Gratuitous Underpants Blog

A while ago I reviewed the Icebreaker Anatomica Boxers for The Epicentre; this is a re-blog of the original post here.

I’m not wearing any pants. At least that’s what it feels like.

I’ve often wondered, as I’m sure many of you have, what makes a pair of boxer shorts worth £30 or more. So I pulled on a pair of Icebreaker Anatomica Boxers to give them a test.

IMG_0331I’m a huge fan of Icebreaker base layers for winter and summer, but my favourite piece is my Tech T Lite – if I’m travelling it’s the first thing I pack as it’s so light and small, it wicks and dries quick, and doesn’t stink. You’ve heard that sales pitch before, but this is the real reason I love it; wearing it is as close to being naked as you can get without attracting attention! It’s that comfy.

Now, imagine that around your nether regions!

There’s a reason people gush about gear that you can forget about. Being unencumbered on the hill is liberating, you feel light and free with nothing to distract you from that primal enjoyment of being in nature. But if you don’t want to go entirely naturist then you need a second skin, and these shorts fill that gap. So to speak.

My test for these pants was a short walk-in and an easy climb on Middlefell Buttress in Langdale. Far from a stern test, you’re probably thinking. But there was another factor involved, a rare and challenging phenomenon for anyone in the Lake District, and something for which none of us is ever prepared. The sun. We’d barely reached the Old Dungeon Ghyll before I realised this was going to be a sweaty day, it was over 20 degrees and there was even mention of what people in other counties call “suncream”.

Clearly I don’t own shorts since I moved to Cumbria, so I was wearing black softshell trousers. Add a harness and a full rack, plus the fear that came from setting off on the wrong route and having to back off, then the worry of choosing appropriate photos for a blog about knickers, and the humidity in my groinal region was close to 100%.

This combination would usually cause at the very best, some chafing, and at worst your gentleman’s area could feel tighter than a trussed-up turkey at gas mark 5. Well I was comfortable all day. There really isn’t any higher praise given the conditions.

On the descent I had a feel of the material (just along the waistband you understand, not a full-on delve) and it was damp – naturally. But that’s the point; I had to check manually because there’d been none of the usually clinginess or rubbing.

So are they worth £30 or £40? That’s a personal decision, but if you like to be focussed, relaxed, uninterrupted by hitching up your pants or making, how can I put it, masculine rearrangements, then I would say one pair of these could change your life! We have really high expectations of our outdoor gear, and we insist on technical perfection. It’s all for nothing if your undercrackers let you down.

NB. I wasn’t brave enough to put the ‘no-stink’ claim to the test – best leaving that for the t-shirts I’d say….

Thanks to Bradshaw Taylor for supplying the pants for testing.

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