Outlier Slim Dungarees

The Slim Dungarees are likely the most popular pants Outlier makes, as well as the pants that Outlier themselves consider their core pant. The description of these pants is: “A 21st century jean if you will.” Essentially it’s a ‘what would you make if you were to make jeans from scratch today’. There’s a ton of hype around these pants, with them winning awards every few months hailing them as the one pants to travel the world in.

They are also among the most contentious pants Outlier makes, so let’s dive into them, as I’ve been testing them for well over a year.

Material

These are made from Outlier’s Workcloth Doubleweave Canvas which breaks down to: 82% Nylon, 16% Polyester, 2% Elastane. That’s only a portion of the story though, because these are not like any other technical material I’ve seen. At 275 gsm these are heavy pants, to me they feel on par with the weight of a standard pair of jeans. Outlier’s details about this fabric border on the absurd marketing level, but I have to say: they are pretty spot on.

When you first feel the pants you’ll notice:

  • The exterior really does feel more like a broken in canvas. It has a great texture to it, which also helps to hide the fact that these are nylon pant. The texture makes them look more “jean like” than most other pants trying to replicate jeans.
  • The interior almost feels fuzzy to the touch, without actually being fuzzy. Think of it like a glasses cleaning cloth — a stark difference from the outside of the material.
  • There’s basically no stretch, despite there being an advertised “slight stretch”. I assume there is some, but practically speaking assume there is not.

The material, more than anything, is what makes these pants — it’s a fantastic material and among my favorites that Outlier makes.

Cut

The cut of the pants is really the contentious issue. They are named “slim” so most people (myself included) initially read that as “skinny”, or “skin tight”. When you get these pants you realize either one of two things:

  1. Whew these are actually not very skin tight.
  2. What the heck, these are not very skin tight.

Take your pick, but these are only slightly slimmer fitting that regular jeans — perhaps “tailored” would be better nomenclature for these. Do not let the name of these pants throw you off, they are not going to be super slim pants, but they also are not made to be baggy. Look at the pictures on the site, they represent the fit very well.

Side note: Some might find that the thighs do not afford enough room. But the 45 day return policy should put you at ease with ordering these pants to try out the fit.

Performance

You don’t read this site to find out about the cuts of garments, what you really want to know is how these pants perform. So to start, let me say that these are my preferred travel pants. If given the option to wear any pants on an airplane — no matter the flight length — these are the pants I pick. That’s the strongest endorsement I can give pants.

There are a few factors in play here, so best to go through them one at a time. The mobility while wearing these is excellent, even though they lack stretch. The large gusset provides you with a pair of pants where you’ll never find yourself pulling up the legs slightly at the knee before you attempt a high step. They move exceedingly well, even though the materials alone wouldn’t seem like they would.

On the warmth and breathability side I would peg these as: just as slightly cooler than jeans in cold weather, and much cooler than jeans in warm weather. In other words they breath really well. I’ve worn them in the snow without issue, and I’ve worn them in 80 °F weather as well. They were a bit chilly and a bit warm in both those situations, but jeans likely would be as well. They do breathe and they do dry very quickly despite their heavier weight. For a normal range of temperatures, these will likely be very good pants for you.

Outlier also makes a lot of mention about the liquid staining resistance of these pants, and for good reason. The treatments on these pants is one of the key reasons to travel in them: you will be hard pressed to get them dirty. Water beads up and rolls off, same with coffee and soda. If something does manage to stick, a wet rag tends to get rid of it quickly and the spot dries in minutes. You can’t get ketchup on them and walk away unscathed, but for most of the little mishaps which happen in life, they come out clean.

Overall, these perform at the top of the overall technical pants market, and is a leading factor in why people love them so much.

Stretching Out

There is one caveat to these pants which is often left out when talking about them. Outlier notes on their fit page: “When first tried on they should feel just a touch too snug. Over the first few hours or day they’ll loosen up, and when you put them on for day two they should fit perfect.” What that means practically is that they will feel tight when you first put them on, and then they stretch out to your body and fit very comfortably. I find that for me, this only takes a day when they are new, and a couple hours after they are washed.

