Is Merino Necessary for Everything?

Among performance (or travel) clothing favorites, you will often see the seemingly magical properties of merino touted. Properties like odor resistance and thermal regulation are king as these allow the garments to wear more comfortably and to go longer before they develop odors. Merino can be made into fabrics anywhere from luxuriously soft (Outlier’s Ultrafine Merino T-shirt being a great example), to durable but still soft (in the case of nylon core spun fibers, like the Wool & Prince T-shirt) and then to heavy and rougher (like Filson’s Crew Neck Guide Sweater). Merino garments, though, also tend to be some of the most expensive you can add to your closet.

It’s natural then to look at the abundance of merino based clothing and wonder when it’s too much. When do you hit a law of diminishing returns with merino wool? And, if you’re looking to cut some cost in your clothing lineup, where can you move away from merino to less costly materials?

We’ve been debating just this for a while now, especially for layering pieces that don’t directly contact your skin. But also for pants where the durability of merino, as well as the performance make us question the utility of such garments. In these instances, you can often even get multiple wears out of a traditional cotton garment (most people don’t wash their blue jeans very often, or in some cases, ever).

While a merino garment certainly will go longer than anything else without starting to smell, we’ve come to find that this isn’t always necessary. Take a pullover for example — you probably wear it over another shirt and when it’s cool out, so it doesn’t see your skin and you are probably sweating less. This type of wear isn’t a recipe for odors, and thus probably not a scenario where the performance of merino wool is going to add a ton to your life. There is a logical argument to be made that with a pullover (or something similar), merino is overkill. It’s not going to make the garment worse — you will still get the benefits — but at the same time you are paying a premium for something where the net realized benefits will be marginal at best. Or, put another way: whether lambswool, cashmere, or merino (or even a good synthetic blend), the sweater would perform within a close enough range on all fronts that you should buy the one which price works best for you.

On the thermoregulation aspect, you certainly won’t find any (comfortable or normal looking) fabric that will keep you warmer than merino. The natural ability of the fibers to trap air helps keep you warm. Therefore, in cases where you value packability or weight, it can be worth it to go with merino. But not always, as some merino wool will not pack as compactly as down, or even some newer synthetic garments. That said, merino adds another benefit in being easier to wash when traveling.

Another area we’ve started seeing merino show up is in jacket insulation. Icebreaker has their MerinoLOFT technology, which is an insulation made from merino wool. They tout it as an evolution of down and an alternative to synthetic down. While we haven’t tried anything like this, it seems like another area where merino probably doesn’t offer much over its synthetic counterparts. And you pay a high price for something you are likely not to notice, and perhaps which has other drawbacks from more traditional insulation pieces.

With pants, Ben has thoroughly destroyed a pair of Icebreaker wool pants over the course of just a year — while noticing little benefit from the merino wool itself. Often the wool needed washing more than basic blue jeans did — and didn’t perform as well as synthetic pants options like Outlier’s offerings. So even in the case where these pants are coming into direct contact with your skin, there’s little reason to select these over more durable options. Since Ben’s experience, many others have released merino blend pants (like CIVIC’s Frank Chino). I tried purchasing a pair to try, but the fit seemed really off so I didn’t keep them to give them a thorough test.

With the hoodie Ben recently reviewed, he found that while comfortable and performant, a hoodie may not be a good garment to use 100% merino wool as the material. Outlier has long made a HARD/CO Merino ZIP Hoodie which has cotton facing on the outside for better durability and merino on the inside for the performance — yet you pay a significant price ($395) for that benefit. Whereas most people rarely have performance and durability issues with a standard cotton hoodie.

Ultimately, the choice between merino or other performance fabrics comes from your use case for the garment. We’ve found pieces that don’t spend much time directly on skin as good places to look elsewhere where the expense isn’t justified. That said, you can often find very inexpensive merino sweaters from big box stores like J. Crew and Banana Republic (among others). While you don’t necessarily need merino in these garments, it is an added bonus if the price is right.

For most layering, outerwear, and pants, we have found that merino wool is often overkill and comes at an added financial cost as well as, possibly, durability issues.

Is Merino Necessary for Everything?

