Columbia Airgill Convertible Pant and Woven Long Sleeve Shirt,
Pant $80; Shirt $80, www.columbia.com
The Good: No longer have to throw a leg out the passenger side window to cool off “the boys” on hot summer days.
The Bad: Single stitch, shallow front pockets on the pants.
The Ugly: Won’t pass the Tide test if used as a cutting board to clean a smallmouth bass.
Columbia’s Airgill clothing series goes the extra mile to vent body heat and exploit the wind to cool those fishing the flats. The Airgill convertible pant and woven long sleeve shirt carry the solid design features of Columbia’s Pro Fishing Gear (PFG) line including the Omni-shade UPF 50 sun protection and the Omni-freeze quick-drying sweat-wicking polyester fabric. The Airgill pants and shirt tested include two standout features from the rest of the PFG line: Omni-Shield Blood ‘n Guts repellency and massive venting improvements for the hottest of days.
Though unable to test the Airgill clothing on the flats of Ascension Bay (Heaven on earth), I tested the pants and shirt in the hellish Redding (CA) heat fishing for smallmouth on Cow Creek and on the Lower Sacramento River fishing for rainbows.
The Airgill pants are convertibles, meaning you can zip the bottom portion off and voila, shorts. If you want to hide your white-ass legs from the sun yet still be cool, these pants afford you the opportunity. The Airgill pants have a 2-inch wide screened fabric located on the inside of the leg running from the bottom to the crotch. Above the knee, the screened fabric is partially covered to allowing unique crotchal venting without showing off your goods. I found the pants to be super-light weight, cool and fast drying. The only bummer on the pants is the single-stitch shallow front pockets. I ripped the front pocket stitching while trying to stuff a beer can in my front pocket. So much for the road soda.
The Airgill shirt is a loose-fitting button up long sleeve with a boat load of pockets on the chest to quickly stash/access tippet material and nippers. Air venting (approximately 1.25 ft2) is provided from the mid to upper back of the shirt. The shirt was light weight and easy to move in. I would recommend ordering a size smaller than you typically wear, as I felt like I was swimming in a medium.
I tested the Omni-Shield Blood ‘n Guts material by using the brilliant white shirt as a “cutting board” to clean a freshly caught smallmouth bass on top of. I am happy to say that the shirt is indeed blood ‘n guts resistant, but my wife is not happy to say that it is not blood ‘n guts proof. The fish blood and innards came off the fabric easily when rinsed immediately. If the blood is left to sit and dry in the fabric in a hot garage for multiple days and then thrown in the washer with your wife’s delicates, you not only get a pissed off wife but you also get a shirt that makes you look like an accomplice to a mass murder.
In short, the Airgill clothing series by Columbia will protect you from sunburn and keep you cool. Just don’t bake blood into the fabric if you plan to keep wearing it.
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Author: Andrew Borgic