Pistol Lake Minimalist Joggers

 Note: These pants were provided by Pistol Lake for review purposes.

We’ve taken a look at many of Pistol Lake’s performance clothing, including their Minimalist Pullover Hoodie last year. They recently released their Minimalist Joggers, made out of the same Eclon fabric.

I’ve been wearing these for a few weeks now, so let’s take a look at how they perform.


The Eclon material is one of Pistol Lake’s custom fabric blends, consisting of 46% nylon, 42% polyester, and 12% spandex.

The fabric is extremely soft and spans the line of having a substantial feeling while still being light. While it doesn’t have any technical sheen to give it away, the high amount of stretch does give it a little different drape.

Fit & Style

These pants are styled in the classic jogger look and are described as having an athletic fit. I think that’s spot on. For me, they have room in the seat/hips, with a close fit through the thigh and calves. They fall above the ankle, as joggers should.

Two nice additions to the classic jogger include a back pocket and an internal snap pocket (inside the right front pocket) to secure your phone or wallet.


The close fit through the thigh and ankle, along with the stretch of the fabric keep these pants out of your way. The legs don’t seem to ride up when doing exercises like squats, which can get annoying with pants with looser legs.

These pants dry much more quickly than I’d expect for the weight, which seems odd compared to how they perform in practice while exercising. When sweaty, I get almost a clammy feeling — not cold-clammy, but a feeling that the moisture is being trapped between my skin and the pants. Taking both observations into account, maybe the fabric just isn’t great at absorbing moisture at all, helping it to dry quickly, but also causing that sensation when sweaty.


The Minimalist Joggers are a great athletic cut in an interesting, lightweight synthetic material. If you are looking for a pair of soft pants to lounge in, these work well. Since the fabric doesn’t feel great to me when sweaty, I can’t recommend them 100%, but may be worth a look if you just want them for lounging or have a different feeling about the Eclon fabric.

Pistol Lake Minimalist Joggers

The North Face Ventrix Jacket

When it comes to active insulation layers, The North Face Ventrix Jacket (also available in a hooded version) is one that is quite often mentioned as a top contender. I picked one up at the end of the winter season last year, so I’ve been able to give it a try in a wide range of weather conditions.


The body of the jacket is a 30D X 20D 64 gsm 92% nylon, 8% elastase ripstop blend and the forearms are reinforced with a 50D X 40D 106 gsm fabric. It is all coated with a DWR finish. The jacket is then lined with a lighter weight (57 gsm) version of the body fabric.

A few notes about the fabric here, the two denier numbers indicate the thickness of the threads used to make the fabric differ between sides. The higher denier fabric on the forearms gives some extra durability in a common wear point (I’m guessing for climbing). The biggest difference between the body and forearms is that while you can see the ripstop in both fabrics, it actually gives the forearm fabric a raised texture.

The jacket is insulated with 80 g 100% polyester Ventrix Stretch insulation. This insulation comes in a solid piece (like a piece of fabric), rather than a filament or fill, so it stays in place without any baffles. The magic of the insulation comes from laser cut slits that open and close with movement, allowing more moisture and heat to escape while you are moving (see an article from GearJunkie with some photos and video).

Fit & Style

The jacket is listed as having a slim fit, and that is the experience I had. I ended up having to size up to an XL, because the chest was too tight. This makes the sleeves a touch too long, but it isn’t a dealbreaker. If I were strictly wearing this as a midlayer, a L would have been good, but I wanted to have more flexibility.

When it comes to looks, I think this jacket is a lot better looking than a lot of other active insulation pieces. One thing that always ruins a piece for me is when the face fabric is overly shiny, and that is not the case here. In black, the jacket has a matte look. While it still looks like a technical jacket, it is subdued enough that you won’t stick out wearing it to work or around town.


This jacket met my expectations from all the hype I’ve seen around it since it won Editors’ Choice in Backpacker in 2017.

I found the Ventrix insulation to do a great job holding heat while at rest and dumping heat when moving. Not only do the perforations in the insulation help, but the lining is perforated on the back and the face fabric is perforated under the arms.

