Product Testing - Capilene Comparison
We test our gear on a variety of levels. Our athletes and ambassadors are responsible for putting the latest designs and fabrics through the paces before we'll add a new product to our lineup. But just because something reaches our shelves doesn't mean testing is over. Once a new item shows up in our catalogs, our Customer Service staff gets busy ground-truthing the latest offerings. They know the questions our customers will be asking, and turn that attention to our gear.
My husband and I took a guided spelunking tour at Moaning Cavern, CA which required a 180-foot rappel down into the main chamber of the cavern. The cavern is mostly vertical, with tons of little nooks and rooms. The lowest point we traveled was in a room called the “Roach Motel” where Jay & I were 270 feet below the surface. We were told that this was a warm cave, so no matter what the conditions are outside it usually stays around 64 degrees.
We were provided with coveralls, but had to dress accordingly underneath, and we also knew that there would be a lot of water dripping, so it was important to wear garments that would be quick to dry.
I’ve always tried out the heavier weights of Capilene layers for Alpine activities, so I thought it’d be cool to try out lighter weights in these conditions and see how they did.
Also, I thought it’d be fun to do a little experiment by comparing the old stuff to the new stuff. So, I wore a Spring 2006 Women's Silkweight Capilene T-shirt (Spring '07 version currently available here), and my husband wore a new Spring '07 Men's Capilene 1 T-shirt. Then I also put on some Capilene 1 Bottoms, with some heavy cotton cargo shorts over them.
I was stoked on how this performed, especially when I saw the rest of our group take off their coveralls afterwards and they were freezing and soaked.
Jay and I stayed nice and dry. There were times when we were working pretty hard to squeeze through a crack and we were both sweating quite a bit. We found that the t-shirts performed almost identically as far as being quick to dry and fast-wicking, but we found a big difference in how each held odor.
Being a cute girl I don’t sweat much, and of course, I NEVER smell. But I found that my silkweight-T smelled pretty funky. Jay, being a (wonderful) stinky man, perspires much more than I do. So when he asked me to take a big whiff of the pit of his shirt, I rolled my eyes. But then I realized I had to do it for this report so I dug my nose into it and went for the whiff. To my surprise, it didn’t smell at all! I even went back for seconds to make sure I wasn’t crazy. So I’m now a believer in Gladiodor technology and feel that it is a significant improvement to our Capilene line.
My cotton shorts were totally soaked in the back. I should’ve worn something like our new Nylon Stand-Ups. I was thankful to have had them on, I definitely needed some heavier protection in that area, but they held the water and were freezing. The Cap bottoms worked great, they stayed relatively dry and kept my legs warm and protected. One of our co-cavers had bare legs and they were pretty torn up. This trip definitely gave me some great experience with the Capilene goods. And now my husband and I are hooked on caving, and we’re going to do another cavern in the Fall.