Winter has come to Minnesota, and I am attempting currently to embrace it in full. (Indeed, last night I rode on the snowy city streets of Minneapolis for two hours during an ad hoc alleycat bike race!) But the short days and endless white dormancy of Minnesota’s cold months have me planning already a tropical getaway. And this is all a longwinded way to lead into the meat of this story, which involves new gloves made by a company I have long adored (Buff) and a new brand to me, Howler Brothers, which makes shirts for hot and sunny places.
This past summer, when Minnesota was humid and hot, Howler Brothers’ Loggerhead Longsleeve shirt was one of my go-to tops. Short sleeves have a near-monopoly in the summer months, but I learned a few years ago that sometimes long sleeves are more appropriate when you’re in the sun (for UV protection) plus, surprisingly, sometimes they are even cooler than their shorter cousins. The Loggerhead is a perfect case study of this paradox — made of a meshy polyester, the shirt breathes and lets wind pass right through. But the fabric also bounces back sunlight to the tune of a touted UPF 45 rating. Sunscreen need not apply.
The shirt fits loose and looks nice. It has coconut buttons on its collar. When wet, the Loggerhead dries quickly in wind and sun. Neat extras include thumb holes on the cuffs for hand protection from sunrays and a stash pocket on the side that comes equipped with a small, stitched-in sunglasses cleaning cloth. A nice touch.
Howler Brothers’ Loggerhead Longsleeve shirt comes in two colors, a light blue and a light gray, and it costs $65. It is one shirt in Howler’s unique line, and the Loggerhead is worth the change if you’re booking a trip this winter to a place with lots of water and bright sun.
Buff Inc., makers of the namesake Buff headwear products, has long been a favorite brand of mine. Rarely do I head outside without a Buff on my head, be it for insulation in the winter as a beanie, sweat-wicking when running, or for protection in places where the sun glares.
In addition to its sunray-blocking UV Buff, the company now has a glove line for keeping your hands covered on the water and other places outdoors. The company’s Water Glove line is made for fisherman, paddlers, wake-boarders, and the like. They are advertised as “breathable summer-weight gloves,” and sun protection as well as grip are the main benefits.
Cut-off fingers and a stretchy, skin-tight fabric made the Buff gloves great this past summer for paddling. A silicone pattern on the palm let me grip a kayak paddle when it was wet or dry. The gloves protected from blisters during long sessions in the boat, and with a UPF 50+ rating and an extended cuff that covers the wrist I was happy with the sun protection, too.
The Buff Water Gloves cost $27 a pair. They come in blue and light green in four unisex sizes. Buy the gloves, pull a Howler Brothers shirt on your back, slap on a cap and dark glasses, and you’re ready to face the elements in places tropical and warm, no matter how hard the sun glares on the sea.
—Stephen Regenold is editor of GearJunkie.com. Connect with Regenold at Facebook.com/TheGearJunkie or on Twitter via @TheGearJunkie.