When you live deep in the heart of Texas you really only have two seasons. You have the comfortably warm days between November and May, and then you have the blast furnace known as summer that runs June through October when the mercury rises to 100ºF (38ºC) and pretty much stays there for weeks on end.
If you’re an outdoor enthusiast you don’t want to stay cooped up inside for all those months, so you have to find ways to enjoy your favorite activities while remaining as cool and comfortable as possible. Thanks to improvements in our technical clothing this has become easier than ever before. Our apparel is now breathable and moisture wicking, while remaining stylish at the same time.
The Duluth Trading Co., a clothing company that has earned a reputation for making durable and good looking apparel for the workplace, has turned its nearly 25 years of experience on the outdoor market. Their talented designers have come up with a unique way to create clothing that is noticeably cooler than gear from competitors.
They decided to weave microscopic jade particles into the fabric under the theory that those tiny particles will reflect the heat and keep the wearer nice and cool. Those same fabrics also happen to be ultra-lightweight, wicking and breathable, while also remaining durable enough to wear on our demanding outdoor adventures.
In theory, this combination of qualities should make for a fantastic piece of gear for use in warm conditions. How does it perform in the real world? I recently put two of their pieces of gear to the test in order to find out.
Men’s Long Sleeve Armachillo Shirt ($59.50)
The Duluth Trading Co. has long been known for their excellent work shirts. The company was founded by two brothers working in the construction business who identified qualities that they would need out of their apparel while on a job site. Over the years, their designs have evolved and become more refined to the point that their shirts have become highly functional and good looking at the same time.
That legacy shows through in the Armachillo shirt’s design as well and the result is a great looking shirt that you can comfortably wear while hanging around home, running errands around town or traveling to the far flung corners of the globe.
This shirt weighs next to nothing (2.35 ounces/66.6 grams) and features two large, functional pockets right on the chest. The left pocket includes a handy pencil holder while the right incorporates a cell phone sleeve. High quality buttons and durable fabrics round out this attractive, classic looking shirt that has both a modern and throwback look at the same time.
As mentioned the shirt uses high-tech fabrics that breathe well, wick moisture away from the skin and offer UPF 40 levels of protection from the sun. Those same fabrics are covered in an antimicrobial finish that helps fight odors and of course they have those tiny chips of jade incorporated into the design. All of that makes for a great shirt for anyone who is outside for extended periods of time as it truly is comfortable and cool.
I haven’t had a chance to test this shirt in the blazing heat yet, but temperatures have already been quite warm on several occasions here this spring. I’ve worn this Armachillo shirt while on afternoon hikes and on nights out on the town and it has performed extremely well thus far. Best of all, it is quite comfortable and I happen to like the way it looks and fits too.
If you’re in the market for a great shirt to wear while hiking, backpacking or traveling, this is certainly an impressive option. I love that it is versatile enough to do all of those things while also serving well as a work shirt or a casual out-on-the-town shirt. I’m not sure how much the integrated jade particles help, but the Armachillo long sleeve shirt definitely lives up to the marketing hype.
Armachillo Cargo Shorts ($54.50)
When the mercury rises I pretty much live in a pair of shorts. I wear them constantly and expect them to be comfortable without restricting motion. Plenty of deep pockets are nice too and it helps if they also breathe to help keep me cool. It doesn’t hurt if they look good too so I can wear them just about everywhere.
The Duluth Trading Co.’s Armachillo Cargo Short meet those qualifications and then some. Made from high quality ripstop nylon, these shorts are quick drying, lightweight and form fitting without preventing natural movements. It has nicely sized cargo pockets that are perfect for carrying a cell phone or other small items you want to keep close at hand. The elastic waistline includes an integrated belt that does its job nicely without sticking out like a sore thumb.
Of course, these shorts also feature DTC’s ingrained jade chips to help keep the wearer cooler as well as all the other great features found on the Armachillo shirt. They breathe well, they protect from the sun (UPF 40) and they also feature the same antimicrobial treatment. All of that comes in handy on active days on the trail or just relaxing at the beach.
I have to admit that when I first put these shorts on I was a little concerned about the fit. They were a bit snug around my legs, which I thought would bother me once I went for a hike or did something else fairly active. Turns out after a few minutes I didn’t even think about it any longer and never noticed it after that. Because they’re so good at moving with your body as it goes through its natural motions, these are the kind of shorts you’re going to want to wear no matter what you’re doing.
These two pieces of clothing complimented each other very well, both in looks and performance. Now that I have them in my wardrobe, I’m not so concerned about the impending heat-wave that we call summer here in Texas. I feel like I’m outfitted to enjoy the season without compromise. And I’ll even look good doing it.
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