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Why write a Free Fly Apparel Review?
Have you ever come across a company that no matter what they produce they just seem to get it right? These types of companies are few and far between for me, when I do discover a brand like that I often keep coming back for more. My Free Fly Apparel Review was written because Free Fly Apparel happens to be one of those brands.
I discovered Free Fly Apparel around 3 years ago at a local outdoor outfitter where I was looking for shirts to wear on my Mountain Biking trip to Moab, UT. I like to be able to get off the bike and look like a normal human so I generally avoid the typical ‘cycling kit’ opting for more versatile gear. This was a fall trip just before the upper sections would close for winter so I was expecting cool mornings followed by warm sunny afternoons. Since we were going on ~30 mile rides I needed my morning clothing to be light and packable or breathable enough to wear throughout the day.
The local clerk guided me to a brand I was previously unfamiliar with known as Free Fly Apparel. It felt incredibly soft and came in cool earthy colors so I was intrigued. Since I’m familiar with technical gear and know I can’t afford most of it the first thing I generally do is check the price tag. While not the absolute cheapest product Free Fly Apparel fell within the ‘normal’ range for technical gear and wasn’t what I would call a Luxury brand.
To me there is a fine line between ‘getting what you pay for’ and ‘paying for a name’ (Arcteryx). Over the last 10 years I’ve managed to collect two Arcteryx softshells but because I like them so much, I refuse to wear them in any activity that could be considered dangerous to their integrity (around town/light hiking only). But this Free Fly Apparel Review is not about Arcteryx, it’s about a more versatile brand for the weekender that needs comfortable technical apparel that is just as at home in the outdoors as it is the local watering hole or Farmer’s Market.
The Free Fly Apparel Brand
Free Fly Apparel is family owned by a brother, sister, and husband and was created with the intent of providing comfort and freedom to the weekend warrior. If you ask me, it was designed specifically with a dad like us in mind! The trio of owners claim they were tired of the plasticy feeling of existing technical gear and began the search for better materials. They concluded that a bamboo blend was the perfect answer and here are their reasons why:
Bamboo … :
– is Sustainable- it is one of the fastest growing resources in existence.
– is breathable and has thermal regulating properties.
– has moisture wicking properties.
– is odor resistant (unlike many synthetic dry fit shirts that hold smells)
– yarn can be infused with quick dry materials.
– offers UV protection (but seriously, what shirt doesn’t, provided you leave it on?)
They have since tweaked the original bamboo blend recipe to allow for fabrics with 3 different goals in mind.
Bamboo viscose infused with quick dry material. These are for warm weather and are designed to breathe and keep you cool and dry. I have # t-shirts and a polo from this series. They have been great for hobbies like hiking, exploring festivals with the family, bike riding, camping, fishing, etc. The options are endless. I also tend to use these as an everyday wear type shirt due to the basic semi fitted design, and neutral color options.
Bamboo viscose infused with quick dry and stretch materials. Designed for performance all year while providing a comfortable full range of motion. I use this series for most of the same activities listed above with the addition of fitness, golf, batting practice, or any other event when I’m planning to be more active.
Bamboo blend designed for use in cool weather as an insulating layer. These have the same properties as the other blends in case you decide to wear it by itself. I’m hot blooded so I don’t layer much unless I’m hunting where I wear more specialty clothing, if I ever pick up a piece from this line I will provide an update.
If for some reason you just aren’t sold on bamboo yet and wish to have the same great fit in a synthetic blend the ‘Breathe’ and ‘Move’ lines can also be purchased in ‘Woven Blends’ that consist of alternate and synthetic materials.
Fit, Washing, and Care Instructions:
Free Fly Apparel offers free exchanges so make sure you try it on before you wash it. Because after washing returns are no longer accepted. The Breathe line is sized slightly larger but they also suggest that these shirts should have a loose fit prior to washing. They are expected to shrink a half size during the first wash due to the quick dry benefits. (If you can’t tell which line check the tag, presence of spandex indicates the Move line while Breathe material is 70% Viscose from Bamboo and 30% Polyester.)
Recommended Wash and Care:
Just like everything else in life if you want it to last you need to properly care for it. In order to maintain that soft feeling Free Fly Apparel makes the following recommendations for most of their clothing:
+ Wash Cold on the delicate cycle, inside out, with other like color, light weight fabrics (not your jeans or Carhartts)
+ Hang Dry it doesn’t matter if its outside, in the closet, or in the laundry room. But I would use a thick hanger or toss over a line. ( I fold my shirts in the closet because the ones I hung ended up with bumps on the shoulders just hanging by their own weight. Hang them wet and I would expect it to be worse).
What if I break the rules?
We all break the rules from time to time (follow their directions if you can). But I am one of those people that washes almost all of my clothes at the same time (cold, normal cycle) and then I tumble dry on a low temp. I actually didn’t realize Free Fly Apparel had special care instructions until researching for this Free Fly Apparel Review. Luckily all of my Free Fly gear has survived and maintained a quality that I still love. Some other outdoor brands aren’t so forgiving. For example: a wool shirt I had went through the dryer and unfortunately didn’t share the same fate as Free Fly Apparel. Expensive lesson learned and my toddler gained a long sleeve belly shirt!
Itemized Free Fly Apparel Review of My Collection (1-5 stars)
2 Bamboo Drifter Tees (Sage, Blue Steel) (4.5 / 5)
+ These have a lightweight athletic fit to them.
+ These were my first experience with Free Fly Apparel and set the stage for continued purchases and the decision to write a Free Fly Apparel Review.
2 Bamboo Lightweight Hoodies (spartina green, discontinued blue) (4.5 / 5)
+These are favorites year round for me. They are light enough to wear under a jacket in winter
+ Versatile enough to wear with jeans or shorts.
+ Wrinkle easily if you don’t fold them right away.
1 Hydro Short (4.5 / 5)
+ Great Pair of shorts for the boat or running
+ I would give 5* but I tend to gravitate toward more of a mid knee length golf/hybrid style short .
1 Bamboo Flex Henley (Heather Denim) (4.5 / 5)
+ Super soft feel, warm enough for me without added bulk.
+Another Favorite for me. This one is a bit heavier than the hoodies I have, but is so soft I find myself frequently grabbing it out of the closet during the cooler months.
+ Its a regular fit but has a better shape to it than the Flex Quarter Zip in my opinion.
1 Bamboo Flex Quarter Zip (Heather Ash) (3 / 5)
+For some reason this pullover gets repeatedly ignored in my closet. I bought it because I loved the color scheme. Later, after a couple of wears it just didn’t fit right anymore (loose and short through the body).
+Initially, I believed I washed it wrong and blamed myself for not liking it. But upon writing this review I discovered it is a ‘Regular’ fit. While most of the rest of my collection is an ‘athletic fit’.
1 Bamboo Motion Tee (Storm Blue) (4.5 / 5)
+My wife recently came home with this shirt for me because she went on a Free Fly shopping spree herself. She felt it was only fair if I got a new shirt too, no complaints here!
+It feels almost identical to the Drifter Tee. But has a more fitness type feeling due to the addition of the spandex.
I’ll update and review if I ever make a purchase in this line.
Shorts: Breeze and Hybrid
Hat: Wave Snapback
Bamboo Flex Polo (sounds like a necessity for the collar required golf courses in the area).
I’ve provided some links to products I found on GoodSports.com at a discount with limited sizes. You can see all of their Free Fly Apparel inventory here. Or if you are looking for something specific I would go straight to FreeFlyApparel.com for the best selection but at retail price.