- 2 day (one night) backpacking trip Umtanum Creek Central Washington State-
- 2 Day hikes Umtanum ridge
- 2 day (one night) backpacking trip William O Douglas trail
- 2 5k (3 mi) races
- Assorted runs (2-4 miles / 3-6 km)
- Assorted daily wear
underwear?!?! No matter how many times I say it to myself it just
sounds wrong. Wool is supposed to be thick, heavy, and most of all
scratchy. I am having trouble getting beyond the memories of the dress
blue uniform I wore in the navy. The idea of wearing wool
directly against my skin, not to mention while involved in activities
like hiking and running, I will say it again, it just sounds WRONG!
What is completely incompatible with what my brain keeps telling me
is how this garment feels, and the fact that it has become
my preferred base layer for hikes, backpacking and even running.
As we progress into the summer
months it at first seemed like getting opportunities to wear this would
be limited, here again I was wrong, but I am getting ahead of
wore the garment on a 2-day backpacking trip with my
daughter. Being that she is 10 and does not backpack with me much, I
had her carry very little (her sleeping bag and some clothing) while I
carried all the rest of the gear including a few luxury items
(important when hiking with kids) as well as a new solar charger I was
just dying to try out. So I had a slightly heavier than normal pack.
The weather turned out to be the first warm weekend of the season and
as such the short hike in to our camp was kind of hot, while the night
was very pleasant. After setting up camp we did spend a few hours
exploring some of the trails and side canyons before calling it a day.
As I expect from a good base layer it was only remarkable in
that I had to keep reminding myself that I was testing it. I had
discomfort at all, no riding up, no moisture issues and no rubbing or
chafing. It was not too hot during the day and was comfortable to sleep
in. I could not ask for more.
same was true for the day
hikes and to my surprise even for the runs. I participated in two 5K (3
mi) races. The first was a fund raiser for the local Humane Society
(See Spot Run) and the second was a community race I have been running
every year for the past 8 years or so. For both runs the temperature
was around 72 F (22 C) but the See Spot Run had to be one of the most
difficult 5K’s (3 mi) I have ever done. We borrowed my friend's dogs
and I let my daughter take the well behaved one while I took the other.
The dog had no concept of pacing, and so the entire route involved me
alternating between hanging on for dear life as he sprinted to very
abrupt stops when he would find some interesting smell, both of which
felt like he was going to pull my arm out of its socket. With the
stop/go of the run
and trying to avoid getting tangled by his (and other dogs') leashes,
and two stops to pull remove thorns from his paws, my underwear luckily
performed perfectly and I was glad to have worn them. One more thing,
like chafing, could have pushed the event over the edge from
challenging but fun, to downright unpleasant.
I have been
fortunate in that I have been able to participate in the development
and opening of a new trail, the William O Douglas. Trail Day 2012 was
set to be the official opening. As the trail system will not be
complete for at least a few more years (some sections of private
property we still need to get permission to cross or find ways around)
and some poor conditions (deep wet snow) in place of attempting to hike
the entire proposed route, I chose to just backpack the portion we
would be officially opening. It turned out to be a 26 mi (42 km) hike
from start to finish (where I camped) and a 4 mile (6 km) hike out to
where I could get picked up the next morning. In addition to the
approximately 3000 feet (914 m) of climbing, it also rained off and on
throughout the day. If I were to design ideal tests for undergarments
this would be one of them, and these passed with flying colors. At no
point did I have any trouble. I stayed as dry as could be expected
anyway, and then dried out quickly, and had no discomfort what so ever.
has been a bit slow to arrive here but it has been warming up and the
temperature for my last few evening runs has been around 83 F (28 C).
With a bit of humidity I found that this may be nearing the limit for
me to run in these. They have still performed well, even resist
chafing better that most other garments I have, but slightly warmer
then I would prefer.
During most this period I have been hand
washing the garment and hanging it to dry. In most cases I have found
that I can wash them in the evening and they will be mostly or
completely dry by morning. I have also put them into the wash with my
other clothes and so far they are showing no signs of wear.
emotionally I have had to struggle with getting beyond my own bias
against wool as an undergarment, I have to say these have become a
favorite. The lack of a fly has been only a slight inconvenience, and
more than made up for by the garment's comfort.
I am looking forward to the rest of this testing period.