This has become my go-to active insulation layer for all but the coldest weather. My down jacket previously served this purpose, but I find myself getting clammy when active while wearing it. I never get that feeling with this jacket (except for sometimes when wearing a backpack).

I would compare the face fabric to a soft shell jacket, and with the DWR, it does a good job of fending off a decent drizzle. It will of course eventually wet out, but that is a benefit of synthetic insulation vs. down — if the insulation gets wet from the weather or sweat, it doesn’t loose its insulating powers.

Comfort wise, the soft lining makes the jacket feel great against your skin. The stretch isn’t extreme, but it keeps the jacket out of your way.

Now for the pockets — there are two pretty standard zippered hand pockets and one very tall zippered chest pocket. Typically I don’t find chest pockets very useful because they hold things too high, but I love this one. It works great for holding things like your phone or wallet and keeps them out of the way.


Overall, The North Face Ventrix Jacket lives up to the hype. The insulation really does adapt and change depending on if you are still or in motion, and the face and lining fabrics don’t hinder breathability. While it’s no Western Rise AirLoft (our review) in the looks department, it isn’t your shiny technical jacket fabric.

At a list price of $220, it’s on the cheaper end of the popular active insulation jackets, and it often can be found on deep discount at the end of the season. At full price it is a great jacket, but if you find it for a lower price, it’s a steal.

If you want one active insulation piece to cover almost all situations, this is a great one to take a look at.

The North Face Ventrix Jacket

Western Rise TechWool Flannel Shirt

Note: This shirt was provided by Western Rise for review purposes.

It’s winter, so that means it’s time for the flannel to come out. Western Rise has a strong contender on the market, the new TechWool Flannel Shirt. It’s designed to be an elevated flannel that can fit more parts of your life.

I’ve been testing the shirt in Black for over a month now, and I am thoroughly impressed.


The TechWool fabric is a 180 gsm blend of 48% Elasterell Polyester 47%/COOLMAX polyester/5% non-mulesed wool.

The Elasterell (also called T400) is a special multicomponent polyester that has stretch. In this case, it gives the fabric some two way stretch. The COOLMAX fibers are designed to wick moisture while remaining dry to the touch.

Overall the fabric has a very natural look and drape, but in the right light, I do get a little sheen. I think this would be completely hidden in the Cloud (cream) color.

Since it is brushed on both sides, the fabric is very soft, with no scratchiness from the wool, even without an undershirt. Think of your favorite soft classic flannel, but in a much lighter weight.

Fit & Style

The cut of this shirt is described both as “moderately lean” and “active, tailored fit”. I think both describe it well, with enough room if you wanted to put a base layer underneath, but still slim enough to look sharp and put together.

While I wear this type of shirt untucked usually, it works tucked in as well. It certainly comes across as a sharp casual shirt, but some may be able to push it a little further due to the cut, fabric, and hidden collar buttons that help keep the collar looking sharp.


This shirt is wrinkle and odor resistant, wicking, and is the perfect weight to make it versatile.

I was surprised when I washed the shirt the first time, it came out of the washer with very few wrinkles. After hanging dry, the shirt was wrinkle free and ready to wear.

This pairs nicely with the shirt being odor resistant. While I wore it mostly with an undershirt, I ended up washing the shirt before it had any odor to see how it washed up for this review. Quite impressive with just 5% wool.

As far as wicking goes, since it’s a shirt for the cooler weather I didn’t sweat much while wearing it, but I never felt sweaty or moist.

Finally, the weight of the fabric helped this be a great flannel for the transitional weather from Fall into Winter. I found it to be comfortable in both cool and warm buildings, which isn’t something that can always be said for a classic heavy flannel.


Overall, the TechWool Flannel Shirt would be a great addition to anyone’s cool weather closet. For those in colder climates, it might serve as a transition piece and for those elsewhere, it could be a great winter shirt.

The upgraded looks and odor and wrinkle resistance take it to the next level and make it a worthy purchase at the full price of $119.

