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Reviews > Clothing > Underwear > Ex Officio Sol Cool Boxer Briefs > Test Report by Duane Lawrence

ExOfficio Sol Cool Men's Boxer Brief
   
Product Test by Duane Lawrence
 
Initial Report - April 23, 2017
Field Report - June 30, 2017
Long Term Report - September 5, 2017
 
Tester Information
 
Name:                Duane Lawrence
Email:                 duanesgear (at) yahoo (dot) com
Location:           Sparwood, British Columbia Canada
Gender:             Male
Age:                   44 years
Height:               5’9” (1.75m)
Weight:              160 lbs (73 kg)
 
I have been an avid outdoor enthusiast for over 25 years.  I enjoy a variety of outdoor activities including mountaineering, day hikes, multi-day backpacking trips, river and ocean kayaking, back-country skiing, snowshoeing, mountain biking and rock climbing. I have climbed throughout British Columbia, the United States and when opportunity presents itself in Europe and India. I carry a wide variety of gear depending on the type and length of trip.  I am a search and rescue team member in the Southern Canadian Rockies and am part of the swift water, rope rescue and avalanche technical teams and ground search team.

Initial Report
 
Product Information & Specifications

        Image courtesy of ExOfficio.com 
Manufacturer                        ExOfficio
Model                                    Sol Cool Boxer Brief
Web Site                                www.exofficio.com
MSRP                                    $38.00
Measured Weight                 93 g (3.28 oz)
Listed Weight                       88.17 g (3.11 oz)
Measured Length                 37.5 mm (1.48 in)
Inseam Length                    10.6 cm (4.17 in)
Size Tested                           Medium
Waist                                     81-86 cm  (32 – 34 in)   
Available Sizes                     Small to 2x extra large 76 – 112 cm (30 – 44 in)
Color Tested                         Navy
Available Colors                   White, Blackberry, Atlantic, Navy, Carbon, Black
Material                                52% Cotton 42% Nylon 6% Spandex
Fit                                          Stretch to fit
Manufacturer's Claims        Adapts to body heat
                                               Controls odor for the lifetime of the product
                                               Feels like cotton, performs like high-tech fabric
                                               Remains fresh and cool to the touch



Design and First Impressions

 
The ExOfficio Sol Cool Boxer Brief is made of a combination of cotton, nylon and spandex to create a very soft to the touch boxer brief. The material is soft and stretchy and made to “stretch to fit”.  All of the seams appear to be well stitched and sewn flat. The waist band is 28 mm (1.1 in) wide and the leg hem is 20 mm (0.79 in). There is also a built in 10 cm (3.94 in) front overlap access panel.
 
The sewn in tag in Sol Cool Boxer Briefs list the size as a medium with 164/86.5 cm (34 in) waste although I have yet to determine what the 164 refers to.  I have tried all the conversions and come up with a blank.  For cleaning the tag recommends to machine wash cold, inside out with like colors and not to use bleach or fabric softener.  For drying it recommends to tumble dry on low and to remove promptly.  It also notes that for those that like to iron their briefs you can do so on a delicate low iron setting.  Reading the box and web site description the fabric design, a mercerized cotton with jade-infused, wicking nylon fibers, is meant to dynamically adapt to body heat, control odor for the lifetime of the product and remain fresh and cool to the touch. 
 
My first thoughts after taking these out of the box were that they were very soft and very large.  I tried them on and they fit although barely which was a little disappointing and surprising as they are specifically listed as made to stretch to fit.  If these stretch at all they are going to fall off.  I even double checked the label on the box and the sewn in label to make sure I received the right size. They are clearly labeled as a medium made for an 81-86 cm (32 – 34 in) waist although having an 85 cm (33.5 in) waist they are very roomy and there is no need for them to stretch to fit.  They actually seem more like a boxer than a boxer brief.  I will have to wait and see how they turn out but I was already thinking that I really hope they shrink in the wash.  Although I have not been a size small for many years I would never have chosen this size as the size small is clearly listed for a 76 cm (30 in) waist with no size range.  I have no experience in the manufacturing of garments but it sure seems like these were designed for the largest size fit not the middle and they were very generous when developing these.  If I had an 81 cm (32 in) waist I would have had to send them back as there is no way I would have been able to use them.  After trying them on they seemed very comfortable although definitely large and fit more like a boxer.  Trying them out over the test period I really hope they do not stretch out.  

Field Report

Conditions in the Field 

Over the last couple of months I have used the Sol Cool Boxer Briefs on a number of occasions including a three-day hike in northern Glacier National Park in Montana, several day hikes in the southern Canadian Rockies and on some search and rescue activities.  Temperatures ranged from a low of 4 C (39 F) with highs of 28 C (82 F), weather was mixed with bright hot sunny days to light rain and wind.  Each day ranged from 4 hours to 14 hours of hiking over a range of 7 km to 28 km (4 mi to 17 mi) with elevation gains of between 300 m to 700 m (984 ft to 2297 ft) .  

Performance

Generally I have found that the briefs are performing admirably and are living up to the design specifications. I tried to create opportunities to test out how the fabric preformed under adverse conditions, that being, a fast, hard hike with lots of elevation on a hot day.  During this hike we 'ran' up 690 m (2264 ft) of elevation over 5 km (3 mi), one way, in 25 C (77 F) temperatures, nice and hot up here in the north.  This run up the hill gave me a good indication of how the fabric could handle lots of heat and sweat and I was fairly happy with its performance.  While moving I did not notice any discomfort and the material dissipated moisture fairly well.  I did notice that once I stopped at the top the fabric was decidedly cold and damp.  It reminded me of putting my backpack back on after hiking up a trail and with my shirt being sweat soaked.  It was very cold to the touch once I started moving again but only lasted a few moments until body temperatures warmed it back up. 

