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Discussion: Compression clothing off trail

in: Orienteering; Gear & Toys

Jun 5, 2017 1:50 PM # 

has anyone any experience with tight compression tights in orienteering? I've been wearing my longsleeve very fitted compression shirt for a few times now (under a Trimtex shortsleeve) and noticed that I never got cought on anything with my sleeves, nor does it show any signs of having been used for that. No matter how dense the forest and how aggressive my approach.

Has anyone tried that with pants too? I supposed the very tight fitting makes it very hard for branches or things to catch on. I actually find that compression longsleeve/Trimtex shirt solution much better than my Trimtex longsleeve with loose sleeves that catches on to quite a few things...

I'm quite new to orienteering, so I'm trying to figure out what good pants would be. I have Trimtex regular tights, but they get caught every now and then (and ripped). Why are those loose 3/4 pants everyone seems to have a better solution? What's the benefit of those?

I'll be doing some field testing with various clothing and areas the next few weeks and any suggestions you have would be fun to try!
Jun 5, 2017 1:57 PM # 
Can't speak for everyone but I prefer the loose pants because they aren't as hot as tights. Sure, sometimes stuff catches and rips them, but that happens with tights, too. Loose pants last me many years.
Jun 5, 2017 2:42 PM # 
I agree with Christina- I usually find the compression tights get quite hot, and I doubt they're any less prone to snagging than regular tights. With compression tights usually being fairly expensive, I'd rather use the looser pants. They do snag and occasionally rip, but they still work just fine.
Jun 5, 2017 2:53 PM # 
I've gotten tears in both tights and loose pants. With tears, the tights become less usable more quickly, due to the tension I think.
Jun 5, 2017 5:26 PM # 
That's a good point with the repairs. I 'fixed' the last big hole in my almost new tights with Krazy Glue. So far it's survived several washes and quite a lot of orienteering. There wasn't enough fabric left to sew it back, so I reattached what was there with the glue and surrounded the hole with more to stabilize it.

Never orienteered in loose pants, maybe they'd be less hot but I'm never really uncomfortable when it's hot anyway.
Jun 5, 2017 5:58 PM # 
I've been quite happy using Zensah compression sleeves in lieu of gaiters on the lower leg, and regular 3/4 mens tights from the knee up. Much less snagging than loose clothing and avoids the shin abrasion of small saplings against the lower leg. And although they're getting pretty beat up, they've survived years of abuse better than any previous solutions.

And when looking at tights, keep in mind many of them are designed for winter / cold weather use and are indeed pretty warm. Look for lighter weight tights specifically.
Jun 5, 2017 6:42 PM # 
I wear regular running tights -- inexpensive ones from Target, so I wouldn't care too much if they got snagged. That said, I haven't had any snags in the pair I've been using for the past year+ (although maybe the Colorado woods are more open than other areas).
Jun 5, 2017 9:45 PM # 
In my limited experience wearing compression knit fabrics, the nemesis is thorny briars. Isn't all orienteering clothing consumable to some degree? My instinct is to tell you to try different things and use what you like.
Jun 5, 2017 10:43 PM # 
Even Kevlar pants developed openings. Bring multiple pair of pants to a multi day event, just in case. Major shirt failures have been much rarer in my experience.
Jun 5, 2017 11:54 PM # 
The experimental Kevlar pants suffered largely from the fact that the fabric was intended for composite layup rather than clothing, and had a very loose weave. Individual threads pulled out of the seams. I do still have enough fabric for another pair (I think there were three pairs that bit the dust), but it's been probably at least 25 years and I haven't had the motivation to do it. I did think they were pretty good, very lightweight, but after a few washings they went from bright yellow to looking like old burlap, and the fashion police disapproved.
Jun 6, 2017 12:06 AM # 
Buying lightweight loose running pants in quantity at decent price seems like the winning combo to me. Just Chuck them as they fall apart sufficiently, and switch to the next pair. Minor repairs in the interim, or just don't bother with repair.
Jun 6, 2017 2:30 AM # 
I stopped using tights for off-trail (orienteering) some time ago, in Mid-Atlantic area it is rarely a good idea due to thorny vegetation, although in a familiar open ("park"-type) forest it is an option. But I do not shave my legs, and I hope some of you do. Then you'd be even more vulnerable.
Jun 7, 2017 12:17 AM # 
My experience with the compression tights is that they are cool looking for running, but they quickly develop micro holes during orienteering. The holes widen with use and are very difficult to repair. While the Trimtex pajama style pants last for years and are easy to repair.
Jun 7, 2017 7:31 PM # 
My 10yo orienteering compression 3/4 tights with dozens of micro tears look cool and tough and weathered like pre-washed Marlboro man jeans, and they have practical purpose too. Running here on the local trails, it take one look for other trail users to move away pretty quickly.
I have the feeling though that anyone seeing me with the pajama clothing will react the same way, so there is that....
Jun 7, 2017 7:34 PM # 
Pink Socks:
the fashion police disapproved

There's a fashion police in orienteering? They must be busy eating donuts...
Jun 8, 2017 12:51 AM # 
Do I need to dig up those discussion threads?
Jun 8, 2017 8:50 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:
We do have fashion police here in Norway, they strongly disapproves of tights, but according to an interview I read in a major newspaper last year, there is an official exception for orienteering!

- Can adult males use tights?

- No, absolutely not, except for orienteers.

This obviously proves that we as a group are so much better looking/more fit than the average guy, right?
Jun 8, 2017 9:11 AM # 
Ha, I think whoever gave that interview has seen a different population of Norwegians running that I have. Tights are the norm! When it's warm, they just wear shorter ones!

This discussion thread is closed.