While we’ve already professed our love of ExOfficio’s Give-N-Go underwear, to date we had not branched out to try other staples in ExOfficio’s line of outdoor, adventure, and activewear clothing.
Several weeks ago the great folks at ExOfficio sent us a couple of pieces from their Sol Cool line of clothing. The Sol Cool line, as you might guess from its name, is designed to keep you cool and also protect from the sun’s rays in hot climates. The claim to fame here is that Sol Cool shirts will actually keep you cooler than wearing no shirt at all.
Sol Cool Long Sleeve Tee (Image Credit: ExOfficio)
That sounds like a pretty lofty claim until you read up on the technology built into the shirt. I’d recommend you check out ExOfficio’s Infographic, which does a much better job than I can in explaining how it works – here’s a excerpt:
“Sol Cool uses Icefil technology to keep you cool and comfortable in hot climates. The compound Xylitol, which occurs naturally in the birch tree, is woven into fabric. When it comes into contact with moisture like sweat, it reacts, creating a cooling sensation similar to mint gum. Xylitol can cool the skin surface up to 5°F”
Pretty cool stuff. Since I like mint gum and mint shampoo, I was pretty excited to try out the long sleeve t-shirt that ExOfficio sent, and see if it really made me feel minty? At $60, it is priced similarly to other name-brand technical shirts.
My first thought when I tried on the shirt was that the fit was very good. The shirt fit true to size, and ExOfficio’s “natural fit”, intended to be closer to the skin, was close enough for the fabric to do its job, but not too tight to feel restricting or look silly in a casual setting. There are also good technical details like flat-lock seams and underarm gussets that make the shirt really comfortable for doing active stuff. Good job Exofficio!
The second thought is that the fabric itself is very lightweight and you do feel the slightest bit of a cooling sensation – kindof like if you are wearing a damp shirt and slight breeze hits you. Hard to explain, but it is noticeable.
I’ve worn the shirt a couple of times – including a multi-hour stint in direct sunlight and ~85-90 degree outdoor temps. I still got hot and sweaty, but never felt like the Sol Cool shirt weighed me down even when it was soaked through – I also found that it dried quickly. Thankfully, the SPF50 in the shirt kept me from looking like a lobster.
Much like the beloved ExOfficio underwear, the shirt held up well to hand-washing in a sink and twist-drying without losing shape.
So far, I’ve been quite impressed with the Sol Cool shirt and love it when the performance of a product aligns with the branding and marketing claims.