This year's April Fool seems to have been weather-related, but May is here, and the push to summer is underway.
That's why I've been doing my homework in an effort to assemble the best (coolest) clothing and other accessories available. The shorts and T-shirts that once were my summer uniform don't offer enough protection from the sun.
I've probably bought a dozen pair of lightweight fishing pants in the past 10 years. One thing I've learned, at least for me, is to avoid zip-off legs that convert the long pants to shorts. The zip-off legs I've tried are not nearly as comfortable as shorts or pants made of the same material.
This time, I hit a home run on fishing pants with the Columbia PFG Airgill Chill Pant, which costs about $80. They've got comfort, plus a UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) of 30, meaning they offer sun protection.
I'm not sure what the Omni Freeze Ice feature does, but these nylon pants are extremely lightweight and comfortable. Columbia clothing is available at many sporting goods outlets. Go to columbia.com to preview what's available and find a nearby retailer.
For shirts, I relied on Simms, an upscale fly-fishing company that sells clothing suitable for fishing in the tropics. I don't plan on fishing in the tropics anytime soon, but I figured Simms knew its stuff.
I bought a Cor3 long-sleeve shirt that cost a lot ($100) but is incredibly light (5.5 ounces), made from 100 percent polyester. The jury is out on the vertical pockets accessed by zippers, but the shirt feels great.
A better shirt bargain from Simms is the company's Solarflex LS, a polyester long-sleeve pullover that weighs 6.5 ounces and costs $50 in camo and $40 in solid colors. I bought one of each.
I also bought sun gloves from Simms. When you're fishing, the back of your hands take a direct hit from the sun. These particular gloves have an open palm for added coolness. When you're not wearing them, they snap together. Look at simmsfishing.com to see these products and find a local retailer.
In case my clothing fails me, my tackle bag contains a product called Cool Off Towelettes. They're saturated with 17 all-natural ingredients that were first formulated by a team to aid women experiencing hot flashes.
They realized that there might be other markets for a towelette that, in thermal image testing, lowered skin temperature as much as 13 degrees and maintained the coolness for as long as 30 minutes. I'm not sure how it works but it does. Details are at thequickchill.com.
Thanks to judicious use of sunscreen - my current favorite is Neutrogena Sport Face because it goes on without making a mess - I haven't suffered sunburn in years.
Those who are less careful can buy a product called Unburn Sunburn Relief (water jel.com). It's a topical water-based gel that draws heat out of the burn for fast relief.
It's available online or at Walmart. Two ounces costs $4.99, and the eight-ounce size is $11.99. Waterjel Technologies makes a wide assortment of products used by first responders. If it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me.