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Apparel Review

Quite Possibly the Ultimate Fishing Shirt : Simms' Solarflex Hoody (continued)

Standalone: Out on El Salto Lake in Mexico, Summer temperatures were in full force, and it was most comfortable to wear the Solarflex Hoody as a standalone shirt. It works very well reflecting the heat of the sun and keeping you at a comfortable temperature. In fact, one of our trip-mates noticing our shirts was complaining about the heat and asked how well the shirts worked to keep us cool. He was dumbfounded as to how we could be wearing long sleeve shirts in such heat.

... or as a base layer.

I had a brand new shirt in my luggage that I brought along as a spare, and we were the same size, so I gave it to him to try out. At the conclusion of the next day he was blown away at how the shirt kept him cool even though it's basically a long sleeve turtle neck. He was incredibly grateful and totally sold on concept of UPF rated garments.

It serves either purpose very well.

Rash Guard?: As we are one to do here at TackleTour, one other application in which I tried this shirt was as a swim top. It's become pretty common these days to wear a protective top while swimming. I first saw this practice while on vacation in Hawaii where the natives wore thin, synthetic material tops as rash guards. As the practice grew more popular, manufacturers leveraged the technology of UPF fabrics to extend the utility of these tops. I've followed this practice too, but my complaint has always been those tops are too tight and a day on the beach wearing these tight tops, irritated my skin.

Most anglers don't do enough to protect themselves from the harmful UV rays of the sun.

So on our most recent trip to Hawaii, I brought along my Simms Solarflex Hoodie and tried it out on the beach. Note, this is entirely NOT the purpose for which this garment was designed. Well, I had fun with it, but because the fabric is loose, it acts as a drag in the water and wasn't very comfortable.

Simms' Solarflex Hoody makes it easy.

Features: There are two features of this shirt that differentiate it from the competition. The first is the built in neck gaiter. The benefit here is pretty obvious, but just how effective is it? Simms builds their neck gaiters, with a mesh front making it easier to breathe through the material and minimize the instances of foggy shades once you pull the gaiter up over your mouth and nose. It is a very effective design and also, very comfortable. The only criticism I can offer is the gaiter itself is not as snug as the standalone gaiters I've used by Buff, so when you don't have it pulled up over your mouth and nose, it's very loose around your neck. This makes it fine for comfort, but not so great for sun protection.

Simms' Solarflex Hoody has become a staple in my fishing wardrobe.

But of course, the reason why the gaiter is so loose is because it's flexible enough to pull up over your head to wear as a hoodie - just as its name suggests. It does feel a little bit awkward worn this way, but it's easier than wearing two separate gaiters to accomplish the same objective.


Simms Solarflex Hoody Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Simms makes quality garments and the Solarflex Hoody is no exception 9
Performance Great as a standalone shirt or as a base layer 9
Price More than a simple base layer, not as expensive as a button up shirt 7
Features The built in gaiter puts this shirt over the top - no pun intended 9
Design (Ergonomics) Flat seams make a difference in comfort 9
Application Wear it in the heat, or as a base layer when it's cold - but not as a rash guard! 9

Total Score

Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here


Pluses and Minuses:


+ The integrated neck gaiter is really convenient - The flexible gaiter is a benefit in pulling over your head, but as a result, it's looser around your neck than I'd like
+ Once you get used to them, the thumb loops are really helpful  
+ Very comfortable even as a base layer  


Conclusion: Most fishermen do not do enough to protect themselves from the harsh rays of the sun. In order to use sunblock properly, you need to apply it several times a day, but how many of you reapply once you get in the flow of fishing? Wearing a UPF rated garment will go a long way to protecting your skin and while you still need to reapply sunblock to any exposed skin, Simms' new Solarlex Hoodie covers a lot more area than your typical shirt. Thanks to the built in gaiter, thumb loops, and long sleeve design, this shirt is great stand alone or as a base layer. It is quite possibly the ultimate fishing shirt and has become a necessity whenever I'm out on the water.


Looking for the Simms Solarflex Hoody? Try Hi's Tackle Box









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