The Solumbra ‘Active Pants‘ are a pair of lightweight, durable, and high sun level protective pants designed for just about anybody for use in just about any outdoor type of activity.
I received mine from Solumbra, a company that has been a sponsor of mine for a few years, when I ordered/bought some other Solumbra garments. The pants got added into the box and I have been really happy that Solumbra tossed them in, as I have now worn the pants for over 400+ days – while out on working on building new hiking trail routes, while hiking throughout California (from the Redwoods to Death Valley), and around town and at home. Solumbra wanted me to give them a go and let them know how they would hold up to the type of long term outdoor testing that I tend to put gear through, much like what I did with the 600+ consecutive days of wear/testing of the Solumbra, Ultra Athlete Shirt and Pants that I bought a number of years ago and wore from 2013 onward until I started wearing these Solumbra ‘Active Pants‘.
It seems it is time for the hiking blogosphere to start posting their “Christmas Lists” – I have already seen three or four just in the last week.
I had an article about 95% of the way written, and decided to delete it and do something different. The idea pop’ed into my brain to write up ‘my favorite piece of gear from my sponsors‘, but the more I thought about that, the more I realized I just could not decide on a single piece of gear from a couple of my sponsors. For instance, I have over 2000 days of use with the Montbell Dynamo Wind Pants and my absolute love for the Montbell U.L. Thermawrap Jacket would make it impossible for me to pick between the two. (opps, guess I just gave away that companies two favorites, doh!). The same could be said of companies like Six Moon Designs and ZPacks. So I figured the only way I could make this happen is if I picked two pieces of gear from each company that sponsors me!
After my 600+ day review, the kind folks at Solumbra, who are a sponsor of mine, asked if I would want to try giving their BodyShade Workout Athletic T-Shirt a try. It was a garment I had seen on their website previously but had not yet purchased. The BodyShade Workout Athletic T-Shirt is a newer garment in the Solumbra lineup of products and they were wanted to know how it would handle day after day after day of use, such as how I tend to put garments to the test.
While I was placing the order for the TShirt I decided to also order up a pair of the Solumbra Active Pants, thinking it might match better with the TShirt than my Ultra Athlete Pants, and glad that I did.
I started off with a white color BodyShade Workout Athletic T-Shirt and here recently bought a sky blue color one. The white one was just getting too big for me, as I had ordered a large, and it was time to order a medium. Went with the sky blue in hopes of reducing the dirt factor that comes along with being an active hiker and trail runner.
I first reviewed these two garments in August 2013 and in mid 2014 I decided to start wearing these two garments full time, until they gave out, I no longer like them, or I decide to start testing something else. So far, now 600+ consecutive days later, none of those three things have happened. When combined together with my original white colour non full zip, and my current stone colour full zip shirt, I have over 800 days wearing an Ultra Athlete Shirt.
Most of the specifics of these garments, such as weight, can be viewed in my initial review. I am not going to rehash through all the specs and such within this review, instead I want to focus on these two garments from the perspective of wearing them daily over the course of a year and a half.
The purpose of this long term usage test was not to see how the garments would perform in regards to thermoregulation – that is already known, but rather how the fabric and construction would hold up to long term use. As I have mentioned previously when talking about Solumbra garments, I have encountered other hikers that have been wearing the same Solumbra shirt for twenty plus years while out on the trail. Getting used on-trail for four or five months by PCT hikers is a great testament – but getting used for 500+ days at a time, well that puts things into my world of usage and testing.
So, how have these two pieces of garments lasted? Read on!
Earlier this year I set out to find an alternative way of hiking in the hot sunny weather of Southern California. Something that did not involve me getting sunburned or carrying the heavy 8.11 ounce GoLite Umbrella that I and many other long distance hikers have used for years. Granted I turn a rather nice shade of golden brown when I get a nice bit of sun on me, but living under the Redwood forest canopy of Northern California for the better part of two decades has not allowed me to keep that nice suntan that I always had while growing up in the Mojave desert. Recently I have been hiking different sections of the PCT in SoCal, and spending time in Joshua Tree National Park and Death Valley, trying to find the best route for my Highest to Lowest trail/hike I am planning.
I was able to find a number of different companies claiming that they provided SPF clothing that was in the 15-30 range, but the real stand-out in the sun clothing world was a product line called “Solumbra” from a company called Sun Precaution. This is a company that designs and makes all of their clothing in Seattle Washington USA.
As most of my longtime readers know, I rarely write reviews on pieces of gear (clothing, shelters, backpacks, whatever) that I have not tested a lot and for a long time. I will typically spend an entire hiking season (or sometimes three or four) before I contemplate writing a review for a piece of gear – this is what makes me stand apart from other authors and gear reviewers in the outdoor community, along with the fact that I traditionally only focus on SUL/XUL hiking. There have only been a few rare exceptions when I have broken that rule of mine, and I think with this clothing from Sun Precaution it is going to be one of those times — the reason being: sometimes a product just proves itself from the very get-go, and this clothing proved itself to me within the first two weeks of me using it. Truthfully, it proved itself within a matter of hours, but I gave it a good three or four days before I allowed myself to whisper to myself “wow, this stuff actually works!”