I've been climbing for quite a few years now, and I've worn a lot of different clothes while doing so. That being said, recently I find myself reaching for the same clothes over and over for my days outside.
Arc'teryx Motus Crew SS
I'll start with the Arc'teryx Motus shirt. I originally bought this shirt for a hike, but it turned into my number one climbing shirt. In the past I tried avoiding Arc'teryx because I assumed it had to be overrated, but that turned out to be wrong. At 65 dollars this is the most expensive shirt I own, but after everything I've decided the price is absolutely justified. I'm a sweaty guy, so I always wear polyester for high output activities like climbing, wool just doesn't cut if for me. I've worn polyester shirts from almost every brand out there, and I have to say that the Motus gets my vote for number one. The shirt fits my frame well (5'10 180lbs), is not excessively tight but isn't overly baggy either. It's soft to the touch and extremely lightweight. Most importantly, it wicks moisture better than any shirt I've ever worn. This means I'm less wet when I'm climbing, and it also means my shirt dries quicker when I'm taking breaks. Here's where the Arc'teryx quality in manufacturing really kicks in, I've had this shirt for two years now, and every time I wash it, it comes out looking brand new. I've dragged this thing up hundreds of routes, taken it on bushwhacks putting up new routes, and hung it from trees and bushes to dry it out at the end of a day. Yet after all this, you can hardly tell its been through it all. Not that I paid a full 65 dollars for it, but if I had to, I would, because this shirt seriously kicks ass. My only complaint with this shirt is that when it does become totally saturated, it becomes very obviously discolored, and because of how light the fabric is, it tends to cling to your skin. That being said, this doesn't happen often, and if its going to happen to anyone, its going to be me.
Pros: Light, durable, comfortable and highly moisture wicking
Cons: Expensive, discolors obviously when wet, clings to skin when wet
Sherpa Baato Hybrid Pants
The second piece of gear I want to talk about is a pair of pants made by Sherpa, called the Baato Pants. I like buying products from companies Sherpa because I support their commitment to give back to the outdoor community. Not a lot of people have heard of Sherpa, but I've owned their stuff in the past, so I figured I'd give their pants a shot too. I originally bought the Baato pants for my AMGA SPI exam because they are professional looking, and I figured they would be great to wear while guiding. It turns out these pants are amazing for just about everything, and they've become my go too for almost all of my climbing and hiking adventures. To start, I like pants that are simple. Minimal pockets, with one zipper pocket and no extra fancy features. These Sherpa pants are exactly that. Extremely streamlined and light, these pants have two pockets at the waist, and one zipper pocket for my wallet and chapstick in the back. I exclusively wear pants when route climbing because I always end up cutting my legs when I don't. I didn't realize it when I bought these, but the pants are actually made from two different materials. The panels over your knees and bum are a heavier, more waterproof stretch fabric placed there to keep you dry and increase durability. The rest of the pants are lightweight nylon, breathable but still highly durable. These pants fit extremely well. A single metal button fastens them at the waist, and creatively distributed belt loops help hold the pants up if needed. These pants truly stay in place better than any pants I've owned. Overall, I love how light they feel, and I love that the pants move with my body. The stretch fabric feels natural, and doesn't limit motion in any direction. These pants are extremely light, and after a full season of abuse, aren't even stained. Plus at only $70 dollars, these pants are absolutely worth the cost. I have two issues with these pants, the first is that I would prefer that the zippered pocket was the back left instead of the back right, that being said, I think I'm the only one in the world who does. The other issue I have is that if you want to cuff up the pants on the bottom, it can sometimes be hard to keep the cuff in place because of how light the material is. Again, this can be fixed by paying a bit more attention when you cuff the pants, and I find that I don't have issues if I take the time to do it correctly the first time.
Pros: Cheap, extremely comfortable and stretchy, durable, simple
Cons: Maybe too simple for some, harder to cuff, no built in belt
Check back in the winter for a review of my winter kit!