Joining the hiking community has been an education in gear and clothing. Considering not just what one carries on adventure, but also what folks wear to be safe, warm, dry and practical has been a journey for me. Pants have been the one piece of gear that I’ve struggled with. Why? Well at some point everyone will need to pee while they are out hiking. There won’t be a bathroom nearby, which means trying to find a discrete location. Women have been forced by our build to bear our rears to relieve ourselves, whether in a bathroom or on trail. For those of us who live in areas where winter is part our outdoor life, that also means a cold, breezy situation. All of this makes for a barrier to participation for many because we are left feeling vulnerable, exposed.
A few years ago I learned about the brand Chickfly and was intrigued by the idea of having a knit pant with a discrete fly designed with women in mind. After reading more about the product designed by Anna Birkás, I decided to try out a pair of the Bamboo Pants. I looked at the price as an investment in the opportunity to be more comfortable while I enjoy my favorite outdoor activities. Later I would also get a pair of the Merino Eucalyptus Leggings too.
The design is an interesting one. Each leg of the legging is attached to what can be best described as an undergarment. The overlap is held closed with the tension created by simply having the fabric stretched over the body. To use the fly, you just pull both sides of the fly open and hold them while you go. Release the sides and they close on their own to cover the crotch again.
I used the sizing guidelines on the website to select my size. Following the sizing yields accurate sizing. Placing an order was easy and when the leggings arrived they came in a 100% compostable package. Directions for hemming were also included. Every element of the leggings has been carefully considered, from the sustainable packaging and fabric choices to the design of the fly, pockets and sizing.
After having both styles and fabric and wearing them over the course of the last year or so, I can say they work as intended and will be just right for the person looking for an easy option to have the ability to pee in a variety of situations. I’ve used them on road trips, hiking and lounging around the house. They are soft, stretchy and comfortable.
It’s also great to see they have just launched pre-orders for the sexy, strappy Butter Onesie (jumpsuit) which has the same features as the leggings. They even offer bamboo underwear as a sustainable choice to pair with the leggings. All worth a look for outdoor clothing if leggings are your preference.
WHAT I LOVE:
The fabric of both the Bamboo and Merino Eucalyptus leggings is beautifully soft and has a nice stretch, but keeps its shape well. I also really like the fold-over waist, which can be worn high up or low over the hips. Slits in the waist offer options for carrying smaller items and nice sized pockets on the legs give plenty of places to store your larger items.
The pants arrive long and hemmed, but are also really easy to shorten if desired. I ended up shortening both and despite my trepidation about machine sewing them they turned out great.
The fly itself is pretty easy to use and definitely offers the ability to keep your rear covered even when answering the call to pee. The merino eucalyptus leggings are toasty for winter pursuits as a base layer or for lounging around at home. In the winter I’m likely to be found alternating the merino leggings with my base layers. I also layer these with another pant by Shefly (look for a review of their pants soon) for the perfect winter combination.
Founder Anna’s attention to customer service is genuine and attentive. Launching a small brand is a challenging endeavor. After I bought my first pair of pants, she reached out for feedback. When I purchased my second pair she again reached out to get my opinion about the design and fabrics. It’s one of the things I appreciate about buying from brands like this. They genuinely care and want the product to work for their customers.
WHAT I’M NOT A FAN OF:
The things that make these leggings work, offer the soft stretch and make them sustainable – the amount fabric and the make up of the fabric itself – are the two things which make it equally tough for me to completely love them. The design requires what is essentially a double layer of fabric to create the fly. Additionally the use of bamboo and eucalyptus fibers are excellent for grabbing moisture but those same fibers naturally hold water. When they are washed or I get sweaty, I’ve found they take a significant amount of time to dry. If you prefer to hang clothes to dry, in my experience the leggings can take up to two days to fully dry at the waist. Even in a dryer they take significantly longer to dry.
The other challenge I’ve found is in the logistics of holding the fly open and being able to use my Kula Cloth. In order to be effective in the effort to wipe, it takes some practice. If mobility is an issue this could be a challenge. I’ve come up with my own system, but it’s not as easy as I’d like.
I’d recommend these for folks who are active in:
- Casual cycling
Retailer Where Purchased: Direct from manufacturer
Specs: Sizes from XS (waist 25-28 inches, hips 35-38 inches) to 3XL (waist 40-44 inches, hips 50-54 inches)
Fit: True to sizing described on the website
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