Thursday, January 01, 2009

GamJams Reviews: Winter Tights - Under Armour Winter Gear and Castelli Cardio Bib Tights

This weeks GamJams review features winter riding tights. While I don't have a ton of experience with a lot of products I've got at least a couple of notable things to share. Be sure to check out the other reviews for more on GamJams.

Base layer - The all-arounder award goes to Under Armour! I know I know, it's grown to be a bit of a behemoth in the last few years but in all reality there is more to the company then their roided up footballin, pre-game pep talkin, "house protectin" commercials may lead you to believe. They make some really high quality stuff!

My high school football coaches who were all somewhat affiliated with the UMd program through which the brand was essentially introduced, gave us ordering information for this new brand of sporting goods. All very expensive but apparently some great stuff. I convinced my folks to buy me the winter gear tights and top; their heavy weight cold weather stuff. Truth be told I think we all liked the tight stuff cause it made you look bigger then baggy stuff, at least in the 16 year old high school football players' mind. (I tried to find the stuff I have but they have too many new fangled options for me to figure out these days!!! Men's Cold Gear UA Metal Mock!?!? You can see what I'm talking about there with the "built in" six-pack.)

Turns out the stuff was really awesome. Now close to 10 years later I'm still using the same two pieces as my core cold weather gear. It's versatile, I use it for running, biking, hiking/camping, outdoor cold weather sporting event spectatin' and anything else where some warm clothes are necessary. I've found that in windier conditions a basic cotton shirt over the top blocks the wind enough to keep me warm on long frigid (below freezing) runs. With the tights, basically I get a layer or two over the junk (a lesson from the longtime running Pops, a jock strap is perfect here) and my legs are good to go.

Basically, to sum it all up, the good stuff from UA, while expensive (I believe I paid around $60 per item) is completely worth the money. The number of times my stuff has been worn and washed would have completely destroyed any other garment but this stuff is tough. And, it just works.

Cycling tights: I picked up a pair of Castelli's Cardio Cycling Bib Tights off Chainlove for something like 60% off. Unbeatable in my opinion for the price. Fleece lined, and super nice and bib tights to boot. Unfortunately I've only had the opportunity to try them once so far so my report will stand as worth it for the low (relative) price though they were too warm for the 50 degree weather I wore them in. I'll try them out tomorrow (today, New Years day) if I make it out with Darren and will post an update on the sub-freezing performance of the tights. The chest straps are not the greatest but like I said, the deal was certainly worth it. Also, from my experience with another pair of Castelli shorts I sized up from my usual mediums to large and they fit perfectly.

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