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Reviews > Clothing > Skirts and Kilts > SkirtSports GymGirl SportsSkirt > Test Report by Colleen PorterSkirtSports, Inc.
GymGirl 2-pocket skirt
Initial Report - May 31, 2007
Field Report - August 6th, 2007
Long Term Report - November 2, 2007
Name: Colleen Porter
Height: 5' 8” (1.73 m)
Weight: 140 lb (64 kg)
Email: tarbubble at yahoo dot com
Location: coastal southern California
been backpacking for about 11
years. I used to pack HEAVY, but then I
had kids. So to bring them backpacking I
reduced my pack weight drastically, and I’m now a quasi-ultralighter
11 lbs/5 kg solo base pack weight). However, I
still have to carry the kids' gear and food. I
sew some of my own gear (tarps, tents, down jacket).
I mostly backpack in the mountains &
deserts of southern California,
with occasional jaunts to adjacent states.
Product InformationManufacturer: SkirtSports, Inc.
Year Manufactured: 2007
MSRP: $58.00 US
Listed Weight: n/a
Tested Weight: 4.85 oz/137 g (size Medium)
Tested Color: Pink Crush
Product Description: A short skirt with built-in undershorts (shorties) designed for running. The shorties feature two small pockets, one on the outside of each thigh. The skirt fabrics are: SpeedSilk (skirt) (80% Nylon, 20% Spandex), TRIKSmesh (shorties and waistband) (80% Nylon, 20% Spandex). The inseam on the shorties is 3.5 in/9 cm, and the skirt length is roughly 14.25 in/36 cm from the top of the waistband to the hem. There are 7.5 x in/19 cm slits on either side of the skirt, and above these are tiny button holes designed to allow an earphone wire to feed through (for using an iPod or similar music device in the pockets).
Anticipated Field Conditions: Summer is hard upon us here in southern California. I expect heat, and lots of it, with temperatures of over 100 F/38 C regularly. Our summers tend to be dry, so no real humidity is anticipated. I will be using the GymGirl skirt at the Pacific coast, in the local foothills, and in our local mountains as well. Elevations could reach over 10,000 feet/3000 m. Sadly, I expect very little precipitation during the length of this test.
Initial Report - May 31, 2007
OK, right out of the package I'm in love with this skirt. As a gym/workout/running skirt, it's awesome. Whether or not it will shine as a backpacking skirt remains to be seen.
First, the fabrics. The skirt itself is light, made from a nylon/spandex knit that flows nicely and feels great. The attached shorties are made from a semitransparent mesh that is doubled up only in the "panty" area of the front, for added modesty in the crotch region. In the pink color I selected, the semitransparent nature of the mesh is really unnoticeable to the casual observer. However, if I were to wear bright blue panties underneath they would definitely be noticeable. I have elected so far to use no underwear in conjunction with the GymGirl, but for backpacking trips I definitely will. I really, really like the feel of the "TRIKSmesh" fabric that the shorties are made from. It is very airy and breathable and comfortable.
The waistband is also made from this mesh, which for me is a very nice choice. See, I have the same little abdomen "bump" that a lot of women have, particularly those of us who have had children. It's a stubborn little spot of fat that is extremely difficult to burn away. I'm in decent shape, but the bump persists. The waistband of the GymGirl falls roughly an inch (5 cm) below my navel, right on the bump. A tight elastic waistband here would be uncomfortable and tend to roll, which is irritating. I'm constantly folding the waistbands of my workout shorts because of this. But the mesh waistband on the GymGirl, even though it rolls a bit, is so soft and non-binding that I hardly notice it at all.
Second, the fit. I followed SkirtSports' sizing chart and am very pleased with the fit of the GymGirl. The waistband is extremely comfortable and does not feel tight or binding at all. The shorties are also comfortable, not tight or constricting. I have a full range of motion while wearing the GymGirl. The shorties do tend to ride up my thighs a bit, but the mesh fabric is so soft and stretchy that I don't notice until I look at them. And for pure vanity's sake, the skirt is very flattering to my legs, which I've never felt were my most attractive body parts. I've ended up running post-gym errands in the skirt and have not been at all embarrassed to be seen in it, even though I typically wear knee-length skirts in public.
The shorties have two pockets, one on the outside of each thigh. They are small - my iPod nano fits nicely, and two or maybe three energy gels would probably fit into one. There is a small buttonhole in the side seam of the skirt, which allows the earphone wire to feed through to the pocket. The hole is slightly small, as it took some force to get my earphones' wire connector through it, but the idea works well.
