By Jason B
PATH projects is a new company formed in 2015 after the founder, Scott Bailey had spent years running but had been unsatisfied with apparel offered by other companies, especially shorts. The foundation of PATH projects is simple – highest quality apparel, direct to consumer, and their foundation piece is their layering system for their shorts – a separate liner and short for the perfect combination. They offer liners and regular shorts, short and long sleeve shirts and various hats. This review will focus on the Tahoe CL 5” baseliner and the Sykes PX short. I am also reviewing the Cascade SS shirt and the Muir Cap and you can find them by selecting their respective link.
The Tahoe CL 5” baseliner is the foundation of the shorts kit for me. According to PATH Projects it is designed with “performance mesh that prioritizes heat dissipation.” It is body mapped to have less seams than other liners and has “light” compression. The baseliner is made in the USA and retails for $27.
The baseliner features two fabrics – Coolite Mesh, and Tripure Elastic. The Coolite Mesh fabric is described as “ultra-light, super wicking and insanely breathable. It has a “birdseye” pattern in the fabric that is supposed to help with breathability. The Tripure Elastic is supposed to deliver comfort and performance while featuring quick dry capability along with anti-microbial and static free performance.
The fabric is very soft and feels really nice against my skin. I talked to Scott when I picked out my kit and he recommended an XL based on my 35 inch waist size. The compression is very light with these shorts, and when I first took them out of the pouch they arrived in I was skeptical that they would fit. They looked way too big. However, I tried them on and they seemed to fit ok, a little looser than I expected though. I am interested to see how I like the light compression and whether I should have sized down to a large.
All the stitching on the Tahoe liner is flat and looks like it is well sewn with no pulls or excess thread. The birdseye pattern is obvious on the shorts – the look like pinprick holes in the shorts. If I hold the shorts up to a light I can see light through the holes.
For the shorts, I am reviewing the Sykes PX short. The Sykes PX shorts feature their proprietary Toray Prime Flex fabric which uses a spiral yarn that allows the fabric to stretch and is partially made from a corn based material that uses less water in production. They provide in depth detail on all of their fabrics on their website.
The Sykes PX shorts have a nice feel and are stretchy as stated. They have three smaller zippered pockets on the back of the short. The middle pocket is large enough to hold my iPhone 6s in a UAG case. I haven’t tried running or walking with the phone in the pocket yet. There is also a small internal front key pocket.
The waist band is the normal width of most shorts, but the fabric is super soft and has very little stitching. It seems to partner nicely with the liners. There is elastic in the waist band and a flat cord to tie the shorts. I find that I need to use the tie string in the front to make the shorts fit tightly.
The shorts have a very clean and smooth look. There is only one small outer reflective logo on the left leg. The shorts retail for $45.
I have been able to take the liners and shorts on a few walks and a run since receiving them and I am impressed. The liners and shorts work well together and I have not had any chaffing issues even though temperatures have been in the 90s. My run was on the shorter side since I am recovering from Achilles tendinitis, and I am hopeful that the combo will work well on longer runs.
I will evaluate the PATH projects base liner and short system on the follow characteristics – comfort, durability and functionality. Are the shorts comfortable to wear for a variety of outdoor activities? Do I experience any chaffing? Is there any restriction of movement or exercises I cannot do in the shorts? Under durability, it is pretty simple, I am hard on gear. Do the shorts last? Do they look good enough to for leisure activities or would I only wear them working out or in the outdoors? Functionality is also fairly simple – are the three pockets useful? Does loading up the pockets cause the shorts to sag or affect my running or hiking? What can I actually fit in the pockets.
Final Update: PATH projects Base Liner and Short January 10, 2019
The PATH projects base liner and short system was used while hiking, camping and running over the past several months. Locations included daily runs on the Mississippi River Levee near my house in New Orleans, on a 5 day backpacking trip in Big Basin Redwoods State Park in California with Big City Mountaineers, hiking and camping in Bogue Chitto State Park in central Louisiana, backpacking to the Walls of Jericho on the Alabama-Tennessee border, a 20 mile trail run in the Black Creek Wilderness in Mississippi, and while running the Authentic Athens Marathon from the town of Marathon to Athens in Greece.
Conditions encountered were all over the place; brutal heat and humidity running in New Orleans and camping in Alabama, cool less humid weather in California, and just right weather in Athens. I did not experience any significant precipitation while running or hiking in the shorts. It is worth noting that I wore the base liners and shorts for 5 consecutive days backpacking in California.
I will start with discussing the Tahoe CL 5” base liners. The number one criteria for any shorts that I will be running in for multiple hours or spending multiple days wearing while backpacking is comfort. I put this to the test by running for hours in the heat and humidity of Louisiana and wearing them for 5 consecutive days while backpacking in California, and I can truly say that they are the most comfortable liners I have every worn.
I initially thought the light compression would not be enough for the liners to be comfortable but I actually found it to be perfect. Chaffing was non-existent even after running in them for over 5 hours at the Athens marathon. The wide waistband was nice, it did not roll down and was comfortable enough that I really forgot about it while wearing the Tahoe’s.
The Tahoe base liners are thin which helps with breathability and comfort, but I was unsure of how that would affect their durability. My initial concerns were unfounded, the Tahoe base liners still look new even after over 170 miles of running, hiking and backpacking. There is no loose threading on any of the seams, nor has there been any noticeable loss of elasticity.
My final characteristic for the Tahoe base liners is functionality. There is not too much to say other than these base liners pair well with the PATH projects shorts, but they also work well with other shorts where a base liner is needed. For example, I used them with my Rhone Mako Shorts and they paired fine and the performance was just as good as with the PATH projects shorts.
Like my comments on the base liners, comfort is my most important criteria for the shorts I use for my outdoor activities. Like the base liners, the Sykes shorts were put to the test in the heat and humidity of Louisiana and while backpacking in California and they are some of the most comfortable shorts I have ever worn. The fabric works well with the base liners and the “mechanical stretch” of the shorts meant that they moved with me no matter what activity I was doing.
I was initially concerned that the front tie that runs through the waistband would be a potential chaffing point while wearing a running hydration belt or while backpacking but my concerns were unfounded. I never felt it even under a 40 plus pound backpack in California. Overall, the shorts were very comfortable and were as close to perfect as it can get when paired with the base liners.
The Sykes shorts have also proven to be extremely durable. The continue to look new with no loose seams, wear spots or tears anywhere on the shorts.
Functionality is important with any shorts. The Sykes have three pockets, 2 hips and one on the center back. The hip pockets are deep and can easily hold gels or other snacks. I can also carry credit cards and money easily in these pockets and the zipper closure ensures that items in the pockets stay in the pockets.
The only issue I had was while trying to carry a phone in the center back pocket. My iPhone 6s with a UAG case easily fit in the pocket. However, I did not feel that this was a good way to carry my phone while hiking or running. I felt like my phone bounced around too much for it to be comfortable. Even though it stuck out a bit, using one of the hip pockets was better, but still not comfortable for running or hiking, in my opinion.
One area that I want to address with both pieces is the smell test. Overall, I think these PATH projects base liner and short system did a good job of dealing with smell. They were definitely ripe after 5 days of backpacking in California, but they were not kick your roommate out of the tent ripe. They also always smelled fresh after washing, so no lingering odors.
Overall, the PATH Projects base liner and short system has worked well. The Tahoe and Sykes are my go to for long distance runs and backpacking trips. This concludes my review.
Thanks to 4alloutdoors.org and PATH projects for providing the product for this review.