However, there’s a downside to this. If you spend a lot of time with the pants being stretched at the knees (e.g. kneeling, squat like positions, cramped into a tight space, crossing legs, etc), then the knees of the Slim Dungarees tend to bag out as well. This can create a very bad silhouette and is the one downside of these pants.

When you wash and hang dry these pants, they go right back to form, so this isn’t something which is always going to be there. However, I can say that the typical reason I wash these pants is because the knees bag out, and not because the pants themselves are actually dirty. Then again, I know of many people who only wash these pants once or twice a year. Really depends on your body type and what activities you use these pants for. I tend to get 2-3 weeks of wear out of the pants before I start to think about washing them to get the knees back into shape, but that’s only with daily wear.

Overall

At $198, many people will balk at thei price. You shouldn’t, these are hands down the best technical pants I’ve tried, and if I only could have one pair of pants, it would be these. For the temperate weather of the Pacific Northwest they are the perfect weight, and the water repellency means no more wet thighs when you walk in from the rain. I highly recommend these pants.

A Note on Colors

Personally I have owed: Gray Shadow, Charcoal, Dark Indigo, and Concrete colors in Slim Dungarees. I currently own the Gray Shadow. Most people say that if you want to replicate blue jeans, to get Dark Indigo. I personally disagree as they were my least favorite color I owned. Charcoal is a great color, and might be the most versatile, followed by black. I know, black, but if you listen to the people buying Outlier, they say it is the best color.

Gray Shadow is interesting, but I don’t think I would buy it again. It’s a nice color, but Charcoal was more versatile as it has less tint to the gray. Occasionally, Outlier stocks these in Sandstorm, which is a very nice khaki color.


Steve’s Thoughts

I originally resisted getting a pair of Slim Dungarees because I thought they would be too tight in the thigh and I thought I would need the Long length. At some point after I got my Futureworks (our review), Ben convinced me to try the Slim Dungarees. When I tried the same size as my Futureworks, the thighs were a little too slim for me. Between that and the fact that I was going to have to get them tailored, I returned them.

Recently, Outlier had a few colors on sale (in the regular length) so I grabbed one size up in Grey Shadow. Surprisingly, the length worked, even though it’s listed as an inch shorter than the Futureworks. I usually wear these with boots, but the length even looks fine with sneakers. They also fit me in the thigh, even though the listed measurement is still smaller than my Futureworks. My only guess is that the different cut causes the pants to sit differently, making the sizing work.

I’ve been impressed with the pants so far, and find them to feel like they have a lot more stretch than they actually do. These are my most comfortable pants and are almost as comfortable as sweatpants (while looking much better).

Outlier Slim Dungarees

Car Camping in the Rain, a Retrospective

Over the last weekend of June, I went car camping in western Washington with a two other people and all of our kids. It was a great time, and the second year we did this. This year it rained for most of the trip, even though it was forecast to only have a ‘few’ showers.

I didn’t pack anything for real rain.

Let’s start with what I did pack, as I packed light:

My thinking was that I could use the Simple Windbreaker for the passing rain, as it repels that just fine, and my Rogue jacket whenever it got cool (it’s the perfect jacket for that type of weather). The reality was two and a half days of near constant rain during the day. I spent an entire afternoon on a boat, and part of that was in the rain in Puget Sound.

In other words: I was not prepared for this at all — truthfully only our kids were as we always overpack for them.

However, things were not nearly as bad as they seemed. I basically lived in one of the t-shirts, the Sequence, and the Simple Windbreaker during the day, with the Simple pants as well. My Salomons take quite a bit to soak through, and only did one time, drying fast. Because of the materials used in these clothing items I stayed warm and pretty dry. Even when the windbreaker soaked through, sitting by the fire dried it fast (be careful with synthetics and heat sources), and the merino layers did their work to keep me warm, and dried themselves fast.

One night I had to wear flip flops to deal with the boat, and my feet got a bit muddy. I rinsed them off with water, but not wanting to use a towel to dry them, I put on my merino socks and never once noticed that my feet were anything but comfortable. That was pretty amazing.

The entire trip was a testament to what we mean on Everyday Wear when we talk about “better clothing”. I was entirely unprepared for the weather, and it could have sucked. In my mind I knew that even if it got bad, these clothes should do their job and keep me less miserable, but theory is different than practice. And yet, in practice, I was far more comfortable that I ever thought I would be.

