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Reviews > Clothing > Underwear > Ex Officio Sol Cool Boxer Briefs > Test Report by Steven M Kidd

EXOFFICIO SOLCOOL BOXER BRIEFS
TEST SERIES BY STEVEN M. KIDD
LONG-TERM REPORT
August 25, 2017

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Steven M. Kidd
EMAIL: ftroop94ATgmailDOTcom
AGE: 45
LOCATION: Arrington, Tennessee
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 185 lb (83.90 kg)

Backpacking Background: I've been a backpacker on and off for over 30 years. I backpacked as a Boy Scout, and then again almost every month in my twenties, while packing an average weight of 50+ lb (23+ kg). In the last several years I have become a hammock camping enthusiast. I generally go on one or two night outings that cover from 5 to 20 mi (8 - 32 km) distances. I also do several annual outings lasting four to five days covering distances between 15 to 20 mi (24 - 32 km) per day. I try to keep the all-inclusive weight of my pack under 20 lb (9 kg) even in the winter.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

IMAGE 1Manufacturer: ExOfficio, LLC.
Year of Manufacture: 2017
Manufacturer's Website: http://exofficio.com/
MSRP: US $38
Listed Weight: 3.11 oz (88 g)
Measured Weight: 3.2 oz (91 g) {Size Medium}
Material: 52% Cotton 42% Nylon 6% Spandex (Stretch to Fit)
Colors Available: White, Blackberry (purple). Atlantic (blue), Navy, Carbon (grey), Black

ExOfficio adds the Sol Cool Boxer Briefs to their already current cooling line of clothing. They designed the base layer by combining mercerized cotton with jade-infused, wicking nylon. They claim this combination will adapt to my body temperature resulting in a "cool, soft, and dry base layer that unites luxury and performance to keep [me] in [my] ideal comfort zone". It is designed to feel like cotton, yet perform like a technical fabric and to dynamically adapt to body heat, preventing odor and remaining cool to the touch.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS & SUMMARY

I have knowledge of both ExOfficio underwear and the Sol Cool line of clothing. I have and wear the manufacturer's Give-N-Go series of both boxers and boxer briefs. I also own several Sol Cool shirts. One thing I found interesting with these underwear was the fact that they are over 50% cotton! My other Sol Cool items have absolutely no cotton in them, nor does their other line of underwear.

However, I quickly affirmed they were one of the most comfortable pair of underwear I've ever put on! I generally prefer to wear traditional boxer shorts, although synthetic these days, reserving boxer briefs or compression shorts to exercise or backpacking. The Sol Cool Boxer Briefs felt like butter...or as my buddies and I would say "butta"! I'm wearing a medium pair and this hugged my body snugly, but not too tight. The waistband was very comfortable and has yet to roll. The closest material I can compare it to in terms of comfort would have to be silk, although it is in no way slick. I have to assume it is the mercerized cotton.
IMAGE 2
It appears that mercerization chemically alters the structure of cotton fiber, so perhaps that is what gave the product the smooth and comfortable feel. Whatever it is, I don't care so long as it will wick perspiration away from my body in the way synthetic underwear does. After wearing them overnight the Spandex does tend to stretch a little making the underwear a little loose, but I wouldn't use the term baggy.

The underwear also have a unique pouch in the crotch area that I've not seen before in underwear. However, I can't say I've ever owned a $38 pair of underwear before! The pouch makes the boxer briefs inherently comfortable to wear, and in a measure of modesty I'll leave it at that.

Care for the underwear is to machine wash in cold water and tumble dry on low heat. They may be ironed on a low setting, but I don't foresee myself doing that! I opened the package on a Sunday afternoon, just after I returned home from a multiday backpacking trip. I wore them that evening and into the next day never noticing any odor or moisture issues. The way the laundry schedule worked over the week I was able to wash and dry them on two occasions and wear them again for a second and third time. These continue to be one of the most comfortable pair of underwear I've ever put on and I'm excited to see if they perform on the trail. I've taken to wearing compression shorts on the trail to prevent chaffing, so I hope these are as comfortable out there as they are around town and keep me dry and fresh!

In summary I have no thorns to initially report on the Sol Cool Boxer Briefs. They do stretch a bit after extended wear, but this has yet to be an issue. The key roses are the extreme comfort I feel in them...and I'll repeat this is from a man that doesn't prefer boxer briefs. My other rose at this point would be the odor control I've noticed to date. I wore them for nearly 24 hours and exercised in them with no key odor issues.

I'm excited to get them on the trail and look forward to getting out this weekend for my first backcountry test!


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

2 - 4 June, 2017: South Cumberland State Park, the Fiery Gizzard Trail near Sequatchie, Tennessee. This was a three-day/two-night outing with my wife and two children to the Small Wilds area. The hike covered a 6 mi (10 km) stretch with a relatively consistent 1700 ft (518 m) elevation, save when we entered the Gulch or went to the base of Foster Falls for a swim in the natural fall pool. Temperatures dropped to 61 F (16 C) at night and were as high as 86 (30 C) during the day. It sprinkled a little on the third day, but was dry and clear for the majority of the weekend.

16 - 18 June, 2017: Boxwell Scout Reservation, Gallatin, Tennessee. This was a three-day/two-night Cub Scout Resident Camp outing with my Bear Scout. We worked on advancement through fun activities like hiking, swimming, boating, fishing and more. We slept in Scout platform tents on vintage cots. Temperatures were as high at 90 F (32 C) during the day and dropped to around 75 F (24 C) in the evenings. It was sunny and humid and hot during the days!

