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Reviews > Clothing > Skirts and Kilts > SkirtSports GymGirl SportsSkirt > Test Report by Kathryn Doiron
SkirtSports GymGirl - 2 pocket Skirt
Initial Report: May 27 2007
Field Report: Aug 6 2007
Long Term Report: Oct 1 2007
Image from SkirtSports website
Name: Kathryn Doiron
Height: 1.7 m (5' 8")
Weight: 68 kg (150 lb)
Email: kdoiron 'at' gmail 'dot' com
Location: Washington DC, USA
Brief Background: I started backpacking and hiking seriously almost four years ago. Most of my miles have been logged in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. I have recently finished 1200+ miles (2000+ km) of the Appalachian Trail. My style is to be as light as possible while not spending a fortune. My pack weight tends to hover around 25 lbs (11 kg) with two days of food and 16 oz (0.5 L) of water. I have recently starting getting into winter hiking, snowshoeing and kayaking.
Material: Nylon and Spandex
Weight (as stated): not stated
Weight (measured): 5.8 oz (165 g)
Colours Available: Mojito Green, Pink Crush, Black, Yellow/Pink Crush, and Sapphire Blue
Sizes Available: XXS to XXL
May 27th 2007
I received the large, black SkirtSports. The skirt part is smooth and silky with two slits, one on each side of the skirt. The seam is covered with a thin line of mesh piping that also contains a button hole just below the waist band. Both sides contain this buttonhole which is meant to allow the wire from ear buds to connect easily to an MP3 player contained in the pocket. On the front left side of the skirt, TRiKS is imprinted in white, glittery circles. The shorts underneath are the same length as the skirt and are of a pseudo-mesh material. While the shorts appear to be mesh on the outside, they are smooth on the inside. Imprinted onto the inside back of the shorts is the care instructions, size, material composition, and manufacturer information. There are no tags. All the seams are sewn flat like a princess seam. There are two pockets made from the same mesh material on the outside of each leg. The pockets line up with the slit in the skirt for easy access. The waist band is made from the same mesh as the shorts and is a double layer of fabric folded over and sewn to the top of the SkirtSports.
The SkirtSports are dubbed as a technical item while still giving the impression of being feminine. The pockets are 3 x 4.5 in. (7.5 x 11.5 cm) and are meant to hold small necessities while on the move: money, id, small mp3 player, even keys. I have previous hiked in a skirt and while I liked the free feeling, once the weather started to heat up, I would start getting rubbed the wrong way when I started to sweat. But with shorts, I find that they tend to hike up in an uncomfortable way, leaving me to buy shorts that are extra long and hard to work up. I like the idea of the SkirtSports and hope that I can find the balance between the two worlds.
My initial impressions of the SkirtSports are very positive. They are almost exactly what I expected them to be based on the descriptions on the manufacturers website. They are a little shorter than expected but the shorter length might allow for better airflow. I was not really expecting the shorts portion to be mesh even though I did read that they would be. They are a little see through, but the skirt portion hides all. I was also expecting the shorts to be like regular shorts in the seam department. In reality, the shorts are much better as the seams are sewn in such a way that there is no crotch seam. This is very nice and I did not expect it. As there are no crotch seams, the SkirtSports do appear to be designed to allow for no underpants. I might try going underwear-free just to see how comfortable and airy they are while commando.
The SkirtSports are a good fit. The waist band falls just below my navel. The skirt falls about 6 in. (15 cm) above my knee. For everyday wear, I find this a little short for my tastes. I will evaluate how comfortable this is in a hiking and athletic standpoint. After one day of wear, the shorts portion stayed mostly in place until after several hours of use, they did slowly started creeping up. The waist band tended to roll down a bit, but this didn't cause any discomfort. The waistband is so thin that I didn't immediately notice it had rolled. On the second day of wear, the shorts tended to crept up faster as I walked or sat.
I have already worn and washed the shorts and they have worn and washed well. I hung them to air dry as recommended in the care instructions. They dried quickly. The SkirtSports are comfortable to wear. I will be evaluating the comfort while hiking and walking. I will also look into how handy the side pockets are and what can be stored inside. While the buttonhole that allows earplugs to feed through was a little hard to find at first, I did find them. While I know I can't fit my iPod photo inside that pocket, I will look into how well my cell phone fits and various other useful items. I will be especially interested in whether there is any heat build up over the course of hiking or if any chafing occurs over a hike.
Over the last two months, I have taken the SkirtSports GymGirl out on dayhikes, weekends and kayaking trips. I have found that the GymGirl is comfortable but I find that the mesh shorts tend to ride up especially on the second day of wearing. Although kayaking is not listed as a suggested use for the GymGirl (and high school reunions are), I have simply been using the GymGirl for all my recent outdoor activities.
My dayhikes have mostly been along the C&O Canal (Chesapeake & Ohio Canal) where the trail I follow starts off as an old railroad bed, then I move onto the rocky section along the Potomac which has rocky scrambles and climbing. The GymGirl mostly stays in place when I first start hiking but after about a half mile (about 1 km), the shorts portion tends to start riding up my legs and I get chafing on my legs from the inseam on the outside of the opposite short leg. I can tug the shorts portion back in place but they will continue to ride up. I haven't had them ride up all the way to the underwear line, but they do ride up about half the distance of the shorts length. Mostly it is the inside that rides up and the outside tends to be lower and not ride up as much. The skirt portion does hide the riding up so there are no modesty issues, so this is more of a comfort issue.
