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Reviews > Clothing > Accessories > DeFeet ArmSkins > Test Report by Jamie Lawrence

DeFeet ArmSkins
Test Series by Jamie Lawrence

Initial Report - 7th April, 2008

Field Report - 30th May, 2008

Long-Term Report - 3rd August, 2008

Tester Information

NAME:

Jamie Lawrence

EMAIL:

jlawrence@publictrustee.tas.gov.au

AGE:

27

LOCATION:

Hobart, Tasmania AUSTRALIA

GENDER:

M

HEIGHT:

5' 7" (1.70 m)

WEIGHT:

154 lb (70 kg)

I was introduced to bushwalking/tramping/hiking as a young child in Boy Scouts and through my school physical/adventure education. After leaving school, I mainly did short daywalks until recently when I have started to again re-walk some of Tasmania's key hiking routes and try walks I have yet to attempt. I mainly walk in the winter months, in Tasmania's central highlands areas. I prefer light gear, extended walks (3-5 days) in a group of 3 or shorter walks (1-3 days) walking solo. I would generally carry a base weight pack of around 8 kg-10 kg (17 lb-22 lb).


Initial Report

7th April, 2008

Product Information & Specifications

ArmSkins with Tag

ArmSkins with Tag

Manufacturer: DeFeet
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website: DeFeet Website
MSRP: US$22
Listed Weight: Not Listed
Measured Weight: 60 g (2.1 oz)
Colour: Black
Size: Sm/Md
Length: 39 cm (15.4 in)
Fabric: Nylon (47%), Coolmax+FreshFX (49%) & Lycra (4%)

 

 

Initial Impressions

The "DeFeet ArmSkins are designed to provide the ultimate in light weight, packable, secure arm protection for a wide range of temperatures" according to the swing tag attached to the product when I received them.

ArmSkins

DeFeet ArmSkins


As can be seen from the picture, the ArmSkins looks like a large sock which is not closed, rather tubular for its length. 2 key features of the ArmSkin are the wide Stayfast cuff at the hand end, with the shoulder end finishing at the Securl rolltop.

Trying It Out

Stayfast Cuffs

Stayfast Cuff

I was at first not sure if the ArmSkins would fit me, as they seemed very short, like a long pair of socks. However I was very surprised just how elastic this product is. Sure enough, when I pulled the ArmSkins on, they fit very well.

The top Securl feels firm and secure without being too tight around the top of my arm. The ArmSkin finishes around 2.5 cm (1 in) from my armpit, which based on the size of my arm seems to be the most comfortable position without restricting my movement whilst offering the most coverage and protection.

At the opposite end, the Stayfast cuff offers the same amount of comfort, without restricting my hand movement in any way.


The feel of the fabric, and the distinct lack of any major seems, makes the ArmSkin feel very comfortable against my skin. Given the tight fit of the ArmSkin, I doubt I can wear a layer underneath. Whilst wearing the ArmSkins with a long sleeve cotton t-shirt I felt free to move and did not notice the ArmSkin gripping or restricting my movement.

 Summary

So far I am impressed with the design, comfort and fit of the DeFeet ArmSkins. In the coming months I will look to test this product whilst backpacking or cycling and test the claims of the manufacturer that the ArmSkins 'stay up even in rough terrain'.

 


Field Report

30th May, 2008

Field Locations & Conditions

I recently completed a 2 night walk in the Mt Field National Park. The first night was spent at Lake Dobson at 1,047 m (3,453 ft). This night was a rather wet and windy night. Around 7.2 mm (0.28 in) of rain fell with a night low temp of 4.2 C (39.5 F). Although I wasn't able to measure wind speeds, gusts were recorded at a nearby weather station of 24 km/h (15 m/h). The second night of this walk was spent camped at K Col, around 1,210 m (3,970 ft) above sea level. I was not able to record temperatures at this camp, however I am sure it was below freezing as when I awoke I found the ground and nearby small tarn frozen. There was no rain or snowfall but it was very foggy and misty.

For the majority of the time I have been wearing the ArmSkins I have been either riding my mountain bike or trail running.

Performance in the Field

Wearing the ArmSkinsI have been very impressed with the ongoing comfort and fit of the ArmSkins. I am a keen cyclist and regularly ride from home to the office, around  a 10km trip each way. As the morning temps have been getting lower as I move through autumn (fall) and now into winter the morning temps general around 6 C (42 F) when I set off on my ride. I notice straight away when wearing the ArmSkins that they do dramatically reduce the wind chill making it possible for me to remain comfortable without a wind jacket on. I would usually leave the ArmSkins on for the whole ride to work as they are comfortable and warm. When riding on a paved road or path, the ArmSkins stay in place without much movement down my arm. I have noticed that when I am riding off road however, that if the track is very rough and my arms are moving a lot that the ArmSkins do start to work their way down my arm very slowly. I would estimate that after 30 minutes of rough riding I would stop to take a drink and would pull the ArmSkins back up my arm around 3 cm (1 in). I would suggest this is simply due to the terrain rather then the poor design of the product. The longest ride that I have worn the ArmSkins would be around 5 hours. At one point I was climbing a very steep hill carrying my bike and found I was simply too hot with them on. After the climb (and a bit of a rest!) I put them back on and continued riding for around another hour with no problems.

