a thing about it, but’s nuts. The collar is crazy, let’s talk about that. It’s made to stand up and fully close over your neck for protection. Yet it can lay down like a more proper collar, with like extra wings I guess.

It looks best with the top two buttons unbuttoned if you want it laying down, but that shows more chest that I feel is appropriate for work calls. Luckily I’ve gotten away with the slightly odder look of only the top button undone for work calls.

The rest of it is pretty techno-safari-jungle feeling. With odd thermo-plastic spots on it for reinforcing. Straps to keep rolled sleeves in place, and epic pockets all over. And vents. It’s really hard to make heads or tails of this shirt, so let’s just say if an away team wore it in Star Trek you would be like “yeah that checks out”.

Performance

Ok, I am not sure how to approach this one, because I cannot tell you that this outperforms a purely synthetic shirt or merino shirt. What I can tell you is that the performance of this shirt is still awesome. With normal perspiration you get about 2-3 days of wear out of it, with more you get 1-2 days. For a high-cotton value garment that’s the best you can hope for.

On the front, you need to zip open the vents.
On the front, you need to zip open the vents.

But the real performance of this lies in four areas:

  1. Venting: while the material is dense and can keep you from being chilled in AC — the shirt has vents all over the place to keep you cool when the environment heats up. Pull your arms forward and you reveal seams across the back. Lift your arms, vented pits. Unzip two zippers in the front, and you get two more vents. It’s old school, but executed well.
  2. Stretch: for how dense this shirt weave is, you would not expect this level of stretch, but it moves very well. In fact the high cut arm holes work only because of the stretch, but it all works together quite perfectly.
  3. Repellant: the thinking here is simple, that the dense weave and the DWR coating will help things slide off the shirt. That could be mud, water, or bugs. Either way it falls off the shirt. For the most part this actually holds true. The shirt doesn’t really become impacted negatively by anything. Odors are the only reason I have had to wash it, but I also have not tried crawling through mud with it.
  4. Utility: lastly, this shirt makes a huge utility play. Forget the many pockets, and instead focus on two different aspects. The first is that within the pockets is more organization, whether it is the small daisy chain loop, or the slotted and protected pen pockets. You can actually carry stuff in these pockets without those items bunching at the bottom of the pockets. The second is how the color and sleeves adapt to work with the venting. Easy to roll up and pin up, the sleeves, to cool off your forearms. Likewise, the collar can be flipped up and secured to easily protect your neck from bugs, or sun.

This isn’t the standard type of performance shirt I review. I can’t say that it dries so fast it’s magic, or that it resists wrinkles so much that you can wad it up on your bag, nor that it resists odors to the degree that you need only travel with one shirt. But for the performance items it does have, it shows that you can add tremendous performance to a shirt by executing on fairly basic ideas extremely well — that’s what this shirt is. It is performance because in spite of the cotton nature, I would take it into the jungle because everything is executed perfectly on it.

Overall

I absolutely love this shirt, but I can’t say “go buy this it is worth it”. I think people generally will find it tough to blend this shirt in and look normal. I think there are likely better outdoor shirts but, there’s something about this shirt that makes me want to wear nothing about it — in fact since getting it, it’s been one of my most worn shirts.

I almost feel like this shirt in a lot of ways is like a classic pair of work boots, or selvage denim — there’s a lot of reasons not to wear it, but when you do wear those items something very special happens. It looks weird, has odd features, but all of that comes together to make for a stupidly expense shirt that I love.

Get one here, fall in love for yourself.

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

Vollebak Planet Earth Shirt

Perseverance Survival Woobie Hoodie

A military poncho liner is affectionately called a ‘woobie’ and for a long time now I have seen all over the web how much people love these poncho liners. So when I came across Perseverance Survival’s Woobie Hoodie, I knew I would need to get one.

This is a standard hoodie, made from a military poncho liner. And it is awesome, thanks to my wife and kids for getting me this as a gift.