I was cold twice, which isn’t too bad, and even then only for 10 minutes or so until the fire warmed me up. A large part of this is having a good heat source and fast drying clothes. Even when it was raining on me, I could start drying my clothes just by sitting near the fire.

Looking back, I would have liked to have had a true rain jacket with me. That said, this trip gave me a new level of confidence in the clothing we are testing. It’s one thing to talk about how fast merino wool dries when you wash it, and quite another to experience it keeping you warm, comfortable, and drying fast when you are camping in the rain.

I spent a lot of time thinking about this during the trip. I never actually felt wet on my back or shoulders, but I knew I was wet. I just felt slightly cooler in those spots for a moment. I don’t recall my pants ever feeling wet, nor being wet when I went to bed. But I do know I sat in more than a few wet chairs.

This isn’t to say you should be foolish and camp without proper rain gear, that was stupid on my part. But should you be caught out in the rain walking home from work or to work, and you’re buying the type of clothing we talk about here, it’s going to make your life noticeably less bad. It will be the difference between a ruined event, and a minor footnote of the event.

That, in the end, is what we are talking about when we say “performance clothing”.

Car Camping in the Rain, a Retrospective

Wool & Prince 100% Merino Wool Polo

Steve recounted all of the polos he’s tried, in an effort to find one which can be worn in place of a standard cotton polo. Before switching to better clothing, a cotton polo was a summertime staple of mine, and something I had been greatly missing. Not so much that I wanted to wear cotton shirts again, but enough that I knew I needed to find something this summer.

Unlike Steve, I got lucky with my first try, the Wool & Prince 100% Merino Polo.

Fabric

This polo is made from 100% 17.5 micron merino wool, and comes in at 205 gsm. In hand it feels sublime. It’s very soft, like a well worn and loved cotton t-shirt. This does lend to a bit of a fuzziness with the fabric after washing it, but once the shirt dries you tend not to notice it. The only slight against this shirt is that some might find the shirt a little casual even though the styling is like a traditional polo. The drape of the shirt is on par with a t-shirt, which is right where I want it to be on this type of a polo.

Collar and Buttons

With any polo shirt, the collar and front buttons will make or break the look. Buttons that are too big, too flashy, or non-standard will ruin the shirt. Likewise, too many buttons, or buttons too spread a part, will hinder the wearability of the shirt. And the collar, oh the collar.
There are two types of collars: messy collars and crisp collars.

This Wool & Prince shirt checks both the boxes here. The buttons are subtle, limited to just two, and can be worn more casually with all of them unbuttoned, or made a little crisper with just the bottom of the two buttons secured. They are gray, and blend seamlessly with the shirting — nothing to see here, just as it should be.

As you may have noted, the biggest issue with most of the polos we have been trying is that the collars tend to not stay put, and much prefer to laugh across your collar bone giving a very unkempt look. Wool & Prince specifically addresses this in their description, that the collar should stand tall and be crisp. Out of the box, before washing and over the first five wears, this could not have been more impressive. The collar stayed put, and looked sharp.

After washing the first time and hang drying with the shirt buttoned up, the collar was notably less stiff. However, it still stays in place and I had no further issues, even across many wears. After the third wash, I was in a rush and did not button the collar, this lead to the left side of the collar having a bit of a rolled effect, but still never laid flat.

After the fourth and fifth washes, the shirt still maintains poise with the collar as long as you pay attention to how the collar dries. It is comparable to almost all the cotton polo shirts I am used to: get the collar how you want it when it is drying and that’s how it will be until you wash it again. I have no complaints at all about the collar, as it should be.

Weight

The biggest issue I have with this shirt is the weight of the fabric itself. At 205 gsm, it is very heavy. It is heavier than the OUTLIER Ultrafine T-Shirt, which is already among the heavier wool shirts I’ve worn. If you move to the nylon blend polo from Wool & Prince it drops the weight down to 160 gsm, which is a much better warm weather weight.

