Carhartt hot weather clothing

Carhartt's new lightweight, long-sleeve workshirt and double front work shorts keep you cool when the temps soar.

ProPickup Clothing Review

Carhartt hot weather clothing; the long and short of comfort

Talk about a torture test. Just days after Carhartt sent us some of their new hot weather clothing to review an F4 tornado swept through our home town of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, killing 43 people and wrecking some 8,000 homes and businesses.

Our company and crew came through the storm ok, and in next three weeks I put all this new gear to the test as a free-range volunteer, mostly chainsawing, but also roofing and clearing debris in the heat of the late Alabama spring.

The temps haven’t gotten any lower since, but I’m happy to report the Carhartt double front work short and long sleeve lightweight plaid shirt have done me well under the triple digit temps.

The double front work shorts are made from a 7.5 ounce, cotton ring-spun canvas. The fabric is light enough to stay relatively cool and it doesn’t get clingy (like denim does) when sweat soaked.

The double front panels protect against excessive wear and the hazards of masonry, scrap metal or gnarly tree branches. The front and rear pockets are plenty deep so you don’t have to worry about a wallet, keys or spare change spilling out.

A right leg welt pocket puts your phone within easy reach and safe from inadvertent butt dialing. Short utility bands on both sides are convenient for hanging a tape measure or anything with a clip on it

Naturally, there’s a hammer loop, although why Carhartt (and everybody else in the clothing universe) puts it on the left leg instead of the right I’ll never know—85 percent of  us are right handed. But otherwise the shorts are well made, durable and definitely worth the money.

Last year I bought some of those athletic T-shirts, the ones made out of synthetic fabrics designed to “wick away moisture” and keep you cool in the heat. They didn’t work worth a rubber nut and they were every bit as clingy and uncomfortable as a wet cotton T-shirt.

So I was pleased to find that Carhartt’s long sleeve, lightweight plaid shirt, made from 3.3 ounce cotton fabric feels a lot cooler and less clingy than either.

With a collar and long sleeves it will also keep you cleaner and better protected from the sun than a T-shirt. It feels every bit as soft as a Pima cotton dress shirts, and that’s a real plus if you already have a sunburn. The fit (XL) was perfect for me, which is rare.

Too often XL shirts are short in the sleeves or have so much extra fabric around the midsection that it billows out like a loose tent flap. Shoulder pleats kept the shirt from binding when bending or twisting.

As for the color, the green/yellow/blue plaid was not something I’d wear to an art gallery fundraiser but after a day of whacking trees and thrashing around in the tornado debris I have to admit it hid the sawdust, dirt, bar oil, blood and chain grease rather well. As with the shorts, the construction and durability were first rate. Both have been washed now close to a dozen times and have retained their shape and fit.

I still see a lot of guys working outside in T-shirts and blue jeans, and while I usually don’t comment on other people’s sartorial style, I’ve come to think of hot weather clothing as a safety issue.

Heat stoke is damn dangerous. Even if you can handle the heat, the hotter you feel the slower you work. I cut my teeth doing construction in South Texas so I know whereof I speak. If you or your crews want to be more comfortable and productive this summer, ditch the jeans and T-shirts and try some of this Carhartt gear. You’ll be glad you did. — Tom Jackson