DARN TOUGH VERMONT POPPY GALL SOCKS
TEST SERIES BY NANCY GRIFFITH
INITIAL REPORT - September 30, 2010
FIELD REPORT - January 02, 2011
LONG TERM REPORT - February 21, 2011
Northern California, USA
5' 6" (1.68 m)
130 lb (59.00 kg)
My outdoor experience began in high school with involvement in a local canoeing/camping group called Canoe Trails. The culmination was a 10-day canoe voyage through the Quebec wilds. I've been backpacking since my college days in Pennsylvania. I have completed all of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina. My typical trip now is in the Sierra Nevada in California and is from a few days to a week long. I carry a light to mid-weight load, use a tent, stove and hiking poles.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Darn Tough Vermont
|Photo courtesy of Darn Tough Vermont|
Year of Manufacture: 2010
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.darntough.com
MSRP: $17 US
Listed Weight: Not Listed
Measured Weight: 2.2 oz (62 g)
Style/Color Tested: Annie Lt. Denim/ Blue
Size Tested: Women's Medium
Made in the U.S.A. (Vermont)
Darn Tough Vermont has teamed up with Poppy Gall, ISIS co-founder and owner/creative director of Poppy Gall Design Studio, to come up with some innovative and refreshing sock designs for Spring 2011. These particular socks are described for hiking and trekking and are 1/4 height which is slightly above a mid-height boot. They are made from Merino wool which is supposed to be highly breathable, itch-free and naturally antimicrobial. Four-ply nylon reinforces the heel, toe and foot bottom. The middle of the foot has a tight and stretchy fit to keep it from slipping and bunching.
Press information talks about Darn Tough Vermont recently obtaining some new generation knitting machines which allow them to produce very densely knit, thin socks with seams that can barely be detected. On this pair, the toe seam is quite tight as seen from the outside. On the inside there is just a fine line of heavy thread. The idea is to make a very comfortable sock which doesn't cause any blisters and has great fit and durability.
They come with an unconditional lifetime guarantee that their socks are the most comfortable and durable socks ever owned.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
Machine wash in warm water on gentle cycle with socks inside-out. Do not bleach. Tumble dry low. Do not dry clean.
I've noticed other socks that say to wash inside-out and am not sure why. My socks always seem to be filthy on the outside so I don't wash them inside-out, but I'll try it with these.
INITIAL IMPRESSIONS & TRYING THEM OUT
My initial impression was that the socks look really sturdy, thick and slightly larger than my other Women's medium socks. I like the color (blue is my favorite) and the style is very cool without being too outrageous for me. They are much more stylish than any of my other hiking socks.
I noticed that the packaging is pretty simple; just folded paperboard without any plastic tags or plastic stems. I'm also impressed with any clothing item (or anything else for that matter) that is still made in the U.S.A. I know how difficult it is to compete in the world market with U.S. labor costs and appreciate any company that makes the commitment to produce here.
When I first slipped my feet into the socks I immediately noticed how comfortable and cozy they are. They do seem bigger than my other socks that are the same size, but I can't say that they are too big. They just fit differently. My typical socks have to stretch slightly to match my foot. With these socks they are not stretched at all and have just a slight amount of space left.
I wore them on a hike with my mid-height light hiking boots. We scrambled up a faint trail that really was more of an animal path along a creek and fished every good pool along the way. The brush was very thick in places and many trees were down in the way of making much progress. The socks didn't feel too big or slip around in my boots at all.
The Darn Tough Vermont Poppy Gall socks are a high quality and fashionable pair of hiking socks.
Likes so far:
Good cushion on bottom
Thinner on top
Dislikes so far:
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I wore the socks during the Field Testing period multiple times per week for a total of approximately 70 miles (113 km). I wore them for 13 day hikes, 6 morning runs, 5 mountain bike rides and 2 snowshoe hikes. I also wore them for daily use such as working in the yard, going to the gym and playing tennis.
Some examples of my uses include:
Bassi Falls; Sierra Nevada, California; 4 mi (6.4 km); 5,000 to 5,500 ft (1,524 to 1,676 m) elevation; 25 to 30 F (-4 to -1 C); overcast conditions
Tomales Point, Point Reyes National Seashore, California; 8 mi (13 km); 0 to 854 ft (0 to 260 m) elevation; 45 F (7 C); rainy conditions
Multiple hikes in Sierra Nevada foothills, California; 3 mi (5 km); 743 to 1,262 ft (226 to 385 m) elevation; 45 to 60 F (7 to 15 C); overcast to sunny to downpour conditions
Auburn State Recreation Area, California: 5.6 mi (9.0 m); 800 to 1,200 ft (244 to 366 m) elevation; 65 F (18 C); clear to cloudy
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
During the Field Test period, I machine-washed these socks 12 times. I have trouble remembering to turn them inside-out before I throw them in the hamper, so for 7 of the 12 washings they were washed inside-out as recommended by the manufacturer.