Materials

Normally we like to really analyze what the materials are, and go deep into them. This hoodie is really lacking on what the materials are. All I can tell you is that the shell is a rip stop nylon of a very thin nature, and the fill is 100% polyester. The cuffs are a pretty standard stretchy cotton like cuff.

I have not been able to find anything more than that.

Fit and Style

It might be hard to see from the pictures (camo joke, sorry) but the fit is generally boxy with plenty of room throughout the body. The sleeves fit a little more form fitting and the length is average.

Generally speaking this is not something easily layered under anything other than a looser fitting jacket and the look is that of a hoodie. Purely drinking in the backyard while talking with friends for style.

Performance

The only way to evaluate this is to talk about the warmth and comfort. There’s nothing new about the materials used to make this. It is realistically thin and extremely light, while offering an impressive amount of warmth. It doesn’t breathe particularly well either.

I’ve worn this for a lot of social distanced gatherings outside and find it pretty comfortable up to about 60°F and down to about 40°F depending on what is layered underneath. I find it too warm to wear indoors if your heat is working, as it heats up fast.

The generous room in the body allows the slimmer arms to still not restrict movement when you are wearing it, so note that if you are larger chested as you might want to size up.

This is an extremely comfortable hoodie to wear in the sense that it is cozy. You’ll be warm whenever you wear this, I added a grid fleece under it one night to stay warm into the high 30s.

Oddly, the hoodie is labeled to be hand washed only with dire warnings about being around fire (I assume the nylon will easily get holes from sparks). That said, I have worn it around many campfires with no issues to report.

The hood is also something to note, as I find it quite nice. I generally do not like hoods, but on this hoodie it works really well to add warmth, without it being restrictive. Big fan.

Overall

As I mentioned at the start, I love this hoodie. I don’t think it is the most performant thing I own — not even close — but it is one of the most comfortable I own. If I was headed somewhere cold, I would pack this for sure. And I have worn it about every chance I have had here in Texas.

I recommend it.

Many colors are available, not just the camo shown, but I have this one.

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

Perseverance Survival Woobie Hoodie

SWRVE Indigo Cordura Jeans

I’ve went through four distinct phases since starting down this rabbit hole of performance clothing. The first phase was a “try everything phase”, the second was “I found one pair of pants I love, everything else is dead to me”, the third was “I only want performance pants to replace all my ‘normal’ pants”, and now I am on a phase where I have very few pants that I really like. But I am missing one thing: a great pair of jeans. Actually, I have a few, but I keep wanting to find something better because each leaves something to be desired. I’ve talked about Ministry of Supply’s offering, the Bluffworks, and of course Outlier’s Slim Dungarees, and Strong Dungarees. Today, I want to talk about something that straddles the line better than most of those: Swrve’s CORDURA jeans.

I’ve long known about this fabric, but finding it in a cut not made for rock climbing has been hard. This is essentially a nylon reinforced denim. I bought the pants in the regular cut (as I am told looser pants are coming back in style), but they come in slim and skinny fits too. Before I get started, I want to touch on the best feature of these jeans, the price: $100. That’s it, $100. So many of the pants I review and test are expensive and hard to justify, but a good pair of jeans that could be your only jeans, for $100, ok that’s a solid deal. Let’s dive in…

Material

Ok, so before we dive into this material, I want to touch on the normal grades of ‘performance’ jeans:

  • Standard Denim: 100% cotton
  • Big Brand Performance Denim: cotton + small amount of stretchy stuff.
  • ‘Reimagined’ Performance Jeans/Denim/Type Thing: nylon + stretchy stuff.

The first two look like denim because cotton is what gives you the denim look. The last one looks like, well, it looks like nylon with five pockets. The last one is by far and away the ‘better’ pant, just as long as you aren’t trying to style yourself like denim.

