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Review: Sombrio Vanquish pants and jersey

Technical wear from veteran Canadian apparel brand

North Vancouver’s Sombrio Cartel is mostly known for its more casual approach to clothing, with flannel mixing in with the high-tech fabrics. With the Vanquish line, the twenty-year-old Canadian brand adds a more performance-focused line of apparel.

Vanquish includes shorts, pants and men’s and women’s jerseys. The line mixes toughness with a lighter weight that’s ready to pedal with the same North Shore toughness the rest of the brands apparel is known for. That can be a tough line to walk, but the Vanquish pants and jersey do so well.

Review: Sombrio Vanquish pants

The Vanquish pants (and shorts) use a stretchy, water resistant fabric with  DWR finish. They’re not water proof, in part due to the lazer-cut ventillation, but they also don’t soak up any precipitation or puddles you splash through. The Quattro Flex Dura fabric is light, but durable. That makes the Vanquish pants comfortable enough to pedal in without feeling like they’ll fall apart the first time you brush against a tree. In fact, they feel impressively tough, especially considering their weight and how light they feel. They’re not a full-on lightweight pant that I’d wear on hot days, but they’re comfortable in a good range of temperatures. A seamles crotch panel makes the Vanquish pants comfortable to sit and pedal in, too.

Fit wise, the Vanquish pants don’t follow the current near-skin tight trend. They have a more relaxed fit that, to be honest, will probably be welcomed by a lot of riders. Not everyone wants their pants to feel glued to their calves and thighs. The Sombrio’s leave more room, without feeling bulky. The size large pants I tested are supposed to correspond to a 34-36 waist. They were on the larger size of that. Two velcro tabs on either side help size the pants well, while a grip band inside the waist kept them from moving around or sliding down while riding. Riding, they comfortably fit even large knee pads without tugging while pedalling or restricting movement. Two pockets, one on either waist, are large enough to comfortably hold a phone without letting it bounce or jiggle around while riding.

Sombrio offers the Vanquish pants in two colours, black and “milky coffee” in six sizes from XS to XXL. At $253, they are on the more expensive end of the spectrum, though. If you want a quality pair of tough-but-light pants with a more relaxed fit from a Canadian brand, the Vanquish pants fit the bill. But they are not cheap and there is no dedicated women’s model.

Sombrio Vanquish jersey

The Vanquish jersey follows a similar design as the pants: light and tough. With a mix of fabrics, including Dura Mesh and Lycra PFP, though, even the long sleeve jersey is light and breathable enough for hot summer rides. A microfibre wipe inside the jersey will help keep eyewear clean, but there are no pockets to be found.

On hot days, the mesh does a good job of breathing and wicking moisture away from the skin without getting soaking wet or heavy and dries quickly. It fits well, with the arms being cut just close enough that they don’t move around without being constricting or feeling tight. It’s a comfortable, well made jersey that will work in a good range of conditions.

The Vanquish Jersey retails for $150 and comes in men’s and women’s models. Again, that puts Sombrio at the more expensive end of the spectrum, even compared to brands like Rapha. It’s a well made jersey, to be sure, but one with a steep price tag.