I am not the first to put pen to paper on Golite in the UK market, nor am I the first to deal with the Tumalo shell layer - Phil Turner has already looked at the Tumalo jacket. Hendrik Morkel has looked at the Tumalo Jacket and pants. I first became aware of Golite as a consequence of their sponsorship of Steve Vaught's walk across the US (more famously knowns as the Fat Man Walking). I mention this because it impresses me how clever a piece of marketing that was by Golite, but also because I was equally impressed by Steve Vaught's endeavour. Yet Golite have few competitors for the position they occupy in the outdoor gear manufacturer's market - they craft true ultralight gear for a far more accessible and mainstream market from the point of view of a large manufacturer. They are not Gossamer Gear or Mountain Laurel Designs - cottage industries that have grown into more serious propositions - they are a manufacturer of the whole gamut of outdoor equipment and apparel and the gear they produce sits comfortably with ultralight principles. In short, no other company worldwide makes UL kit, across the spectrum, as prolifically and effectively as Golite. Their philosophy, marketing blurb to one side, demonstrably underpins their kit ethos. If you were sponsored by Golite, as Andrew Skurka was, then you'd be starting from a position of strength in securing UL kit for almost any outdoor adventure. The Tumalo pant is my first foray into Golite's range but so far, I'm impressed.
As a replacement for the hugely popular Golite Reed, the Tumalo is a feather heavier from the Reed but still ridiculously light for a waterproof and extremely breathable shell layer. Crafted from Pertex 2.5 layer Shield, the pants weigh 190g for a medium and they are a fairly copious fit. The Pertex Shield concept is a fusion of Pertex's face fabric technology (the material itself) combined with their proprietry waterproof, breathable laminate and coating.
Pertex say "the fabric combines technically advanced face fabric technology with a proprietary polyurethane film laminate. It balances the best performance in breathability, waterproofness and water repellency with excellent durability. The hydrophilic nature of the polyurethane film reduces internal condensation and increases comfort range, by reducing the chilling effects caused by converting condensation build up back into water vapour." In short, it is Pertex with a DWR coating to make it waterproof. That means a lightweight, breathable product, that packs down to a tiny package and will, like the Litespeed, for example, perform very well in its chosen forum. Clearly, you cannot expect the Tumalo to be as durable as Gore-tex or eVent so it may well, for some, only function effectively as an emergency layer. For others, more used to protecting UL equipment so that it performs as a primary piece of kit rather than an emergency piece of kit, it will perform adequately in any environment. That's the crux of the Tumalo, like most UL kit - it needs to be treated kindly if it is to be used regularly.
The fabric is soft and smooth to the touch and the inner lining reminds me of the Marmot Precip. It's not something you'll enjoy next to your skin if condensation does begin to build up but I doubt many reading this blog will care much for that scant issue. Features are limited which is exactly what an emergency shell layer requires - one pocket which can be used as a vent (I wonder whether two pockets might actually make these better venting) and a short leg zip at the bottom, with 2 circular velcro tabs for adjustment at the foot. The waist is adjusted by shockcord which is diaphanous at best so these are not meant for prolonged athleticism - I doubt they would hold up for long if subjected to a wide range of movement - but they will be perfect for short bursts of heavy rain or drizzle.