Gadling gear review: ExOfficio Sol Cool shirt

ExOfficio is a company that has earned a reputation for designing excellent clothing for travel and outdoor adventure. Their comfortable, stylish, and high quality apparel is just as popular with travelers visiting the Louvre as it is with those exploring the Serengeti. The ExOfficio catalog includes clothing to keep you warm and dry in unexpected rainstorms and cool and comfortable in the warmest of climes. They even have gear designed to keep pesky bugs away – something that can come in handy in certain destinations.

One of the newest additions to the ExOfficio gear closet is the Sol Cool collection of shirts. Designed to provide protection from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, these quick drying tops also reflect heat and wick moisture, while still remaining highly breathable. In theory, all of that should help keep us more comfortable on our warm weather adventures, although upon review, similar gear hasn’t always lived up to the hype in the past.

Living in Austin, Texas, I have the perfect environment to put the Sol Cool to the test. So far this year, we’ve had nearly 90 days of triple-digit heat, and anything that helps you stay cool and comfortable while outside is greatly appreciated. Fortunately, the Sol Cool more than lived up to its billing and soon became one of my “go to” articles of clothing when I knew I was going to be spending time out in the sun. The soft smooth fabrics not only make this shirt comfortable to wear, their wicking properties were much appreciated as well. Staying cool and dry allowed me to be more active in the hot weather, and enjoy time outdoors, even when the mercury was routinely climbing above 100ºF/38ºC.

True to their ExOfficio legacy, these shirts are also perfect for travel. Lightweight and packable, the Sol Cool is wrinkle free and comes out of your pack looking the same way that it did when went in. Its cut and fit are designed to not restrict motion while hiking, climbing, or paddling, and yet still looks good while kicking around town as well. The shirt has also been treated with an odor resistant finish, which comes in handy on longer trips when you may be wearing your clothing on multiple occasions.

Available in a variety of colors and in both long and short sleeve designs, the Sol Cool is an excellent addition to your travel wardrobe. Perfect for active, warm weather pursuits, it is never the less, just as useful in town as it is in the mountains.