Monday, August 29, 2011

Testing Stuff!

Stuff arrived by courier this week. It was a package sent by Icebreaker, with a pair of their Legless merino wool leggings for me to test and write about. Yay!
These Legless tights are the Pace version, meant for runners to wear alone or under light trousers. Other versions of Legless tights are winter underwear meant to leave shins & ankles free from excessive layering with socks & trousers. They're capri length, to about mid-calf on the model on their website. (Full disclosure: I am NOT the model on the website. I do not look even remotely like the model wearing the Legless tights, Pace version. I have the finely-honed body of a freelance writer.) 2011-08-28 The Gorge_0003
One of my theories about clothing for kayakers is that "dress for immersion" doesn't always have to mean "wear a wetsuit" or "wear a dry suit." It can also mean "wear something I can swim in" where swimming is safe. On hot summer days when we're practising our wet exits at a sheltered lake, I wear a bathing suit or shorts and a t-shirt. But most days, I'm not planning to swim. When I'm kayaking in sheltered, familiar waters and staying close to shore, dressing for immersion means I wear a light merino wool shirt and leggings. In the cold ocean water, I'd be able to swim a few yards to shore.
But my old leggings wore out. And when I wrote to Icebreaker praising the many-mended leggings and shirts that I wear while paddling, they sent me a new pair of leggings to try.
Lemme say, the Legless are pretty much exactly what I'm looking for in paddling pants. They're short enough that I can wade and get into my boat. They dry quickly when splashed. They're warm when wet, something that polyester tights and bike shorts are NOT.
Another factor that works for me is that these tights look like summery, sporty clothes. When commando kayaking I like to be able to wear my paddling clothes on the bus without causing panic and a general exodus via the back door. I wore these tights with a long t-shirt and a long sweater on campus and at the library. (Don't panic. I have permission from my fashionistas Lila, Ben and Marlene, provided that the shirt is long enough to cover the rump.) The verdict from several consultants was that the look was "slimming." Nice thought. 2011-08-28 The Gorge_0001 copy
We've been in a bit of a heat wave, and I wore these tights not only while kayaking, but while gardening and walking over a mile on pavement in the baking hot sunshine. In spite of being made of black wool, these tights were cooler than a similar pair of polyester tights.
For people unfamiliar with wearing wool as anything other than a bulky sweater, I can confirm that like other light merino wool garments, Legless tights can be thrown in the washing machine. (Cold water wash, and any other clothes in the load should not be "shedding" lots of fluff.) For drying, hang 'em up. They dry pretty quickly.
The only problem for me is that the promotional ad photos Icebreaker puts on its website are a little weird. Not the photos showing the garments worn by models... those are ok though all the models are young and trim. (Would it be so wrong to have a plump model staying healthy and active in sports gear?) No, it's the flashy promotional photos on Icebreaker's website that are kinda weird. A dark man with a ram's head. A woman riding him. I'm up for images of strength and vigor, but some of these photos look heterosexist and creepy. Not creepy enough to keep me from wearing these merino wool tights and my mended shirts!

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