Pistol Lake Minimalist Boxer Briefs

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

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

Fabric

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

Fit

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

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

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

Performance

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

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

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

Overall

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

Pistol Lake Minimalist Boxer Briefs

Pistol Lake Minimalist Pullover Hoodie

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

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

Fabric

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

Fit and Performance

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

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

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

Overall

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

Pistol Lake Minimalist Pullover Hoodie

Patagonia Long-Sleeved Recycled Wool Shirt

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

Fabric

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

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

Fit, Performance, and Styling

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

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

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

Overall

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

Patagonia Long-Sleeved Recycled Wool Shirt

Myles Apparel Tour Pant

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

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

Material

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

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

Fit

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

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

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

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

Wearing Them

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

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

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

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

A Few Complaints

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

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

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

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

Overall

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

Myles Apparel Tour Pant

Starting from Scratch – Base Wardrobe, Steve

When Ben mentioned to me that he though we should do posts where we outline what we would buy if we had no clothes at all, all while keeping it minimal, I thought it wouldn’t be too difficult. Once I sat down to actually write it, I realized the challenge, as we didn’t limit it to what we currently own, but what we thought would be the best pieces. This list is intended to be a good base wardrobe, one that could take me though a year of typical wear, excluding one-off stuff (like camping gear, dress shoes that only get worn once or twice per year, etc.).

Living in a cold climate, layers are important for me, so you will see warmer clothes make up a good portion of my list. I tried to balance the list so laundry didn’t have to be an everyday thing, but realistically, I prefer to do my laundry once a week.

Undergarments and Base Layers

  • UNIQLO AIRism Boxer Briefs, 14 pairs. I’ve recently moved over to favoring the AIRism boxer briefs as they are lighter than the ExOfficio ones I used to favor. While I still have both, I’d just go with the AIRism. They pack down really small and dry very fast from being so light. And an added bonus, they are less than $10 and can often be found on sale.
  • Icebreaker Anatomica Short Sleeve V-Neck, 1. I wear this shirt in the “Snow” (off white) color as an undershirt. I can get a couple days out of it and it dries reasonably quickly if it needs to be hand washed.
  • UNIQLO AIRism Short Sleeve V-Neck, 1. I wear this in the “Light Grey” color as an undershirt (the grey does a better job hiding under a light colored shirt than white). Again, packs down very small and dries quickly. Definitely only one wear, but the price can’t be beat (less than $10 and often on sale).
  • Darn Tough Solid Crew Light (#1617), 3 pairs, Charcoal & Navy. These are my dress socks for work and dressing up. I can reliably get two days out of a pair (merino blend), so they are great for travel. While they are durable, these seem to wear out the fastest of my socks, hence the need for a backup pair.
  • Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion (#1466), 3 pairs. These are my casual cool(er) weather socks. Again, I can reliably get two days out of a pair (merino blend) — I only took three pairs on a two week camping trip.
  • Darn Tough Tactical No Show Light (#T4037), 3 pairs. These are my summer and workout socks. The Vertex style used to come in all-black, but doesn’t anymore, so I’d go with these in the future. I’m able to get two days or 3+ workouts out of these socks (merino blend). They are the most durable light socks I’ve had, but they do wear out so I like to have a backup pair.
  • Patagonia Capilene Midweight Bottoms & Zip-Neck, 1 each. This is my favorite baselayer. Yes, it is synthetic, but I think it provides an excellent value.

Shoes

  • Merrell Trail Glove 4. These are my go-to sneakers, from everyday to workout. I had the Trail Glove 3 and wore them for a few years and replaced them with these when they wore out.
  • Allen Edmonds Higgins Mill Boot, Brown. I’ve had these boots for a year now and they are very comfortable. The Danite sole makes them safe on wet floors. They straddle casual and business casual for me. Not sure these are the exact replacement I’d pick (especially not at full price), but I like that they are at home in many situations.