My kayaking takes me to the Potomac area either on the river or further out on the bay, either fresh water or brackish to salty. I have gone out a least once a week with temperatures varying from 77 - 97 F (25 - 36 C) with moderate to high humidity. Since I do not yet have a spray skirt for my kayak, I do get wet and I do get a wet bottom. The GymGirl shorts tend to ride up a little when I first get into the kayak, but the skirt tends to get caught on the back of the seat then wad up behind my back. I have to make sure I tug the skirt down and under me. I do get wet and for the most part I don't feel the wetness too much. When I get out of the kayak, the skirt dries quite quickly given its airy nature, but the mesh shorts take longer. They take about 15 minutes to feel completely dry to the touch, but the mesh nature of the shorts means I don't feel wet, just cooler.
My overnight backpacking trip was out along the Appalachian Trail in Virginia and had an elevation gain of about 1500 feet (460 m) and was a 10 mi (16 km) trip. The temperatures were in the mid to high 90's F (30's C) with relatively high humidity (60-75%). I found the GymGirl's inseam tended to chafe my inner thighs as I started getting hot and sweaty. The mesh shorts also rode up and I found myself tugging them back down to try to prevent some of the chafing. Taking a quick jog down a side trail and back also caused the shorts to ride up. The mesh waist band was quite comfortable and didn't interfere with my hip belt in any way. The swinging of the skirt portion did create a little breeze but couldn't offset the heat or humidity over the two day hike. I feel that the extra layer of fabric was making me warmer than the swinging of the skirt could offset.
My overall impression so far is that while the GymGirl is initially comfortable, I don't care for the semi-looseness of the shorts on longer trips with more vigorous activity. Sitting in a kayak is comfortable, scrambling over rocks, not so comfortable. The mesh material of the shorts just does not stay in place. This may be due to the material itself or could be due to the fact that my legs rub together and may cause the material to work its way up. Either way, I would prefer tighter, almost bike-like shorts that stay in place as I scramble over rocks.
As I have been wearing the GymGirl almost every weekend for kayaking and dayhiking, the GymGirl has been going through the washer quite frequently. I have not seen any signs of wear or fading of the material. The sewing is holding up quite well with no signs of unraveling. After a trip, the shorts portion feels loose, but this tightens back up after a washing. I hang dry all my clothes, and the GymGirl is no exception. I find it comes out the washer feeling quite dry and dries rapidly on the line. Much quicker than the cotton shirts beside it.
Over the last four months, I have been wearing the GymGirl almost exclusively in all my outdoor activities. By far, my kayaking has given the GymGirl the most use and abuse, but I have still found time to take the GymGirl out onto the trail.
This trip was along the Appalachian with a distance of 12 miles (19.3 km). Temperature was in the high 90's F (36 C) with high humidity. I wore the GymGirl for the entire weekend trip and due to the temperature, I found myself wearing the GymGirl to bed and sleeping on top of my sleeping bag. The GymGirl shorts part started off nice and tight to my legs but after the first 2 miles (3.2 km), I found the legs were again starting to ride up. I then took a side trip down to visit a shelter which was a quick 0.4 mile (0.6 km) jog away. I found that the legs of the GymGirl rode up and with the high humidity they tended to stay stuck unless I pull them down.
This was a kayaking/car camping trip. I wore the GymGirl around camp until the temperature started dropping then I changed over to pants. The first night I tried to pull rain pants over the GymGirl to avoid changing. This worked once I tucked the skirt portion into the rain pants. The weather was warm during the day, 80 F (27 C) and dropped down to about 65 F (18 C) at night.
The GymGirl has been taken on almost every kayaking trip I have taken over the last four months. The soft nature of the top elastic band makes the GymGirl ideal for long periods of sitting. I find that the waist band is soft enough that I don't get pinched or chaffed. I do find that the waist band tends to roll down to the seam. I have noticed this happening, but I haven't been bothered by it in any way. The only time I have had trouble with the GymGirl is when the skirt portion catches on the back of the kayak seat. Once I uncatch it, the skirt portion then sometimes wads up behind my back if I don't take care to tug it down all the way around. In the end, since the material is so soft, there is no pinching or discomfort. Overall, the material is relatively fast to dry once I get up out of the kayak, and there have been times when I leave the kayak soaked and I am mostly dry by the time I have loaded and stood around talking (about 15-30 minutes). The only part that is slow to dry is were the underwear are.
Overall I have been happy with the GymGirl when used in a kayaking fashion. I have been a little less happy with the GymGirl in a hiking and backpacking role. While the waistband is soft enough to not cause any chaffing and is comfortable against my waist, the legs are not as tight as I would like and they tend to ride up in an uncomfortable fashion. This is most uncomfortable when the humidity is high as my legs then start rubbing together. The small side pocket, while not very big, has come in handy for storing keys, a bit of cash and my cell phone on rare occasion. The GymGirl does have pockets on both legs, but I find that I exclusively used the right-hand pocket, this may be due to my being right-handed.
The GymGirl has held up very well over the four month testing period. The fabric is still in good condition and the seams are still well sewn. I have noticed that the seams have softened a little over time and no longer seem to chaff my inner legs when I walk. The only thing I observed with washing the GymGirl is that something with Velcro-like hooks latched onto the smooth skirt portion and created a few pulls on the smooth surface. Otherwise, the skirt and mesh material are in good shape. The GymGirl is always a good fit after washing, but after wearing the GymGirl for a few minutes, the material relaxes and then the legs start riding up and the waist bands tends to roll down some.
This concludes my long term report on the SkirtSports GymGirl. This is the final report in the series. Thank you for following this test report series.
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Reviews > Clothing > Skirts and Kilts > SkirtSports GymGirl SportsSkirt > Test Report by Kathryn Doiron