Ministry of Supply Apollo Shirt

Note: this shirt was provided for review.

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

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

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

Material

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

The end result of this is two fold:

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

This is a great fabric.

Fit & Style

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

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

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

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

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

Performance

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

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

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

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

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

Overall

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

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

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

Ministry of Supply Apollo Shirt

Vollebak Planet Earth Shirt

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

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

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

Materials

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

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

Fit and Style

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

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

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

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

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

Performance

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

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

But the real performance of this lies in four areas:

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

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

Overall

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

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

Get one here, fall in love for yourself.

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

Vollebak Planet Earth Shirt

Perseverance Survival Woobie Hoodie

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

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

Materials

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

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

Fit and Style

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

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

Performance

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall

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

I recommend it.

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

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

Perseverance Survival Woobie Hoodie

Long Term Updates, Early Feb. 2021

Since we’ve been reviewing clothing here since late 2017, we figured it was time to look back and add long term updates to many of our reviews. These will be rolling out in batches, and here’s what we chose for the first update.

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

Long Term Updates, Early Feb. 2021

SWRVE Indigo Cordura Jeans

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

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

Material

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fit and Style

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

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

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

Performance

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

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

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

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

Overall

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

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

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

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

SWRVE Indigo Cordura Jeans

Spier & Mackay Cardigan

Spier & Mackay is a well regarded Canadian menswear brand, well known for their high quality suits and other traditional items. They’ve been having quite a few sales through the pandemic, so when I saw their merino wool cardigan on sale, I decided to give it a try.

Material

This sweater is knitted with 100% 2-ply Australian merino wool with an anti-pill treatment. I’m not sure what that treatment is, and being merino and a sweater, I haven’t had to wash it yet, but I haven’t noticed any pilling. Even if it does pill, a sweater shaver or stone is always a great trick.

The fabric is light and soft, and doesn’t have any wool scratchiness at all. It is also machine washable (lay flat dry), so no need for a trip to the dry cleaners when it eventually needs to be washed.

Fit & Style

The fit here is quite slim. I went with my normal XL (which they say fits up to a 44” chest) and it fits great everywhere, except it is quite snug when I button it. For me, that makes it more casual, since I prefer to wear it unbuttoned. Sizing up seems like it would likely make other parts of the sweater fit too big.

Spier & Mackay describe the style as easy to dress up or down, and I agree. I even threw it on over a t-shirt when I got chilly in my home office, and I thought it still looked pretty good.

Performance

Not much to discuss here other than its 100% merino — it doesn’t retain odors and likely will only need very infrequent washing.

Otherwise, it is quite lightweight, so I would describe it as a layer to take the chill off inside, rather than a sweater to keep you warm. It is also thin enough that you could wear it as a layer under a blazer.

Overall

Spier & Mackay did a nice job with this cardigan. It’s a little slim for me, but it certainly isn’t overly slim. The quality of the knit and the fabric seems to be above what you’d expect at the price point, and one sale, definitely would beat a UNIQLO cardigan. I paid $37, but think it represents a good value even at the current price of $68.

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

Spier & Mackay Cardigan

Interview with Will Watters, Co-Founder of Western Rise

With reviews slowing a bit since we are not going into the office still, we thought we’d pick some of our favorite brands to interview about how they are doing and what they are looking forward to for 2021. Enjoy our first interview with Will Watters, Co-Founder and Creative Director of Western Rise.

2020 was a wild year for most companies, was there any product in your lineup that started flying out the door once lockdowns started?
I can’t say that one product began flying off of the shelves, but we did see an increase in demand for our pants with our Spectrum Joggers being a top new performer.

Following up on that, was there any product you were surprised did not start flying out the door for lockdown life?
Not surprisingly, our more formal button down options experienced a decline in sales. 