However, none of this means it will function well as a trail skirt. The pockets are small. Putting rain pants on over it may prove difficult. Most of the leg is exposed, meaning more sunblock, more insect repellent, no protection from scratchy brush or poison oak. I'll have to see how it works with wilderness bathroom procedures. Will it snag on brush, tree bark, rough rock? Will the mesh shorties tear as I'm climbing over a downed tree on the trail? Does it hand wash well & dry quickly?
Field Report - August 6, 2007
Field Conditions: I have used the GymGirl exclusively in southern California. It has been used at the gym, on local walks & runs, trail running along the coast, and to climb Mt. San Jacinto. I have also used it to swim in the Pacific Ocean. Weather has been nothing but sunny, clear, and hot. Elevations have ranged from sea level to 10,834 feet (3302 meters).
Performance: After two months of use, I still adore the GymGirl. I have sweated in it, fallen in it, swum in it, climbed in it, run in it, backpacked in it, and lifted weights in it. It's awesome and is also a great hot-weather garment. It's very cool and breezy, due to the extremely comfortable mesh shorties.
So far the GymGirl has presented no obstacle when "doing my business" in the wilderness. It has just the right amount of stretch & give to make it very comfortable to wear but not difficult to get on or off (or just around one's knees). Even when I wore it swimming, the fabric kept its shape and slackened only a little. I never felt that the waves would pull it off of me, although I admit the surf was not rough at all. I'll have additional opportunities to swim in it during the Long-Term phase of this test.
It's holding up very well, but I have not subjected it to very much abuse. I haven't blundered into any yucca plants or chaparral thickets, nor have I had to clamber over any downed trees. The trickiest obstacle so far has been a short climb over large boulders in order to reach the peak of Mt. San Jacinto. I leave in less than two days for an eight-day backpacking trip in California's Sierra Nevada, and I hope to encounter a few more challenging trail obstacles in order to see how durable the GymGirl really is. I have hand-washed it and put it up to dry and it has always been dry within hours (except on moisture-saturated nights camped by the ocean).
I do have a few caveats to those considering it, however. As a gym skirt, it's great for everything except when I get down on the floor to do my stretches. The shorties are very soft and conform nicely to my body. However, they conform to EVERY part of the body, and I have occasionally glanced at myself in the gym mirrors during certain stretches and felt that my... ahem, details were a little too clearly outlined. Do bear in mind that I wear the GymGirl alone, with no additional undergarment. Adding a layer of panty would probably fix this issue and I will at least try this during the Long-Term test period. I just get really hot when I exert myself, and so prefer to layer as little as possible in the summer. The shorties also tend to gradually work their way up my thighs, requiring periodic re-adjustment.
The GymGirl is slightly less than ideal for layering over. I have not had to put on rain pants over it, but I have attempted to layer my long underwear over it. Either I have to roll the waistband of the underwear down so as to fall under the waistband of the skirt, or I have to stuff the skirt into the top of the long underwear. Both solutions work. - the first is not a big deal to do, and the second merely looks stupid. Neither of these is enough to stop me from saying how much I like the GymGirl as an athletic skirt.
Long Term Report - November 2, 2007
Field Condtions: Same as above, but I was also able to use the GymGirl on a five-day trip in the central Sierra Nevada mountains, in central California. Elevations reached just over 10,000 feet/3048 meters, temperatures were mostly warm, and the weather was clear and sunny, except for the last day which was smoky (three fires within 100 miles).
Performance: I still love the GymGirl, but it was the 5-day trip that made clear its limitations as a backpacking skirt. There just isn't enough room in the pockets to carry everything I like to have in my pockets on a long trip. I like to carry a bag of trail mix and not have to keep stopping every time I want a nibble. I like to carry a map in my pocket. And since the skirt is fairly short, the need to constantly reapply sunblock while hiking at high elevations was kind of a hassle. I ended up wearing long pants (with lots of pockets) for most of the trip. They weren't as comfy as the GymGirl, but the pockets and sun protection (UPF 50 fabric) of the long pants won out. I did use the GymGirl for stops at swimming holes.
That said, the GymGirl is hands-down my current favorite high-activity garment. It even works for climbing, as the skirt is soft enough to wear under a harness with no discomfort or danger. As a gym skirt, running skirt, climbing skirt, day-hiking skirt, it's just excellent. It will have to be pried out of my cold dead hands someday.
Things I Like: soft, fits wonderfully, comfortable, flattering, washes well, can swim in it, and it's PINK!
Not So Hot: pockets are small, shorties ride up a bit, earphone wire holes are a tight fit for earphone jacks, must be air-dried (not machine dried), mesh shorties can sometimes be a bit revealing.
Thank you to SkirtSports and BackpackGearTest.org for the chance to test this awesomely comfortable skirt.
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