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Early Outdoor Clothing Field Tests

Long before I learned about Patagonia, I simply used outdoor clothing and probably did not think much about it. While doing outdoor aerobic activities, I recall just trying to wear something sensible.

Having learned about Patagonia, and having put some Patagonia clothes to good use, I more fully understand the concept of technical clothing. Finding the pragmatically truthful combinations of garments for given activities and weather conditions, my early experiments are before me as tatters of the flags raised for the sake of being in motion and outdoors.

Below are 4 field reports recalled from over a period of 34 years.


I ran the Ridgefield Marathon in a running shirt and running shorts from Bill Rodgers line. The year, as I remember, was 1980 (or perhaps the year before). Snow fell as the race began and I believe that I wore the running shirt over a T-shirt, most likely the race T-shirt provided to all entrants. My shoes were most likely made by Nike, and an early version of the Air series. My time, as I recall, was 4:07. I finished. This is my \"personal best\" long distance run, 26.2 miles.

Bike Messenger

Early in the 90\'s I became friends with Crusher. He was a bike messenger. He helped me get a job and after about 5 months as a \"walker\" I was able to deliver packages in Boston by bicycle. Rookie! As it would happen that winter was one of the worst blizzard years in a while. I had these wool grey socks that were very important in my daily happiness. I had some Pearl Izumi bike pants that went just below the knee, the somewhat stretchy pants with the chamois in the middle-bottom-center of the pants and these were very nice when riding all day. Working outdoors on the bike was an experience filled with revelations about how beautiful the world is.


One of my dreams had been to learn how to surf. I finally got the opportunity when I was at a Systems Conference in Hawaii. For the sake of pure fun, I stayed an extra day after the conference and found a small surf shop near Kona on the Big Island. I wore my blue and white bathing suit and a red vest (that no doubt identified me as a beginner). I caught 4 waves on a long board. Surf the wave! I found it so exhausting that afterwards I immediately found some shade near the beach and took a long nap.


I have a whole wardrobe for when I am doing farmwork, documented on my Checklist of Farmwork Clothing and Equipment. I will tell you right off that the Patagonia Expedition Weight Merino Hiking Mid Socks are great in the tall, wet grass. I doubt that I will be marathoning, bike messengering, or surfing again any time soon; however, I aim to blog more about my field testing of (organic) farming clothes and equipment. Stay tuned!