One thing we’ve always appreciated about Western Rise clothing is that it is not just another brand sewing up the same fabric from the same mills. Can you give us some insight into how you develop new fabrics?
Thank you! Our process is a bit different from most brands. We typically start with trying to solve a specific problem. We typically try and find the perfect fabric first as starting from the yarn level can create far longer lead times. We typically scour fabric shows both in the USA and Europe, searching both at performance shows and fashion shows seeking to find fabrics that live between fashion and performance while meeting our needs. If we can’t find a fabric that solves the specific problem we are seeking solve, we typically work with our existing partners and their yarn suppliers to help develop something completely new and different. Right now our fabrics come from our amazing mill partners in the USA, Europe, and Asia and are shipped to our factory partners in those various regions to create the finished garments.

Heading into 2021 and beyond there’s a debate with seemingly equal parts of people on either side. Either you think people will rebel against the loungewear they got used to wearing and start a more formal wardrobe, or the other side being that you think people will not settle for going back to uncomfortable clothing. Where do y’all see this trend going?
I certainly don’t think comfort is going away. I think it has just been added as a new baseline for clothing. Our theory when we started Western Rise was that Performance and Style did not need to be mutually exclusive. We create garments that perform better than your outdoor or athletic clothing, with a sophisticated style that allows for everyday wear. Our belief is that comfort has just been added to that equation. With modern fabrics and construction technologies, clothing must be comfortable, it must perform, and it must be styled to be worn in the broadest wear spectrum possible. It’s time to embrace comfort, but do it in style.

Part of 2021 is that the incoming USA administration is very focused on climate change, and as a Climate Neutral Certified brand, do you see more changes coming to your business and mindsets to point you in different clothing directions?
At Western Rise, we have been mindful of our impact since we began. Climate Neutral really just gave us a tool to measure that impact more effectively. From the yarns we choose to the garments we design, to the location of our mills and our garment factories, we always consider impact. Our supply chain isn’t perfect, and it probably never will be, but Climate Neutral allows us to measure how we are performing, make changes to improve that score, and offset what we are not able to improve with carbon offsets. We hope to see more brands join in that pledge in 2021. 

How do you look at staying on trend, while not creating fast-fashion and waste?
We don’t chase trends. We strive to create clothing that is seasonless and timeless. The world doesn’t need another fashion brand and most certainly doesn’t need more clothing. Our goal is to flip the fashion paradigm. Instead of buying more garments and using them less than ever, filling closets and creating waste, we seek to re-create the timeless, essential garments in every guy’s closet using the world’s best high performance fabrics allowing him to own less, carry less, and experience more.

What are you most excited for in 2021?
Travel. Travel not only broadens our perceptions and view of the world, but it allows us to meet in-person with our suppliers, mills, and garment factories. Creating garments is such a hands-on business and I cannot wait to get back to doing it in-person. Travel also pushes us to consider why each garment exists in our line. The constraints of needing to pack in one small carry-on bag really highlights the most-versatile styles. Each new climate or destination presents a new challenge and really guides our thoughts on what pieces should exist in our line and where opportunities exist.

Last question: all the performance pants out there wear quite slim, but the fashion watchers say pants are going more relaxed — what do you think?
Fit is constantly changing. While I don’t prefer ultra-slim fitting pants, I do prefer creating pants that fit correctly. Maximum Versatility is always our North Star as we design products. Choosing a fit that flatters the body, can be dressed up or down, and allows the body to move will always be the most versatile. I do think the fashion landscape will trend a bit wider than it has in 2021 due to the demand for more comfort. If a brand is not using fabrics with a high stretch content, the only way to maintain comfort is to widen the fit. 

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

Interview with Will Watters, Co-Founder of Western Rise

Thunderbolt Sportswear MARK II, LITE – RANGER Pants

I’ve tried a ton of pants for this website, all in the hopes of finding that one pair of pants which I can toss on and fall in love with. I’ve come close a few times. The Aether’s, the Oliver’s, or the Outliers. But each one is tricky. Aether is super comfortable, but too slim to look right in every situation, Oliver’s are really solid, but the waist stretches out really fast for me, and well Outlier stopped making theirs right when I lost some weight, oh well.