The socks are cushiony in the ball of the foot and heel regions which makes them very comfortable. They are high enough to extend above my mid-height boots. They have been comfortable with multiple pairs of footwear; 2 pairs of mid-height boots, low hiking shoes, 2 pairs of running shoes and my biking shoes.
My feet were warm while wearing these socks in temperatures down to 25 F (-4 C) which is the lowest temperatures they've seen so far. I would typically wear calf-height socks for snowshoeing, but I wore these instead. I was able to tuck my thermal pants into them and have the thermals stay in place, so I didn't mind wearing these 1/4 height socks for snowshoeing.
The odor resistance has been good. I purposely wore them multiple times between washings just to see how they would do. It hasn't been particularly warm so my feet were not sweating. The breathability of the socks seems good. I never noticed any tendency for my feet to get overly warm while wearing these socks.
They have stayed in place during all of my activities and have worn well so far. There is no sign of any wear areas. There is no loss of shape or loosening of elastic.
The Darn Tough Vermont Poppy Gall socks are a high quality, durable pair of hiking socks.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
During the Long-Term Testing period I wore the socks 15 times for a total of approximately 65 miles (105 km). I wore them for one 3-day backpacking trip, 5 snowshoe hikes, 2 morning runs and 2 mountain bike rides. I also wore them for regular use such as going to the gym and playing disc golf.
|Worn (left): New (right)|
Point Reyes National Seashore, California: 3 days; 21 mi (34 km); 0 to 1,407 ft (429 m); 40 to 55 F (4 to 13 C); partly cloudy to heavy rainstorm conditions
Union Valley Reservoir, Sierra Nevada, California; 5.5 mi (8.9 km); 4,832 to 5,154 ft (1,473 to 1,571 m) elevation; 29 to 31 F (-2 to -0.5 C); overcast to partly sunny conditions
Loon Lake, Orion Trail, Sierra Nevada, California; 4.0 mi (6.4 km); 6,327 to 6,800 ft (1,928 to 2,073 m); 38 to 48 F (3 to 9 C); cloudy to breezy conditions
Echo Lake, Sierra Nevada, California: 5 mi (8 km); 7,300 to 8,000 ft (2,225 to 2,438 m); 33 to 40 F (0.5 to 4 C); deep snow conditions; partly sunny; up to 25 mph wind gusts
Loon Lake, Sierra Nevada, California: 5.8 mi (9.3 km); 6,327 to 6,700 ft (1,928 to 2,040 m); 35 to 55 F (2 to 13 C); deep snow conditions; sunny
Dewey Point, Yosemite National Park, California; 8 mi (12.6 km); 7,250 to 7,385 ft (2,210 to 2,251 m); 18 to 24 F (-8 to -4 C); clear conditions; 5 feet (1.5 m) of fresh powder!
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The socks continue to be very comfortable. They are warm and cozy but haven't made my feet hot and sweaty. Even for snowshoeing in non-insulated hiking boots, they have kept my feet plenty warm. On early morning runs, the socks seem to breathe well and my feet haven't gotten sweaty.
I have purposely tried to wear the socks a few times between washings in order to see how well they resist odors. I even wore them for a 3-day backpacking trip where I wore them all day (except at night) and they never got noticeably stinky. I washed the socks 6 times (inside-out) during this test period for a total of 18 washings overall. They have worn remarkably well. The elastic still works very well and the socks don't slip down at all. The photo shows one worn sock (on the left) side-by-side with a new sock to show how much they've worn. There is only some slight pilling, some color fading and the older sock is slightly smaller. Being smaller makes them fit my feet better anyway.
I haven't hiked in the socks while wet thanks to usually wearing them with waterproof boots. However, on one mountain bike ride I didn't quite make it across a creek without putting one foot down. The creek was cold and my foot was initially cold. My foot soon warmed and after a few hours the sock was nearly dry.
I wore the socks for snowshoeing which worked fine as long as I wore gaiters. On one trip I didn't have my gaiters and my thermals did not stay tucked in these 1/4 height socks. This allowed the snow to touch my skin when it was deep and pushed up under my pant legs.
The Darn Tough Vermont Poppy Gall socks are a high quality pair of hiking socks that have proven to be more durable than any other socks that I've owned.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.
Warm but breathe well
This concludes my Long-Term Report and this test series. Thanks to Darn Tough Vermont and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to participate in this test.
Read more reviews of Darn Tough Vermont gear
Read more gear reviews by Nancy Griffith