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Reviews > Clothing > Skirts and Kilts > Big Agnes Zirkel Circle Skirt > Owner Review by Kathleen Waters

BIG AGNES ZIRKEL CIRCLE SKIRT

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BY KATHLEEN WATERS
May 24, 2015

OWNER REVIEW

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Kathleen Waters
EMAIL: kathy at backpackgeartest dot com
AGE: 64
LOCATION: Canon City, Colorado, USA
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 4" (1.60 m)
WEIGHT: 125 lb (56.70 kg)

Living in Colorado and being self-employed, I have ample opportunities to backpack. There are over 700,000 acres/280,000 hectares of public land bordering my 71-acre/29-hectare "backyard" in addition to all the other gorgeous locations which abound in Colorado. Over the past 15 years, my husband John and I have also had the good fortune to hike/snowshoe glaciers, rain forests, mountains and deserts in exotic locations, including New Zealand, Iceland, Costa Rica, Slovenia and Death Valley. My hiking style is comfortable, aiming for lightweight. I use a tent (rainfly if needed). Current pack averages 25 lb (11 kg) excluding food and water.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Manufacturer: Big Agnes, Inc.
Year of Manufacture: 2014
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.bigagnes.com
MSRP: US $129.95
Listed Weight: 9 oz (255 g) Medium
Measured Weight: 8 oz (227 g) Medium
Sizes Available: Small, Medium, Large
Size Reviewed: Medium
Colors Available: Black/Light Teal & Fuschia/Orange
Color Reviewed Black/Light Teal

Other details:

* Materials: Nylon rip-stop shell with 700 fill power DownTek™ water repellent down
* A-line fit with vertical baffles
* Listed and measured skirt length size Medium - 17. 5" (44 cm)
* Listed adjustable fit range for size Medium 29 to 36" (74 to 91 cm)
* Machine washable in warm water and down cleaner. Tumble dry low. Do not bleach or iron.
* Made in China
ORWM 2015
Solitude Mountain, Utah, Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2015

FIELD USE AND PERFORMANCE

Over the winter months, I continued to backpack/hike and snowshoe as much as possible. I spent most of my time in the south central region of Colorado that I call home. Mostly, I hiked in the mountains of Fremont County, including the Wet, Fremont and Cooper Mountain ranges. This area's terrain runs the gamut of evergreen forests, to grassy plains to high desert rock and dirt/mud (as the moisture or lack thereof dictates).

I also spent some time snowshoeing in the Wasatch Mountains in Utah and a wonderful week in the snow in Twin Lakes, Colorado, snowshoeing in and around the Colorado Trail. These two areas are environmentally similar to my usual haunts but had way, way more snow.

It's been a strange year for weather, so early on, winter was mild but snowy; then it became very bitter cold and snowy, to mild temperatures, to downright warm. All this in the time span of November 2014 to March 2015. As I write this, it's early May 2015 and it's been raining almost every day for the past two weeks and I'm back to wearing long-sleeved base layers along with wind and rain jackets! Wacky Weather!

Over these 5 months, I estimate I've covered 40 miles (60 km) backpacking/hiking/snowshoeing and walking in the Big Agnes Zirkel Circle Skirt and several more just wearing it around town casually.

The Big Agnes Zirkel Circle Skirt is a very simply constructed wrap-around A-line down skirt quilted diagonally and fastened with a series of snaps. The seven pairs of snaps allow a wide range of waist sizes and allows for a custom fit wherever (waist high or hip hugging). The skirt is lined with a contrasting nylon material. It features a small diagonal slash pocket on the left front of the skirt which is hidden in one of the quilt seams and is mercifully placed off the hips! That's it! Very Simple!

But how the Zirkel Circle Skirt performs is anything but simple. It a wonderfully versatile item of clothing for wearing solo with base layer running/hiking tights or leggings or layering over heavier leggings, pants and even ski pants. I've worn mine with all of these bottoms at one point or another and been quite happy with the results.

First off, depending on what else I'm wearing, my mood and whether or not I ate that second s-more, I use the tightest to the third tightest set of snaps. The snaps are very sturdily fastened, are easy to work with and have withstood my very rough "ripping" open method of removing the skirt.

At the loosest range of the fastening snaps for me, the Zirkel sits lower on my hips when I'm wearing a pair of tights or leggings. I usually wear the Zirkel in this position when I am not bundling up for Artic winds or a foray snowshoeing up a mountain trail. This is my "stylish" look.

However, generally, "style" is not my thing and not what I have in mind when I'm backpacking/hiking and snowshoeing. Comfort is the name of the game and if my look doesn't scare small children, well that's an unexpected plus!

Mostly, this winter I wore the Zirkel over my ski pants. It didn't score any fashion points, but it sure scored big on the warmth scale! Wearing the skirt kept me noticeably warmer across the thighs, an area that seems to take the brunt of the cold and winds since I usually just have on a base layer and the ski pants. Every other part of my body gets layered up in more than two layers, but not my thighs and derriere! Not anymore! With the Zirkel, I have a very thick, very warm extra layer now. This extra layer is also great on those occasions - and there have been more than a few - when the seat of my pants came in contact with the cold hard icy ground or even the cold soft snowy ground after a tussle between my trekking poles and my snowshoes.

I've found the Zirkel Circle Skirt gives me a better range of motion and more freedom of movement when backpacking/hiking/snowshoeing than trying to wear heavier or multiple base layers under my ski pants. Not having that extra bulk on my legs and in the crotch area makes for a much more pleasant outing while still maintaining a measure of comfort. The skirt gives me warmth where I need/want it without extra weight as well. It's a great weight to warmth ratio, I think!

Even though function will always win out over fashion for me, it is nice to know those turning heads are not (necessarily) gawking at my ridiculous outfit, but rather admiring a trendy (did I actually write "trendy") look! I've actually had women ask about the Zirkel Circle Skirt and compliment me on its style. (Blush!) The snaps are very sturdily fastened, are easy to work with and have withstood my very rough "ripping" open method of removing the skirt.


The Zirkel has never gotten wet through even in some nasty blowing snow treks and so far, hasn't suffered any thread pulls, tears, snagged zippers, etc. It's in very good shape and clean-looking even though I haven't had to wash it yet. I'm looking forward to many more outing as soon as spring/summer comes and goes and cold weather backpacking and snowshoeing are on my calendar again!

STARRING ATTRACTIONS

1.) Extra layer to keep my derriere and thighs warm.
2.) Easy to put on and take off on the go.
3.) Cute and stylish - women like it and want it.

MINOR DISTRACTION

1.) See number 3 above!
Independance Pass, Colorado
There's MY Skirt! Give it back!

SUMMARY

At the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in January 2014, I spotted the Big Agnes line of quilted skirts and was immediately intrigued. So when I got the chance last November 2014 to purchase one, I jumped on it. I thought it might be just a cute "snow bunny" fad sort of look that I would wear around town apres ski (even though I don't ski) but I'm happy to say, I was wrong!

The Zirkel Circle Skirt is a great extra layer of protection against frostbite of the derriere when winter winds are in full gear. And it gives me more freedom of movement than other layering options I've used.

I've certainly worn the Zirkel Skirt way more than I thought I would for sure. I like it so much that I bought a second quilted skirt to match my Big Agnes Marvine Jacket!

Kathleen (Kathy) Waters

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

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