Bottoms

  • Outlier Slim Dungarees, 1 pair, Darkindigo. These are my favorite casual pants. They are as comfortable as sweat pants, but look as good or better than jeans. I currently have them in “Gray Shadow” (which is a blue-green color to me), but I think “Darkindigo” is the most versatile color. I find that the main reason I wash these is because they start to bag out. I would, however, have to consider the Strong Dungarees as well, as I’ve heard great things (and briefly owned a pair myself). Although, I wouldn’t need both as they fill the same need.
  • Outlier Futureworks, 1 pair, Phantom Grey or Charcoal Grey. As we’ve said many times, you can’t beat these for business casual pants, especially at the price point of $140.
  • Bluffworks Gramercy Pants, 1 pair, Blue Hour. When I want to look dressier, these are the pants I go to. They still perform well and are very comfortable, but they look closer to wool slacks.
  • Outlier New Way Shorts, 1 pair, Navy. These shorts are great, they perform well but also look good at a restaurant. I currently have the Longs, but think I’d go for the regular length the next time.
  • Myles Momentum Short 2.0, 1 pair, grey. While I love my Patagonia Baggies Long, these shorts keep the functionality as a workout short, but can double as a short for everyday wear. They can easily go from a workout to a coffee shop.
  • Patagonia Quandary Pant, 1 pair. I currently wear the Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pant for outdoor activities, but would pick these to replace them. I haven’t found the Ferrosi fabric to be as durable as I like (I have a few snags). I’ve tried the GORUCK offerings, but found the pockets to be lacking.
  • Synthetic Sweat Pants, 1 pair. Have to have something comfortable and warm to lounge in during the winter. Not super picky on these, but do appreciate my Myles Apparel Momentum Pant, although I’m not sure they are worth the price for lounging.

Tops

  • Woo&Prince Crew Neck, 2. My current favorite (nice) merino t-shirt is the Outdoor Voices Merino T-Shirt. I think I’d give the Wool&Prince shirt a shot next as I like that it is nylon core-spun merino, which gives more durability.
  • Y Athletics SilverAir Merino Crew Neck, 2. Still my favorite workout shirt that can easily double as a casual t. The nylon face makes it more durable (I still managed to get pilling with a GORUCK bag while hiking though) while keeping the comfort of merino against your skin.
  • Wool&Prince Button-Down, 2. My current favorite is the Burgundy Oxford. The thicker fabric is beautiful and does a better job at resisting wrinkles as compared to the lighter fabric. I’d probably pick up that and one in light blue or grey.
  • Bluffworks Meridian Dress Shirt, 1, Peak Blue Tattersall. I think this is my favorite dress shirt. It looks normal and is comfortable, all while remaining wrinkle resistant and durable. While it is only good for one wear, it dries quickly.
  • Patagonia R1 Pullover, 1. This pulls double duty as a top and an insulating layer for me. It looks nice enough to be a casual sweater when it’s cold and it also is surprisingly warm for its thickness. It has become a key part of my cool weather wardrobe.

Outerwear

  • Arc’teryx Proton LT. This would replace my current down insulation layer. While down is great for packability and warmth to weight ratio, it falls short in wet conditions. And by wet conditions, I don’t just mean precipitation, but at times when you are putting out a lot of heat. The Proton LT is very breathable and has continuous synthetic insulation (which is supposed to be the most durable). I also find the cut of Arc’teryx jackets to be fairly stylish (at least for a technical forward jacket).
  • Patagonia Torrentshell. While I love the hood on my Outdoor Research Helium II, the lack of pockets drives me crazy sometimes. This jacket remains well priced and packable, while adding pockets and pit zips. This also can double as a windbreaker.
  • Wool&Prince Blazer. While the fabric has changed, I have been so impressed with the one I have, I know this would be the one to get. It is still half-lined, so it continues to have a great unstructured look and breaths much better than a fully lined blazer.
Starting from Scratch – Base Wardrobe, Steve

Everyday Wear Yard Sale

We went through our closets to find some great clothing and bags for you, and are listing them here at some great prices.

All price include shipping to the lower 48 via USPS, they also include all PayPal fees. All purchases need to be made via PayPal goods and services. If you are buying more than one item from the same person (Ben or Steve) we will adjust the prices to account for the shipping savings.

If you see something you like, send us an email to confirm availability.

Clothing

Clothing Arts Cubed Travel Jacket, XL, Grey, Excellent, $200

Selling because it has gotten too big. If you are looking for a waterproof jacket that performs well and looks good, this is it, as long as you are willing to put up with the bulk.

Outdoor Research Ferrosi Jacket, XL, Black, Excellent, $60 SOLD

Great jacket, selling because I have replaced it with my Myles Elements Jacket.

