Saturday, May 7, 2016

Gear review Solumbra Ultra Athlete Full Zip Shirt and Pants by Sun Precautions

Gear review Solumbra Ultra Athlete Full Zip Shirt and Pants by Sun Precautions

The good – amazing customer service, great air flow in the shirt

The bad – not enough air flow in the pants

Buy recommendation – definitely on the shirt for desert hiking

I read a review on these shirts and pants from someone like me that has to stay out of direct sun. He had worn them for over a year and they were still his go to be in the sun suit.   In my case, it is skin cancer that keeps me covered up.  Knowing that I had to walk through a great deal of desert and that I would be wearing long sleeves and pants, I was willing to try these for their sun protection and ventilation.

Let’s start with the good.  These folks have superior customer service.  When I received them and tried on the pants I noticed I looked like I was waiting for a major flood.  As I couldn’t find anything on the website that said how long they were supposed to be, I called.  I found out my pair was a bit shorter than they should have been.  The lady on the phone said they would email a free return label as they did not meet specifications and asked me how long I would like the pants.  I told her 33” which is something like 3” longer than they usually are.  She told me that shouldn’t be a problem and that they could have them to me in two days if I would like to exchange rather than return.  I said yes please and sure enough two days later I had a pair that were 33” long.  Wow!!!  This kind of attention to customer needs still leaves me in shock.

The shirt and pants both have a complicated system to let the air in and keep the sun out.  It turns out it is better at keeping the sun out than letting the breeze in.  On the shirt though there is a big area of mesh on the underside of the arm that lets the breeze flow in easily.  This works great.  If I were going to redesign the shirt for backpacking, I would eliminate all the fancy air flow areas and just keep the underarm mesh areas. 

The pants have mesh all down the outside of the legs with baffle fabric things to keep the sun out.  That design didn’t give me enough air flow and so my friend and expert seamstress Nanette put in some big mesh areas on the thighs with flaps that cover them when it is cold out.  This works great.  She also put in a cell phone pocket on the side as I could never get the phone in/out of the side pockets.  That is why you see all those pretty flowers.  I hope you are wearing a blouse made out of that fabric right now Nanette.  You would look great in it.   If I were to redesign the pants for desert hiking I would go one of two ways, either all mesh from the mid-thigh on down, or maybe adding a 2-3 inch mesh strip from the mid-thigh on down the inside of the leg would add enough air flow while still keeping a good sun protection factor.

Cell phone pocket addition
Additional Air Vent
With the Air Vent Closed

1 comment:

  1. I've been curious about these pants since the first picture of you wearing them. Thanks for the review and they sound rather wonderful with all the Nanette modifications.