DeFeet ArmSkins Lite
Initial Report - March 8, 2008
Field Report - May 27, 2008
Long Term Report - August 17, 2008
Name: Jason Boyle
Height: 5' 6"/ 1.68 m
Weight: 180 lb/ 82 kg
Email address: c4jc "at" hotmail "dot" com
City, State, Country: Snoqualmie, Washington, U. S.
I have been camping and backpacking for about 19 years. My introduction to the outdoors started with the Boy Scouts of America and has continued as an adult. I have hiked mostly in the Southeastern and Northeastern United States. I am generally a lightweight hiker, but will carry extras to keep me comfortable. I currently reside in the Pacific Northwest and spend most of my time hiking and backpacking in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, but I can be found exploring the other wild areas of Washington!
|Year of Manufacture:
||1.6 oz/ 45 g
||47% Nylon, 49% Coolmax + FreshFX, 4% Lycra
|Country of Manufacture:
The ArmSkins look like socks except they are open at both ends. The upper end of the ArmSkins has a short roll top cuff called the DeFeet Securl which is supposed to hold it in place “no matter how rough the terrain”. The bottom cuff is wider and has a smooth finish. The body of the Armskin has a square knit texture to it and is also soft to the touch. There are no vertical seams on the Armskin just flat seams at each cuff.
I am a very warm hiker and unless the temperature is below freezing I generally cannot wear a long sleeve base layer. I get even hotter if I need to layer a shell while hiking. Most of the time I only need a short sleeve base layer top, but still get tend to get chilled in the morning and evening of my hikes. I am hopeful that the ArmSkins can help me stay warm in the morning or evening and I can remove them in the middle of the day when the temperature warms up.
They are comfortable to wear and feel like a compression sock for my arm. They are snug but not tight enough to cut off circulation. The roll top cuff and the bottom cuff are smooth to the touch while the body of the Armskin has a textured finish. They seem to be sized appropriately for my frame with the top of the Armskin coming just a bit above my bicep and the bottom cuff ends at my wrist. The care instructions are fairly simple – Machine Wash Cold, Tumble Dry Low, and No Chlorine Bleach.
Field Report – May 27, 2008
The ArmSkins have performed well over the past two months. They have done a nice job of keeping me warm and helping me regulate my temperature while hiking. The white color has not become easily stained like I expected and they have not retained any smells. They are thin and provide very little wind protection but this is only a minor nit and the only one that I have.
I have used the ArmSkins on 8 trips for a total of 10 days over the past two months. The majority of the trips were dayhikes in the foothills of the Cascades, but I did take them on a three day backpacking/snowshoeing trip in the North Cascades. Elevations ranged from 800’ to 4000’ (244 m to 1218 m), temperatures ranged from 24 F to 50 F (-4 C to 10 C). I experienced heavy snow squalls during my backpacking trip and during one of my day hikes I had heavy rain, blowing snow, followed by more heavy rain, and finally sunshine.
Socks for my arms… that’s a good description of the ArmSkins. I was a little apprehensive about how useful these would be but I have been very pleased with them. I think their usefulness is limited by my imagination. Most of my hikes I would start out wearing them and would roll them down when I needed more ventilation or to cool down. This method worked pretty well at helping me regulate my core temperature. As spring has arrived I don’t tend to wear gloves as often but I still get cold hands. Before I received the ArmSkins, I would either be cold, or if wearing a long sleeve shirt I would pull the sleeves over my hands. Now that I have the ArmSkins I just fold them over my hands and presto instant hand covers! They were plenty warm even down to freezing and several times I even used them to ward off light precipitation. However, they wouldn’t hold up to any serious rain, snow, or wind.
I had two areas of concern with the ArmSkins – durability and permanent stains on the white fabric. Neither has been a problem thus far. The ArmSkins are in good shape and after several washings have not lost any of their elasticity. They are also retaining their color nicely. They are not bright white anymore, but they don’t have any permanent stains and are still mostly white. I am pleased.
Long Term Report – August 17, 2008
The ArmSkins have performed well over the last couple of months. They have shed light wind with no problem and have provided plenty of venting options during changing weather conditions. They have maintained their shape and elasticity and have continued to be very comfortable. In extreme cold weather, I would want something a bit more substantial, but overall I am pleased with the ArmSkins.
Since my field report, I have used the ArmSkins on two trips – a four day backpacking trip on the Olympic Wilderness Coast and on a two day Mt. Rainier climb, both of which took place in Washington. Weather on the coast was mostly cloudy with some light rain on the last day. Temperatures ranged from the upper 60’s F to the 40’s F (15 C to 4 C) and elevation was sea level. On Rainier, the weather was bluebird clear skies with windy conditions (30 mph/ 48 kmph) above the Disappointment Cleaver enroute to the Summit. Temperatures ranged from the 70’s F to 10 F (21 C to -18 C) near the summit. Elevation on this trip ranged from 5400’ (1646 m) at Paradise to 14,411’ (4392 m). The terrain on the coast ranged from rocky headland crossings and beach sand. On Rainier, the terrain was mostly snow with some rocky outcroppings.
The ArmSkins have worked really well. I lived in them during the four days on the Olympic Coast. During the warmest parts of the day, I rolled them down, or took them off, but soon found myself rolling them back up or putting them back on as the wind picked up around each headland crossing. I was concerned that they might grow dingy and smelly wearing them constantly over the four day trip. The white ArmSkins did grow dingy, but I was pleasantly surprised that they never smelled. I am happy to report that the ArmSkins did come clean when I washed them after the trip.
I also wore them from Paradise to the summit of Mt. Rainier. However, I did alternate between being hot while climbing with a shell on to being cold with a shell when the wind picked up. Once the sun came up, and the mountain warmed up I was able to comfortably wear them with a t-shirt and no jacket. The weather was bluebird clear and the sun was reflecting off the snow requiring us to put on copious amounts of sunscreen on exposed areas of skin. However with the ArmSkins, my arms were protected from the sun’s rays without sunscreen.
Overall, I have been pleased with the ArmSkins, even though they are not something I originally would have purchased. They have performed well and allow me to have multiple venting options as I hike. I have also started commuting by bike to work and will begin using them on my daily rides. This concludes my Long Term Report. Thanks to Backpackgeartest.org and DeFeet for allowing me to participate in this test.
Read more reviews of DeFeet gear
Read more gear reviews by Jason Boyle