Western Rise TechWool Flannel Shirt

Mack Weldon 37.5 Oxford

Mack Weldon is a big men’s brand that has been out there for a while. Their SILVERKNIT Polo (our review) is one of my favorite polos, so when I saw the 37.5 Oxford, I decided to give it a try.


The fabric is quite heavy and stiff, and is 60% cotton, 40% 37.5 Polyester. I found the stiffness to soften up with some washes, but the fabric still retains its crisp nature.

The care instructions for the shirt indicate “tumble dry low, do not iron”, which was interesting to me, but the shirt does come out of the dryer wrinkle-free and crisp. I normally hang my shirts to dry and steam or iron as necessary, but this shirt needs the dryer to get out all the wrinkles.

Fit & Style

The shirt is described as having a classic fit, but I would say the fit is more tailored. I found the length to work well both tucked or untucked, but in White, this is a shirt that I would probably only wear tucked in.

The weight of the fabric gives the shirt a nice crisp look. Along with the high cotton content, no one will know that you aren’t wearing a standard cotton oxford button-down (with the exception of the small Mack Weldon logo on the back along the side hem).


The 37.5 technology makes the claim of removing sweat from your body while it is still in the vapor stage, rather than wicking it once it is a liquid. This is said to help keep your core body temperature at 37.5ºC and the microclimate next to your skin at 37.5% RH. It also claims (not mentioned by Mack Weldon, but by the 37.5 technical information) to trap odors and then release them when washed.

Some of this is hard to say for sure if it’s working or not, but I didn’t ever feel moisture from sweat while wearing the shirt. Even though the underarm sweat guards, which strangely have ventilation holes that look like a drain hole, I didn’t feel warm or wet. I’m not sure why these guards are necessary with the 37.5, but they didn’t seem to hurt the performance of the shirt, other than adding some extra fabric.

As far as the odor resistance, that seems to be claimed by the 37.5 technology, I was able to get a solid two wears out of this shirt before it needed to be washed, so it seems the claims are founded.

I’ve worn this shirt in some warm conditions, but haven’t gotten to try it in the heat and humidity of the summer, so I’ll be interested to see how this technology holds up then.

When it comes to overall comfort, Mack Weldon claims “just enough stretch” which I’m guessing simply comes from how the fabric is woven. The stretch is not very noticeable, but I didn’t find the shirt to be uncomfortable.


The Mack Weldon 37.5 Oxford is a unique entry into the market. The shirt kept me dry and comfortable and allowed for at least two wears before needing to be washed. It looks crisp and doesn’t give away that it’s a performance shirt.

At the standard price point of $88 or the standard discount of 20% off, I’m on the fence on whether I would purchase it again. It’s a solid oxford shirt with a technology that seems to work, but I think the weight of the fabric could hinder the shirt’s versatility in hot weather.

Mack Weldon 37.5 Oxford

Revtown Sharp Jeans

Note: These jeans were provided by Revtown for review purposes.

Revtown has been around for almost two years now, but has been hitting the advertising circuit recently. I discovered the company from the Morning Brew newsletter.

Their goal is to make “Jeans that last longer, look great, and are incredibly comfortable.” I’ve been wearing the jeans for a few weeks, and I think they’ve done a great job, especially given the price point.


Revtown has designed their own proprietary Italian denim they call “Decade Denim” (92% cotton, 6% polyester, 2% elastane).

They go a step further and make the denim in a clean way — 100% of waste is recycled back, dying process results in 30% less energy, 50% less water, and 70% less chemicals than typical dying techniques. Additionally, the cotton is BCI-certified, which aims to produce cotton in a cleaner, more sustainable way.

While this all adds up to some nice marketing, the fabric has to perform. In my testing, it does. The stretch of the fabric is apparent in hand, but is really noticeable while wearing the jeans.

Fit & Style

Revtown offers three styles in the Mens Jeans — “Sharp”, an everyday “slim-not-skinny” cut; “Taper”, a slim fit through the knee with a taper from knee to ankle; and “Automatic”, a straight cut with relaxed waist and thighs.

