Sunday, April 15, 2012

Hot weather, cool shorts

After a winter that felt like spring, our spring is starting to feel like summer.  And not to drag out the heat vs. humidity cliche, but with the Baltimore area's climate being officially listed as humid subtropical, I can only imagine what summer has in store.  As it is, even my usual khaki shorts are starting to feel hot, which is funny considering how cool they felt when I finally switched over from my classy denim shorts.  Good thing for me there are other options!

A couple weeks ago I picked up a few pairs of Asana's new Flow shorts, and think it's safe to say the summer will be a lot more bearable as a result.  Although I was taking a couple weeks off climbing to rest an injury when they arrived, I could at least confirm that they were perfect for mid-afternoon hammocking and an early morning hang gliding session.

I did get back to climbing this weekend though, and the Flow shorts are probably the most comfortable I've ever worn on the rocks.  In addition to the light fabric keeping me cool and evaporating moisture quickly, the cut of the shorts allowed complete freedom of movement.  The surprisingly deep pockets also erased any worry about things falling out while climbing, and later at the bar I noticed that I was able to comfortably carry keys, camera, wallet, and cellphone without any annoying bulging.  I also liked the combination of elastic waist and metal snap, which not only allowed a comfortable fit, but more importantly prevented them from slipping down as I climbed.  Yes, drooping shorts do affect climbing performance, but they're also one of the prime causes of ruined photos.  Maybe I'm alone in thinking this, but few things are worse than someone getting that perfect photo of you, or even worse a video of your latest FA, only to notice later that your bright yellow smiley face boxers are creeping out of the top.  While longer shirts, darker boxers, or suspenders are all equally viable options, it's nice to have one less thing to worry about.

                    Apex at Governor Stable, PA                       Photo: Jon Alexander
                   Fisticuffs at Governor Stable, PA                     Photo: Emily Close
The Flow shorts come in five great colors, all chosen for maximum visibility.  For everyday wear, I love the teal and the forest green.  For the densly wooded boulderfields of Maryland and its neighboring states, I highly recommend the orange... just a long as you don't mind getting a few stares when you stop for gas along the way.  But if you're looking for something visible even in dimly lit caves, these are it.

                     Cave Cracks at Governor Stable, PA            Photo: Emily Close
No artificial lighting or editing were used in that photo by the way.  They're really that bright.  They'll also be perfect for that week of warm weather we usually get in January, when it's actually nice enough to wear shorts during deer hunting season.

The only caution I would give is that the thin material, while being incredibly comfortable and perfect for our weather, also makes these shorts a little easier to damage in areas with overly sharp rock.  In most areas it probably wouldn't be an issue, but I did put a little gash in them on my first climb at Governor Stable yesterday.  Hooray for high friction diabase!  Still, it was just on that one climb, and afterward the shorts definitely held up way better than my skin did.  Not something I'd really worry about too much.

Overall, another fantastic product from one of my favorite companies!

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