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California Cowboy High Water Shirt Review

If you could have the perfect after-pool or post-beach shirt, what would it look like?

Would it have a sunglass holder?

Would it be lined with the softest towel-like material?

Would it have a dry pocket that you could slide your iPhone in so that you could take it to the pool or beach without worrying about keeping it dry?

Would it have a pocket to stash an extra beer or seltzer?

Would it come with a bottle opener and coozie?

Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it?

But California Cowboy lives on making your beachwear / poolwear dreams a reality.

California Cowboy High Water Shirt
California Cowboy High Water Shirt

This summer they’ve released their High Water Shirt, which is the amalgamation of all these possibilities.

Over the last month I’ve been hanging out in Costa Rica. Pura Vida, all the way.

A lot of time at the beach and pool and this shirt has become a stable in my daily attire.

California Cowboy High Water Shirt
California Cowboy High Water Shirt

It is lined with terry cloth, so I can hop out of the pool, put it on and be dry and comfortable.

I have three kids, so I’m always chasing after them. Sunglasses stashed on the head or easy to lose, so having a sunglass holder built into the shirt is amazing.

California Cowboy High Water Shirt
California Cowboy High Water Shirt

Likewise, being able to carry an extra beverage or two is very important. The High Water Shirt has that covered with their beverage pocket.

California Cowboy High Water Shirt
California Cowboy High Water Shirt

It’s easy to keep a cold one safe while you’re sipping on another one. Or, if you’re chasing after kids, stash your beverage into your pocket for safe keeping.

If you’re at the beach, it’s also a great pocket for stashing seashells.

Finally, there is the dry pocket. It can easily hold a iPhone Pro Max, wallet, and keys.

Needless to say, the product design on this is fantastic.

California Cowboy High Water Shirt
California Cowboy High Water Shirt

I love this product and it is going with me to the pool and beach every time I go.

You can purchase the High Water Shirt on their website. I am 5’11”, 185 pounds, and wear a size Large.

Showers Pass Apex Merino Tech T-Shirt Review

The Showers Pass Apex Merino Wool Tech is an extremely comfortable performance t-shirt. They sent us one to test and it’s been the perfect companion on many rides and hikes.

Showers Pass Apex Merino Tech T-Shirt
Showers Pass Apex Merino Tech T-Shirt

The Apex Merino Tech is made with 87% Merino Wool and 13% Nylon blend.

Merino Wool is a powerhouse of a fabric. It provides antimicrobial protection from odors and natural breathability. This makes the Apex Merino Tech the perfect shirt for long activities. When testing Merino Wool products, I always like to see how long I can go between washes before the stink sets in. I did a nice sweaty five-mile run, two 15 mile bike rides, and a four hour hike before I felt that I needed to put it in the wash. Given this performance, I am planning to take this on an overnight backpacking trip.

Showers Pass Apex Merino Tech T-Shirt

The Apex Merino Tech is also designed to reduce chafing. The sleeves and side panels have flatlocked stitching to reduce chafing. During testing with backpacks or hydration packs, I found that the shirt moved less than other performance fabrics, reducing the movement that my packs typically did.

I also appreciate that Showers Pass shirts have a longer back to keep the shirt from riding up. This is a great feature while cycling, reducing back exposure as you’re bent over the handlebars.

Unpacking the shipping box, I was immediately impressed by how light and soft this shirt was. You can tell how much thought and care Showers Pass put into this shirt.

Showers Pass Apex Merino Tech T-Shirt
Showers Pass Apex Merino Tech T-Shirt

The fit is on the slimmer side, but is perfect for the types of activities I’ve taken it on.

It was also comfortable when paired with their Cloudburst Jacket.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a performance t-shirt this summer, Merino Wool and this shirt from Shower Pass is a must buy.

I am 5’11” and 185 pounds and wear a size large.

You can purchase the Apex Merino Tech T-Shirt on their website for $75. Well worth it and it will last for several seasons.

KÜHL’s AIRSPEED™ Men’s Shirt Review

KÜHL sent our team the AIRSPEED shirt to review and I was immediately impressed.

