June 24, 2022
The sun can suck the soul out of you. It can drain your energy and enthusiasm for fishing today, and leave you too badly burned to go fishing tomorrow. I’m not too proud to admit that there were times in my distant past where it was simply too hot to go fishing. But that was before hooded sun shirts. These days, I don’t consider a sun shirt to be just a piece of clothing—it’s an essential piece of fly fishing equipment. Just like waders and boots and rain jackets, a good sun shirt can keep you on the water longer, and keep you more comfortable, so you can concentrate on the fishing and not on how much you’re suffering.
Skwala’s Sol Tactical Hoody ($119, skwalafishing.com) is a perfect example of how good design and premium materials can combine to make outerwear hyper functional. It’s like good cooking, you need high-quality ingredients AND you need to know how to combine them for maximum effect.
The Sol has a knit fabric in the body to maximize air flow and evaporation to keep you cool. The hybrid panels in the lower arms and shoulder are made from Primeflex stretch woven fabric. This smooth, extremely durable material is non-absorbent. When you release a fish, the water runs right off it like the back of a duck. It’s used in high-wear areas—in the shoulder yoke where your backpack or sling strap sits, and in the sleeve areas where you fend off branches, crawl on the ground, or add extra layers that can cause friction. I also wore the Sol Tactical Hoody shirt rock climbing in the desert outside of Las Vegas Nevada where you stick your forearms in abrasive cracks for traction over the course of thousands of feet. Even after that, it didn’t show any signs of wear and tear. After 6 months of fishing in Chile, Montana, and Pennsylvania, the shirt still looks brand new.
For fishing functionality, it has a zippered stretch woven fabric for tippet, cell phone, or anything else you need to lock in place. It also has sewn panels of Primeflex fabric side panels that create deep cargo pockets. When empty, they are nearly hidden, but you can easily drop a large fly box in each side. A large C&F waterproof box slots in there perfectly. The XL hood capes over your hat brim as an aide to sight-fishing, and the SCUBA-shaped face opening gives your face extra coverage up to about your mouth and nose. I’ve found in some situations, there’s no need to use a face/neck gaiter with this shirt, which keeps you cooler and prevents your glasses from fogging when it’s humid.
The Sol Tactical Hoody is available in four sizes (M, L, XL, and XXL) and two colors schemes: slate/storm and sage/spruce.