So I was pretty excited to learn about the Thunderbolt Sportswear MARK II LITE pants, which is a five pocket pant made from a Schoeller material which is code for expensive and comfortable. I have been giving them a go for quite some time, and I am impressed — they are different than the others I listed so let’s dive into it.

Material

As I mentioned this is a Schoeller fabric, specifically here is what it is:

Schoeller® Dryskin soft shell with NanoSphere® DWR to repel water and dirt. Fabric maximizes performance in breathability, quick dry, wind and water resistance, four way stretch and self-cleaning.

Essentially it seems like a lighter weight version of the Schoeller 4-way stretch materials which for a while started to become common in pants. At a 180gsm it is decently light weight, without feeling thin.

The stretch is great, and the material face feels very much like other Schoeller pants. It has a slight sheen, is rather smooth and looks like a soft shell. Inside, the material has a lot less pile as compared to others and is more like a grid pattern. It’s soft and decently smooth. The material itself is aces.

Fit and Style

This is a standard 5-pocket look. Where it differs from most is the color, which in this case is a Ranger Green color (I like it, many might not) and the overall cut. While my main complaint with a lot of pants we review on the site is with how tapered they are, these take a straight leg approach. There is barely a taper on these.

This is in line with the intended use, which is more outdoors and active than it is heading to brunch. For me it’s still hard to get used to how straight legged this are, and I think they would benefit for a slight taper for pure looks. But the straight legs do make for a comfortable fit over all.

The only other fit detail is the waistband. On most pants like this the waist band is simple double the material the pant is made from. The issue with this method is that it causes the material to become stretched out over time, and thus you need to wash the pants to get them to fit correctly again. The benefit is that the waist is a bit stretchy and thus more comfortable, until they are too loose at least.

With these pants, the waistband has been designed to not stretch. That’s somewhat true. It stretches less than the rest of the pants, but it does have some give. Whether that is intentional or not, I don’t know. But it does make for a nice middle ground between no-stretch and stretch which eventually becomes too loose. I’ve found these pants will become loose over time, but it takes twice as long as others like this I have tried.

Performance

I’ve been wearing these pants a ton since getting them. They are truly comfortable, whether lounging around the house, doing yard work in the sun, or going on a warm walk through the woods. They have handled every task I have tossed at them with easy. But, since Thunderbolt Sportswear called out specific features, I’ll address each:

  • Breathability: these are likely the most breathable pants I own, outside of maybe my GORUCK Simple Pants which are about half the weight by hand feel alone. The Mark II Lite’s are just insanely breathable and a couple of times wore too cool for me.
  • Wind & Water Resistance: I have worn them in a some wind, and they did a good job with that. Not stellar, but better than expected. I can’t comment on water resistance as I have not worn them in much heavy rain. The water which has gotten on them, beads up well as it would with any solid DWR coating.
  • Quick Dry: straight out of the washer, yes they dry fast. Quick would be an understatement here, they dry fast.
  • Stretch: it’s perfect, because of the cut doesn’t need as much stretch to feel more stretchy. I really think there’s a solid amount of stretch, which you barely notice, yet are never restricted.
  • Self-Cleaning: nope. Generally I have not seen them dirty in normal wear. However on a walk in the woods the dirt was rather dusty and very fine. The entire bottom half of the pants was coated in that dust, and would not shake/brush off. It required a full wash.

Generally speaking these are among the most performant pants I have. All Schoeller material performs really well, and these are no exception. They breathe well, dry fast, and stretch. There’s not a lot more to say here, but if you live in a warmer climate like me, these pants are something to consider for sure — as they breathe even better than most I test.

Overall

I bought these pants on sale for $92.50, with a non-sale price of $185. I don’t think I would have paid the full $185, but for under $100 these are a bargain. They are my go to pants during this work from home life, as I can be comfortable working, do work in the yard, or lounge on the couch in them and be comfortable under all situations.

