Traveling Possessions, and Thunderbolt(-Jean)s

I write quite a bit – and there’s more to come – about stuff and how to avoid/sort it. After all, our desire for happiness and how consumerism has hijacked it and channeled it into the desire to get the latest and greatest is one of the big problems we face when it comes to how to live multiply good, truly better lives.

For me, avoiding consumerism means that, when I don’t just try to avoid the temptation (and in part, in order to do so), I go looking for things that are of the greatest value.

Good things…

… long-lasting, great quality, doing what they are supposed to do, functioning well in different circumstances and for different purposes. I don’t travel all that much, but it is something I learnt from traveling, because it is just more fun when it’s done lightly. So, I want to be able to go from wilderness to work meeting with the same few clothes, for example… and there are some things that make this idea work well.

Pants have been a particular problem for me. In general, I’d just go for jeans (mainly in black), because they look good, are durable enough, and fit into a large range of situations – but they aren’t comfortable with a backpack, don’t dry quickly enough after washing, and don’t withstand bad weather well. Outdoor pants are great when it comes to being light, offering protection or at least drying quickly – but they aren’t exactly a look for an office.

Graduation pic - clothing works, no?
With a student of mine – does teacher-me look like those are climbing softshell jeans rather than simple pants?

Enter the Softshell Jeans from Thunderbolt Sportswear made of Schoeller DrySkin material.

I have now worn them in rainy, windy conditions with temperatures just above freezing as well as in blistering heat – which, here in Hunan, China, was a matter of two weeks…

There is a bit of an adjustment, simply because they are called jeans but have small belt loops (I wear my normal jeans with a broad leather belt and buckle), a brushed inner face, and a stretchy material.

I notice some tightness around my upper thighs and the pants want to ride up a bit because of that, but it’s not much. Once bounding up some stairs, it’s obvious just how much better you can move in them, as compared to normal denim jeans, which more than makes up for it.

Except that the price is rather too high for that, I had immediately been thinking that those are the jeans you’d want to wear if you find yourself wanting – or needing – to practice parkour, especially in real life rather than a training session. – Obviously, I’m not the only one with that idea.)

The material, again, took a bit of adjustment. It’s not good for wiping your hands on it ;-)

That said, even though it lost the initial water repellency rather quickly (I’ll want to apply some refreshing to it when I’m back in Europe; I blame the Chinese washing), the Thunderbolts have been comfortable in the rain (taking on water, but not very noticeably and drying very quickly as long as it’s not totally wet and humid) as well as the heat (they get hot, but just like any pair of long jeans would – but these are very breathable and wicking).

Not to forget that they are incredibly light and, thanks to the nanosphere treatment, easy to clean off. It’s not as if nothing could cling to them, but they’ll be looking good again much more quickly and much longer than any denims. – Just brush it off.

Finally, notwithstanding my wife’s initial “I don’t like that material,” the Thunderbolt Jeans are understated and good-looking, cut just like the simplest, nicest of jeans. At worst, you’ll get comments wondering why you’re wearing jeans to go climbing (their intended use, in fact), doing parkour, or a lot more.

All in all, jeans for your everyday James Bond: combine them with a good button-front shirt, and it’s good enough for the office – and if you need to make a getaway, they move with you without restrictions. In fact, given that the main seam is on the outside of the pant leg, they should even be comfortable if you want to get away on a horse. Okay, so maybe not James Bond but Schwarzenegger in True Lies, but still… ;-)


[Full disclosure: I have no affiliation other than having had contact with Chris Payne, the owner of Thunderbolt Sportswear, and having gotten my pair of Thunderbolts at less than the usual cost of shipping.

There will not be too much commercialism on my blogs – and don’t you dare rush off to buy something if you don’t need it! – but sometimes I do want to write about good things I find… and if there should be a way to make some money, I wouldn’t mind it.]

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