Weight of the fabric aside, wearing this shirt in warm weather was a bit of a mixed bag. Going through the drier heat in San Jose with mid-70s weather, I had no issues. Here at home in the Pacific Northwest, in the 80°F range, I’ve found the shirt to be warm, but not uncomfortably so. Much above 80°F in low humidity and it gets warm.

In Boston, with humid air, and warm upper 70s weather, it was warm. Even though the shirt dries fast, I found that most of the time the arm pits were rather wet on the shirt, though not noticeably so when looking at me. At this weight, it’s not likely you will be able to tolerate the shirt much above 80°F in any type of climate.

Overall

I really love this shirt. It’s just as comfortable as wearing a t-shirt, but with a less casual look. I average five wears of the shirt, even in warm climates — which means it was the only short sleeved shirt I really needed to pack for the two trips I took it on. However, because of the weight, instead of buying another 100% merino polo, I’ll be looking to get the blended polo to reduce the weight of the shirt, at the expense of odor resistance.

Wool & Prince 100% Merino Wool Polo

Ben’s Packing Listing: Wedding in Boston

Trip Details: A 3 day, 2 night trip to Boston for a wedding, which required extra shoes and a suit.

Packing List

Notes

I really wanted to pack this all in one bag, but I ran into serious problems doing this with needing an extra pair of shoes. My dress shoes were not comfortable enough for the activities we had planned, so I couldn’t wear only them. While I could get all of this to fit in my 34L GORUCK GR2, doing so meant that the bag could not fit at my feet. This meant that I would have to do the dreaded overhead space battle with my fellow travelers, and given that my wife was checking a bag already, I opted to do so as well.

However, this created a new problem, as you can see the roller bag was mostly empty. So I packed more than I knew I would need, simply to help fill out the bag more so gear didn’t constantly move around in it. It wasn’t too bad, but I need to think on how better to tackle this in the future. Flying with just a 10L Bullet is magic though, as it will fit on its edge under the seat in front of you, providing tons of legroom. It’s a fantastic travel bag.

Ben’s Packing Listing: Wedding in Boston

Allbirds Wool Runners

I’ve resisted Allbirds Wool Runners for a long time, because unlike most other items we talk about on this site, shoes are not really lacking for innovation. It is true that you can still buy heritage leather shoes made in much the same way as they were years ago. It’s true that the materials likely have not changed much on those. But it’s also true that the vast majority of athletic shoes from Nike, Adidas, and New Balance utilize some very complex and technical methods of production and materials. So unlike shirting, shoes are fairly easy to find “something better” in.

However, shoes are also problematic as they represent so much more: they need to support your foot, be comfortable, protect your foot, and offer some mix of a fashion statement. You can just as easily wears a pair of Red Wings as you can a pair of Flyknits with your blue jeans.

However, a year ago I wore out my Nikes (yes I keep only one pair of casual shoes) and needed something new. Since I love merino wool, I felt I owed it to myself to try out the famous Allbirds.

Sizing

The first thing you will notice about Allbirds is that they come only in whole sizes. Allbirds offers a sizing chart to help you select which size you should order. Typically I wear a size 11.5 in something like Nike, and on my first go with the sizer it said to get size 11. This was much too tight and I had to exchange them for size 12. Since then their size chart has changed and now correctly states I should order a size 12, so it seems to sort out the lack of half sizes.

Steve, however, was unable to find a fit that worked for him and ultimately returned his pair (due to either the narrowness of the mid-foot or the arch height/placement). I would say the Allbirds I have are about a half size too large, but not so large that I cannot comfortably wear them. So going into it, you should know that you might not find a size which works for you. Your best bet is to try their online size tool and know that the return policy is solid and fast.

Looks

The thing about these shoes is that they look like slippers. You can see where your toes are. They have an overly wide tongue opening. The laces are very thick and chunky. These are perhaps the most casual shoe I have ever owned, to the point where they feel too casual if you are wearing anything nicer than a t-shirt.

Most of the time we steer clear of commenting on style here, but Allbirds Wool Runners warrant such commentary. They don’t look great. They are too casual. Shoes make statements and the statement these shoes make are: I care more about comfort. Like wearing basketball shorts or sweat pants out and about.