For this review, I gave the Sharp style a try. I found their description to be accurate. It was slim and modern while not being too tight anywhere. Style wise, this is exactly where I want my jeans.

To help with sizing a “Digital Tailor” is available. Taking into account your usual size, height, weight, build, and fit preferences, the tailor recommends a size. For me, that was a 35×32 (I wear 34×34 in Levi 541, and 34 or 35×32 or 34 in all my pants).

Revtown sent me both a 34 and a 35 waist, and it ended up that the 34×32 fit me better — just something to keep in mind if the Digital Tailor recommends something that doesn’t quite make sense (and they do offer free returns and exchanges).

As far as color, I got to check out both the Dark Indigo and the Washed Indigo, with the Washed Indigo being the color in the size I kept. To me, the Dark Indigo is the quintessential dark jean, while the Washed Indigo gives the jeans a slightly more causal but still sharp look (and many other washes/colors are also available).


The performance in these jeans is all about the stretch in the fabric. While wearing them, they don’t feel like jeans at all. While the stretch isn’t extreme, there is never any feeling of restriction. In the case of a heavier fabric like this, an extreme level of stretch would actually hurt the jeans because heavy, really stretchy fabrics tend to drape in a weird, baggy way.

The level of stretch is also perfect because while there is a little bit of relaxation that happens during the first wear after a wash, I didn’t find the jeans to bag out with multiple wears.

The only negative I found here is the pockets. I found them to be more shallow than many of my other pants. With my iPhone XS in my pocket, there is only about an inch of pocket above the top of the phone. When compared to my Levi 541s, there is about two inches of pocket. However, this wasn’t too much of an issue when just carrying my iPhone, but when I had my work phone in my pocket as well, I noticed some pinching/digging from the phones.


Revtown has done a great job with their Decade Denim and the Sharp cut. With the ability to choose from three cuts and even and odd waist sizing, everyone should be able to find a great fit (and they even make Women’s jeans as well).

At $79, these will be the jeans that I will recommend and are definitely worth checking out if you are looking for a comfortable and good looking pair of jeans.

Revtown Sharp Jeans

Everyday Wear 2019 Holiday Gift Guide

Rather than overwhelm you with a huge gift guide list, we wanted to keep it simple and recommend a few great items to keep you or your loved ones looking great this winter.


As far as pants go, we have a long time favorite and a recent pick to highlight here. If you just want to own two pairs of pants, the Outlier Futureworks (our review) and the Ministry of Supply Kinetic Pant (our review) are the two that could cover almost every activity in your life. We’d go with lighter casual Futureworks and dark business oriented Kinetics for a perfect two pant setup.


For a button-down, we typically think of two scenarios — travel and normal wear.

For travel, nothing beats a merino button-down for odor resistance and ability to get multiple wears. For that, we’ve typically gone for a Wool&Prince Button Down (our review) but have recently come across the Unbound Merino Classic Button-Down (our review), which has become Ben’s favorite travel shirt.

If you’re willing to give up the odor resistance of merino, whether for travel or everyday, we love the Bluffworks Meridian Dress Shirt 2.0 (our review). Or, for something with a more classic look, the Ministry of Supply Aero Dress Shirt (our review) is also great.


Western Rise hit it out of the park with their AirLoft Quilted Jacket (our review). If you’re looking for a versatile technical jacket that has the style to look great in the office, look no further than this jacket.

Everyday Wear 2019 Holiday Gift Guide

Western Rise Black Friday Sale 2019

We’ve tried a few items from Western Rise, and they are consistently great. Their Black Friday sale starts today and runs through December 1st, with 20% off sitewide (no coupon necessary).

The AirLoft Quilted Jacket (our review) is excellent if you are looking for something versatile with an awesome insulation technology. It has become a staple for me. The Evolution Pant (our review) continues to stay in my rotation. The AirLight Shirt (available in short and long sleeve, our review) does a great job in the heat without being too cold in the AC.

