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Great Look at Thunderbolt by The Clymb

September 01, 2013

THE PROOF IS IN THE PANTS
The Clymb reviews Thunderbolt Sportswear soft shell with Schoeller Dryskin with Nanosphere
Denim Vs. Soft­shell

Here in Port­land, we like cloth­ing that’s as func­tional as it is fash­ion­able. Enter  Thun­der­bolt Sports­wear, a home­grown, Oregon-based com­pany that has been sell­ing its high-end soft­shell jeans since 2010 and per­fect­ing and devel­op­ing that con­cept since 2008.  These guys know the ins and outs of vari­able weather con­di­tions, and the result is a high-functioning, well-thought-out style piece that can dou­ble as an every­day pant.

Thun­der­bolt jeans are made with Schoeller Dryskin, which is imported from Switzer­land and con­sid­ered to be the best soft­shell fab­ric on the mar­ket today. The fab­ric is treated with Nanos­phere, a durable water repel­lent (DWR). It doesn’t make the Thun­der­bolt jeans quite water­proof but will ensure that you stay much drier than if you were wear­ing denim if caught out in the rain.

The Clymb reviews Thunderbolt Sportswear soft shell with Schoeller Dryskin with Nanosphere
Sun­shine and every­thing in between

The first time that I put the jeans on I was sur­prised at how nice the cut was. Most soft­shell pants I’d used seemed square cut and suf­fered from a baggy crotch area, which resulted in me feel­ing that I always had to be pulling my pants up—especially if I was hik­ing with a pack. Thun­der­bolt jeans fit snug­gly, like a tai­lored pair of dress pants. I was also sur­prised at how com­fort­able the brushed inte­rior felt against my legs. So far the Thun­der­bolts proved to be a good fit but I was eager to put them to the real test.

First, I made them my daily rid­ing pants for the week. My bike com­mute is a lit­tle over six miles one way, so I was able to get a good sense of how the pants felt under the sad­dle. The week started off with beau­ti­ful sunny skies and chilly temps that dete­ri­o­rated to dri­ving rain by mid-week. In all con­di­tions, the jeans per­formed well, block­ing wind and rain, keep­ing my legs warm, but allow­ing mois­ture to move through the fab­ric and pre­vent­ing me from over­heat­ing as I warmed up. As an extra bonus, I was able to tran­si­tion directly from the bike to the office with­out chang­ing clothes. Thun­der­bolts really do look that good.

The Clymb reviews Thunderbolt Sportswear soft shell with Schoeller Dryskin with Nanosphere
Look at that stretch!

Next on the agenda was climb­ing in Cen­tral Ore­gon. Due to the dry, cold and usu­ally windy con­di­tions, boul­der­ing in the high desert dur­ing the win­ter months is per­fect for test­ing soft­shell fab­rics. The four-way stretch of the fab­ric and its abil­ity to block the wind made these pants the per­fect tool for the job. I will def­i­nitely be adding these pants to my climb­ing quiver and would even con­sider wear­ing them for larger alpine objec­tives. (Stay tuned for an El Cap report!)

Thun­der­bolt jeans can han­dle just about any­thing that you can throw at them. The only sit­u­a­tion that I encoun­tered where they might not be ideal was com­mut­ing in the down­pour. There is def­i­nitely a chance that rain could seep in dur­ing an extended ride in those con­di­tions. That being said, I still stayed warm, and the jeans dried almost instantly. When com­par­ing these jeans to the denim alter­na­tive, and con­sid­er­ing an active, urban lifestyle, I have to say, they rock!


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  • Rating: quality 9/10; practicality 9/10; value 8/10
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