Thursday, January 30, 2014

Excuse me while I vent

Ryan taking advantage of the full zip vent

It's time to vent about venting because women get the short end of the zip.

Zip base layer tops are a fantastic invention: zipped all the way up they warm up your neck, zipped down they allow a bit of a breeze to cool you.  The longer the zipper, the more options you have to tailor how much venting you get.

The excellent Stoic Merino Bliss 150
Men's (left) zipper length: 12 3/4"
Women's (right) zipper length: 7"

Zippers on men's zip tops are much longer than on the same piece made for a woman.

I understand that there is a balance of modesty and venting for women's clothing.  There are many, many occasions where I don't want to accidentally flash the people around me if the zipper creeps below bra line.  If the zipper doesn't allow for anything but modesty, I won't flash anyone.  But when I'm hiking and sweaty and only the trees will see me, give me a long zipper!  All a good zip top needs is a high quality zipper that locks in place (as most of these garments already have).

Patagonia men's R1 (left) zipper length: 17.5"
Patagonia women's Capilene 4 (right) zipper length: 15.5"

Yes, I could just buy tops made for men.  And I do have a couple.  I love the amazingly long zipper on my men's Patagonia R1 top.  However, I prefer clothing that fits me better and I don't mind when it looks nice on me as well.

Also, it seems like a long zipper would provide nursing access for those adventuring with a baby.

I do own one base top with a nice, long zip: my Capilene 4 top.  The Cap 4 top is great: it breathes incredibly well, dries quickly, keeps me comfortable in a wide range of conditions, is shaped to work with a woman's curves (unlike my men's R1) and has a nice, long zipper.

Here's hoping that more women's tops are made with zippers more than 12 inches long!


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