The downside to these is the cut, it won’t be for everyone and that will make them harder to wear out and about if you care more about style. I would not hesitate to go on day hike with them though, they are really solid.

Get them here.

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

Thunderbolt Sportswear MARK II, LITE – RANGER Pants

Taylor Stitch Long Haul Jacket in Wool Beach Cloth

Note: this jacket was provided for review.

The Long Haul Jacket is a classic, most commonly called a ‘jean jacket’, but for this incarnation Taylor Stitch used a Wool Beach Cloth to put a very unique spin on the jacket. I’ve been wearing and testing it and I’ve found it to be far more versatile than initially expected.

Material

If you are not familiar with ‘Beach Cloth’ you can line up with me. Here’s the description of it from Taylor Stitch:

Famously impenetrable, the original Beach Cloth was a closet staple in the early 20th century, especially among laborers whose work subjected them to chilly, damp conditions—seafarers, loggers, etc. For this run, we’ve updated the age-old formula but maintained the instantly recognizable texture and impressive heft. Trust us, this so-called Beach Cloth’s applications extend well beyond the seaside.

That’s interesting and in a lot of ways reminds me of some of the reasons for the heavy wool jackets Filson sells. And I assume the updates Taylor Stitch is referring to is the nylon content as the make up is a 14-oz, 50% wool, 40% cotton, 10% nylon garment. I would not have guessed there was nylon in it, and I assume that was done for some added durability. The outside of the material has a heavy weave and has a bit of that ‘rough wool’ feeling.

Inside is brushed and fuzzy, with the sleeves having an acetate lining in them so you can easily slide long sleeves in. This is a heavy jacket, but not a super warm jacket. Plenty warm for Houston, but not nearly warm enough for winters in Seattle — not without more layering.

The last note on this material is that it is noted as ‘dry clean only’ which is a shame, as you’ll likely find yourself mostly spot cleaning then.

Fit & Style

This is meant to fit tailored, and stop at the pant line. And it does just that, it’s a classic looking jacket, but with a very unique pattern. In these fit pictures I am wearing a light gray shirt and flat black pants — I chose the black pants to show off the fact that this jacket isn’t quite black, but not quite blue.

Overall the pattern and coloring is a bit of a chameleon. And depending on what you pair it with, it will either look, well not good, or it will look pretty neat. But the generally style of this pattern is heavy handed and something you can’t just toss on with everything in my testing. So while I do like it, it is not a versatile as the more plain patterns.

For the fit, there’s only two things I’ll note. The first is that, as with most Taylor Stitch garments I find the cuffs slightly too small, as they have trouble falling nicely over a watch (if at all). Second, I do wish the inside of the cuffs was also lined, as the material can be scratchy against your wrists.

Performance

The performance here is really all about how well the nylon and wool out weigh the cotton content in the jacket. And I think it tamps down the cotton really well. It’s not going to be my pick for any scenario where I need to rely on staying warm when wet. But for those times when you want a good jacket that can perform well, this could fit the bill.

The weight of it is a mid-weight, and that works well here in Houston for the winter, and most other cooler areas for the spring/fall seasons. If you size up, you could easily layer under it, or stay true to size and you could wear an overcoat.

The one aspect of this jacket I can’t escape is that I think it will be substantially better once more broken in. Because it does wear stiff, like a true work jacket does when new, and generally this means the fabric will break in and relax with more wear. As it does that, I can see this only getting more comfortable to wear.

There’s enough wool in that you don’t need to worry about poor performance. Enough nylon that you don’t need to fully baby it. But there does remain enough cotton to keep this from being a true performance jacket.

Overall

I look at this more as a really heavy over shirt, or shirt jacket. I don’t think it works as well with a button down as it does with a t-shirt. What that does mean is that you can easily wear this on cool summer evenings too.

I look forward to this breaking in more.

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

Taylor Stitch Long Haul Jacket in Wool Beach Cloth