Pirate Blue
KÜHL’s AIRSPEED™ Men’s Shirt

Colorado summers where I live are warm and dry with temperatures fluctuating from early morning to evening. Higher in the mountains, you get a wider range and lower low points in the morning and evening.

I found this shirt to be the perfect outdoor companion for those types of days.

For our test, I took this on an overnight camping and hiking trip.

The AIRSPEED is a long-sleeve shirt, which provides ample, UPF 30+, coverage. It was warm enough for cool mornings hiking through the woods. As the day heated up, the cuffs roll up easily to attach to a button located mid-bicep.

It is constructed using three different fabric types:

  • Fabric 1: 72% Nylon, 28% Polyester | 88 GSM
  • Fabric 2: 85% Polyester, 15% Cotton | 160 GSM
  • Fabric 3: (Mesh): 85% Polyester, 15% Cotton | 160 GSM

This combination of fabrics makes the AIRSPEED a breathable, high-performance shirt. The knit panels provide ventilation and stretch for easy movement. The sleeves are designed with five panels for freedom of motion; making it easy to set up the tent or cast a fishing line.

Pirate Blue
KÜHL’s AIRSPEED™ Men’s Shirt

Throughout the testing period, I found this shirt to be extremely comfortable. While hiking with a backpack on, my back did get sticky. It’s worth noting that the fabric isn’t “moisture wicking,” but as KÜHL describes it: “moisture managing.”

But after my hike, as I rested at the camp site, the shirt dried out quickly.

Additional features on this shirt include:

  • Zipper security pocket where I was easily able to stash my driver’s license and credit card
  • Hidden, button-down collar
  • Two button-down chest pockets for additional storage
  • Sunglass cleaner inside bottom left placket
Pirate Blue
KÜHL’s AIRSPEED™ Men’s Shirt

This is an extremely functional and durable shirt. Perfect companion for the outdoors. And it pairs really well with our recently reviewed KÜHL RENEGADE pant.

I am 5’11” and 185 pounds and wear a size large. Found that it fit true to size.

You can purchase this on their website or at your favorite outdoor store.

KÜHL’s RENEGADE Men’s Pant Review

KÜHL’s PR team sent me a pair of their RENEGADE Men’s Pant to test out. The KÜHL’s RENEGADE Men’s Pant delivered just in time for a trip I made down to San Antonio.

Koal
KÜHL’s RENEGADE Men’s Pant

While it is a great pair of pants for hiking and camping, it also became my favorite pants for travel.

It’s exclusive DURALUX fabric is a blend of 95% Nylon and 5% Spandex. It makes for a light, breathable pant. But these pants are tough! On a hike I lost my footing and slid on my butt over some loose gravel. “Oh no!” I thought, turning around to see if there was a hole or tear on my backside, but there wasn’t. Not even a slight abrasion! I could point to several other brands’ pants in my closet that have abrasions or tears from similar falls.

Movement is great in these, as well. KÜHL’s RENEGADE were designed with articulated knees and a gusseted crotch. Climbing and scrambling over rocks was easy in these. I didn’t feel that there was a time where the fabric was too tight in these over-articulated movements.

Koal
KÜHL’s RENEGADE Men’s Pant

What made these great for traveling was all the pockets; eight in total! There’s a side pocket that is big enough for a cell phone to slip in. There are two zippered pockets on the sides that were great to hold my wallet and AirPod headphones.

It’s also worth noting that these pants offer sun protection (UPF 50+) which is perfect for longer days out in nature.

I’m also a big fan of the style of these pants. They are comfortable, but they look good. When I met other team members in San Antonio they commented that I look like someone from Colorado, so mission accomplished!

These pants are available in a handful of different earth tones.

I’m 5’11” and wear a 34×32 and found them true to size.

They are available for purchase on their website, but can also be found in your favorite outdoor retailer.

Ibex Wool Aire Hoodie Review

We’ve covered Ibex in the past, including why Merino Wool rocks when it comes to outdoor adventuring.

Ibex recently sent us their Wool Aire Hoodie to review. And it came at the perfect time, just as a cold snap was descending on the Front Range.