Comfort

This is the pitch with these shoes: “Just the world’s most comfortable shoes, made naturally and designed practically.” It’s important to note how they come about this comfort.

By using thick merino wool, the shoe has all the normal merino properties. It breathes well, dries fast, resists odors (killer feature for a shoe), and in begins to form to your foot. Allbirds combines this with a very cushy and soft sole to make something which really does feel more comfortable than a house slipper.

All of this means that you can wash these in a machine and wear them without socks. I’ve worn and walked in mine for quite a while now (a year) and the one thing I can say is the the comfort hype is real.

The only time I have found these shoes uncomfortable is when driving my manual transmission car, as the heel doesn’t quite have the stiffness needed for certain theatrics of the foot. Lastly, the shoe wears a tad warm, which means your feet will sweat a bit more. However,sweat dissipates quickly because of the merino, so they are very comparable to the Nike Internationalists I used to wear, with the benefit that my feet cool off and dry faster. Simply put: these are absurdly comfortable for most of life.

As a Shoe

At the start of this review I mentioned that shoes play a role in style as much as comfort. I also mentioned that they should support and protect your foot. That’s the area where Allbirds fail.

The soles are simply too slick on wet ground to do much good. While the wool dries fast, you cannot add any water repellency beyond what is naturally there, which makes them doubly bad for wet weather (slippery and wet feet. No thanks). On top of that, they offer less protection for your toes as there is only a bit of wool there. There’s also a lack of foot support such that “running” in wool runners is not a thing you will want to do.

These are wool walkers, and mostly for dry city sidewalks. I would not want to wear them on a nature trail, and I don’t wear them when it rains.

Overall

I’ve struggled with how to summarize these shoes. Because for $95 the value is there, as most Nikes or something else will cost you the same or more. They are just as comfortable as advertised. They don’t look good though, and they are not very versatile from a foot support perspective. There also seems to be backlash against them, here’s Om Malik writing about them:

Talking about San Francisco — man, this city is a cliche wrapped in a punchline and nothing represents it more than the stupid Avocado Toasts and Allbirds shoes.

He goes on to have some harsh words about how Allbirds look, and I cannot disagree with that. I really do not like the way your foot itself telegraphs through the material. The complete lack of rigidity makes for something very comfortable but ugly.

They are light weight, and pack well for travel. But they are not stylish. I know why people love these shoes, because that comfort is hard to ignore especially at this price. They also seem well built and like they will last, as mine still look new.

However, when they wear out I will not be buying another pair. I’ll get some Nikes instead. That said, their Wool Loungers might be my next house slippers.

Allbirds Wool Runners

Wool & Prince Tall Sizes

Wool & Prince offers three size options beyond the standard S-XL fit of their shirts: slim, regular, and tall. Note that slim and tall cannot be combined, it would be amazing if they could. Typically I bought regular XL from Wool & Prince, but after losing weight I needed to size down. In sizing down the shirt sleeves became too short for my arms. (The sleeves in the regular XL were just barely long enough.)

After getting my L-Tall shirt from Wool & Prince and washing it a few times, I wanted to share my thoughts on how that fit is overall. I need a minimum of a 35” sleeve length (measured from center back to end of cuff) and am ideally at about 35.75”, which means I tend to buy 36” sleeves if I have my option of doing so. For Wool & Prince I needed a narrower body but long sleeves, and going by the site I was either looking to get 34-35” sleeve in a Large which typically doesn’t work, or 36.5” in a Large Tall (the XL+Slim combo wasn’t slim enough, and the sleeve measures out to 36.5” on my L-Tall).

The tall fit gives you the same as the regular fit with longer sleeves and a much longer body (by 2”) so after trying it on, I was a little concerned that the sleeves were too long. Essentially when an XL fit me well from Wool & Prince, I had a shirt that I could wear untucked and it looked fine with sleeves that were near spot on. With the Large Tall I now have a shirt with sleeves that are a touch too long but a body length which is only suitably worn tucked in, as it is too long to leave untucked.

Overall, this is the best compromise for my current measurements, but I do wish Wool & Prince made a Tall in the slim fit sizes. Additionally, it would be nice if the tall variant wasn’t as extreme, but I am sure that would be horrible for some set of the customers they have. So when you buy a tall shirt from Wool & Prince, they really do mean tall.

