If you’ve ever been to Arizona in the summer, you’ll know it’s not the most pleasant place to be outdoors during the day. In the Phoenix area, we’ve already reached highs in excess of 110°F, and summer doesn’t officially begin until later this week. In another month or two, it’ll probably hit 120°F here (if not even higher). So just like in the midwest during the dead of winter, choice of clothing is an important consideration if you’re planning to venture outside.

5.11 Tactical has released an array of new summer apparel this year, and was kind enough to send us a shirt and some shorts to try out. We had several options to choose from, so we picked those that looked most hot-weather-friendly: the Athos shorts and Aerial button-down shirt. Read on for our thoughts on each after a few weeks of wearing them.

Athos Shorts

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Colors: Black, Stone (khaki), Lunar (grey), Raisin (brown)
Materials: 98% cotton, 2% elastane
Size Range: 28 to 44
MSRP: $45

The Athos shorts have a discreet look that resembles a pair of chinos, and a 10-inch inseam that comes to just above the knee. We like the asymmetrical cell phone pocket on the left thigh, which perfectly fits a plus-sized iPhone in a slim Otterbox Commuter case.

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Two normal front pockets feature stairstepped hems to comfortably accommodate knives, flashlights, and other clip-on EDC gear. Back pockets are pretty standard with button closures. The Athos also features 5.11 Tactical’s MAG pockets at the 4:00 and 8:00 position — we liked these a lot on the 5.11 Defender Flex jeans we reviewed, and we appreciate them here as well. This brings the total pocket count to 7.

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We found the Athos shorts to be a great choice for everyday use or trips to the range. They don’t have oversized cargo pockets or flashy stitching so they don’t scream “tactical”, but they provide enough space for the gear you do need on a daily basis.

Aerial Button-Down Shirt

511 Tactical Athos shorts Aerial shirt summer apparel gear edc hot weather 2

Colors: Black, Lunar (grey), Eclipse (navy)
Materials: 100% polyester-dissolving yarn
Size Range: XS to 2XL
MSRP: $50

The Aerial shirt is amazingly breathable — closely examining its grid pattern reveals hundreds of tiny perforations throughout the fabric. If you hold this silky material up to a light source, these pinholes are clearly visible. The end result is a featherweight shirt that wicks away sweat and allows for constant ventilation. That’s a godsend when stepping outside feels like walking into a giant oven.

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There’s a single chest pocket and collar, but aside from these features there’s little more of note. Eight snaps can be easily pulled apart with one hand to access a concealed weapon, but nothing about this shirt looks tactical, and we greatly appreciate that design. Many apparel manufacturers go overboard with hidden pockets, velcro, and other features we’d rarely (if ever) use, so it’s nice to see 5.11 Tactical sticking to the basics.

Like the Athos shorts, the Aerial button-down is a solid choice for everyday wear, and one we see ourselves using frequently this summer.

For more info on 5.11’s new summer apparel, check out 511Tactical.com.

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