Men's Wool Aire Hoodie
Ibex Wool Aire Hoodie

I was surprised opening the package. I knew they were sending me a jacket, but what was this mysterious package and why was it so light? Certainly this wasn’t the jacket! But it was.

The Wool Aire Hoodie is surprisingly light. A women’s medium is only 10 ounces. Mine, a men’s large, weighed in at 12.7 ounces. When wearing it, it is so lightweight that I often forget that I’m wearing a jacket. If feels similar to a windbreaker, but offers a lot more protection from the cold.

Men's Wool Aire Hoodie
Ibex Wool Aire Hoodie

For testing, I wore it for cold morning walks with the dog and on a few hikes. Even on brutally windy red flag days, the Wool Aire Hoodie helped keep my body temperature just right (part of the magic of Merino Wool) and was breathable and moisture-wicking.

During a long hike, I especially appreciated the temperature control of Merino Wool. I was comfortable throughout without experience any sweaty discomfort or chilliness. When it got too warm for the jacket, it was also compact enough to tuck into my pack without taking up much space.

It also fits well. I’m 5’11” and 180 pounds. A large fit true to size and the athletic fit was perfect for my lean and somewhat muscular frame. While it offers great insulation, the jacket doesn’t look like a puffy jacket. It looks really good and sharp!

Men's Wool Aire Hoodie
Ibex Wool Aire Hoodie

It features two hand pockets and a stash pocket on the left breast.

The scuba style hood was great, as well. Not a ton of excess fabric, but it moved well with my head as I leaned from side to side or bent down.

Since we’re publishing this close to Earth Day, it’s worth noting that the Ibex Wool Aire Hoodie is sustainable, as well.

The Wool Aire Hoodie is made from polyester, Merino Wool, and virgin nylon. All Ibex Merino Wool is sustainably sourced and the virgin nylon is made with Bluesign certified nylon, meaning that it using as few chemical inputs as possible. And with it’s wind- and water-resistance, it was made free of poly- and perfluorinated chemicals.

Men's Wool Aire Hoodie
Ibex Wool Aire Hoodie

If you’re in the market for a new jacket, I highly recommend the Ibex Wool Aire Hoodie. It’s the perfect lightweight performance jacket for the backcountry, but stylish enough for listening to live music at the beer garden. It looks great and performs well. It’s overall quality is insanely good and I can imagine it lasting for years.

Sleep Well In DKOTA Grizzly Cade Pants

I am really excited to share with you that I have found the perfect everyday sleepwear pants from DKOTA Grizzly: the Cade Pants.

DKOTA Grizzly Cade Pants
DKOTA Grizzly Cade Pants

They are made with a blend of Cotton, Polyester, and Baby French Terry. The Cade Pants have an elastic waistband with a drawcord, making them really flexible. There are four total pockets, including a hidden zippered pocket and back patch pocket.

Out of all my lounge pants, these are the most comfortable. They have become my go-to sleepwear and weekend lounge pants. The Cade Pants are perfect for sleeping in, but also rolling out of bed to take the dog for a walk.

During a winter camping trip, I also found that these were warm and comfortable enough in my sleeping bag. I didn’t feel overheated or cold.

The Cade Pants can be found at many of DKOTA Grizzly’s retail partners. If you visit their Find Retailer page, you can locate a retailer near you. There are multiple colors available and they retail for $68.

I normally wear 34×32 pants and I wear a large.

DKOTA Grizzly’s New Boone Shirt Review

During Outdoor Retailer, I had the chance to visit with the St. Louis based clothing manufacturer, DKOTA Grizzly.

Over the past several years, I’ve been visiting their booths and seeing their products at our local Scheel’s and have always been impressed with their attention to detail when it came to creating functional and stylish clothing.

DKOTA Grizzly specializes in men’s rugged-casual clothing.

Their team walked me through their Spring ’22 line and I could immediately see how their product design had evolved from heavier fabrics to performance fabrics, making DKOTA Grizzly a “crossover brand” that can allow wearers to transition from the gym to work.

A majority of their new products, including the Boone shirt, that we’ll dive into more detail on, were created with active stretch a movement fabrics; making it the perfect spring or summer companion.