Wool & Prince Tall Sizes

GORUCK Performance Clothes

Rucking Tee – Long Sleeve

This is one of the oldest GORUCK apparel items I purchased, and thus I have the most experience with it. This shirt uses Polartec’s PowerStretch Pro fabric which is 74% nylon, 16% polyester, 10% Spandex. The mix is a very heavy, shiny, and smooth fabric. It has a ton of stretch, weighs a good bit, and yet still dries pretty fast.

To understand this shirt you have to understand what it was built for: crawling through the mud while wearing a heavy GORUCK backpack. Over time, most shirts will start to pill from the abrasion of a rugged backpack, however, this fabric was picked because it wouldn’t pill, it wouldn’t break down, it would dry fast, and move well.

After months and months of wearing the shirt for my rucking workouts, I can attest that the shirt checks all those boxes. It’s extremely comfortable and has started to be a go to for me when I am relaxing at home. The stretch is very good and the weight is like a heavy t-shirt. It won’t block wind or insulate you too much, and it will breathe pretty well when working out, but it will never be a very cool shirt, nor will it be warm.

Unlike many of the other workout shirts we have reviewed, the biggest flaw in this shirt is that it has no odor resistance. This is a wash after every wear shirt. That said, I’ve washed and hung dry this shirt dozens and dozens of times and it looks brand new. I’ve come to really like this shirt, but make no mistake, it looks like a workout shirt in every way.

Rucking Sweatshirt – Full Zip

The sweatshirt is the same fabric, PowerStretch Pro, as the rucking shirt. And I don’t mean just the same blend, I mean the same weight and everything. Cut like a full zip hoodie but with a light weight and durable fabric. I originally picked this up because I was looking for something to replace my all cotton hoodie I usually slip on when I get chilly working at home or need to run out really quick.

Since this is more or less the same as the t-shirt above, I’ll add that the cut is great and it makes for a great mid-layer as it easily will slip over any shirt you are wearing. Unlike a fuzzier hoodie, it won’t leave lint all over your shirt nor will it bind on the sleeves if you pull it on quickly.

There are only two downsides to the hoodie:

  1. Because of the material, the hood will absolutely flop all over when you bend down to tie your shoes. Not a deal breaker, but it won’t have the same rigidity as a normal fleece hoodie.
  2. Like every other hoodie, it won’t pack down well for travel. It’s always going to be fairly bulky and heavy.

Having said that, I like this hoodie a lot more than the shirt, and I wear that shirt all the time around the house and working out. The hoodie has yet to go on a workout with me, but that’s because of the weather more than anything.

PowerStretch Pro Overall

I have one wish for this fabric, that is that some anti-microbial tech, but it is otherwise really great. I know that GORUCK has had issues sourcing enough of this fabric, and that makes sense because it is quite good. It is dead silent, and it seems to shrug off anything you can throw at it.

Imagine something with the durability of Carhartt jackets, but with the softness of cotton and the movability of yoga pants — that’s basically what you have here. This fabric is ideal for casual and workout clothing, or for any scenario where you are going to abuse the shirt and want it to come out looking brand new.

The material works better on the hoodie as it looks more like some of the newer Nike hoodies that are sold branded for sports teams, thus making it blend in better. Two thumbs up on this, and if they ever start selling the half zip again, I’ll buy at least one.

Simple Pants

GORUCK makes their Simple Pants/Challenge Pants/Shorts (Simple, Challenge) out of the same ToughDry® fabric which I previously talked about in my review of the Simple Windbreaker. This fabric is 94% nylon, 6% spandex and is made with the same goals as the shirts above: get wet, get muddy, get punished, and come out of all of that looking new. And it does, remarkably well.

Like with the windbreaker, the pants themselves always look a bit crinkled and they make a bit of sound when you wear them. Certainly not as much as other hiking style nylon pants, but these pants aren’t trying to hide that. The overall cut of the pants, and design, is a mimic of Levi’s 501s which is to say it’s rather classic.