Mountain Khaki’s Swagger Vest, Large, green $45

Great vest, but is a bit too large for me. Love the materials, and it is warm enough. In great condition. MK no longer makes it in this style.

Outdoor Research Ascendant Hoody, Large, pewter & sagegrass, $100

Like new condition, selling as I have another jacket that serves the same purpose. Hard to choose between which to keep. This is a fantastic jacket.

Taylor Stitch Telegraph Jacket, 42, $60 SOLD

I simply do not wear this enough to keep it, really nice jacket though. Always get compliments on it. No issues I can see anywhere.

GORUCK MACV-1s, 11.5, black, $140

My mistake is your gain. These are a half size too large for my feet, but I didn’t realize that until I rucked in them. Aesthetically they look perfect. There’s some light debris in the treads that I cannot scrub out. I rucked 3.2 miles in them, and then cleaned them. I don’t feel right trying to return them. My short review: if you do a lot of walking and want comfort, these are great boots. I bought another pair in 11 that I am still testing, but 20+ miles in, I do like them.

Mizzen+Main Short Sleeve Seersucker, XL Trim Fit, Hartley Light Blue Stripe, Like New, $25

Selling because it’s not my style. Like new, just note that there are some loose threads around the button holes (how it came from M+M).

Mizzen+Main Leeward Collection Dress Shirt, XL Trim Fit, Bowie Navy & White Windowpane, Like New, $70

Selling because I have two. Only washed (cold and hang dry) once or twice.

OLIVERS Convoy Tee, XL (see note below), Blue, Excellent, $50

Selling because it is too small. Otherwise, a great shirt. It is a size XL, but apparently there was a batch of shirts that were cut small, so this probably fits more like a L.

Patagonia Duckbill Trucker Hat, OS, Black, Like New, $25

Selling because this doesn’t fit my head. Brand new, just tried on, but I removed the tags before I decided it doesn’t fit.

Outdoor Research Sequence L/S Zip Top, XL, Green, Good, $25

Selling because I don’t wear it anymore. Pilling on bottom of front, sides, and sleeves.

Outdoor Research Sequence L/S Zip Top, XL, Blue, Good+, $35

Selling because I don’t wear it anymore. Minimal, if any pilling.

Cabella’s Gore-Tex Rain Jacket, XL Tall, Dark Green/Brown, Excellent, $50

Fully taped Gore-Tex rain jacket. Selling because it is too big and I’ve replaced it with my Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket. Front pockets have mesh liners to help with ventilation if needed. Included stuff sack (non-integral).

Columbia Titanium Omni-Heat Waterproof Shell, XL, Bright Blue, Excellent, $50

I purchased this shell at the Columbia outlet and only wore it a few times. Now it’s too big. Based on the style number (1384921), I’m guessing it’s a 2013 model. It is made with Omni-Tech waterproof, breathable fabric and is lined with metallic Omni-Heat. It supports the Columbia interchange system and has a built in stuff-sack. On the front, two zippers open mesh vents in the Omni-Heat liner to help with ventilation. The hood rolls up into the collar.

Bags

Nock Lanier, Black, $50 SOLD

Looks like new, I really don’t use it. Great bag, and comes with the A5 pouch thing which is even better than the bag itself.

Timbuk2 Alchemist Messenger Bag, Good, $40

Selling because I don’t use it anymore. Fits 15” laptop. Some wear on the rubberized coating on the bottom corners.

Timbuk2 Messenger Bag, Good+, $60

Selling because I don’t use it anymore. Size L.

Timbuk2 Laptop Messenger Bag, Good, $40

Selling because I don’t use it anymore. Size S (fits a 13” MacBook Air). White stripe has indigo staining on the back.

eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible, Good+, Black, $40

Selling because I don’t use it anymore. In great shape, just some marks on the outside from traveling. Can’t find the shoulder strap.

Lands End Square Rigger Canvas Duffel, Good, $25 SOLD

Selling because I don’t use it anymore. 18”x9”x9”

Standard Luggage Co. Daily Backpack, Good+ (see notes), $40

Selling because I don’t use it anymore. Did have coffee spilled on it, but I got it clean. Can’t find the shoulder strap, but the rain cover is included.

Brenthaven Laptop Messenger Bag, Good+, $40

Selling because I don’t use it anymore (it was for my original Intel 15” MacBook Pro).