DKOTA Grizzly Boone Long-Sleeve Shirt
DKOTA Grizzly Boone Long-Sleeve Shirt

DKOTA Grizzly sent us their new Boone shirt to test out.

This shirt is made from a Nylon / Spandex blend. It is light and breathable. During testing, I wore it on a hike during a fairly warm spring day and found it to be very comfortable. The fabric itself was very cool, which I think would be a great pairing in summer when it is a bit warmer. Or, at the least, pairing it with a jacket on cooler days.

The Boone also has two hidden zippered chest pockets. Now, when it comes to button-up shirts, I don’t really ever use my chest pockets. But I liked the style of the zippers. Typically when buttons or snaps, it was always a pain to undo the button. The zippers made it a heckuvalot easier to access.

DKOTA Grizzly also designed this shirt so that there’s a sunglass wipe on the lower hem and a loop inside to hang your sunglasses from.

It’s little things like this that made their product design standout and I found myself constantly surprised.

I’m a big fan of this shirt.

It’s still warming up in Colorado, but as Spring starts to settle in, this shirt will join me on many adventures. Whether I am fishing, paddle boarding, or boating.

The Boone can be found at many of DKOTA Grizzly’s retail partners. If you visit their Find Retailer page, you can locate a retailer near you.

DKOTA Grizzly New Boone Shirt

They also created another shirt called the Barkley, which is a short-sleeved variation for what we tested.

To learn more about their manufacturing practices, you can visit their website: dakotagrizzly.com.

Swiftwick FLITE XT® TRAIL Sock Review

Swiftwick recently launched their new FLITE XT® TRAIL line of socks and sent our team of product testers a couple pairs to test.

Swiftwick® FLITE XT® TRAIL
Swiftwick® FLITE XT® TRAIL

Previously we had highlighted the Swiftwick VIBE™ and Swiftwick PURSUIT™, but this new sock line was built for the trail and built for speed.

The FLITE XT® TRAIL combines Merino wool and Swiftwick’s proprietary GripDry™ Fiber that is incorporated into the heel and forefoot of the sock to provide traction and grip inside the shoe. When tearing down the steep terrain of Mount Sanitas, the sock stayed in place, not sliding or bunching as my foot shifted in my shoe.

Around the ankle, Swiftwick uses their AnkleLock™ Technology with strong elastic to make sure that the sock stays in place, but also provides a sense of stability on rocky terrain.

Over the course of our testing, we wore them in a variety of conditions, including trail-running and snowshoeing. During these colder activities, we found that the Merino wool performed as expected. During these activities, we never felt like our foot was overheated or too cold.

“After the release of our original FLITE XT® socks, designed with advanced stability technology, we heard growing feedback from our hike and trail running customers on their love for the line’s performance features,” said Joanna Mariani, Chief Marketing Officer of Swiftwick. 

“Using that feedback, we set out to combine the FLITE XT’s signature stability features with the natural wonders of Merino wool to provide the best-performing outdoor sock on the market. FLITE XT TRAIL was inspired by our customers and ardently crafted by our team– we’re excited to see what adventures our customers take these socks on.” 

Swiftwick® FLITE XT® TRAIL
Swiftwick® FLITE XT® TRAIL

These socks are a welcome addition to our gear closets. We’re looking forward to ultra season and being able to put more miles on these.

The FLITE XT TRAIL sock line launches in a Two and Five cuff height. Learn more about the FLITE XT TRAIL line at : https://swiftwick.com/pages/flite-xt-trail

Ibex Woolies 2 Base Layers Review

We recently covered Ibex’s Woolies Tech Crew and Bottoms.

Since that review, Ibex launched their new Woolies 2 Base Layers and sent us a pair to test in the snow.

Ibex Woolies 2 Crew
Ibex Woolies 2 Crew

Ibex’s Woolies 2 Base Layers differ from the Woolies Tech in that they are 100% merino. They are a bit heavier, and more insulating as well at 240gsm. If you’re heading out for long hours in colder weather, the Woolies 2 is going to be your best option.

Ibex Woolies 2 Bottoms
Ibex Woolies 2 Bottoms

For testing, I took them out in a variety of conditions: trail-running, snowshoeing, and back country skiing. I found that during low-impact activities (showshoeing or skiing downhill) that these were the perfect match. I wasn’t too hot or too cold. But during heavier activities (trail-running and the ski ascent) they were too much.

