Posts Tagged ExOfficio
I have a new best friend for water play and summer travel! The Exofficio Sol Cool Ultimate Hoody is the latest from Exofficio’s Sol Cool line, utilizing the company’s Icefil treated fabric and offering sun protection up to UPF 50+. Like all Sol Cool products, this hoody breathes wonderfully: on a hot day, it wicks away sweat so well, I’d rather be wearing it than nothing but a swim suit.
The ultimate hoody is more than just a swim cover-up (though it does that well, too): you get underarm mesh ventilation, which means it performs well while river rafting, kayaking, and just about any other activity on or around the water. There’s a nicely sized security zip pocket for keys or a room card, and side cinches that can give you a roomier fit or slimmer fit.
The full-sized hood is just as light as the rest of the hoody, and includes a drawcord for a nice fit when needed. I wore mine with a hood on a particularly hot day in Death Valley National Park less than a week ago: I pulled the hood up over my sun hat to keep the sun off the back of my neck. I also appreciated the thumb loops and the fact that Sol Cool fabric is odor-resistant (or perhaps the others in my party appreciated that even more than me).
The hoody is form-fitting without being clingy, as it’s made from 91% polyester and 9% spandex, and comes in XS-XL in Oyster (kind of a gray), Pizazz (pink) and Varsity (dark blue). Trust me, if you like the hoody, you’ll be back to Exofficio to purchase more from the Sol Cool line. You’ll pay $75 for the ultimate hoody, but will wear it nearly daily when traveling on water or in humid, hot environments. Find it on Amazon and Moosejaw as well, for a bit less.
See Tim’s earlier review of the Sol Cool Hoody for Men.
When ExOfficio debuted its travel underwear some eight years ago, you could have any color you wanted as long as you wanted black or gray. Like the “minimum viable product” touted in The Lean Startup, this test was a raging success as frequent travelers like me snatched them up and spread the word. Each year since, more colors and designs have rolled out the door.
The women have had more varieties to choose from than the men since, let’s face it, we’re not known to be all that particular about the color of our underwear. I’ve been trying out some new styles lately in my travels, however, refreshing the underwear pocket of my bag with some fresh looks.
Give-N-Go Travel Briefs
First up, the Give-N-Go briefs, which now come in 12 different colors. You gotta like the names: stop, go, rescue (pictured here), and curfew, for example. No, I haven’t been reading Men’s Health enough to get abs like the model in that photo, but I do tend to use briefs more than boxers, so I pack these for every trip. They pack tight, which is always good, but the main reason ExOfficio sells these by the truckload is that you can wash them in the sink at night and have dry drawers by morning. Heck, an hour if you put them in the afternoon sun.
These briefs are extremely comfortable and built to last. I’ve got a pair of boxers I’ve had since 30-some country visits ago and I’m sure these will be around just as many years. You can get them direct from the company for $20 or less or order them from Moosejaw.
Sport Mesh Boxer Briefs
When some people think of travel they picture cocktails on the beach and swinging in a hammock. Others look at that as torture and would rather be shredding a trail on a mountain bike, climbing rocks, or hiking 15 miles a day through the wilderness.
This underwear is for them. More like what athletes would wear than sidewalk surfers, these stretchy wicking briefs are for active pursuits where you need some support. Like all the Give-N-Go options, they’re treated to be odor-resistant as well. Made from nylon and lycra, they add almost no weight to your bag. Although these have more fabric than the regular boxers or briefs, they still compress down small. You can get the 6-inch length pictured here or longer 9-inch ones.
This Deluvian Rain Trench is a sister jacket to the cool Storm Logic puffy winter one I reviewed a while back. And a sibling to the women’s Deluvian Trench, which looks totally different but shares similar fabric and pocket systems.
This is a nice-looking rain jacket that keeps you warm and dry without making you sweat. It’s got a breathable membrane to keep the moisture out, plus a fabric treatment on the surface to repel the rain. Snaps on the sleeve give you a tight clasp around the wrists and naturally all the seams are sealed.
The removable hood is a little bigger than I would like—apparently sized to accommodate a helmet for spring skiing—but it definitely keeps the downpours off your face. I’ve worn this in weather from sprinkles to downright deluges to test it out and with waterproof hiking shoes on as well, the only things that got wet were my legs.
What takes this from just being an attractive raincoat to being a real travel jacket though is the cool pocket system inside. Like a Scottevest that’s not an extra piece of clothing, this has pockets for your passport, keys, smartphone, pens, and more. I really appreciate this when I’m going through the security line at the airport. I stuff everything in pockets, then don’t have to fish things out of a bin on the other side and put them back in my pants.
