Cotton kills. Well I would like to argue: not always. For some, a nice day hike on a peaceful trail or a day at the rock climbing crag is all that is needed to rejuvenate the mind and body, and for that, cotton can be great. Everybody loves pulling on a warm flannel in the winter or a nice pair of durable canvas pants for a day of hard work, so we tried out a few casual items designed with the outdoors in mind from Royal Robbins. Here’s how the clothing fared in our tests:
Billy Goat Stretch Pants – These pants can do it all. Made from 98% cotton and 2% spandex the pants feel durable but flexible. They are great for everything from rock climbing (they cuff nicely) to yard work. These pants also look like khakis at a glance, which makes them perfect for going right from the crag to the bar! They have UPF 50+ to protect your skin from the sun’s radiation and are water repellant enough to withstand a gentle shower on your way back to shelter.
Merced Plaid Flannel – A classic soft cotton flannel. This long sleeve shirt comes in a variety of timeless plaids. It is a great mid-weight layer for fall and winter days or short trips into the outdoors. It’s durable enough to withstand a lot of daily activity, yet it still has the style to help you put a great look together when you’re trying to look sharp.
Strider Stretch Jean – I gave a pair of these to my friend to try out and he would not take them off. I actually think he wore them for two weeks straight. From the climbing gym to the office, these versatile pants will go almost anywhere. They look like normal jeans, but they’re stretchy and way more comfortable. Moreover, they have a full length gusset and are nearly impossible to crease, even after laundering.
Go Everywhere ¼ Zip – This was easily my favorite item. Branching a little bit from my theme here, this one isn’t cotton, but it still made the cut as a versatile outdoors layer and casual shirt. Made of merino wool and polyester, this ¼ zip top is warm enough to be a light mid layer and comfortable enough to be a heavy base layer. The zipper allows it to transition from a full mock neck to a light breezy shirt. It is soft, stretchy, and great at wicking moisture away from the body. This is my new go-to layer for everything from walking around town, commuting and even backpacking.
Overall, the gear from Royal Robbins was great. No, these clothes are not ideal for trips that require ultra-performance layers. However, Royal Robbins clothing and apparel exceeded expectations for everyday casual clothes to explore and travel.