Western Rise Black Friday Sale 2019

Bluffworks Black Friday Sale 2019

It’s no secret that Bluffworks makes some great travel clothing. We’ve reviewed and continue to wear many of their pieces. Starting today, they’ve launched their Black Friday sale with up to 30% off (Men’s, Women’s).

If you’re looking for some great button-ups or polos, two of our favorites are 30% off — the Meridian 2.0 (our review) and the Piton Polo (our review). We haven’t tried it yet, but the Zenith Dress Shirt is available for 20% off.

A T-Shirt favorite, the Threshold T-Shirt (our review) is also available for 20% off.

When it comes to pants, Bluffworks has it figured out when it comes to travel pockets. For a more casual look, the Ascender Chino (our review) is available for 30% off. If you are looking for dress pants, the Gramercy Pant (our review) is $25 off, which pairs well with the Gramercy Blazer ($100 off, our review) for a nice travel suit.

Bluffworks Black Friday Sale 2019

Western Rise AirLoft Quilted Jacket

Note: this jacket was provided for review purposes by Western Rise.

I came across the Western Rise AirLoft Quilted Jacket last year, but only after it was sold out. When I got the chance to give it a try this year, I jumped at the opportunity, as it seemed like it would fill a gap in my outerwear lineup. I am blown away, it performs way above my expectations.


The magic in this jacket is from the Toray 3DeFX+ insulation. It is a hollow-core, 4-way stretch, continuous fiber insulation and is advertised as the loftiest, most breathable, and stretchiest synthetic insulation on the market.

You often only find continuous fiber insulation in high-end technical jackets. The key being that it gives the fibers the most durability and resistance to settling and bunching in the jacket.

The body contains 60g of insulation and the sleeves 40g.

The face fabrics are 4-way stretch 100% polyester, with the face being more durable and the interior light and soft so it feels good on the skin. To top it all off, there is a DWR coating on the exterior face.

Fit & Style

This jacket has a classic quilted look with a button front and a drop tail. Western Rise did a great job infusing performance technology into a jacket while keeping it looking sharp. For me, this is a perfect jacket to pair with business wear, but it also works with a casual weekend look.

I’d describe the fit here as more like a blazer than what you typically find in a performance technical jacket. That works well for me, but something to keep in mind if you are planning to wear it with multiple layers underneath.

Some nice little details include the side seam hand pockets and the internal chest zip pocket (great for a phone or thin wallet). Additionally, rather than having elastic cuffs, there are snaps, making it easier to roll up the sleeves if needed.


I was amazed by the performance of this jacket. The insulation is very thin and lightweight but it also very warm and breathable. It is comfortable to wear on a cool fall day, even moving between being inside and out. I was able to wear it outside walking around on a windy day in the mid-30s(F). I would probably have been a little cold if I wasn’t moving, but I was very comfortable walking and did not feel any wind through the jacket.

This is a range I don’t get from any of my other jackets. In the dead of winter, this would have to become a mid-layer, and the cut lends itself to that.

The 4-way stretch also makes this jacket extremely comfortable. Even with a close fit, I never feel restricted.

To top it all off, the DWR on the face fabric does a great job shedding a light rain. Even if the jacket did get wet, the insulation ability would not be affected since it is synthetic (unlike down).

The only issue I found was in cold and windy conditions. Since there is no drawstring around the bottom or near the bottom of the jacket, you can get some cold wind blowing underneath. This was most noticeable trying to keep my hands warm in the pockets — the interior fabric was so breathable, any wind that found its way in kept my hands chilly.


Western Rise hit this one out of the park. They paired a great design with some amazing insulation technology to get a highly performant jacket in a classic looking package.

This is one I’m going to keep grabbing throughout the cold months. The only time I might go for something else is either on a frigid dry day where my down might perform better or when I need some more room underneath for layering.

Overall, if you are looking for an everyday jacket that can take you from weekend to business casual, I’d put the AirLoft at the top.

Western Rise AirLoft Quilted Jacket