The pockets are also useful when I’m out sightseeing and don’t feel like carrying around a daypack. There’s even one pocket for a small camera and another that will hold a notebook. My only complaint, raised in my Storm Logic review, is that the smartphone pocket is too small, especially with headphones plugged in. ExOfficio says they’re making that pocket larger in next year’s versions. (So if you have a Galaxy, hold on a bit.) You still get an outside zippered chest pocket and two zippered side pockets to put your hands in.
I like the styling of this ExOfficio rain jacket because it doesn’t really look like anything else. From the fabric texture to the flap covering the zipper, it’s got a more upscale, urban look than a typical technical shell that will keep you dry. Just keep in mind it’s sized for Americans with some extra girth to cover, so if you’re slim you’ll have lots of extra space. Of course that means you can put on a sweater or a thick base layer without it getting tight.
The price on the men’s Deluvian Trench is a selling point as well. It lists for $188, but as I write this it’s $145 on the ExOfficio site. You can also check prices online at Moosejaw and Backcountry.
The three colors are more NYC than LA: muted coffee, seaweed, and a “black” that’s really gray. This is one to wear to look sophisticated in your urban travels, not like you’re on an expedition climbing Mount Hood.
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David Lee is a the founder of two popular travel blogs, Go Backpacking and Medellin Living. He considers himself a minimalist, and when not on the move is based in Medellin, Colombia. So Dave, what do you always pack?
In 2013, I challenged myself to begin traveling ultralight, with nothing but a 1,950 cubic inch North Face Big Shot backpack. Traveling with a small backpack requires boiling down what I take with me to the bare essentials. Here are 5 things I still find room to carry with me when traveling.
Nylon dry bags are much lighter than the rubber rafting type, and are perfect for protecting clothes and gear against rain, snow, dirt and sand. The type of travel I do often requires taking small river boats, throwing my backpack on the roof of a minibus, or going on multi-day treks. Using dry sacks allows me to relax, knowing my stuff is protected.
They’re also useful for keeping things organized, and can be used as compression sacks to help you fit more clothes into less space. I use a small one to carry my money, passport and documents, and a larger one rolled up at the bottom of my backpack in the event I want to protect everything I’ve got with me.
2. Petzl Zipka 2 LED Headlamp
Hands-free LED headlamps are incredibly useful for camping, trekking and caving, as well as navigating hostel dorm rooms while everyone else is asleep. I’m a fan of the Zipka model because it’s designed with a retractable cord mechanism, versus the typical headband, thus making it smaller and lighter. This also allows you to easily wear it on your wrist, or fasten it to an object.
I carry a hat for sun protection, which became especially important after I began shaving my head in my twenties. Earlier, I’d used bandannas or baseball caps, but since 2010, I’ve been sporting woven hats, which are more traditional amongst the older generations in Latin America.
I’d been hearing the praise about ExOfficio boxers for years before I finally bought a few pairs myself. Now I can’t imagine wearing anything else. They’re extremely comfortable, lightweight, durable and easy to clean.
5. Mophie Juice Pack Air
When I’m traveling to new places, I rely heavily on my iPhone 4S to share thoughts and images via social media apps. Whether using WiFi or a local 3G cellular data connection, the battery drains quickly. The Mophie Juice Pack Air doubles the battery life of my iPhone 4S, allowing me greater use between recharges. There’s also an iPhone 5/5s version.
We review a whole lot of travel gear on this blog every week, some of it good, some of it so great we can’t stop talking about it. Out of the 250+ travel and outdoor adventure items we used and abused this year, here’s what the four of us liked the best. And for those keeping score from what’s below, yes Eagle Creek and ExOfficio are always safe bets when you walk out the door to some place on the other side of the globe…
Jill Robinson’s Favorite Gear of the Year
This year had me all over the map, from adventures in Africa to diving in Fiji. Often, I only had a couple of days between trips to unpack and repack again, so my favorite travel gear items are ones that helped me most along the way. The one item that was nearly always in my bag (except for those hot, tropical locations) was the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Jacket. It’s so compressible that I’ve crammed it into small pockets in my carry-on luggage on a handful of trips. Once unpacked, it keeps me warm in the coldest climates.
The bag I used most this year, aside from my tried-and-true Gregory Cache 22 (a favorite from 2012), was the Eagle Creek Gear Warrior. The duffel on wheels has handy grab loops, stashes tons of gear, and is far sturdier than any duffel I’ve tried to date.
