Tested: ExOfficio BugsAway Ziwa Convertible pants

EXPOSURE to the sun is a real concern for anyone who fishes. Long stints in the sun standing on bright reflective boats can cause long term problems, regardless of skin type. I’m fair skinned which makes matters even worse.

You have a couple of options – sunscreen, UV resistant lightweight clothing, or just stay at home and play video games like a giant kid. Sunscreen is always a viable option and I use it regularly. The problem with sunscreen though is it needs regular reapplying and that takes up precious fishing time. It’s also greasy and with that comes a risk of deterring fish who may pick up the scent on your lures or line.

The simplest and easiest option is to cover up with lightweight and good quality UV protective clothing. Almost everyone at some point has owned a baggy button up fishing shirt for this reason. Lately I’ve taken it further by wearing long pants and a Buff around my neck, so there’s very little skin exposed to the sun.

One of the best brands of lightweight outdoor and fishing clothing is ExOfficio. The ExOfficio Ziwa BugsAway pants fit the bill nicely for my purpose and have the added bonus of being “bug resistant”. This is a real plus in the tropics and places like PNG where mosquito bites can be life threatening. The bug resistance is said to last for 70 washes.

The UV 30+ BugsAway pants are very lightweight and stay cool in the heat of summer. A pair of thermals underneath for winter wear would make them useful year-round. They’re also easily converted to shorts via a zipper, making them a useful item for saving space when travelling. There are loads of pockets which are deep enough so you’re not worried about phones or wallets falling out. There’s also a clever pocket for small pliers or a multi-tool with a Velcro strap to secure the tool. It’s a great idea, although be careful using pointy nose pliers which could soon wear a hole through the fabric.

The Ziwa pants also allow a belt to be worn. Surprisingly, many outdoor pants rely on just elastic and a draw cord and forget about this simple addition. This is essential for fishos who carry around knives and pliers in sheaths.

These pants are baggy enough to make climbing in and out of boats easy, but not so baggy that rumours start about an MC Hammer comeback tour.

All up, ExOfficio has made a quality pair of lightweight pants designed specifically for fishing and travel in tropical and sub tropical areas. At $149.95 RRP, they don’t come cheap, but quality comes at a price and these should take the abuse and last several seasons on the water.

Check out the Exofficio website at for the nearest stockist.

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