Tom Bihn Horizontal Brain Cell 4X, Excellent, $40 SOLD

Selling because I don’t use it anymore (it was for my original Intel 15” MacBook Pro).

Everyday Wear Yard Sale

Myles Elements Jacket

The item in this review was provided by Myles Apparel at a discount for review.

When I saw the Myles Elements Jacket was made from Polartec NeoShell, I knew I had to give it a try. While I wasn’t looking for a new jacket, I couldn’t pass this one up and ended up very impressed.

Material

The Polartec NeoShell membrane makes this jacket one of the most breathable (and the stretchiest) waterproof jackets I have ever worn. The magic of NeoShell is that it allows air exchange while still blocking 99.9% of the wind. This helps moisture and heat move from your body to the surrounding environment without having to built up as much of a gradient (difference in temperature and humidity between the two sides of the membrane).

The face fabric of the jacket has a subtle texture, giving it a less-technical matte appearance. While not noted as having a DWR coating, the fabric beads water well and resists wetting out. The texture carries through to the lining fabric, helping the jacket to never feel cold or clammy inside.

The jacket has 100% taped seams, ensuring no water sneaks its way in.

Performance

The NeoShell breathability and stretch makes this jacket extremely comfortable for many activities. While wearing the jacket, I never once felt sweaty, even when walking fast with a loaded backpack while traveling. The stretch adds to the comfort, enough so that you sometimes forget you are wearing a hard shell.

The zippers are YYK but are not waterproof, but for a jacket without a hood, this is probably not necessary. I found them to be easy to operate, except for getting used to the dual zipper sliders on the main zipper — it takes a little thought to get them lined up and the zipper all the way down through so it can be zipped.

The chest pocket and back slash pocket were well sized for me and hold a phone or wallet comfortably. Each has a port on the inside to allow for headphones to pass through. While it is advertised that the jacket can be packed into the chest pocket, I wasn’t able to easily fit it in. It does, however, roll nicely to about the size of a burrito. As far as the back pocket goes, it’s a nice touch if you are a cyclist. In any other case, I wouldn’t keep anything valuable back there (other than maybe an emergency $20).

Style and Fit

Not only does the Elements Jacket perform extremely well, but it can be at home both during a workout or at work. The texture of the face fabric, configuration of the pockets, lack of a hood, and unique cuffs help upgrade the looks.

As far as the lack of a hood, I wasn’t immediately sold as I am used to my rainwear always having a hood. After some rainy fall weather, I found that wearing a baseball cap kept the rain out of my eyes, and I didn’t have any other issues (like water running down my neck). Now if I were to be out in the rain all day, or out in heavy rain, I’d still want my jacket with a hood, but this is a tradeoff I’m willing to make for a jacket that is so breathable and looks sharp.

The unique cuffs are about 1/3 elastic that sits at the back of your wrist while the rest has a nice curve — a nice style choice and something different than a straight cuff with elastic or velcro.

The fit is a nice athletic cut, while allowing room for an insulation layer underneath. I also found the length to be great — it is a bit longer than my Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket, allowing me to wear my tall down jacket underneath without the bottom hem hanging out.

Overall

The Myles Elements Jacket has replaced my soft shell spring/fall jacket, and in many cases is the first jacket I go for. The excellent breathability, waterproofness, stretch, and style are what keep me coming back. I think Myles has a winner here, and I’m surprised Polartec NeoShell isn’t used in more jackets (the Filson Reliance is the only other one I’ve found and it’s $395 — double the Elements Jacket). If you are looking for a light layer/rain shell/wind breaker, this jacket deserves your consideration.

Myles Elements Jacket

GORUCK and Bluffworks Black Friday Sales

GORUCK’s Black Friday Week Deals are live (until Sunday). You can get our favorite travel backpack, the GR1, for $285 (28% off, any color except black) and apparel for up to 45% off. Many other backpacks (rucks) are also on sale (22-34% off). Also notable, the Wire Dopp is available for $35 (22% off).

Bluffworks also is having a sale. Our favorites include the Meridian Dress Shirt 2.0 which is on sale for $85 (13% off, our review), and the entire Gramercy Collection is 25-30% off (our review of the suit).

GORUCK and Bluffworks Black Friday Sales