DRYMAX HIKING HD SOCKS
TEST SERIES BY STEVEN M. KIDD
INITIAL REPORT - April 10, 2010
FIELD REPORT - June 27, 2010
LONG TERM REPORT - August 22, 2010
Steven M. Kidd
Franklin, Tennessee, USA
5' 9" (1.75 m)
220 lb (99.80 kg)
10 1/2 EE (US)
Backpacking Background: I've been a backpacker on and off for over 25 years. I backpacked as a Boy Scout, and then again almost every month in my twenties, while packing an average weight of 50+ lbs (23+ kg). In the last several years I have gained a renewed enthusiasm for the back country. I generally go on one or two night outings and now try to average a 30 lb (14 kg) pack.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
|Back of Packaging|
Manufacturer: Drymax Sport LLC
Year of Manufacture: 2010
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.drymaxsocks.com
MSRP: Not Available
Listed Weight: Not Listed
Measured Weight: 4.0 oz (113 g)
Tested Size: Large (8 1/2 - 10 1/2 US) Over Calf
Tested Color: Dark Brown
Available Colors: Grey, Light Brown and Dark Brown
The Drymax website states that; "wet socks are a hiker's worst enemy", so they have developed the Drymax Hiking HD socks. They are packaged in an eco-friendly recycled cardboard holder (pictured right) folded in half and attached with a removable plastic tab. HD stands for High Density and the company states that "Drymax technology is better than wool". The website states; "By being the least thermally conductive fiber, Drymax fibers keep feet warmer because they draw less heat away from the skin".
The company also suggests that at least FOUR comfort and technical features make this an ideal trail sock. (1) The sock was developed with a 3D ADVANCED FIT on three dimensional foot models in five sizes (S, M, L, XL or XXL). Another nice feature is a colored Size marking on the toe. This helps easily separate different sized pairs after laundering. (2) The socks also claim to have an ANTI-BLISTER SYSTEM. This is achieved through the 3D fit, the five available sizes, seamless insides, an instep hugging arch band and ultimately the Drymax technology which keeps the foot dry. (3) ACTIVE ODOR CONTROL is maintained by MicropZap antimicrobial fibers containing "silver - zirconium phosphate ceramic ion-exchange resin". (4) Finally, it provides LONG LASTING COMFORT, DURABILITY & LOOKS which, per the manufacturer, provides a high quality product that holds its shape and color over the life of the sock.
|Tight Knitting on Inside Out Sock|
With summer coming on fast the Over Calf Socks arrived, giving me a perfect opportunity to see if they will truly keep my feet dry in the warmest season of the year. After inspecting the socks they appear to be made well. The toe seam is flat and that is important to me. When turned inside out the material appears to be a much tighter knit than any of my current trail socks. When pulled on they cling snugly to my legs and come just below my knee. The socks fit comfortably, but not too tight and have an excellent fit on the foot and toe. They also have a cushioned feel that I haven't noticed in my other trail socks.
After receiving them, I wore the socks to church for nearly three hours under dress slacks and in rubber soled shoes. They clung to my calf throughout the morning without slipping or becoming uncomfortable. Throughout the day they felt soft against my legs and feet and unlike wool they at no time caused me to itch. I have rather large calves and the ribbing on the socks stretch to show some black piping that runs down the back of the sock. Temperatures reached 80 F (27 C) as I arrived home and did a few chores while wearing them with a pair of shorts. I found myself sliding them toward my ankles near the end of some yard work in order to allow my legs to breathe. Although my feet were by no means sweaty or stinking after wearing them for a few hours I do believe a pair of sock liners will still be a benefit when on the trail. I was impressed the socks weren't damp or stinking after several hours of wear.
Drymax suggests I Machine Wash the socks on a warm setting and tumble dry low. I have always air dried my trail socks, and will most likely do the same with these. They also say to avoid using fabric softeners, chlorine bleach or skin lubricants with them.