When testing the ArmSkins on the walk above I found them very handy for added warmth when it was too hot for a jumper but still a little cool for a short-sleeved shirt. I simply kept the ArmSkins in a pocket on the outside of my pack and when I felt I needed a bit of extra warmth I simply pulled the ArmSkins on and off I went. The other time I found the ArmSkins perfect for my need was when I was sleeping. I have a terrible habit of taking my arms out of my bag and they get cold. I decided I would sleep with the ArmSkins on to see if this stopped me waking up with cold arms. This is exactly what happened and I felt much warmer and more comfortable in my bag with them on without the added bulk of a jumper. I did wake up to find that the ArmSkins had started to slide down my arm around 6 cm (2 in) at the top but the lower part of my arm below the elbow was still firmly in place.

One thing that has impressed me with this product is how well it breathes. Since I have been wearing the ArmSkins for a lot of running, I obviously start to sweat yet to my surprise my arms remained quite dry as the ArmSkins did a great job of wicking the moisture away from my skin. They also breathe very well which helps me feel cooler. Generally this was the area that most impressed me about the ArmSkins and where I have seen the biggest benefit from wearing them.  I have also notices a similar effect when walking  and more so riding. In the picutre above I am wearing the ArmSkins because although it was sunny, there was a light breeze which made my arms feel quite cold however I was sweating a bit due to the fact that I was climbing quite steep terrain.  Once the breeze reduced I took off the ArmSkins as I was getting too warm and noticed my arms felt very dry.

I have had no ongoing issues with the durability or construction of the ArmSkins. I have had a few minor crashes when riding my bike in the bush on rough fire trails, usually resulting in me sliding along on gravel. I usually get up, dust myself off and jump back on the bike. A quick wash in the machine at home and the ArmSkins are as good as new! They remain elastic and tight and don't appear to be stretching or wearing in places.

Summary

Overall I have found the ArmSkins comfortable and a handy lightweight option for added warmth. As they are very small when packed (no larger then a pair of socks) and I can easily stash them for quick access in my pack. Although they do over time work their way down my arm, especially when riding in rough terrain, the Stayfast Cuffs and Securl Top are very effective in holding the ArmSkins in place.

This concludes my Field Report.

My thanks to DeFeet and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this product.

 


Long-Term Report

3rd August, 2008

Field Locations & Conditions

To complete my testing of the ArmSkins I have continued to wear them cycling as well as a recent walk to Mt Rufus in the Lake St Clair National Park. The weather for this walk was bright and sunny, with little or no wind. Our overnight camp was at 1,035 m (3,396 ft) with a low temp recorded of -6 C (21 F) and a high of 10 C (50 F) during the day. There was no snow fall or rain. I have mainly been wearing the ArmSkins when cycling as it is very cool most mornings when I ride to work.

Performance in the Field

The ArmSkins have continued to perform well over the remainder of the testing period. During the above mentioned walk I found the ArmSkins were really handy to wear around camp when I wanted to keep my arms warm but did not want to be restricted by the bulk of a down jacket.

Wearing ArmSkins in CampIn the picture to the left I was wearing the ArmSkins whilst packing my gear in camp. As can be seen I was in snow and the air was very cold (no actual reading but I estimate close to freezing/32 F) but because I was moving around I got too hot easily. I found the ArmSkins were great as I simply put them on and felt very warm and toasty within no time. They did not restrict my movement at all. I also left them on when I first started walking and removed them a little further up the track one I had warmed up.

When wearing the ArmSkins cycling I have continued to find that they are very comfortable and provide good protection from cold wind. As the temperatures have continued to get cold as I am in our winter I have found that I prefer to wear the ArmSkins and a vest rather then a full jacket as this gives me more flexibility. For example if I am getting warm I can take off my vest and still keep my arms warm by keeping the ArmSkins on.
Frayed ArmSkin
As can be seen in the picture to the right, I have noticed that the ArmSkins are starting to wear. I have had a few loose threads come out around the top of the Securl Top. Whilst I was surprised that I had issues with fraying, I have not noticed a major effect on the product. I have simply cut the loose threads off with scissors. To prevent further damage when washing I roll the top of the ArmSkin down around 5 cm (2 in) and this seems to work.

Summary

Over the testing period I have remained very satisfied with the ArmSkins. Given they are just soooo lightweight I always carry them in my pack when walking to have that extra flexibility to protect against wind and cold. If the product was heavy I doubt I would continue to use them. I can agree with the manufacturer's claims as mentioned in my Initial Report that the ArmSkins are "..designed to provide the ultimate in light weight, packable, secure arm protection for a wide range of temperatures". Whilst I might not agree they are the 'ultimate' they are certainly very good and able to cope with a wide range of temperatures and do offer good protection against the ruff and tumble of the Australian bush. I will continue to wear them for a long time to come.

This concludes my test series for the DeFeet ArmSkins. I would again like to thank DeFeet and backpackgeartest.org for the opportunity to test this versatile and handy product.


Read more reviews of DeFeet gear
Read more gear reviews by Jamie Lawrence

Reviews > Clothing > Accessories > DeFeet ArmSkins > Test Report by Jamie Lawrence



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