For skiing, I had paired up the base layers with a mid-layer, shedding the mid-layer about halfway up to regulate my body temperature. When I had taken the Woolies Tech out into the backcountry, they were light enough so that when paired with a mid-layer, I felt perfectly comfortable.

Ibex Woolies 2 Bottoms
Ibex Woolies 2 Bottoms

One thing I’ll note with the Woolies 2 Bottoms was that no matter how heavy or light the activity was, I didn’t experience any chafing in the nether region.

There’s a lot to be said about why the Woolies 2 perform so well and it’s in part due to the magic of Merino wool. As mentioned in the previous review, Merino is a natural, high-performance fabric, in part because of the conditions these sheep live in. Winters can be below zero and summers as warm as 95ºF. The sheep’ coats have evolved so that the fibers react to the changes in body temperature. And this natural technology is passed along to its human wearers.

During a cold spell in Colorado, with temperatures dipping to -12ºF, I started to wear these base layers everyday. Even when I wasn’t playing outside, I wore them throughout the day for work, typically paired with a pair of jeans and flannel.

Ibex Woolies 2 Crew
Ibex Woolies 2 Crew

And they were extremely comfortable. If you’re in the camp of “Oh no, wool is so itchy!” you have to try Merino. It doesn’t itch and is so comfy and cozy.

Given that they regulate my body temperature so well, I also found these to perfect base layers to transition from the slopes to the ski lodge in. They weren’t wet from sweat and the natural odor control Merino has kept them from being stinky.

For the test, I wore a size large in Men’s. I am 5’11” and 180 pounds and it fit really well.

For information, you can head over to ibex.com. The Woolies 2 come in Men’s and Women’s sizes.

California Cowboy’s Western High Sierra Shirt Review

A couple weeks ago at Outdoor Retailer, I had the opportunity to chat with California Cowboy’s product designer, which cemented them (in my mind, at least) as one of the coolest new brands in the outdoor space.

Why?

Because they have infused a sense of fun into their product design. California Cowboy is all about products that help their customers embrace their inner cowboy. I grew up in rural Missouri, and a big part of my childhood experience was spent on my grandparent’s farm playing in the fields amongst their herd of cows.

This inner cowboy style was evident in our recently reviewed El Garibaldi Robe and all the more present in another product they sent us: their Western High Sierra Shirt.

Western High Sierra Shirt
Western High Sierra Shirt

It’s winter, so whether I am outdoors hiking or taking client calls in my chilly office, I do a lot of layering. And the Western High Sierra Shirt provides a comfortable and functional outer layer to any outfit.

This shirt was designed for Après Ski or “After Ski.” That time after you hit the slopes where you’re socializing in the lodge; sharing stories and beers as you warm up.

Western High Sierra Shirt
Western High Sierra Shirt

The Western High Sierra Shirt comes with California Cowboy’s signature beverage pocket. It’s perfect to stash your beer or a spare sandwich. It’s going to be my go-to for Super Bowl weekend, allowing me to stash an extra beer or free up my hands so I can fit as many wings as possible in my food hole.

Western High Sierra Shirt
Western High Sierra Shirt

But that is only one pocket of many. There’s a smaller side pocket that is perfect to stash a wallet or business cards in; a zippered dry pocket to keep your iPhone away from the snow or sloshing beers; and an inside pocket for a pen and notebook. Not to mention the two breast pockets to stash anything else.

Western High Sierra Shirt
Western High Sierra Shirt

The shirt also comes with a handy sunglass loop, so you don’t have to worry about losing your precious pair as you’re chilling or partying. I can’t tell you how many times I have lost my sunglasses that were perched on my head, so this is a lifesaver.

So, yes, I am a big fan of this shirt. Thanks to California Cowboy for sending me one to try out. From their booth at Outdoor Retailer, they are continue to innovate their product line and I am excited for what’s to come in 2022.

The shirt I tested was a Large. It fit great, even with layers. For reference, I am 5’11” and 185 lbs.