I’ve found these pants to be a bit of a mixed bag. For me they are replacing my Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pants as well as my Outlier OG Climbers (both which I sold as they were too big for me). They are better than the Ferrosi Pants for how I work out. They have less stretch, but the durability of the pant, the cut, and style are greatly improved. They are slightly less breathable, but they are also more water repellant and dry faster than the Ferrosi Pants by a large margin. Ditto with the OG Climbers.

The biggest downside to these pants is the front pockets, they are just a touch too shallow for my liking. That said, the cut of the pocket opening means that next to nothing is going to easily come out of these pants — something GORUCK specifically designed the pocket opening for.

Overall, I like these pants, but I disagree with everyone who says they can pass for casual pants. They are certainly among the best pure hiking type of pants out there, but they still look like nylon.

ToughDry Overall

This is my second go around with ToughDry and it’s quickly becoming a favorite. It dries very fast, it is perhaps among the most durable fabrics I’ve owned, and yet it weighs next to nothing. Both the windbreaker and these pants pack down to nothing. If you needed backup pants, or wanted a backup layer, both the pants and windbreaker are my go to. They can be mashed into the bottom of my bag and no matter how hard you try you will not notice the weight of them.

They are not the stretchiest of materials, nor are they stealth in hiding that they are nylon, but they also aren’t for lifestyle wear (no matter what GORUCK’s website tries to claim). Yes, you can get by wearing them in a pinch, but they are always going to look like workout or hiking clothes. In many areas, for many activities, that will be just fine.

I give ToughDry two thumbs up for sure. If it had odor resistance in it, it would be near the top of my list. That said, I think it dries faster than any other material I’ve tested.

Notes on GORUCK Sizing

Do yourself a favor and never look at GORUCK’s sizing charts because they are non-sensical. GORUCK for some of their products measures the actual garment size. Whereas most companies with shirts measure chest size as the size of your chest, GORUCK just measures the size of their shirts. It makes some sense, but I find it infuriating.

Instead buy the clothing based on the size you normally wear. I wear a large in GORUCK tops, which I also wear in most other brands. I did find that the pants fit slightly larger than listed in waist but shorter in length than you would assume.

While GORUCK has a solid return policy, do note that it is a return the item and wait weeks and weeks for a refund, and order your replacement. You’ll get the refund, but don’t expect it any sooner than 4 weeks. It’s a bit absurd.

GORUCK Performance Clothes

Ben’s Packing List: May Work Trip

Trip Details: A 3 day and 2 night business trip with normal office meetings.

Packing List

What I Wore

Notes

This was one of the lightest trips I’ve packed for. The travel razor was new, something I bought to try out on this trip as I was tired of my full size razor, and this new one is not good. I easily think I could have gotten by with one pair of pants, but I wasn’t confident the Slim Dungarees would work in the office, and I didn’t want to fly in the Bluffworks as they are a little large for me and cause my shirt to come untucked when sitting for long periods of time.

That said, I could have done it in just the Slim Dungarees as my concerns were unfounded.

Ben’s Packing List: May Work Trip

OLIVERS Capital Shorts

The item in this review was provided for review purposes by OLIVERS.

There’s fierce competition in the one short to rule them all arena. Many brands are claiming their shorts are as good in the gym, and in water, as they are out to dinner. OLIVERS adds the Capital Shorts to this growing list, and they are billed for just the type of person who doesn’t want, or need, tons of shorts. A solid pair or two is all you want.

Fabric

The fabric on these is OLIVERS “All Over Stretch Weave”, and at first blush they reminded me a lot of OUTLIER’s OG Cloth (though they are not the same material). They are very technical feeling with a smooth face like a soft shell fleece (less shiny though) and a lot of stretch. These are 88% Nylon and 12% spandex, and I believe they have some sort of DWR coating on them to make water bead right off. These are stretchy and yet durable shorts.

Fit and Sizing

Shorts are a particular thing for men, as each person has their own idea of how long a pair of shorts should be. The Capital Shorts are on the shorter end of my comfort with a 8.75” inseam. Additionally, I had to size down from what I normally wear as I found the 36s to be much too large and the 34s to be correct (for comparison I wear 35 in most brands), as the 36s wouldn’t even stay on me.

My tip is to size down one size. The fit is otherwise very solid and well done.