As I noted in my initial report the boxer briefs are more boxer than brief.  I was really hoping that they might shrink in the wash.  Sadly after being washed at least a dozen times now they have not shrunk in the slightest, which would be great if they were sized for me better.  When wearing them I have noticed that they start slightly snug against my thighs but by the end of a day of hiking they are loose.  What I noticed is that the stretch of the fabric stretches out with use but returns to its normal size after washing.  If I was anticipating the product to be more of a boxer than a brief then I do not think I would even think of commenting on this but since I was anticipating more of a brief than boxer the looseness of the boxer briefs is a definite factor.  

For comfort, regardless of the duration of hike or activity they seemed fairly comfortable. They wick well under normal conditions but under heavy exertion they can only deal with so much.  I have noticed that after a couple of months of uses and washes  the material is still soft to the touch and shows no sign of wear or pilling.  The elastic waist has retained its size and does not appear to be stretching out. They are not exactly tight fitting which should be taken into consideration as I am not putting much strain on the elasticity of the waistband or fabric.  

Summary
  
All in all the Sol Cool Boxer Briefs seem to be working out fairly well and can stand up under high exertion.  The material looks to be holding up well and living up to its design specifications of adapting to body temperatures and remaining fresh and cool to the touch.  I'll have to wait and see if they continue to show little to no wear over the remainder of this test period.

Long Term Report

Conditions in the Field

Over the four month test period I have used the Sol Cool Boxer Briefs on a multitude of occasions including a three day hike in northern Glacier National Park in Montana, several day hikes in the southern Canadian Rockies, a week of mountaineering in the Selkirk Mountains, rock climbing, everyday use and on some search and rescue activities, overall about 40-days’ worth of use.  Test conditions in the last two months were consistent with temperatures ranging between 20 C (68 F) and 35 C (95 F) and weather consisting of hot sunny days.  Hiking days ranged from 4 to 14 hours of hiking over a range of 7 to 28 km (4 to 17 mi) with a total distance of about 230 km (140 mi) and elevation gains ranging between 300 m to 1800 m (980 ft to 5900 ft).  

     

Performance

Although I am still not overly happy with the fit, specifically with respect to the boxer-briefs being a lot more boxer than brief, I am pleased with their overall performance.   After four months of use and corresponding washing, the material is still soft to the touch and shows no sign of wear or pilling.  The elastic waist band has retained its size and does not appear to be stretching out. They are not exactly tight fitting though which should be taken into consideration as I am not putting much strain on the elasticity of the waistband or fabric.  I inspected all of the seams and have found no unraveling or wear of the stitching.  The fabric, stitching and construction seem top notch.  

This summer has been especially warm and hot out with absolutely no sign of rain which meant regardless of the hike, sweating was involved.  Regardless of the duration of hike, either a short 4 to 5 km (2.5 to 3 mi) to a 28 km (17.4 mi) hike through the subalpine with over a 1000 m (3280 ft) of elevation gain and loss, the wicking ability of the boxer-briefs kept up fairly well.  The fabrics ability to 'cool' was also confirmed throughout these hikes.  What appears to be occurring is in the process of wicking away moisture the fabric becomes cool and thereby cooling the wearer.  I did find that the cooling effect was a little much at times, especially between stops and starts but overall it did exactly what it was supposed to do.  I also noted that the fabric dries very quickly.  Even after a long hike and much perspiration the fabric dried out completely within 10 - 20 minutes. When dealing with high levels of exertion I did note that due to the more boxer than brief style of underwear that the fabric was not always in contact with my skin which resulted in some rivulets forming in various places.  I have never experienced this before and although a minor annoyance definitely something I noted.  As soon as the fabric contacted any moisture though, it seemed to be able to deal with it most effectively.  

For odor control I was able to offer up a wonderful eight-day seven-night mountaineering trip.  After a week of use, and yes mountain washing or rather rinsing, they did not start moving on their own nor clear the tent due to excessive odor build up.  The fabric actually handled the excessive use very well.  Even after 'washing' in an alpine lake and drying on the side of my tent they still retained their softness and comfort throughout the entire trip which I was fairly impressed with.

Summary
 
All in all the Sol Cool Boxer Briefs performed well.  They were able to handle a fair amount of moisture under heavy exertion although they were not able to keep up 100%.  They dried out very quickly once all heavy activities stopped which was nice.  They seemed to deal with odor very well and the overall construction is very good.  The only complaints I would have, and they are fairly minor, are that they fit loose and did not provide the support I would have liked.  Also, the coolness experienced between working hard, stopping and starting moving again was a little, well, cool on the skin, not overly enjoyable but exactly what they were supposed to do.

Likes

Durable
Deals with moisture well
Soft
Good construction

Dislikes

Loose (sizing)
Cold on the skin

Thank you to ExOfficio and Backpackgeartest.org for the opportunity to test the Sol Cool Boxer Briefs.


 
 
 
 

Read more reviews of Ex Officio gear
Read more gear reviews by Duane Lawrence

Reviews > Clothing > Underwear > Ex Officio Sol Cool Boxer Briefs > Test Report by Duane Lawrence



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