Timberland Pro® Tempe Pants and Shorts
Most trades people have to work outside in the hot weather some of the time, and clothing designed for comfort in that environment is essential. The Timberland Pro® Tempe Pants and Shorts are good examples of clothing that can make your day a whole lot more pleasant.
But Back at the Beginning
Back in the very early years (the first million or so) of the Paleozoic era — that is, about 540 million years ago (mo’ less) — the first animal walked the earth. Dickinsonia was an ugly thing, even by the loose standards of the time. It was darned hot back then, and managing heat was a problem for our early friend, but he lacked the textile technology to do much about it. Fast forward 529 million and some-odd years, and the ice ages were “challenging” our human ancestors with a different problem. Some epochs ya just can’t win.
Early humans did manage heat by moving north, and then when the ice ages came they managed the cold with animal skins. The main issues with animal skins were 1) it was hard to be fashion-forward when everyone was wearing the skins of the same local animals, and 2) when you needed a new cost you literally had to risk your life to get one. Of course, people were tougher in the old days. But heat could still be a problem.
Over last couple hundred thousand years a bunch of other stuff happened, some of which was mildly interesting. Finally, in 1941 polyester was invented by those wacky scientists at the Calico Printer’s Association, a British textile company. Later the 70’s happened, and brought with them two disasters: polyester leisure suits and disco. Now, I’m not blaming the Calico Printer’s people for disco, but when it comes to polyester leisure suits, they have some ‘splaining to do.
But then some wacky outdoor types figured that if you took a polyester leisure suit, make it fit better and produced it in non-garish colors, you’d have underwear that wicked water away from your skin, keepiing you warm in cold weather and comfortable in hot weather. This is because polyester is hydrophobic. (As I’m sure you remember from high-school Latin classes, hydro refers to water, and phobic means to dislike.) Thus was born “poly-pro” underwear, and many of who backpacked in the 70s remember its debut well.
Since those early days of leisure suits and poly-pro, polyester has come a long way, even though it’s usually referred to today by the euphemistic, politically-correct term: performance fabric. There are a million different types and kinds of the stuff today, and some of them make for truly useful workwear.
Science Trumps Tradition
Now, I appreciate tradition and like me some my canvas work pants…in the cool weather. But I also appreciate science and comfort, and want work clothes that make the 90+-degree days, that we get even up here, more comfortable. For me that means shorts as often as possible, and wicking, lightweight synthetic fabrics. The problem with lightweight synthetics though is that those features often come at the expense of durability. But Timberland appears to have their own wacky scientists, because the Timberland Pro® Tempe Pants and Shorts are 1) lightweight, 2) synthetic, 3) tough and durable…and even 4) well-fitting, which they can be because the material is stretchy. The specs are the same for both:
- 95% nylon/5% elastane twill
- Lightweight, durable flex fabric
- Modern fit
- WorkVent™ perforated air vents at the back for breathable comfort
- Eight pockets, including two front angled pockets, a back utility pocket, and a welt pocket
- Seven belt loops
- 9-inch inseam (shorts)
The WorkVent feature is worth mentioning. This is a panel of quasi-perforated fabric beneath the belt line at about 4 and 8 o’clock. It means that the moving pant/shorts leg will basically fan air up and across your thigh and out the back. Very cool (pun intended)!
The “modern fit” is a slimmer fit than is usually found on work pants. You might think that this would make them too tight or uncomfortable for hard work, but that’s not the case. The material is stretchy enough that they pants and shorts just “give” when you need them to, and they do so so easily that there’s no tension or discomfort at all.
This means that the Timberland Pro® Tempe Pants and Shorts fit well enough that they can be easily worn for casual wear. In fact I like the shorts well enough that they will get assigned to that role (as well as actual work) until they get too stained.
Of course Timberland doesn’t make Timberland Pro® Tempe Pants and Shorts from recycled leisure suits sourced at Goodwill; they specify the fabric to meet their specific demands. They tell me that they’ve recently increased their standards and added a harsher washing test to ensure that if the garments are washed at higher temperatures they don’t get damaged. They also test the parameters below when the fabric is brand new and after multiple washes.
- Tear and tensile strength
- Seam strength
- Abrasion resistance
- Dimensional stability
In the Field
I wore both the Timberland Pro® Tempe Pants and Shorts in temperatures in the high 90s and in the 60s, inside and outdoors. They were nothing if not utterly comfortable. It’s not like they feel like silk pajamas, but neither you really notice them much at all. Particularly when in odd positions – kneeling, bent over, etc. – the material stretches so easily that they never bind. In fact, the material stretches quite a bit – there’s literally no position you could contort yourself into in which the material would bind.
This malleability of the fabric does not come at the expense of tear resistance or durability though. Neither the pants nor the shorts caught on any splinters or the like; I even scratched them (on purpose) with a sheetrock screw, and the sharp edges of the screw didn’t cause any tearing, pilling, or even loosen any threads. That really is impressive!
The tool pockets are well placed and functional, and the front pockets are the perfect depth. They’re just a little longer than standard jeans pockets, meaning that whatever bits-n-bobs you carry there won’t fall out, but not so deep that items are difficult to retrieve. (The rear pockets are standard jeans size, although I wish they were a tad larger.)
Timberland makes a Pro® line of wicking clothing that goes beyond just these two items. It includes tops of all kinds, too, and they sent along one of them with the pants and shorts. The Timberland Pro Wicking Good Hoodie is lightweight, super-comfortable, and just the ticket for cooler mornings over a wicking t-shirt. Featuring flat-lock seams, it’s so featherweight that you won’t even know you have it on!
I was impressed by this first time with the Timberland Pro® line. No matter what type of tradesperson you are, I think you will be too. The Tempe Pants and Shorts are certainly keepers for me. They are well made, comfortable, functional, good-looking, and to the extent possible solve the hot-weather pants and shorts problem. MSRP of $75 and $60 respectively, but considerably less online.