Performance and Comfort

This is where these shorts really excel. Combining the stretch of the fabric (and there is a lot of stretch) with a gusset in the crotch — there’s never any restriction on your leg motion when you wear these. They wear cool, as you want from shorts.

They look sharp, and not ‘for technical shorts’. OUTLIER’s New Way shorts look more like typical cotton shorts, than the Capital Shorts, as you can see it more readily in the sheen on the material and the way they drape. The tell tale sign that these are not your average shorts is when you get them wet as the water rolls right off. This bodes well for getting a lot of wears out of the shorts between washes as dirt will find itself hard pressed to find a spot to stay on these. Not only do I think they perform well, but even lounging in the evenings while wearing these is exceedingly comfortable.

Drying time on these shorts is moderately better than OUTLIER’s short offerings, but slower than dedicated swim trunks. Because they are shorts, and the pocket material is very thin, you could put them on damp and they would dry quick. Likewise it wouldn’t be a stretch to expect them to dry while you sleep. Lastly, the pockets are a tough one on these shorts. The material is great, and I still cannot figure out if it is a really hidden mesh, or just a very thin material. Either way they breathe well and I have little durability concerns. That said, the pocket angle is less than ideal, I found many times my iPhone sliding back out of the pocket.

A look at the pocket material.
A look at the pocket material.

Overall

I really am impressed with these shorts, and I would add them to your list of summer buys. The only thing I wish was better is the angle of the pocket opening, as your phone tends to slide right out when you are lounging on a couch.

The Capital Shorts aren’t likely to solve your swimming needs, but I can’t imagine any other scenario where I these shorts wouldn’t perform well. OLIVERS has hit the nail on the head.

OLIVERS Capital Shorts

OLIVERS Convoy Short Sleeve Henley

The item in this review was provided for review purposes by OLIVERS.

The short sleeve henley is a staple in many people’s wardrobes, and there is a shockingly small amount of them available in performance minded fabrics. OLIVERS recently released the Convoy Henley in both long and short sleeves, made out of 100% merino wool. I’ve been wearing and testing the short sleeve variant in black for a few weeks now and I quite like it. But it’s also a bit different from other merino shirts I have.

Fabric

OLIVERS doesn’t list the weight of the merino, but it’s a lighter weight that most of my other shirts, about the weight of an Icebreaker Anatomica shirt. Surprisingly, at least in black, it’s not see through even with the very thin fabric.

The merino also has a horizontal ribbed look to it. There’s no stretch, but rather the construction of the fabric lends to that look, and I think it adds a lot to the overall apperance of the shirt.

A closer look at the thin material that has some patterning to it.

Fit

The cut and fit of this shirt, like most OLIVERS apparel, is athletic in nature. I chose a size large and found that the shirt is cut closer to my body than most other shirts, but is not at all skin tight. So size up if you want something a bit looser.

The sleeves are also narrow, this adds to the athletic cut of the shirt, and might be a downside for people who like more relaxed fits, as it gives a much different look than a standard t-shirt. That said, I found the fit to be comfortable and not at all too clingy on any part of my body.

Few Other Thoughts

  • The buttons on the shirt are rugby inspired, so they are rubberized in feeling. Because of this, they stay buttoned really well, to the point where it can be a tad cumbersome to button or unbutton the shirt. That said, it also means that a button won’t come undone throughout the day.
  • All the seams on the shirt are sewn flat, with a baseball cut sleeve style. This makes for a very comfortable shirt when you are being active wearing it.
  • This is a cooler shirt than most other merino shirts I have, so it’s a great layer on warmer days and exceptional in hot weather on its own. But if you are used to your t-shirt adding some warmth, this likely won’t be warm enough for you. It’s not hot enough here yet to really test in warm weather, but I’ve been very comfortable in just this shirt around the house, as well as in direct sunlight in 70 °F weather.

Overall

I’m a very big fan of this shirt. I like the looks of it, and it’s very comfortable. Like any other 100% merino shirt, it resists odor well anddries fast. The added bonus to this shirt is that it is extremely light weight when you fold it up, and dare I say it adds almost no weight to your bag when you pack it.

Two thumbs up.

OLIVERS Convoy Short Sleeve Henley