In the sweltering heat of summer, finding a pair of pants that strikes the perfect balance of comfort, durability, and good looks is tricky. Jeans are hot (yes, even the white ones); thin pants like linen that breathe sure feel great from the inside, but they wrinkle easily and can sweat through in humidity; and most can't last beyond a single day's wear without needing a wash. In an effort to find the ideal summer pants we tried two that claim to work well in everyday, outdoor situations.
No Sweat Pants from Vancouver newcomer DU/ER and 365 Pants from Flint & Tinder are very different, and while this might initially seem a dubious comparison it becomes clearer when you consider: Both are designed to be worn during outdoor activities and for multiple days without washing, if necessary; both aim to combine the look and comfort of chinos with the durability of jeans and the stretch and of “performance” pants; and both perform exactly as advertised.
The No Sweat Pants (above, $81 at Backcountry) use a proprietary fabric DU/ER calls Nature2X, which aims to mix the comfort of cotton, the versatility of polyester, and the flexibility of Spandex by blending all those with Tencel, a naturally anti-bacterial fiber that's derived from eucalyptus.
The No Sweat pants claim to absorb odor and dry quickly, and after a month of rotating them through our wardrobe we’re here to testify. We ordered ours in the Slim cut, in black (there are nine shades to choose from, including a groovy rust). They fit snugly on the ankle and calf, but they're cut generously cut through the thigh, with a gusset sewn into the crotch for even more room. They’re soft and comfortable, and while the fabric has definitely got a synthetic feel, they stretch and breathe extremely well.
And they snap right back into shape, even after hard wear. On a recent weekend getaway where we wore them on both legs of a three-hour flight and most of the time between, the No Sweat pants lived up to their name; after three days they never wrinkled, didn’t smell, and sagged only slightly. We’ve also put ours through the occasional rigorous bartending shift. They repel stains and dirt like nobody’s business and if they get wet, they dry in minutes. The dark, slightly shiny fabric hides wear and tear beautifully, and after multiple washings they have yet to show any signs of fading. If you're in the service or hospitality industries, these will be your favorite work pants in no time.
Flint and Tinder’s 365 Pant (below, $98 at Huckberry) is made primarily with cotton, then reinforced with stretchy Lycra to offer some give when squatting, kneeling, or whatever maneuvering life requires of you. The made-in-the-USA 365s are also cut like jeans but lean more in the chino direction when it comes to feel.
These pants are light, in both weight and thickness, so they breathe well. The cotton feels natural — a nice touch on the legs and butt compared to the synthetic slickness of the DU/ERs. The five-pocket slim cut suits the style, although it should be noted that guys who are a bit thicker on their bottom halves might not be too comfortable in these pants; as snug in the crotch as these are tailored, no amount of stretch would make much of a difference. We should also mention that while they come in waist sizes from 28-38 inches, 365s only come with a 33-inch inseam, so short guys will have to cuff them, while taller men might want to roll them up like to roll them up like clamdiggers.
The stretch here is not nearly as noticeable as that of the No Sweats, but then, these are a different kind of pant. They’re great for casual dress and mild outdoor activities like yard work or even skateboarding, but the slight stretch and high-density cotton blend isn’t going to allow for much room for anything more extreme than the occasional flip-kick.
Cut, sewn and garment-dyed in Los Angeles, Flint and Tinder’s 365s come in four earthy tones — no streetwise black or red colors here — and are sold exclusively by online outfitter Huckberry ($98). While they may not be quite as versatile as the DU/ERs, the 365s are a fine option for guys who want to wear their pants more than one day at a time.
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