At least once weekly during the last two months and generally on weekend days when I knew I would be performing physical activity.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

IMAGE 1To date I am thoroughly impressed with these Sol Cool boxer briefs! They are extremely comfortable. I've worn them specifically on two camp/backpacking related outings, but I've also wore them every week since I've begun the test series and generally several times per week. However, I typically didn't test the odor control during weekly wear! My family washing machine has a sensor that's beginning to fail, so I generally do several additional smaller loads of laundry per week and when I see them in my underwear drawer I tend to grab them due to their comfort.

On the backpacking trip, I wore them for three days and noticed minimal odor. They did not ride up when hiking and although they are part cotton I didn't notice them retaining moisture from perspiration. On the Scout camp outing I didn't test them out all weekend, only the first day. My pedometer tracked me walking over 14 mi (22.5 km) the day I wore them and they felt great! I didn't notice any odors, but I chose to follow the Scout Law; and "A Scout is Clean" as a leader and changed into fresh underwear to set a positive example for the Scouts!

I've worn them all day to an amusement park, I've worn them on outdoor hikes, doing yardwork, you name it. I tried them once on a 3 mi (5 km) run, but they didn't offer the support I'm accustomed to so I didn't attempt that again.

When I first don them after a wash and tumble dry they fit snugly against my skin, but by day's end they are a little loose. It's not annoyingly loose, but the 6% Spandex doesn't keep them snug all day like other boxer briefs I've worn. That is not a thorn for me at this point, but I would think they would be designed to remain snug against the body all day. I was initially concerned about the fact that they were more than 50% cotton, but that hasn't been an issue yet. I wore them on a super-hot, muggy and long day at Scout camp and they never gave me that 'cotton is rotten' feel that I felt so many times as a teenager when working at camps in similar conditions.

SUMMARY

After having worn and washed them close to two dozen times they appear no worse for the wear. I can't notice any fading of the material compared to the images I snapped in my Initial Report. I don't have a spare pair to compare, but they look pretty close to the same color. There is no pilling of the fabric, even in the crotch area and the waistband retains full elasticity. These are all important in my opinion, specifically the latter two measures.

I continue to give roses for comfort, moisture control in hot and humid conditions and odor control. If I have any thorns it would be the stretch that occurs in the material after a full day's wear.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

1 - 3 July, 2017: Smith Mountain Lake, Moneta, Virginia. This was a three-day/two-night island camping (glamping) adventure near my brother's lake home. There was some coming and going from the island with days spent on the lake motoring about and swimming and evenings spent hammock camping at night. Evening temperatures averaged around 75 F (24 C).

28 - 31 July, 2017; Green River, in and near Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky. This was a three-day/two-night kayaking trip covering 30 mi (48 km). Temperatures were as low as 58 F (14 C) in the evenings and almost 90 F (32 C) in the day. It was beautiful and sunny in the day and crisp at night. We hammock camped on islands and banks along the river.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD & SUMMARY

I wore the boxers on two more distinct outings throughout the Long-Term portion of the test series. However, in addition to backcountry specific use I typically wore them a minimum of once or more per week. In fact, as mentioned in the Field Testing phase I was often doing the wash several times per week and sometimes wore them multiple times per week. My wife finally made me replace the washer this week, so that will likely change for continued use. Nonetheless, I'd guess the underwear were washed and worn no less than thirty times throughout the course of the test series. The navy hue may have mildy faded as compared to the onset of the series, but the boxers do not look stretched, pilled or distressed. They've held up quite well.

Although I did use them on those two outings I didn't get a great sense on odor control, etc. as both were water related trips and I tended to wear swim trunks throughout the day and only wore them around camp in the evening and to bed at night. I did wear them on a few day hikes and other physically exerting experiences during the series and did notice some moisture in the fabric in the heat of the summer. It tended to wick away and not give me that damp feel that traditional cotton boxers give. That was always a concern because of the cotton blend. After wearing them all day, I do certainly notice some stretch to the material that tends to come back into place after a wash and dry.

As I look back on the test series and future use of these underwear I have several comments and considerations. First, I love the underwear and I find them extremely comfortable. I definitely see myself grabbing these boxers every week and specifically on weekend days when I might be walking around a great deal. A day like my day today is a perfect example. I'm chasing my son to soccer practice, will rush home to grab his sister and mom and head to a volleyball game. Then I'll have to go home take the dog on a walk to get some energy out followed by heading to a Cub Scout outing for a few hours. I'll come home again, grab the family and head to a neighborhood cookout for the evening. By the end of the day, I'll likely have logged 8 - 10 mi (13 - 16 km) walking around in them. It's days like this when I'm moderately active all day long that I enjoy the SolCool boxers.

This morning when the rest of the family was still asleep and the dog and I went for a 3 mi (5 km) run I even pondered if I should wear them. I decided against it, because they truly do not offer the kind of crotch support I find necessary for an activity like that. Will I wear them on long day hikes in the future? Yes, they provide better comfort than traditional boxers without full compression. Will I likely continue to use them on multi-day backpacking outings? No probably not. The reason being is that they do tend to stretch by the end of the day and for me I personally find wearing compression shorts on long backpacking trips most appropriate. It is just what I've become accustomed to doing and I'm a creature of habit.

That does not mean I'm any less impressed with the boxers, I just simply see myself using them for activities other than backpacking. To close out my thoughts on these underwear I'll answer a question I asked myself in the initial phase of the test series. I stated that I'd never owned a $38 pair of underwear prior to testing this product. Would I now go out and purchase a pair moving forward...? Yes, yes I would!

I'd like to thank BackpackGearTest.org and ExOfficio, LLC. for allowing me to test these boxer briefs.



This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.

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