These Swrve jeans are CORDURA denim, and as far as I can tell, no one lists the exact make up of these things in a format I can better explain to you. They are a blend of cotton, nylon 6,6 and spandex. They are a very standard weight and everything else is some form of copy and paste from this page.

The tag on the pants says 55% cotton, 15% nylon, and 30% polyester. Which doesn’t make sense or help in any way. First it is ‘CORDURA’ denim, with only 15% nylon? Second these jeans stretch a good amount, but list no elastane or spandex? I don’t get it.

So I’ll tell you how they feel. They have a great hand feel and they feel exactly like the denim I’ve grown up with. They drape the same, they cuff the same, and look the same. This is a a dark indigo wash, and it looks like one.

So while I don’t know what is going on here, I am guessing that the are cotton strands wrapping a nylon core — but that’s pure guessing on my part.

Fit and Style

As I mentioned, these are a regular cut, which means they are that classic: loose/relaxed everywhere look. They are not baggy, and do have a nice taper at the ankle, but they are loose. I got these as I do think trends are moving this way, but my wife is not a fan of the cut. She doesn’t hate it, but doesn’t love it.

I would get the slim if I were to buy again. That said, the fit is spot on, I normally wear 34/35 and the 36 fits me perfectly in this pant. The length reads true to size, but you might size up if you are on the edge of any sizes.

Generally speaking these fit great for jeans to work and do stuff in. Absolutely no restrictions with them. And feel great. But if you’re looking to stay more on trend, even now, you’ll probably want a slimmer cut. The pictures referenced on the site for this cut are very accurate.

Performance

Ok, there’s a lot to unpack here with the performance, I am going to go through each individually:

  • Durability of material: there’s two parts to this denim which seem highly lab tested. The first is general abrasion resistance which seems proven out not only in testing but in use by rock climbers. So let’s just assume that’s correct and they can take a heck of a beating. The second part is washing fade resistance, which again has been lab tested. I’ve only washed them a few times, but they have not faded. This is more and more par for the course on performance jeans (Ministry of Supply manages the same thing) but is nice to have. Great durability on these.
  • Movement: this comes in two forms, the stretch and the Diamond gusset. Both of those combined with the looser fit of these never once left me for wanting. They are some of the least restrictive pants I own. I suspect that they go back to standard performance levels of movement in a slimmer cut. But they stretch well and move great.
  • Triple stitching: I normally don’t mention stitching, but Swrve points out that they triple stitch the seams for durability. And this is true, except in one spot which seems like an odd oversight: one side of the gusset is a single stitch — and that seems prime for a blow out. It’s a weird oversight.
  • Reflective stripe: on the inside of the pants there is a reflective stripe that shows when the jeans are cuffed. It’s subtle in the daylight, but reflects well with light. I could take it or leave it.
  • No zippers: the biggest performance gain for me is that these are performance jeans with no extra zipper pockets. Which is great and a refreshing change. One caveat to this is that at the back edge of each front pocket is a distinct slot to hold a pen, it isn’t wide enough for a pocket knife but a pen or small flashlight does fit.

I’ve been wearing these jeans everyday since I got them, and they’ve been great. I even did a rucking workout in them on a particularly cold day where temps hovered around freezing. Overall these jeans are great. They breathe about as well as a standard pair of jeans and they move even better.

There’s nothing about them which will wow you on the side of drying times, or dirt resistance. They dry quick enough, slightly faster than normal cotton, but not “fast”. They breath fine, but I would not want to wear them about 70°F. The performance is all about durability and stretch — they excel in those areas.

Overall

These are one of my favorite pairs of jeans I own. They are not my favorite on a performance basis, nor on style — but if I need to go do some yard work, these are the jeans. Work in the shop/garage, these jeans.

But when it gets hot, I’ll be grabbing something else. Ditto for date nights.

At $100 these are a heck of a deal for a pair of pants which likely will last a long time.

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

SWRVE Indigo Cordura Jeans