SUMMARY TO DATE
The socks appear to be made well and fit my foot well. I look forward to testing them throughout the summer months and my only concern is whether or not my legs will become too hot during use. Please check back in mid-June for an updated test report. I would like to thank Drymax Sport LLC and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this product.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
During this phase I've worn the Drymax socks on two overnight backpacking trips, several day hikes and a service project in which I preferred the protection of boots. The coolest temperature in which I had an opportunity to wear them was a three hour hike at Radnor Lake near Nashville, Tennessee. Elevations ranged between 700 ft (213 m) and 1160 ft (354 m) and temperatures hovered near 55 F (13 C) on a clear morning.
The most extreme weather included an overnight trip to South Cumberland Recreation Area on the Fiery Gizzard trail, near Tracy City, Tennessee. Temperatures were as warm as 81 F (27 C) and as low as 64 F (18 C) on a trip that started dry and hot, but was interrupted by severe weather which included tornado warnings and massive rain storms. Elevations ranged from just under 1500 ft (457 m) upon descending to Foster Falls and rising to around 1720 ft (524 m) climbing out of the gulf onto the Cumberland Plateau.
|Reenacting my Boy Scouting Days|
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I've been quite impressed with the performance of the Drymax socks throughout the field reporting phase. The technology claims to keep the user warm, yet that was never really an issue during the spring test season. I was elated to find that they did keep my feet dry during every use.
I prefer to use liner socks anytime I'm hiking, but to test the socks I went on a day hike without wearing any. After a several hour hike I returned to the trailhead, removed my boots and the socks and was amazed to find both my feet and the socks were relatively dry. On the overnight trips I did wear liner socks; however, I was able to wear the Drymax socks the next morning as I could feel little to no moisture in them. I perspire profusely in the field even on cool weather trips, so to be able to wake up on the second morning of a backpacking outing and pull on the same pair of socks from the day before is unheard of for me; particularly after and 80 F (27 C) day.
They are over the calf socks, and I feared they would be to warm to keep pulled up in the warmer spring and summer months. While I'll admit that I tend to push them toward my ankles once I've set camp, I'm happy to say they were not too uncomfortable to keep pulled up on all my hikes. At the Fiery Gizzard, I trudged off trail through several briar patches and the knee high socks kept me from acquiring any of the normal scrapes or scratches I tend to pick up on the trail.
|Elastic indentation on my Calf|
In testing them, I have descended several hundred feet to the basin of a gulf, and then climbed out of a gorge to a plateau several times without the socks slipping on my legs or inside my boots. After washing and air drying them multiple times I've seen no degradation in the material or elastic. Even on the trips when I put the socks on for a second morning I didn't notice any appreciable loosening or sagging. In fact, my only key complaint concerning these socks has been a mildly uncomfortable ring or indentation on my calves caused by the snug fit of the elastic. I'm said to have rather large calves, so this may only affect me. Even with this occurring the socks have never felt tight, they merely fit the foot snugly and cling to the leg.
As stated in my initial report, I'm fortunate to rarely get blisters, so it is hard for me to speak to that Drymax claim, but I can attest to the odor control in the fabric. Even after multiple days of wear they simply didn't reek. I was thoroughly impressed with this feature.
Overall, the socks have not only been comfortable in the field, but they have also protected my legs from the elements without causing me to overheat on warm days. I hope to be able to keep them raised to the knee through the entire review series, so the +90 F (32 C) heat that arrived will be a true test to their engineering.
|Sock Close Up|
I'll recall the four technical features that Drymax claims: 1) ADVANCED FIT, 2) ANTI-BLISTER SYSTEM, 3) ODOR CONTROL AND 4) COMFORT, DURABILITY & LOOKS. I can currently say that the socks have surpassed my expectations in all of these areas! Well, I will leave looks up to the observer.
To summarize, the socks are a great for the trail or around town. They keep my feet dry by pulling moisture away from the skin on even the warmest of days. I currently only have one minor complaint, and that is the fit at the top of the calf. I look forward to putting more miles on them during the remainder of the test series, so please check back in a few months for my final report.
I'd once again like to thank Drymax Sport LLC and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this product.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
During the final testing phase of the Drymax socks I have worn them on a day hike near Nashville, Tennessee, on a backpacking outing to the Stone Door area in the South Cumberland Recreation Area near Beersheba Springs, Tennessee and on a frog gigging excursion one evening near Straightstone, Virginia.