The two brands I turned to again and again, were Icebreaker and ExOfficio. Icebreaker’s quality merino wool clothing, from skirts to neck gaiters, keeps me warm (or cool, as the case may be) and allows for numerous wear days before washing. If that’s not your dream as a traveler, you haven’t been traveling long enough. ExOfficio clothing kept bugs away from me and also allowed me to look like the most dressed-up person in the room while out on safari in Namibia.
My best bargain items are the GoTubb Containers, which snap open and shut with ease, but not by themselves, so you can rely on them staying shut when you travel. Plus, when it’s time to open them, you can even do so with one hand. Sometimes, those simple things are like magic when you’re traveling.
Ramsey Qubein’s Travel Gear Favorites
My travel schedule in 2013 was as hectic as ever, but I loved every minute of it. For me, comfort and flexibility are paramount, which is why my 20Jeans went with me on half my trips. They are comfortable, soft, and (since my pair is a khaki color) ideal for business casual meetings as well as travel days.
Rolling through the airport with my Briggs & Riley Torq Spinner was a cinch thanks to the four wheels (my new must-have for travel luggage). I loved the fact that the bag looks so different from other peoples’ carry-on meaning no one will mistakenly pick it up as their own.
But, what good is having an easy-to-roll bag if your feet hurt from walking so much? My favorite travel shoe of the year is my pair of Clark’s Clutch Engine shoes for their comfort and versatility. I could be on a weeklong trip, and only carry one pair of shoes.
For the rare day when I was at home, the DefenderPad laptop shield was a great way for me to catch up on work with my laptop while lounging on the sofa or in bed. It kept my legs from getting too warm and also doubles as a great tray for eating on the sofa!
Amy Whitley’s Family Travel Outdoor Gear Picks
For me, 2013 was the year of wilderness travel for me and my gang, and my top travel gear reflects this. It’s hard to pick just one favorite, but topping my list has to be my Osprey Verve 5 L, reviewed in this hydration pack round-up post. Not only did the Verve get me through ski season well hydrated, but it continued to work hard throughout summer mountain hikes and desert road trips. I even got gross chair lift oil on my Verve, and it came out good as new.
What else did I reach for again and again? My pair of Tilley Endurables Venture Trek Pants. I wore these pants almost continually during a five-day river rafting trip, and then brought them along to backpack in the Trinity Alps. What makes them great: they’re lightweight, stain-resistant, quick-drying, and convertible.
Lastly, I wouldn’t be where I am today (literally) without my Eagle Creek Flipswitch carry-on. The Flipswitch has logged almost as many air miles as I have (or rather, as my son has, because he’s successfully stolen it from me). It’s endured the inconvenience of TSA checks, the stress ofoverhead storage bin wars, and the abuse of a teen boy.
Tim Leffel’s Digital Nomad Gear Picks
This past year I traveled to Europe and up and down the Americas, moving my family to the highlands of central Mexico in the latter half.
There was a lot of hiking, biking, and sidewalk surfing in there, so as usual I was wearing a lot of different travel pants. At least two of these four have gone in my bag on every trip this year: Craghoppers Kiwi Stretch Pants, ExOfficio Kukura Trek’r stretchy pants, the lighter revamped nylon P^Cubed Adventure Pants, and the super light Mountain Khakis Equatorial Pants.
In a sea of similar luggage, the Eagle Creek Morphus bag pictured above stood out for its transformer properties. It’s a backpack, a carry-on, a rolling checked suitcase, or two separate bags. Very cool. Maybe not as cool, but just super-useful for traveling with a laptop and gadgets is this Deuter Giga Laptop backpack.
Light packers who avoid baggage fees often carry a secret: little packets and pouches that expand on the other end to be bags and daypacks. I’ve used the Sea to Summit waterproof one a lot and it holds an amazing amount of stuff.
A few years back my year-end picks included the original ExOfficio Storm Logic jacket that turned into a travel pillow. The new Storm Logic has added a slew of pockets for all the things a traveler is carrying and it’s even better. (The Deluvian Rain Jacket that Jill reviewed and I will later also has the pocket system.)
I hardly went or lived anywhere cloudy, so I tried out a lot of sunglasses this year. These Costa del Mar Tuna Alley ones I’m wearing above are the shades I keep reaching for without thinking. They’re pretty darn close to perfect.
My favorite inexpensive gadget item was the GSI Coffee Press mug. I’ve probably used this 50 times already.
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