The Nashville day hike was a warm sunny day with temperatures hovering around 85 F (29 C) and a fairly constant 725 ft (221 m) elevation. The backpacking trip was a steamy weekend with temperatures as high as 94 F (34 C) never going lower than 81 F (27 C). Elevations ranged from 1800 ft (549 m) to 2000 ft (610 m) during the extremely humid trip that was once interrupted by a brief thunderstorm. Finally, the gigging trip was a several mile wading event that started at sunset on Little Straightstone creek in the tobacco growing country of southern Virginia. The creek elevation was 554 ft (169 m) with a temperature of 77 F (25 C). The excursion was followed by a 1.4 mile (2.25 km) walk back down a combination of paved and dirt country roads during which a driving rainstorm arose.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
Throughout the Long Term phase the Drymax socks performance continued to exceed my original expectations. Even when the temperature was a few ticks away from 100 F (38 C) I was able to comfortably wear them over the calf and at the knee. I am excited at how well they protect my legs when bushwhacking through briars and brambles off trail. I do have to admit that every time I wore the socks I was generally under the cover of canopy and thus not wearing them in direct and unprotected sunlight. The few times I happened to put them on with a pair of trousers for social wear I did tend to find them a little too warm for casual comfort.
On the backpacking trip I again wore them with liner socks, but they were dry enough to wear again on the second and third days with fresh liners. This astounds me, as my socks are generally too damp to even consider wearing on succeeding days; even if I begin to air dry them the minute I set camp. In fact I broke with my normal protocol and wore them around camp until bedtime. When the socks first arrived so many months ago I feared their size and scope were merely going to add unnecessary bulk and weight that I've been ferociously trying to cut from my pack. In retrospect, and only while penning this, I've had the epiphany that I can henceforth carry fewer pairs of socks into the wilderness and in turn lighten my pack load.
|Lounging on a Warm July Evening|
After a long day of wear, they do continue to leave an impression on my upper calf, but this is a minor inconvenience I'm happy to accept when adding up all the positives I find in the socks. They continue to hold up very well. I have yet to use one of the two pairs that were sent to test, and after multiple uses and washings I can barely tell a difference between the used and unused socks. After multiple days of use in high temperatures they continued to be relatively odor free.
When I wore them gigging, they obviously became soaked while wading in the creek. However, the socks still clung well to my legs and never truly sagged or slipped from over my calves and they only became slightly loose around the foot area. After I exited the creek and began the walk home I did notice an abrasion had formed on my right Achilles. It wasn't a blister, but a sore that was apparently caused by the inexpensive $7 pair of boat shoes I was wearing. They were holding vast amounts of creek sand and rubbing against my heel with every step I took. What I found interesting about these socks, was that even though they were soaking wet for the return walk to the farm, I didn't have a sloshing feel with each step I took that I've historically had when wearing an old pair of cotton tube socks.
I've been nothing but impressed with the performance of these socks since the day they arrived. My initial concerns were that they would be simply too warm to wear with the ensuing Tennessee summer. My hypothesis proved entirely incorrect. I wore the Drymax socks throughout a muggy Tennessee summer with nothing less than satisfaction.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
My preemptive nature of over planning had me summarizing this final report months in advance about how well these socks performed, but if only they'd been the crew version. I can only look back now with surprise that my speculation was totally off the mark. The socks provided a comfortable, dry and odor free experience on multiple outings. They also protected my legs in a manner I simply couldn't appreciate as an adolescent boy when my Scoutmaster would repeatedly tell me to pull my socks up. Faded memories of adulthood had squashed the true purpose of an over the calf sock for me, but going forward no amount of pride in a 'dorky' appearance will keep me from wearing them when off trail. Simply put, they serve a purpose and excel at that purpose for me.
I will certainly continue to use these socks in the summer and winter. I plan on acquiring a pair or two of the crew socks for day hiking and sunnier conditions.
This concludes my Test series on the Drymax HD Hiking sock. I'd finally like to thank Drymax Sport LLC and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this excellent product.
Read more gear reviews by Steven M Kidd